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THE PROCESS The blood sweat and tears (metaphorical tears of course) that went into the creation of my thesis.

Summary | Research | Process | Time management

I just ran away from home, where can I go to find help?!� SUMMARY What What are is some Crossroads ways I could andstay whynourished is it important? on a budget? The Whatreasons does a healthy behind dietthe consist creation of? of my thesis. How will it effect my body? Summary | Process


Crossroads was created to educate first-time homeless youth on the issues they will now need to face in their daily lives, along side the resources their city provides for their well being. Youth that run away from home just want to escape a bad situation but they don’t realize they could be entering into an even worse one. The mission is to give them the resources they need in order to make the right decisions now to get them back on their feet in the near future. It is estimated that it is within the first 6 months of being homeless that the youth will make the decisions that will determine their future for the next 5 years. If they could be reached from the start and pointed in the right direction, that alone would greatly influence their probability of success. The Crossroads package consists of 3 booklets aimed at basic survival (The Body), overcoming their past (The Mind), and looking forward to the future (The Heart). Each booklet is filled with information on each topic, but more importantly it lists the resources in the city aimed at providing help towards that topic. A map of the city is included listing all the resources from a birds eye view, along with a journal to track their progress and some basic necessities to help them along their way.

Why Homeless youth? Each day walking to school I come into contact with homeless adults. My compassion for them began to slip as I began to recognize the same faces year after year. I thought if I can’t help them now I’m going to attempt to help them in their youth.





I decided that I was going to focus on a issue that was close to my heart and often easily overlooked.

I settled on the issue of homeless youth and conducted some interviews and research for a clearer picture.

I wanted to create something that was tangible, effective, and useful at any point in their process.




Everything from size to paper stock to the way the package would be opened was designed with intension.

Every detail was taken into consideration and tweaked for optimal user experience and ease.

The project may be finished but my thesis isn’t over until it’s being used by homeless youth in Toronto.


This letter serves as a binding agreement between Korneliusz Izbinski, currently a student in the School Of Design at George Brown College, and Professor Ian Gregory to execute to the best of my ability, a full and complete Thesis Project 1. The Thesis includes but is not limited to, the following deliverables: •

3 Booklet Series & Journal

A Designed Container (package)

A Website

Fold-out guide map of Toronto for Homeless Youth

2. Thesis Process Book including: Executive Summary, Design Challenge, Research, Rationale. Design Process, Design Management. Evaluation of Effectiveness of Applied Approach, Refinement of Communication & Presentation 3. Thesis Poster (for the show) and mini-poster for way finding. 4. PDF to be submitted to the drop box (hi res) for archiving and possible use in the annual. 5. Student to attend and deliver all presentations in class and assigned mentor meetings. Other Key elements include: Professional method of conduct, participation in assigned creative groups, thoughtful critiquing of colleagues’ work, and weekly attendance 6. Contract signatures of Student and Thesis Professor.


3 Booklets A booklet series on: The Body, The Mind and The heart, aiming to help first-time homeless youth.

Journal A journal to provide a place for the youth to document their progress, goals and any thoughts.

Map A birds eye view of the city of Toronto listing all the top resources for homeless youth specifically.




An online version of the booklet series along with a hi-res version of the map available for download.

A package that holds the booklet series, a journal and a map along with a few basic necessities.

A process book documenting the process of the thesis project from conception to completion.


Homelessness has been on my mind since I started my career as a student at the School of Design. One main reason for this could very well be the fact that our school is encompassed by three major homeless shelters. Experiencing their situations first hand on my daily walks to and from school had developed an interest in them. At first I would feel compassionate and try to help them by handing out coffee, or my lunch, but as time went on I began to think that my temporary band-aids of coffee and food weren’t making a lasting impression on their lives. I quickly learned that healing is directly related to the will to heal. Helping the older homeless become a very unclear cause in my mind, but what if I could help prevent someone from reaching an irreversible state. Homeless youth are as fresh as they come, and are extremely uneducated on their situation and where it could lead. It’s in their first 6 months of being homeless that they will make the decisions and develop habits that

The Big Question? So how do we educate them? A series of communication pieces on; The body (how they are going to survive), the mind (why they are homeless), and the heart (how they are going to overcome it). Each piece will have information on resources Toronto offers on each of those subject.

