Design, Social Change and 24 Hours of Teamwork at CreateAthon Austin
Design is powerful – it has the ability to change the way the world around us looks, feels, and functions. However, more importantly, design is capable of inciting action. It can communicate positive messages, encourage social change, and persuade people to take action to bring about the common good.
Our very own Lindsay Gattis recently worked at an event where she was able to experience the positive power of design firsthand. Lindsay is a contractor that has quite a few roles within Keystone Resources. She started with us as a graphic designer and now helps run the digital marketing aspect of the agency as well as steps in as project manager when necessary. Additionally, she runs her own company – Logan Gattis Creative Agency. Last week, Lindsay participated in CreateAthon Austin 2016, a pro bono marketing 24-hour marathon that brought together a group of talented marketers and designers to donate their design skills to nonprofits. Together with her dedicated team of Keystone Resources/Logan Gattis interns, Lindsay and her team worked tirelessly to create marketing collateral for their partner nonprofit, presenting the result of their round-the-clock effort to them at the end of the event.
The Importance of Design: An Interview with Lindsay Gattis
I sat down with Lindsay to ask her about her experience with her team, the nonprofit they partnered with, and what she learned about herself as a designer over the course of the event:
Q: What is CreateAthon? What does this organization do?
A: Createathon isn’t an organization per say. It’s an event hosted around the world. It’s a pro bono marketing marathon held for 24 hours where marketing and design volunteers get together to create marketing collateral for local non-profits. Depending on your city, it’s hosted by different organizations. In Austin’s care, it’s hosted by Build-A-Sign (who generously donates all the printing work to the non-profits as well). But you can also host a Createathon as an agency or corporation. You can find out more about them at their website – http://createathon.org/
Q: Who was on your team? What backgrounds did each of the team members come from?
A: I had the honor of being the Creative Director for the first ever high school team. There were eight high school students in total from Austin High School and East Side Memorial High School. The three students from East Side Memorial are interns with my agency, Logan Gattis Creative Agency, in Austin as well as Keystone Resources. We share them! The five Austin High students were hand selected by their teacher to participate. Also on the team were the two graphic design teachers (one from each high school) that work closely with the kids on a daily basis.
Q: What nonprofit did you design for at CreateAthon Austin? Tell us more about them and their objectives.
A: We were assigned to A Legacy of Giving. Their mission is to empower children through philanthropy education and youth philanthropy programs to become more engaged in improving their communities and world. A Legacy of Giving provides philanthropy education, service learning and civic engagement in a school-based setting in both public and private schools in Central Texas with TEKS-compliant curricula. For this particular Createathon, they were needed to brand a new fundraising event. More than just branding, they needed us to help shape the event!
Q: What pieces did you design for them?
A: For this event, they were starting completely from scratch. All they knew is that it was to be a breakfast event. They needed us to name the event, design a logo, invitations (both print and digital), save the date, signage, menus, etc. It was so exciting for the kids to be a part of the branding process from concept to completion. And it was equally exciting for the non-profit as their mission is to ignite a flame in the hearts of students for philanthropic work. It was a perfect match!
Q: Give us an overview of what you and your team did over the course of the event!
A: We began with coming up with a name and a logo as those two pieces would dictate the creative direction for the rest of the work. They wanted the event to be casual but still polished because it was a fundraising event. We chose to name the event “Sunny Side Up” because it had a bit of humor behind it but also had a great story we could relay through our creative pieces. Sunny side up gives a hint of humor, is joyous, and is a play on words about the positive aspects of life – all of which, our non-profit held close to the heart of their mission.
Once the event want named, we needed to develop a casual but refined color palette and logo which I felt was very successful. Once the logo was completed we took the elements across the remaining pieces of collateral along with the story.
Q: What was the outcome of your work? How did the nonprofit react to the pieces you created for them?
A: They LOVED them! They were so happy and so proud that this was the high school team that created the pieces for them. Even the Build-A-Sign employees that hosted the Createathon were impressed with the kids and their work. The non-profit even asked if we would continue creating some things for them throughout the internship – which of course, the kids were excited to say yes to! I think seeing how excited the client was when seeing the work was inspiring to the high school students. It was such a great experience overall.
Q: What are your biggest takeaways from this experience? What did CreateAthon Austin teach you about design and about yourself as a designer?
A: My biggest takeaway is that collaboration in design is important. We had to create an entire event and marketing collateral in only 24 hours! And it was a success. Not only is that a testament to the fact that no project is too big, but it’s also an incredible testament to the fact that collaboration in the design industry is key. I also learned that I tend to overcomplicate things as a designer. Not necessarily aesthetically but more in terms of the process. 24 hours (even with no sleep!) is such a short time frame that any part of the process that is not absolutely necessary has to be eliminated. It’s also taught me a great deal about time management.
Q: How did you initially get involved with CreateAthon Austin?
A: One of my best friends used to work at Build-A-Sign and she mentioned to me the first year they were hosting this event. I was sold! The first year I participated, I had such a great time and I learned so much about myself and design. I also met people that would later become contractors for my agency. Coming full circle, my friend that introduced me to Build-A-Sign is now the graphic design department chair at East Side Memorial High School and was a member of our team this year.
Q: How can fellow designers and creatives get involved with CreateAthon?
A: Find out if your city already participates in a Createathon first. If they do, find out who to contact in order to join. If they don’t, see if you can host one! Agencies, professional associations (like AIGA!), corporations, and universities, are all different entities that can be partner organizations to host a Createathon. Reach out to Createathon directly if you need any assistance. http://createathon.org
Keystone Resources: Design with a Purpose
Wow! What an impactful 24 hours. At Keystone Resources, we love participating in design projects like this one that allows us to demonstrate our passion and make a difference. We are committed to helping your nonprofit grow and flourish, increasing your capacity to impact the lives of others. No matter what your mission or cause, our experienced team of designers, developers, and project managers can help transform your marketing efforts to help you reach your goals.
Ready to take the next step? Email us or give us a call at 713.874.0162 to begin the conversation.