WHAT’S IN THIS BOOK
SIGNAGE AND WAYFINDING
IDENTITY AND BRANDING
SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
I WANT TO WORK IN THE KIND OF PLACE WHERE DESIGNERS COLLABORATE AND INTERESTING THINGS HAPPEN. THE KIND OF PLACE THAT ISN’T AFRAID TO TAKE RISKS FOR THE CHANCE TO ACHIEVE A VISION AND WIN BIG. THE KIND OF PLACE WHERE DESIGNERS DON’T JUST VALUE THE WORK, BUT ALSO VALUE EACH OTHER. I’M REALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT WHAT I DO. GRAPHIC DESIGN IS MY PLAYGROUND. I WANT TO BE AROUND OTHERS WHO LOVE IT TOO.
WHERE I’VE BEEN EDUCATION current position GRAPHIC DESIGNER & SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIST
BFA: columbus college of art and design; columbus, oh mksk studios; columbus, oh JUNE 2010 - PRESENT I provide art direction for print work and environmental graphics, developed the firm identity, run the graphics department, and developed/direct our social media program. In short, I juggle a bunch of stuff, all the time, usually in vintage heels.
previous position FREELANCE ILLUSTRATOR
neiman marcus; houston, tx THROUGHOUT 2010 I illustrated visual merchandising concepts by hand.
and before that FREELANCE DESIGNER
tupaco movement; columbus, oh THROUGHOUT 2009 I developed their print collateral and website.
and before that FREELANCE DESIGNER
artemis revolution; dublin, oh THROUGHOUT 2008 I developed their identity and provided retail prototype design services.
and before that PROTOTYPE DESIGNER
wd partners; dublin, oh AUGUST 2007 - MARCH 2008 I developed environmental graphics and retail spaces.
going way back now SUMMER DESIGN INTERN
design collective incorporated; columbus, oh MAY 2007 - AUGUST 2007 I did whatever they asked me to. Really, really early in the morning.
wow i was young then
kostas kondylis and partners; new york, ny
SUMMER DESIGN INTERN
MAY 2006 - AUGUST 2006 I spent half my time creating layouts, and the other half smoothing bubbles out of presentation boards and worrying that the layouts weren’t good enough.
COMMEMORATIVE POSTCARDS MSI DESIGN
Thinking that there are far too many logo-adorned stress balls and ballpoint pens in the world, MSI Design, a landscape architecture and city planning
firm, wanted a non-cheesy giveaway to present to their clients at a 20-year anniversary party. Because most of their clients are history buffscity planners and architects- I thought it would be a smart idea to present them with a pack of postcards featuring highlights from around the city of Columbus. In this way, MSI could subtly brag by showing images of their work, while presenting the clients with a giveaway they could actually use. Being a huge fan of antique postcards myself, I decided to go with the lithograph look, designing an art-nouveau style name plate on the back, using an â€œold grease penâ€? style font on the front, and numbering them for collecting. They were so well received that two years later, one of the founding principals still kept a few packs in his briefcase at all times to hand out and show off to clients.
IDENTIFICATION SIGNAGE MADLAB THEATER
The local indie theater MadLab found a new home in Columbus in late 2009. By the spring of 2011, the box office attendants were seriously sick of directing frustrated first time theater-goers to an unmarked building. While simultaneously branding MadLab with a new identity, I designed a building-mounted identification sign for the theater. The cut-metal sign spans 3/4 of the building’s facade and turns to trail along its side, emulating the fast-paced energy and excitement so characteristic of the theater. Hidden LED’s illuminate the letters from the back at night, creating easy visibility and ambiance. The result of the sign’s installation was a cool new landmark for the city, some props from the local alternative newspaper Columbus Alive, and a large, happy theater clientèle arriving on time for the opening act.
2011 ANNUAL REPORT THE VILLAGE OF NEW ALBANY
Home to big names like Limited Brands and Abercrombie & Fitch, the Village of New Albany needed an attractive, informative print piece to hand out
to all of their big shots about future growth and planning. This included scores of copy and computer renderings which communicated 5 distinct ideas for the city. In order to calm the chaos and allow users to quickly categorize the information they were absorbing, I developed visual branding for each part of the plan using color coding and custom iconography. Each section of the book can be located through a sidebar system of icons, allowing the user to flip throughout and skim the book easily. By dividing the information into a simple grid with pull boxes, users were able to glean what they needed from the piece easily while simultaneously being at least slightly entertained by the non-corporate palette. In the kick-off meeting for the next year’s report, the client’s first question to me was- “Will you make us some cool little logos for this one too?”