will either make or break their will to survive and overcome their situation. Change their influence and you could possible change their lives. We all know that tangible resources can only go so far, the main goal is to encourage them to go to these places and interact with people who genuinely care and want to see them succeed. An on-line media based version of these topics will also be created with a more user interactive interface. Depending on the topics there will be open discussion feeds where youth can ask questions and be encouraged by success stories and mentors in the industry. The tangible medians will come in a package, that will either be handed out by a team of people or placed at certain locations where homeless youth will have access too. Upon reading the content the youth will be encouraged to use the on-line resource to further their education and experience a more personal interaction with others that are trying to help.

Bottom line I’m not saying that this will resolve the problem, but education is the foundation of smart forward thinking decisions. Again it all depends on the reader and how they perceive the resource given to them; some will see it useless and will throw it away but others will see it as a map that will guide them out of their situation.

RESEARCH Every What are idea some is made ways I could greatstay through nourished extensive on a budget? research and insight. It What both does refines a healthy anddiet clarifies consistwith of? every new discovery. How will it effect my body? Interviews | Copy


Bill Ryan Mission Program Officer Young Street Mission

Bill Ryan is the longest serving staff member at the Yonge Street Mission, investing more then 30 years of his life to helping the homeless in the city of Toronto. A true leader, with a heart for the broken. Interview notes: I met with bill at his YSM office at 306 Garrard St E. My main goal was to gather good helpful content for my booklet series, and with over 30 years experience Bill had a lot to share. I was able to ask Bill specific questions on each of the topics discussed in the booklets and from there develop a good frame work as to what was most crucial information that needed to be included. Bill also gave me a closer look at a typical day in a homeless youths life, not only giving me a better picture of their routine but also why so many choose to not use the resources that are available and why trusting in adults is difficult for them.

Take Away • I was inspired to give more practical hands on information on each issue, which later translated to the “tips” pages in the Body booklet. • I got good insight on smart steps a homeless youth should take from the very beginning. This was featured in the Heart Booklet. • A contact to follow up with once my thesis is ready to present.


Jesse Sudirgo Youth Program Coordinator Young Street Mission

Jesse Sudirgo is an active member serving on the front lines at the Yonge Street Mission’s Evergreen Center located at 381 Yonge St. There he runs programs for the youth in team and personal development. Interview notes: My interview with Jesse wasn’t planned to say the least, I showed up at the Evergreen Center not knowing what to expect and was quickly introduced to Jesse who seemed to be the go to guy for my type of questions. We discussed in length the current state of quality resource content for the youth and he showed me what they currently had in place (one huge 3 ring binder). He felt my kit would be an excellent tool for new youth that show up at the center and was really enthusiastic about the idea of creating a map listing all the locations Toronto has to offer in the aid of homeless youth. I’m glad we crossed paths.

Take Away • A greater confidence in my thesis project, hearing that confirmation from someone who is immersed in helping homeless youth was a great motivator to keep pursuing this idea. • I realized the map had greater value then I would have thought, and that pushed me to spend more time in making it more user friendly.


Finding Toronto’s top resources for Homeless youth was not a difficult task, it was clear which organizations stood out from the rest. The most difficult hurtle was getting accurate information on: the ages that were accepted, the hours of programs offered and the details on services. To get this in formation took hours of personal calls to these locations to talk with someone knowledgeable within the organization. Listed below are the top three websites that offered listings on youth resources with in the city of Toronto. Trusting these websites wasn’t enough, I personally visited each resource listed to find out if it was the right fit.

City of Toronto

Youth Street Stories


• A Guide to Services

• Links for Street Youth in

• Resources for Homeless

for People That Are

the City of Toronto.

and Non-Homeless


• Inspirational Stories

People in the City of

About Street youth


The Facts • •

It is estimated that there are at least 10,000 homeless youth in Toronto during any given year and as many as 2,000 on a given night. Abuse and neglect are the two major reasons why youth leave home. Studies show 70 percent of homeless youth have suffered some form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse.


