The evolution of the final project began within the first few weeks of classes. Our professor, Kim Lllerena, had introduced us to one of the key team members with the D.C. based non-profit Thrive DC, Chris Nance. After a presentation with Mr. Nance describing Thrive DC’s mission, goals, financial needs, clientele, and graphic design/media needs, we were given the opportunity to ask him various questions about the program. It was extremely valuable for us to hear from the non-profit directly and gave me a head start when it came to thinking about what kind of ideas I had for the final project. It goes without saying that my ideas changed quite a bit over the semester, each taking a little something from each other inspiring my final choices.
Pre-production began that week when we had an assignment to brainstorm about what we could ultimately produce for Thrive DC. Some of my initial ideas began with photography. I noticed that many of the products Thrive DC was using the most were photographs with interviews of people that volunteered and were being served at their location. I was interested in capturing the interaction between those who volunteer and work at Thrive DC. My thoughts were that there were no enough photos to represent the different populations Thrive DC was available to help or the different services Thrive DC offered. I was interested in doing a photo series of the people who come to Thrive DC not only in their own environment but also in Thrive DC. This would hopefully be the final outcome thus allowing me to gain a greater understanding of what the organization is about. Even during its fruition I knew this would be a mammoth task to take on and it may not be possible but I was nevertheless inspired to create more practical ideas that I would be able to achieve.
These brainstorming sessions continued and I had thought of specific labels that contain the information that can be placed on products that come from the shelter. Those using the amenities offered by Thirve DC would see a well designed label placed on anything Thrive DC is already giving out such as napkins that could cite all necessary contact information or a list of the times food will be served or shampoo and toiletries could display all the bathing amenities available at the shelter. The design would be simple and very workable, however when it came down to crunch time, I was unable to get the necessary approval for the project. The items were not designed for any type of event but were rather directed towards Thrive DC itself. This is probably one of the reasons the idea did not make it off the drawing board.
I instead directed my attending to the more practical needs of non-profit and joined the ‘Gala Group’ that was designing media packages for the Thrive 365 Gala event in 2014. I was able to create two different types of letterhead for thank you notes to be given to donors: one specifically for the gala event and another for every day donors from the Thrive DC team.
The setup of the gala letterhead is therefore extremely similar to that of the gala invitations, save the date card, RSVP card, programme etc. I was able to work very smoothly with the Gala group because they had already determined a specific style and design they wanted to achieve. Everyone was engaged and excited which was very contagious. When we met together, I was able to help them redesign the Thrive 365 logo as well as give opinions on fonts and style and they likewise gave me advice and requirements for the letterhead. The final product came out very simple, elegant and clean. There are san-serif fonts used with the body of the letter, contrasting the serif font used in the logo. It is along the same wavelength as the other items in the media package. Thus any changes that will be offered to the Gala group, I will similarly follow through with the design of the letterhead.
The standard letterhead I designed for Thrive DC was a little bit different. I was inspired by the website redesign and enjoyed many aspects of its more modern look. I wanted to translate their new brand through a very clean and simple letterhead designed to specifically address those who give to Thrive DC on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis. The Gala group, as one of the drafts of an invitation, also redesigned the logo so I was able to incorporate it into this design. I wanted the letter to achieve some form of brand recognition. I also distilled a line from the ‘Donate’ section of the Thrive DC website as a tag line under the logo: “Countless needs. Abundant thanks.” The final product came out very modern. It looks clean and well informed. However, one of the issues I have with it is that the logo .jpg is a little fuzzy around the edges. I was unable to resize it to the style I needed so I am hoping with the next round of edits, I will be able to figure that out.
When Chris came again to visit our class and to check out the projects we had been working on, I think it is safe to say that I was equally as impressed as he was at the wonderful results everyone had created. With minimal and easy corrections given, our class was able to produce very usable items for Thrive DC. Even if my pieces do not get used, I am proud to say I was a part of the design process.
In all, I found this project very rewarding. It was a learning experience every step of the way but I ultimately was able to improve my design skills and hopefully produce something the team at Thrive DC can use.
Below are both template options and PDFs of both of the thank you notes!