During my internship with Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) I was asked to write and coordinate articles for the quarterly newsletter that is sent out both electronically and in print form. The article I was asked to write specifically was based on the study done by MEC towards the feelings of the new taxes for infrastructure. Overall the survey found favorable results of people who wanted to pay more in taxes for improvements to roads, public transit, and most importantly light rail systems.
This article shows how I was able to take dense data and findings and put that into a detailed yet easily digestible piece for our readers. I also learned how to craft articles in the proper tone to match the overall narrative of MEC and was able to receive some accolades from my superiors when the final version was printed. I also created the infographic on the side of this article and our communications director chose the stock photo for the highways.
Michigan State is very privileged to have one of the most recognizable mascots in the nation, Sparty. What most people may or may not know is that there is always a student buried under that muscly Grecian warrior costume and each year there is a call out for students to apply for the position. Generally, student affairs sends a pretty poor looking application so for a project in my visual design course I redesigned the application. There are numerous important factors when it comes to who should become Sparty, specifically that they are within a specific weight and height range and have excellent grades. When I designed the document I used Adobe Acrobat so that this PDF could be sent out, filled out digitally in a web browser and returned to allow for data collection for the application process. With proper back-end database coding it would be able to filter those people that would not match the requirements and then allow for only appropriate applicants to end up in the proper mailbox. The PDF is available below.
One of the most rewarding and research projects I have worked on was a comprehensive communications strategy for The Ave community project. The Ave is the brain child of professors John Monberg, Vincent Delgado, and designers at Red Head Design Studio. Meant to do many things this project had three main audiences and purposes.
- Create a vibrant community between students at Michigan State and the corridor of Michigan Avenue
- Connect the artists of the greater Lansing area
- Be a major linchpin for the businesses of Michigan Avenue and build viral marketing
This project was worked on by a fantastic and talented team consisting of Rebecca Zantjer, Jamison Sheppard, Emily Dixon,Laura Allen, and myself. Using multiple methods of research we worked for two months straight on developing out this communications strategy. Starting with ethnographic research and stakeholder interviews we were able to get a feel for the organization and where the stakeholders mentioned above wanted the project to move towards. Taking this into consideration we developed a strategy that used the already existing goals but focused on creating personas, place-making, and network building. The entire project culminated in the document you can view below and is one of the most comprehensive projects I have had the privilege of working with.
During my course based in visual rhetoric were were tasked to create a document that epitomized a song, poem, or phrase. At the time I was going through some of my old hip hop and Blackalicious is one of my favorite groups so I knew immediately what I wanted to do. The caveat to the assignment was that were only allowed to use Microsoft Word to create the document. If any of you have worked in MS Word for document design I think it’s safe to say you just don’t do it. With the background coding MS does to documents and test along with the wacky constraints they put on the user, this assignment was not as easy as I first thought. Thankfully I was able to work through the struggles to have something that made sense. After turning it in I was told that my work was exemplarily and that I should re-examine it with a different software program.
That is precisely what I did, and took the initial idea and reiterated it into poster form using Adobe inDesign. This poster is available for print from the link below.
For this visual project I was asked by my insanely talented and smart brother to help him create a logo for his new student group, Students Organized Against Prisons (SOAP). It is a group that was birthed out of his work at the University of Michigan and is an advocate for prisoners and those affected by having their family members incarcerated. There has been flood of young men into the prison industrial system, specifically black and brown young men, and SOAP works to break the cycle through advocating for prisoners rights, abolishing mandatory drug minimum sentences, and recitivism of released prisoners.
For this logo I was tasked to create something that was simple while conveying the overall message of SOAP and make sure to have the groups acronym in the logo. As you can see below I am very much a minimal designer as I chose a font with strong lines to emulate the bars of prison, the fist for the O, and stark contrast to make the image stand out when printed or in web form.
During my time spent at Michigan Environmental Council I was also privileged to work with the health group and specifically is Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing (MILASH).
Working communications with MILASH was very rewarding in learning about non-profit alliance building and development. We set out to redevelop the site and I made the site (linked above) more W3C compliant. Though built on Google sites due to its complete lack of funding we were able to drive traffic back up to closer to non-profit industry standards.
Before I finished my time with MILASH I created a social media strategy so that people who take over the internship in the future would be able to continue that growth. Developing a consistent and thoughtful digital identity is extremely important in non-profit work for two main reasons in my mind.
1. The affordability of social media allows for rich and well developed content for minimal to no fees.
2. Keeping a consistent identity in the digital spheres makes donors, volunteers, and supporters feel a part of the non-profit.
Having the social media strategy allowed for the MILASH Facebook page grow in reach from 15 “Likes” to 35 during my one month working for MILASH. Currently there is an intern working to continue the growth who I’ve been in discussions on how to keep up the work I started.
View full PDF (large file)
During my communications internship for Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) during the summer of 2011 I was tasked to creating a standard Powerpoint for the organization and in doing such realized there was a vast array of levels of comprehension with Powerpoint. I firmly believe in the use of presentations and visual and design rhetoric but when you see some very unprofessional presentations it only makes sense to create a standards document. As such I did just that for MEC for all the people who needed help with creating effective powerpoint presentations.
During the fall of 2011 I was enrolled in a course on visual rhetoric. For this class we were taksed to create a poster related to something we felt we could claim expertise. For this my group decided upon making a beer poster detailing our favorite types of brews.
Click image for full size poster
In continuing with my fascination with hip hop and developing and more intricate understanding of the 5 pillars of hip hop I was involved during the fall of 2011 and spring 2012 in a study and research project based around Lansing hip hop. For my part in the project I created a comic detailing some of the finer details of graffiti culture. We successfully entered in the Michigan State University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF) where we presented a full catalog of multimedia work – our booklet with photos and my comic, a research poster, and a video in which we interviewed local graffiti artists in REO Town in Lansing.
Here you can view the entire Graffiti Comic
517 Theory: An Interview with Local Artists from Jessie Whitmill on Vimeo.
During the month I spent in New York City I was privileged to have an independent study based around the hip hop culture currently in the city. New York is and always will be the mecca of hip hop, from its roots with Afrika Bambatta playing street parties, to the Brooklyn and Queens legends that have shaped our culture in America. I have always been interested in the 5 pillars of hip hop:
5. Knowledge and overstanding
For my independent study I was able to visit a number of places and conduct reviews and interviews. Previous to visiting NYC I would shop endlessly on the Turntable Lab website and I had to visit and, admittedly, spend too much money. I wrote up a full review of the shop and created it into a full PDF article for easy distribution. I hope you enjoy.
To read my entire review of the shop please click here for the PDF Turntable Lab Review