IDENTIFICATION SIGNAGE ANN ISALY WOLFE CHILDREN’S PARK
In my opinion, urban park signage works best if it feels subtle and natural, and blends into the surrounding city landscape. Working with the park’s landscape architects at MKSK, I designed the Ann Isaly Wolfe Children’s Park sign to fit into the existing stamped concrete wall. Using natural slate as a backdrop, resin letters were laser cut out of a classic serif font and pin-mounted. They are illuminated with a warm glow at night and contribute to the park’s fantastical quality.
SIGNAGE PACKAGE THE SCIOTO MILE
The Scioto Mile riverfront park has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors since it’s opening day in July of 2011. With crowds like that, it’s pretty important to have a solid signage system leading guests easily through the park. Working with the park’s landscape architects, I created a signage plan map which pin-pointed the ideal locations for directional, historical, regulatory, identification, and donor signage. After the approval process, I created sign layouts for local fabrication, working within the existing brand standards. I’m happy to report that because of my work, thousands of overjoyed park goers decided not to pee in the public water fountains because it was just so easy to find the bathroom.
EDUCATIONAL GRAPHICS LIVINGSTON AVENUE PARK
As part of a cultural grant requirement for the revitalization of Columbus’s oldest city park on Livingston Avenue, the city wanted a unique way to educate the public about the area’s historical significance. Working with the site’s landscape architects, I created graphic compositions of historical photos and memorabilia to be printed on resin and incorporated into functional park furnishings. The panels are illuminated at night, adding a dream-like ambiance.
BOUTIQUE FIRM IDENTITY SIDE STREET PLANNING
The small city planning firm Side Street was founded with the idea that cities should think smarter and use alternative methods to accomplish goals. They desired a hip, ear-to-the-streets image to project their unique point of view. To create an edgy, modish logo, I hand carved
a linocut slab with block lettering. During the printing process, I let some of the press marks and “accidental” ink blots remain, giving the logo an authentic, one-of-a-kind quality. Layout reminiscent of old comic books and colorful, action-filled city scene photographs were combined to create Side Street’s marketing package. Little finishing touches such as hand-printed envelopes distinguish the firm from its competitors. A simple, photography-rich website provides a firm overview and leads the planning community with a stimulating hottopic blog. Side Street has recently opened an office with a downtown address and has received lots of positive response to it’s off-beat approach and branding.
CORPORATE IDENTITY MKSK STUDIOS
After merging, local competitors KKG Studios and MSI Design became MKSK Studios. With 10 principals coming together, MKSK suddenly had 4 offices, over 65 employees, and a lot of opinions. Facilitating the branding process amongst this crew was no easy feet. To ease the process, we narrowed the “input” committee to a handful of key members from different practices within the firm. A resolute firm rooted deeply in the bauhaus tradition, the principals of MKSK wanted a brand that was strong and classic. In an initial meeting, an associate looked at me and said “I want our logo to do this” before making a fist and pounding the table. Point taken. With the help from the web developers at Spindle, I created the MKSK brand over the next six months. Elements of the brand’s execution include trademarks, marketing collateral, business cards, event apparel, a spanking new website, and social media program. I was intregal in leading every aspect of the branding process from start to finish, addressing any concerns the partners had, and creating consensus amongst the group. I was even able to open this old-school thinking crew to newfangled techie inventions like the QR code. My absolute favorite moment was when one of the firm’s principals, who refuses to type anything himself and still prints out his emails to read them, whooped out a cry of excitement when his colleague successfully scanned his new business card and showed him his website on a smart phone.
OPENING DAY VIDEO NATIONWIDE CHILDRENâ€™S HOSPITAL
A pillar of the near southside, Nationwide Childrenâ€™s Hospital and the adjacent Livingston Avenue Park went through some serious revitalization beginning in late 2007 and continuing until June 2012. In order to celebrate their long-awaited opening day, I directed a short video to document the occasion and make it available to the masses via social media. Each key area of the park was highlighted and filmed from several angles. I interviewed several happy park-goers and hospital staffers, gathering opinions and illustrating neighborhood diversity. Multiple photographers shot the event, each chosen for their individual style. After all the footage was gathered and reviewed, I recorded a voiceover to fill in any informational gaps we found in the interviews and set the stage for the video. Snippets of film, photography, voiceover, public interviews, and music were mashed together to create the final product. The finished piece was uploaded to various social media platforms and used to market the designers, the hospital and the city.
