New Start Community Garden
The New Start Community Garden was built in 2018 by community members and high school students in an unused baseball field across from their school. Signage describing the various functions of the garden was wanted for future generations of students, gardeners and visitors alike.
A local non-profit, Nature Warriors, commissioned the design of eight signs and installed them around the garden. With lush colors and tempting fruits and flowers, the signs serve as reminders of the garden’s splendor during dreary months. The signs prioritized conveying their informational text by utilizing a strict and unified design system.
On April 10th, 2020, the signs were installed in the garden. I was thrilled to see my work exist in physical reality. New Start High students and community members alike enjoy them, I am told.
Students of New Start High School had already painted some signage of their own. These student’s were my sign’s primary audience I looked for ways to incorporate their aesthetic into the work. I aimed to give them a sense of ownership of the garden that they had helped build. The graffiti mural, right, served as inspiration for multiple iterations below.
Inspired by the student's art, I pursued pop-art and graffiti styles. But these attempts were rejected by the client on account of legibility issues. For my fourth attempt, I kept the mural’s color palette but used a paper-cut out approach which prioritized clarity of the text. With the client’s approval we charged ahead.
The logo design process was simplified by a client who knew what they were looking for: a shark eating a carrot or strawberry. Arriving at a simplified, logo-like version of those things presented a challenge. But after some iterations we arrived at a satisfatory solution, which was more illustrative than the typical logo, shown right.
As my first significant client project there was a steep learning curve in presenting material and communicating well with the client. In hindsight, I see how much time I spent unnecessarily on iterations that were not well vetted by the client, and were eventually rejected. I learned the value of low-fi sketches to communicate big ideas rather than a series of high-res options. I’m proud of the relationship generated with Nature Warriors, the sponsoring non-profit, and continue to work for them to this day.