All of the copy written within the booklet series was done by myself. It took countless hours of research and interviews, combined with practical thinking and application to come up with copy that was used for each issue relating to homeless youth. The copy had to be written in an easy to understand way to minimize any confusion and to carry the idea across effectively. The majority of inspired copy for the Body and the Heart came from my interview with Bill Ryan of YSM. Inspired copy for the Mind was more difficult to create since it talked about issues such as abuse and suicide so I looked to a few online resources to help me out.

Kids Help Phone


Help Guide

• Great Guidance for

• Insight on Suicide and

• Information on Signs

Teens Struggling with

Suicide Prevention

of Sexual, Physical, and

Abuse and Suicide.

• Information on Youth

Mental Abuse.

Sexual & Mental Abuse

Continued . . . • Contrary to what we may think, 50 percent of homeless youth come from middle- and upper-income familes. • 15% of homeless youth are staying on the streets of which 4% were living in squats, and 9% in parks, alleys, and doorways. • Most have worked in the sex trade at some point, including men.

PROCESS From What are concept some ways to completion. I could stay nourished on a budget? An What brief doesinsight a healthy into dietthe consist creation of? of each deliverable. How will it effect my body? Booklets | Map | Website | Package


Concept: The booklet series was created to reflect the wellbeing of a person so it was an appropriate idea to name each booklet after the part of the body it was aiming to influence. Layout: The layout needed to be consistent through out sections and the series as a whole, sections needed to be further broken up by colour and line for easy recognition. This consistency helped to keep things similar and avoided any confusion from booklet to booklet. Design/Illustration: The design was aimed towards a youth audience (16-24), vibrant colours were used to not only grab attention but easily differentiate between booklets and sections. Simple illustrations were used as a visual representation to the text to help bring the idea across in a more fun/imaginative way. Size: The size had to be small enough to fit into a pocket but big enough to hold all of the information and remain legible. Each piece was created to have the same dimensions for a sense of consistency.

Please Hold . . . Obtaining accurate information about each of the resources listed was hard work. Many listings didn’t have very useful websites so I had to make personal phone calls to almost each place to get the right info.


Pocket Size Booklets were made small enough to fit in your back pocket for quick access and easy travels.

Quick Look


Vibrant colours were strategically selected to quickly identify between the 3 booklets and map.

After interacting with the youth I found that they were not as sensitive as I thought, my design followed suit.



Map Mini

Stitch or Sew

The text was starting to look as if it was flouting on the page, so colours were added to break things up.

Each booklet has a small map on the last page to quickly reference where each location is in the City.

For aesthetic/conceptual purposes I decided to sew the books but practically it would be saddle stitched.


Concept: The map was created as a visual aid. It provides the youth with a sense of proximity between them and where they need to go. Help is plentiful and help is close. Layout: The map itself takes up one whole side of the page to insure that the font size, streets and markers are easily legible. The backside was broken up by booklet section. The Body was given the most room since it had the most resources and information to cover. Design/Illustration: The design was aimed at providing a map that was easy to read while providing essential summarized information on each booklet series. The colours and illustrations used were a direct reflection from the booklet series to provide a sense of consistency and relationship for the user. Size: It was important not to make the map huge! It had to be a size that was not overwhelming when opened and could be easily folded back into the size of the existing booklets in just a few moves.

Trash Talk It was important that the map also had summarized information from the booklet series. Should the user decide to throw away the contents of the package but choose to keep the map, they still have useful information at their fingertips.


Hand Held Originally the size was going to be 22x32 but quickly changed to a more hand held size.

Big Picture Close crop small pockets of maps quickly changed to one big map of Toronto.

Suburbs Three small pockets of maps remained to show a few locations that were a little too far off the grid.

Info Flap



All location names are on the backside of the map to allow for a full map spread with no distractions.

A Hi Res version of the map will be linked to the website to allow for a closer look at the listed locations.

The map was printed on cotton paper to add durability and a water proof property for extra wear and tear.


Concept: The website was created as an online resource to host the information in the booklet series and a high resolution image of the resource map, allowing the youth to access the information electronically should they not have their booklets with them. Layout: Simplicity was the key to the website, everything needed to be clear and relatable to the booklet series. The information pages were layed out in the same formate as the booklet to minimize confusion. Design/Illustration: The direction was to take the basic elements that differentiate the books and sections (the colours, and illustrations) and use them as the foundation for navigation. This way the user knows exactly where they are going and what section they are in at all times, just buy looking at the colour on the page. Size: The Size of the website had to be generous and offer an easy reading/viewing experience. The booklet series used small text too keep it pocket sized so it was only fair to use the website to offer bigger text.