2012 ANNUAL REPORT COLUMBUS DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
In 2012, the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation needed a marketing piece to promote the benefits of removing the Main Street Dam in downtown
Columbus. Using thick blue-box style headings and creating classic illustrations (which reminded me a bit of Peggy from Madmen), I spiced up the book’s pages of otherwise cut-and-dry information. It’s always refreshing to push a corporate client to think justa-bit outside the box. In the end, the client liked the book and illustrations so much, we used the same style to create an educational exhibit for the public at COSI, Columbus’s local science and industry museum.
EDUCATIONAL SIGNAGE THE CITY OF NEW ALBANY
The Village of New Albany wanted a fun environmental graphic to educate their community about the ecofriendly stream restoration of Ryanâ€™s Grove. Inspired by old science books, I created a colorful graphic rendering explaining the pieces and parts of this mini-ecosystem. Using existing New Albany branding and landscape elements as visual cues, I designed an educational sign layout which was fabricated and installed at the edge of the stream for the scientific wonderment of all.
TRANSPORTATION GRAPHICS THE CITY OF COLUMBUS
As part of the Special Improvement District, the City of Columbus wanted to incorporate branding and public art into a series of new green-roof bike shelters in
select locations throughout the city. Illustrating by hand, I created several bicycling â€œpersonalitiesâ€? to be cut from metal, enameled, and attached to each side of the structure. Over 20 different variations of bicyclists were created to represent a wide range of demographics. I chose orange as a branding color for its ability to command attention on the road, and also for its near-opposite placement from natural green on the color wheel. Installed in late summer 2012, these funky, colorful little characters serve to delight urban-dwellers and promote alternative forms of transportation throughout the city.
DOWNTOWN VIDEO CITY OF LEXINGTON
The new streetscapes and urban parks in Lexington, Kentucky have created a vibrant social scene in a once disenfranchised city. To promote this positive change, I directed a video focused on these city updates and their impact on the community. After researching the history and speaking to the projectâ€™s urban planners, I mapped out all key locations and created a film schedule. We then filmed each location at several times of the day, documenting the different uses and social groups associated with each space. I interviewed several locals who enjoyed the city for various purposesbusiness, cultural events, and nightlife. After the filming, I analyzed the footage and purchased some additional images from a local photographer, to vary the types of events represented even further. I recorded a voiceover to tell the cityâ€™s transformational story, to augment the public interviews we had gathered. The resulting short video was streamed via social media to promote the downtown area, the downtown development groups and the urban designers involved.
2010 ANNUAL REPORT THE COLUMBUS DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
Don’t you just love it when a client hands you volumes of material and sweetly asks you to cram it all onto 12 measly letter-sized sheets of paper? I
certainly do. The 2010 Columbus Downtown Strategic Plan a city visioning study, including heaps of inspiring charts, computer renderings, and blurbs describing the possibilities for the city’s future. My charge was to take all of this information and compress it into those 12 precious sheets, to be easily distributed as a compendium amongst city leaders and decision makers. Considering my audience and amount of material, I decided to go with a clean, easy-to-read style, using color coding and large numbering to communicate pieces of the plan throughout the book. In late 2010 the printed book was submitted for, and won, the OCASLA’s honor award for communication materials, with the judges referencing the book’s “visually engaging format.” Hundreds of compendiums have been distributed since.
CONFERENCE IDENTITY OKI REGIONAL PLANNING CONFERENCE
The committee for the 2012 OKI Conference wanted to create a forward-thinking image for their regional, three-day summit. The conference would include participants from across the Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana region. Representatives from cities across these three states would flock to Columbus to exchange ideas about city planning and visioning. After trying out a few city skyline-inspired designs and some font arrangements, I decided to do something a little different. Combining a geographical map and an archery target with the existing organization’s palette, I created a logo slightly reminiscent of a storm on a weather map. The subtle hint it bestows is that something big is happening here (aka “a storm is brewing”) which will surely come to a head with the explosion of ideas generated at the conference. I also created accompanying save-the-date cards, event programs and swag, and other marketing collateral using this slightly off-beat approach. I set up a facebook page for the event committee and educated them on how to use it to create hype leading up to the conference.
