Monday, April 23, 2012

Steelcase Foundation 2011 Annual Report

Steelcase Foundation 2011 Annual Report: 
Sherrie Wilson, writer. Emily Van Hoff, cut paper art. Rachel Hyde, concept, art direction and design.

I am so excited to be able to share this finished project with all of you!  It was a 2 week whirlwind of x-actos, paper, and not sleeping that culminated in a day long amtrak trip to Michigan for a photo shoot.  It was exhausting, incredibly exciting, and exactly what I want to be doing with my life!

My cousin Rachel from Hyde Creative recently asked me to make some art for the Steelcase Foundation's annual report. The Steelcase Foundation has funded many community enriching organizations over it's 60 years, and this anniversary report looks at a handful of the recipients to see the unique ways they have each served their respective communities.

Here is the concept we came up with:

Each story starts with a single sheet of paper to represent the funding from Steelcase. A series of highly structured cuts and folds reveals an intricate design through shape and shadow to show the ways each organization has taken the funding and used it to make an impact on their communities.  The entire sheet of paper remains intact, leaving no waste just as every bit of the funding is used to it's fullest extent. Although the art is mostly abstract, I worked hard to make sure there was a connection to each story. For example, Nonprofit Central provided free office space and technology to NPOs in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, physically bringing them together and allowing for collaboration and partnerships betweens these nonprofits. That idea of many people coming together for a common goal of rebuilding the city is evident in the art I created for that project, while maintaining an elegance that doesn't hit you over the head with obviousness.

Nonprofit Central

But lets back up a little bit, I didn't get to that piece overnight... it took more like 3 nights!

Here is a sample of my initial 'sketches' that I sent to Rachel so she and the writer could have a better idea of what exactly I was thinking about. To give you an idea of timing, Rachel sent me the general theme on a monday night, we talked about a concept on tuesday morning, and I got these photos to her by 2:00 that afternoon! Not bad, not bad.

For each page, I drew a quarter inch grid on the reverse side and sketched in the design before cutting and scoring the folds. The design changes so much from the sketch phase to the folded phase, so each project required a lot of experimentation and starting over. I still have a giant pile of rejects that I can't bring myself throw out quite yet.

Our deadlines were super fast, we had just 2 weeks.  Those of who know how I work know that the level of detail and perfection I require doesn't come so quickly, it's a good thing I work well under pressure!

working shot, it's on the back cover of the report!

The list:
1 cover page
1 intro page
5 organization story pages
1 11x17 photo page
11 words
1 bar graph

Boys and Girls Club
Gilda's Club

The finished intro spread

Story spread: Degage

world's cutest bar graph.

I absolutely loved working on this project! Thanks so much to Rachel for trusting my skillz, and I hope to be able to continue collaborating on projects like this with many more talented designers in the years to come!

You can see the full report here and here.

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