Quote on Quote Each new page starts off with a full spread quote that relates to it’s subject. It not only acts as a visually stimulating intro to the page but its important to motivate the reader before he begins to stimulate his mind towards improvement.


Your Pick The front page has only four sections to choose from each relating to a specific colour and illustration.

Big Text The text went from two column to one column (wide) to allow a comfortable user experience.



The top center logo is the key link between all the pages, when clicked it will always redirect you home.

Website coded text allows the user to highlight and copy and information needed for reference.

Center Wide The page contents is aligned in the center of the page to have an optimal experience in full screen mode.

Links All posted resources will be linked to their websites, so the users could get more information as needed.


Concept: The package was created to house the contents of the kit. Since it is the first thing the user would experience it was made to reflect the brand and act as a supportive intro to the content inside. Contents: Inside the package you will find the 3 booklet series (The Body, The Mind, The Heart) bound together by a paper band, a journal, the map of the city, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and 10 ttc tokens. Design: The package is assembled out of (cut to size) 1 ply cardboard. Since this will be the beginning of the users experience it was important to reflect the Crossroads brand on the package itself, this also prepares the user for what to expect on the inside. The package is assembled in such a way that the only way to open it is to tear the tab, ripping the cardboard to reveal the contents. Size: The size of the package is made to snuggly fit its contents. There is no wiggle room on the inside to prevent damage. The package will be in the shape of a slim rectangle for easy stacking and shipping.

Tear Here The package was designed to be torn open in order to get to the contents inside. Although this is a way of securing the contents its more so a way to symbolize a new beginning. Theres no going back but there is a bright future ahead.




Screen Print

Recycled cardboard was used to create the package due to its easy tear and highly recyclable properties.

The package is created from a single piece of recycled cardboard and only uses one strip of glue.

All text and illustration is hand screen printed on the package using non-toxic paints.




The packages were designed to be easily stackable and durable for shipping and storage purposes.

The package is branded in the same way the booklet covers are made. Consistency is key!

Along with the printed content there will be some basic necessities included to meet some of the users needs.

TIME MANAGEMENT The Whatbreak are some down waysto I could the hour stay nourished for eachon deliverable, a budget? and my thoughts What does aon healthy the final diet consist result.of? How will it effect my body? Time Sheets | Evaluation


Concept Development


Research Field Research (Interviews)

2.5 h

Content Research

10 h

Booklet Series Planning Cover Design Layout

8h 10 h 40 h

Content Development

10 h


20 h

Map Planning


Map Rendering

25 h


10 h

Website Planning/Framework




Web Development

12 h

Package Planning




Screen Printing



186.5 h


For myself the overall thesis experience was a great test of discipline; both in design principles and more importantly time-management. I was forced to make quick decisions on everything from size to layout to functionality that were both smart and supportive of the foundational concept. Although this was not always the case for myself, I did make up for lost time with countless cups off coffee and late nights. I would be lying if I told I was not happy with my end result. I’m never one to fall in love with my work but I do feel that I met the goals I set out for myself. My deliverables were well executed and there was a strong consistency that I managed to keep between them. Most of all I believe in my product and I do think that homeless youth can benefit for the kit that I have created. I will continue to pursue organizations that help run away youth and see if my kit or at least parts of it can be implemented within their system of recovery. What I would change most was my lack of time management in the beginning of the semester, when I felt I had year on end to finish!

Feel The Pressure It’s actually quite funny how we as designers can’t seem to get our minds focused until we feel the pressure of a tight deadline approaching at an unimaginably fast rate. When will we finally learn! Or is it this very pressure that forces us to create our best work?

KO R N E L I U S Z IZBINSKI IWhat am a aregraphic some ways designer I could stay based nourished in Toronto. on a budget? I’m motivated by purpose, What does and a healthy design diet with consist intention. of? How will it effect my body? |




The process  
The process