2011 ANNUAL REPORT THE CITY OF SHELBY
The historic town of Shelby, Ohio, wanted a distinct print marketing piece to communicate their future goals and aspirations.
Pulling from their unique history and interests, I decided to model the book after an antique botanistâ€™s journal. After going through scores of old watercolor illustrations, I hand sketched several species of native northern Ohio plants and used them as the backdrop for the bookâ€™s information.
IDENTIFICATION SIGNAGE NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. While designing the Nationwide Children’s hospital sign, I used the existing butterfly branding to create a “flying away” effect. Each butterfly was built as a separate lightbox and individually mounted onto the sign’s base. In the beginning, the hospital’s site designers asked me if going through the additional fabrication effort was “really going to make a difference” in the finished sign. We could “get away” with just printing the insects on the thing, after all. I held strong to my design intent and somehow convinced everyone involved not to value-engineer out my magical 3D butterflies. After all, the first impression a child receives of a place is always the most important one. In the end, they agreed, the fluttering butterflies made a difference after all.
ENVIRONMENTAL GRAPHICS MSI DESIGN
To reflect the firmâ€™s modernist design aesthetic, MSI wanted a simple, elegant way to humblebrag their work to clients and peers within their office. To accomplish this goal, I turned their Industrial Age brick building into a project gallery. Using wrapped canvas displays, I made use of the cool historic architectural features and crumbling bring walls by hanging rows of full bleed images, gallery style, across them. The repetition created an installation of sorts, while encouraging the firmâ€™s designers to pat themselves on the back at random times throughout the workday.
DESIGN FIRM MARKETING MSI DESIGN
With its basic trademarks and branding collateral previously developed, MSI Design was looking for a few unique ways to market their ideas to potential clients before an upcoming round of conferences and professional events. A planning, visioning, and urban design firm, most of MSI’s clients were public employees ranging from baby boomers to gen-xers. To create a marketing shtick which would appeal to this demographic and also to encourage shenanigans in general, I came up with the MSI viewmaster campaign. I took MSI’s most intriguing photos, renderings, and ideas, ordered a somewhat ambiguous online kit, and stayed up until 4:00 in the morning, several nights in a row, creating custom viewmaster reels. I then labeled each one by subject and displayed them for use in a grass box. To inspire recognition for the MSI viewmaster idea, I created calling cards and program ads using viewmaster images. “Creating Urban Spaces” print booklets were designed so that VIP clients could take home an impressive selection of the images they had seen in the old school viewmaster slides. I also created corresponding albums on the company’s facebook page. MSI’s clients enjoyed playing with the viewmasters so much that a couple of them actually pocketed the sets while the marketing crew wasn’t looking. As it turns out, everyone loves a ploy that makes them feel like a little kid again.
THEATER IDENTITY MADLAB THEATER
MadLab is an alternative theater, unique to the Columbus performing arts scene. After acquiring a fancy new downtown address, the theater wanted to update their brand to a hip, lively identity that projected fast-paced wit in a modern way. After fussing around with updates to their original “laughing head” logo and a couple of failed attempts at turning the theater name into a bomb, I decided to choose a strong, classic font and give it a slightly cheeky twist. Harkening back to the happy & sad theater masks with a cut-in-half black & white approach, placing the middle letters back-to-back, and letting the end trail off to imply motion - it takes a couple looks to catch all the nuances implied in MadLab’s new logo. After the basic collateral had been developed, I created a few pieces to encourage sponsorship and community involvement. A MadLab membership welcome package thanks new members for their participation, sponsorship certificates allow donors to display a token of appreciation for their patronage, and free passes are used to attract new clientèle. With the new branding system, MadLab continues to create a presence, growing its fanbase each month and lightening the heart of the city with its clever performances.
EDUCATIONAL BOOK WICKLIFFE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
I think it’s important to regularly take on super fun and often times silly pro bono projects. In a world where much of my client work consists of rebranding corporations and directing marketing videos, I think it’s essential that I revitalize my creative juices from time to time by creating free work for a “client” that inspires me. One of my favorite pro bono clients is the local elementary school. With increasing art cutbacks in the public school system, I feel like I am making the most positive contribution by dedicating some of my time and resources helping foster visual communication skills in early learners when I can. “My October Book” was an educational activity book I developed to teach children about the seasons, color mixing and recognition, and the fundamental skills needed to produce visual design. As they work through each page, children are encouraged to fill in a color palette using falling leaves, to use geometric shapes in creating a jack-o’-lantern face, and to dream up their own Halloween costume. It was so fulfilling to provide the children with a visual learning experience. I didn’t even mind when one of them asked me if I was the babysitter, or when I later discovered sticky Halloween cookie icing all over the side of my skinny jeans.
