Art Direction/Design/Project Management/Copywriting
NYC Parks operates more than 50 free public pools across the city, many of which haven't been upgraded in decades. In an effort to breathe new life into these spaces, Parks’ Cool Pools project reimagined five pools as urban resorts: our design team, operations crew, and architects collectively worked to lower fences, incorporate new furniture and plantings, and introduce a more vibrant, welcoming aesthetic throughout. The agency also introduced new on-deck programming, including free fitness classes and games.
On the design side, graphic designer Stephanie Venegas and I developed a visual identity and language that focused on keeping cool in the summer—on 90-degree days in New York City, you need that “you’re getting cooler” message, flanked by popsicles and polar bears. We then took this kit of parts and applied it to each individual pool deck via paint, vinyl decals, and large-scale banners, working closely with our vendor. In addition to the pool decks themselves, we also created the requisite Cool Pools marketing materials and giveaways, including hand fans, totes, staff uniforms, and local advertising.
Once the project was in motion, we found that pool attendance had increased at the new sites over the previous year. But the more important feedback was anecdotal: Folks in Staten Island had started referring to West Brighton Pool as "the resort," and visitors were asking how much it cost to get into Douglass and Degraw Pool in Brooklyn—the highest praise of all for a free public amenity.
Following an unprecedented influx of deer from New Jersey to Staten Island, the City of New York established Wildlife NYC to raise awareness of and encourage coexistence with animals across the five boroughs. The multi-agency project included developing a website where New Yorkers can report wildlife sightings, along with hosting hundreds of educational workshops. The city also began the process of vasectomizing deer in order to reduce their proliferation in Staten Island.
To support these efforts, our design team (including graphic designers Ava Chong and Stephanie Venegas) developed a visual identity for the project as well as writing and designing an out-of-home media campaign that likened wildlife to human New Yorkers: We're all self-sufficient and well-equipped to find our own brunch, our own transportation, and our own homes, however tiny. Through this lens, we also spread more specific messages: don’t feed animals, check for ticks, slow down to avoid deer collisions, and consider deer-resistant plantings to avoid landscaping headaches.
Ultimately, the ad campaigns generated 669,186,800 media impressions, and the WildlifeNYC website received 51,132 page views, reaching over 18,000 visitors.
NYC Parks Signage
For the past several years, NYC Parks has been slowly overhauling its signage across the city, streamlining content and design as well as reducing sign clutter at each property. The goal: Make parks more visually welcoming and professional, and create clarity around their rules and hours, which can sometimes be challenging to discern. Internally, we’re also working to get a better handle on our file systems and processes, ensuring we know which signs are posted in which parks and how to replace them efficiently.
Working with a team that included legal, parks enforcement, operations, marketing, and our in-house sign shop, I've developed a design system for all sign types, including consolidated rules, one-off warnings, wayfinding, and interpretive signage.
The focus here is as much on content as design. Each facility type—a barbecue area, boat launch, or dog run, for example—has its own set of rules, which we’ve reviewed in exacting detail, then translated into 12 different languages. The permutations are seemingly endless, but ensuring the signs are customized for the spaces and communities they serve is well worth the effort.
Art Direction/Design/Event Management
What better way to mark the 50th anniversary of public art in NYC Parks than a celebration inspired by art "happenings" of the '60s? The daylong festival in Central Park featured a sculpture garden, performances, workshops, and installations, including a raucous assembly of Sing for Hope pianos and a polar-bear-as-life-drawing activity (my personal favorite). I developed the branding and collateral for the event, including printed materials, digital advertisements, wayfinding, and merchandise, using an archival “happening” image and bold stacked type as the focus.
Art Direction/Design/Event Management
Stumble onto Street Games in Thomas Jefferson Park in Harlem and you'll find a new generation discovering classic stoop-ready pastimes--stickball, skully, double dutch among them. The Disney-sponsored festival takes place every spring, with the goal of getting kids outside, connecting the community to NYC Parks’ resources, and preserving New York City traditions. I developed the event branding, which highlighted the individual activities and used a black-and-white photo approach to add a vintage touch.
NYC Parks Voice and Tone Guidelines
Copywriting, Project Management, Design
When I started doing design work for NYC Parks, our visual brand standards were solidly established. However, it wasn't quite as clear what we sounded like as an agency—an equally crucial part of our identity. To remedy this, I convened the top communicators across the organization to share the different types of messages they created, and together, we examined the through lines: What did we sound like naturally? Who were we on our best day? What pitfalls did we come across when we spoke and wrote?
NYC Parks' Voice and Tone Guidelines were born from this initial meeting, which was followed by a year of ongoing conversations with a smaller working group that hammered out the finer details: basic writing guidelines, countless examples of our voice in action, and an exacting style guide that set the record straight on many a verbal stumbling block.
We designed the guidelines, created a set of illustrations to accompany them, and developed an interactive workshop to introduce the guidelines to the broader agency, which has now become part of Parks' standard training curriculum.
NYC Parks Merchandise
The NYC Parks brand has spread throughout the city and beyond via a merchandise line: Hats, T-shirts, tote bags and more can be purchased year-round at the agency’s headquarters, The Arsenal in Central Park, or at our merchandise booth in Union Square’s holiday market. We also recently partnered with Nordstrom and Hanes to place NYC Parks T-shirts showcasing some of our standard signage icons in popup shops throughout the U.S. and Canada (all of which sold out!).
Courtesy of Nordstrom
One Day Magazine
Art Direction, Design, Illustration, Copy Editing
One Day Magazine, which is issued four times a year to TFA alumni, focuses on issues of educational equity—including topics like diversity, measuring teacher success, and the complexity of charter networks.
For each issue, I worked closely with two editors on every detail of the book: discussing the content, hammering out the best ways to visualize each story, sourcing, hiring, and art directing illustrators and photographers from across the country—and, of course, designing, writing headlines, and copy editing every page.
Art direction of Alex Nabaum's illustration, which showcases the ongoing challenge of evaluating teachers.
Readers had the opportunity to ask Teach For America founder Wendy Kopp their most burning questions on the eve of the organization's 20th anniversary. Photo by J.C. Bourcart.
Art direction for a series of profiles of the winners of Teach For America's Alumni Awards for excellence in teaching. Photos by Noah Rabinowitz.
Design for a story detailing the tenuous relationship between a much-beloved but failing New Orleans school and a new charter that began sharing its space after Hurricane Katrina; the grid of images showcased its vibrant history.
Illustration for a story about dwindling resources for arts education programs.
Illustration for a story about the ongoing evolution of Teach For America's diversity training program.
Illustration introducing a series of profiles of education-reform advocates.
Illustration for a story that compiled predictions about the future of education legislation.
Art Direction/Design/Illustration/Copy Editing/Writing
I spent several years developing editorial designs for the Concord Monitor in Concord,N.H., focusing specifically on the weekend and entertainment sections. Samples include features on new cocktail recipes, an upcoming appearance by zombie maestro George Romero, a playful reaction to a local uproar over grinding at high school dances, and a compilation of less-than-romantic Valentine’s Day tales.