Housing = Health Equity

Our health depends on so many factors—the places we work, learn and play, air quality, access to fresh food and green space… it all matters. The common thread? Our homes. 

For their 2019 Annual Message, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is shining their sizable spotlight on housing, and we’re lending a hand. This year’s missive is an interactive, story-driven deep dive exploring the connections between where we live, health and quality of life. It features illustrations by Alexandra Beguez and reporting by a team of intrepid journalists, with an intro video, data visualizations and design by yours truly. The microsite just launched last week—big ups to our badass partners Velir for working their magic with the code and to our comrades at RWJF for their creative partnership and tenacious spirits.

Housing Matters


Art Is Magic

Will all the high school art teachers please stand up? Thank you. You’ve encouraged us through epic pottery fails and shown us the value of keeping a sketchbook. You’ve taught us that art is a way to understand the world. And the data don’t lie: arts education changes lives. 

So color us ecstatic to count among our clients Made Collaborative, whose mission is helping young folks tell their own stories via beautifully illustrated comics. We designed Made’s logo back in the day, and like all good things, they’ve kept growing. They’ve recently established a Scholarship Fund to send talented young Chicagoans to pre-collegiate arts programs, exposing them to new disciplines and potential career paths. We’ve been gently tweaking Made’s forthcoming comic book, so keep your eyes open for that—proceeds from all sales will benefit the Fund.

Art Saves


House Rules

Last year, resident feelings enthusiast and Strategic Director Klooky hit the road with a talk about imposter syndrome and design without ego. Again and again, folks from the crowd stepped up to share their own struggles with those old familiar rascals, self-doubt and uncertainty. So this year, she dialed it up a notch to address head on this widespread fear that everyone but me has it all figured out. 


Last week she crashed the CreativeBloc Conference in Waterloo, Iowa, where her talk “The Stars Alone Won’t Guide Us,” gave a #nofilter glimpse at some of our behind-the-scenes struggles and how we’ve managed to get back on track when the ship blew off course. (Spoiler: it involves research, project management, fearless conversation and mental health days.) A heftier write-up is forthcoming, but for now, treat yourself to some good reading... 

Be Brave


Designing Diversity

Hey look it’s an elephant in the room! And it’s screaming about the lack of representation in design. We all know it. We all see it. Let’s fix it. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so step this way to the upcoming Design + Diversity conference. 


Started by our buds Antionette Carroll and Tim Hykes, D+D will provide perspective and pathways toward building a more diverse, equitable industry. Our own Dawn Hancock is helping select this year’s conference fellows, and strategists Alibaster + Kristin will be on hand to lead a workshop on workshops, offering ideas for cultivating an inclusive creative environment and process. Let’s open our eyes, hearts and minds and let the future in, pals. We hope to see you there!


Design + Diversity 2019
August 1 - August 3
Columbia College Chicago

Snag your Spot


Watch Your Language

Language. Pretty good stuff right? Use it to say I love you, or to order a hot dog! Spend your life studying it, why not?! It’ll pay off. Because language holds our world together. Verbal, written or signed, it helps us make our minds known, and know one another. 

What does this have to do with design?! you ask? What if we told you that language is itself a modular system, with clear rules and guardrails, which can and will be broken? What if we showed you how different languages rearrange patterns and pieces, and with each move, create new meaning? It could be fun! We might learn a few things! That’s what designer and sleeper language nerd Dean’s banking on. Follow his thoughts on this month’s post, Talking Lingo, to learn more about the beautiful overlap between language and design.

Let's Get Linguistic