OPENING WEEKEND VIDEO THE SCIOTO MILE
Left to their own devices, the citizens of Columbus nearly trashed their greatest asset flowing through it- the Scioto River. In recent years, the city underwent a dramatic facelift of its downtown waterfront, including a $44 million public park- the Scioto Mile. To celebrate the parkâ€™s opening, I directed a marketing piece focused on capturing the joy and ambiance of a part of the cityâ€™s rebirth so many years in the making. I began by creating a shot list of all the key features throughout the park which would serve as gathering spaces and result in action-packed shots. Each of these areas was filmed on the opening day in a street-like, observational manner. Several other photographers were employed to catch glimpses of the event from their unique perspectives. After gathering all of my visual material, and creating a short script describing the park, I recruited a local actor to record a voiceover for the piece. The resulting film was shared via social media, and used as a marketing piece for the park and the firm who designed it. It received several shout-outs from the local alternative news sources Columbus Alive and Columbus Underground, and garnered the attention of several national design firms.
LINOCUT PRINTS NATTY BEE PRESS
Sometimes Iâ€™m jealous of the graphic designers who lived and worked before the computer age. There is something so satisfying about the physical involvement required to master traditional art forms. To satisfy my urge to create something with my hands (and also to keep me from throwing my laptop out the car window) I work in various traditional media on a pretty regular basis. Most of this work is created at about 2:30am while watching Madmen re-runs. It is incredibly therapeutic. I create hand-carved linocut prints with basic linoleum slabs and a small hand press. I print each design several times, varying color combinations and paper. Occasionally, I sell them at art shows, but mostly I just gift them to friends. Once and a while, I find opportunities to merge this passion with real-life work- the logo you see throughout this book is a linocut print, as well as the one created for Side Street Planning. The whole process is an exercise in my favorite parts of graphic design.
2011: MADLAB THEATER
2012: NATTY BEE PRESS (SELF-PROMOTION) 2012: MKSK STUDIOS
2008: ARTEMIS MEDICAL SPA 2011: SIDE STREET PLANNING
UNMISTAKEN IDENTITIES BRANDING FOR VARIOUS COMPANIES
One of the most exciting parts about doing what I do is helping a company discover their own brand. Digging through all the layers of marketing and business goals and big ideas to find the true essence, the original thought, the spark that started it all in the first place. Branding an entity is all about finding that intangible thing that makes it tick, eliciting responses from those it comes in contact with. Itâ€™s about that hidden thing keeping us all together in the first place- passion. Here are a few brands that I have discovered, created, and helped facilitate over the last few years.
WHAT THEY SAY RECOMMENDATIONS FROM PEOPLE I’VE WORKED WITH
“Natalee is an energetic, brave and generous designer. She is an incredibly hard worker and can still pull an all-nighter like a college kid. I’ve also been very impressed with her presentation skills. Natalee is a natural and can navigate tough situations with ease. I’m looking forward to our next collaboration.” PATRICK CRAWFORD, PRINCIPAL AT SPINDLE STUDIOS “Natalee is a real pleasure to work with. She has a great personality, and she truly works at furthering her skills and abilities. She cares about the people she works with, and has a great work ethic. Natalee is a quick learner and she takes constructive criticism well. Natalee is a talented designer with her own unique sense of style. She is able to effectively portray a client’s style as well. Natalee is a wonderful asset to any team.” MATT WOMELDORF, PROJECT MANAGER AT WD PARTNERS “Natalee has an enthusiastic positive attitude and energy for design. Her passion for continuous learning and growth will take her far!” ALLISON WESTRICK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT WD PARTNERS “Natalee’s passion for design, strong work ethic, and innate thirst for knowledge causes one to look forward to seeing her. She not only finds pleasure in her work, but shares that infectous attitude with others. It was a pleasure and true joy to work with Natalee. I would highly recommend this talented individual to an organization seeking top talent.” MARTHA ALLISON, PROFESSOR & CHAIRMAN AT CCAD for more recommendations, please see my linkedin
TALK TO ME NATALEE BROWN NORR.1 @ GO.CCAD.EDU 614 312 1792
Published on Jul 12, 2012