LEVIN + RIEGNER (L+R), BROOKLYN NY
Jenny Rudziensky is an artist and designer from Detroit, Michigan. She received a BFA in Advertising Design from the College for Creative Studies and currently works as a designer at Levin + Riegner (L+R), an international strategic brand consulting firm and mobile technology studio. She is a Webby Awards recipient, a 2-time Advertising Awards® winner, and a recipient of a Silver Pencil from the One Club for Creativity in 2020. Jenny has worked with clients at L+R including Warner Bros., Global Citizen, The Estée Lauder Companies, Rethink, and Take On Wall Street.
Outside of client work, she has invested time in personal projects including a brain cancer fundraiser campaign called Embracing Chaos, branding for The Diesel fund, a non-profit helping pet owners fund life-saving surgeries for their pets, and The Quilt Shop, a personal project to connect young creatives through the creation of a collaborative digital quilt.
She also consistently strives to help improve her organization. She is a founding member of L+R’s DEI working group, a task force dedicated to creating a more inclusive and equitable working environment through self-initiated projects. Recent efforts have included auditing the company onboarding documents and employee handbook to better reflect inclusive language and reinforce company values, conducting the first ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion survey at L+R, and leading a workshop to discuss the most equitable approach to our employee benefits.
Tell us how and why you became involved in socially responsible communications, any thoughts on why design can be an especially effective tool for this goal, and, if you wish, give us an example of a project of which you are proud.
I define meaningful work as work that either reduces someone’s suffering or increases their levels of joy, and the projects I most enjoy are ones where If advertising taught me to communicate powerfully, graphic design taught me to communicate clearly, and I believe that ‘good’ design connects us to things that make our lives more meaningful.
L+R’s recent work for Take on Wall Street is an example of the purpose-driven work I search for. TOWS is a coalition of groups working together to address the predatory economic power of Wall Street banks and billionaires and build a financial system that better addresses the needs of the American people. They place special emphasis on how wealth extraction has disproportionately affected low-income communities and communities of color, especially women of color. I co-led a project to help TOWS translate a key piece of their curriculum, an educational gallery walk, to a digital experience. The experience begins by posing a question to users: “To what extent was our economy designed to be fair?”
Given the confluence of events and challenges our society now faces, does this moment in time present any special opportunities, urgencies, obstacles to designing for good?
Given the current social and political climate in the US, I think it’s especially important for individuals to view their work as a manifestation of their values. Two qualities that I see as barriers to addressing these issues are apathy and distraction, where apathy is a feeling that our individual thoughts and actions aren’t enough to effect change and distraction is the impulse to divert our attention to things that feel more comfortable. My goal is to use my work to address those two behaviors in a way that empowers people to lead their most joyful, empathetic lives, whether it be through designing products that help people center what brings them fulfillment or communications that name and address inequality.