Monday, February 18, 2013

My Top 10 Favorite Projects in 2012

This year has been eventful in so many ways. In terms of my work and ministry, 2012 was the year I explored and developed new areas of creativity. Beyond my design work, I've had the chance to write, learn photography, and manage social media. It has been a wonderful opportunity to branch out and serve God in new ways.

Here are 10 projects I'm proud of from this past year:

10. Receipt insert illustration, September
Every month I design the receipt package that goes out to all our donors. Admittedly it is not my favorite project by any means. But in September I created this illustration for the insert, and it turned out to be pretty fun. I enjoyed the process of drawing the hands and the text, as well as creating the texture behind the image.

9. Illustration for InterVarsity blog, May (on
Illustration is another area of creativity in which I've had the chance to gain more skills through one of my ongoing projects - the InterVarsity blog. I enjoy the process of visualizing ideas that had only previously existed in words. This one I did in May was a fun one that I particularly enjoyed. I'm developing a particular style of drawing that I hope is fun and engaging to viewers/readers.

8. Campus photo shoot, June (original post)
During the summer I got a crash course in photography, running eight separate photo shoots over the course of eleven days! It was a great opportunity to develop my skills in photography, something I've enjoyed all year. I still have a lot to learn but I'm proud of the progress I've made.

this was one of my favorite shots from the photo shoot
I did on campus with several new staff posing as students

7. Urbana 12 Special Guest Invitation, June
I enjoyed this project because of the process of problem solving it entailed. Previously the reply card was a separate postcard that did not seem to have any connection to the actual invitation. By designing it as a perforated attached card that you could rip off and mail in, it kept the whole thing cohesive and elegant. I enjoy projects where I can use my creativity to solve problems, as well as make them look good!

6. Urbana 12 infographic "How to Raise Money to Get to Urbana," June (on Facebook)
This was the first of several infographics I designed to promote Urbana 12. I was excited because I not only designed it but was heavily involved in coming up with the ideas. I enjoyed creating each illustration and using the Urbana color palette to convey a light-hearted, fun tone to the piece. Humor is one of my favorite ways to communicate.
5. Books of the Bible pie chart infographic, April (on Facebook)
This simple infographic was our most popular of the year. The team meeting for this infographic was one of the most memorable, fun moments of the year.
4. Urbana 12 Conference Handbook, October (original post)
Despite the stress this project inevitably incurred, I am actually very proud of it. For Urbana 09's handbook, I began with a layout that another designer had started. But this time, I was able to create the entire handbook from scratch. I'm excited about the solutions I came up with for the various types of information that needed to be presented.

3. ONS infographic, June (on Facebook)
If you're counting, this is the fourth (out of 5) that uses the Urbana color palette, and the third (of 3) infographic on my list of favorite projects. I was especially excited that this infographic contains real (and interesting, in my opinion) data. This is the only infographic to date for which I have had to come in on a Saturday to complete. I'd like to say it was worth it, because I'm very pleased with how it looks.

2. "Singleness Sucks, Sometimes" blog post, October (on
I wrote three blog posts for the national InterVarsity blog in 2012. This one about my journey as a single woman was by far the most personal and significant. It became the year's fifth most read post in only a month! I've been truly enjoying the opportunity to communicate truth through my writing. I hope to continue this area of creativity and expression in 2013. 

1. Join-In Booklet for Urbana 12, November (original post)
Once in a while there is a project which really inspires me to create something really good. The Join-In Booklet for Urbana was my favorite piece of the year, and I'm apt to think it was because the cause was so important. Through this booklet I helped 16,000 Urbana participants join in assembling 32,000 medical kits, in partnership with caregivers in Swaziland, Africa. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Urbana Handbook: a love-hate relationship

The Urbana 12 conference handbook included 11 maps, two versions of the schedule, lists of over 70 restaurants, 20 hotels, 250 missions organizations, details about meals and Bible studies, over 30 bios with photos, and many other pieces of information all wrapped up into 144 pages.The back pocket held a folded 33-inch manuscript of all the passages in Luke that were studied during Urbana. The project took about two months to complete!

As a designer, this is the kind of work that I both love and hate.
I love being able to put a lot of information together in a way that is organized, aesthetically pleasing, and user-friendly. I love using my skills to help people find their way around the often overwhelming experience that Urbana can be. Without the handbook, students would likely be lost and unable to fully participate in all the Urbana offers. The conference handbook is often a memento that Urbana participants will keep for a long time. There is deep satisfaction when I get to walk around Urbana and see everyone holding the handbook I spent so many hours creating.
Luke Manuscript - click to view larger

On the other hand, it is probably the most stressful, demanding project I will ever work on. Having designed the Urbana 09 handbook, I was slightly more prepared for what the experience would be like, but I still could not avoid the late nights working on edits, the frustration of receiving information later than planned, and other obstacles that a project this large naturally incurs. 


Ultimately, the work I do as a designer for twentyonehundred productions is never completely fun. There will always be aspects of my work that are frustrating, difficult, exhausting. At the same time, there's an inexpressible joy that comes from creating something that impacts so many people. Not only do I serve the participants at Urbana through my work, but I also indirectly impact the thousands of people that might hear and respond to the Gospel as a result of the decisions made at Urbana. If I'm still here for Urbana 15, I hope I'll get another opportunity to serve Jesus and advance his kingdom by designing the next conference handbook.