So after two full weeks of recovering old files, pulling all-nighters on the phone with our hosting service, and with a whole lot of help from Nate from Vegan Corner & Matt Mitchell of InteractiveOne our databases have been restored, and we are well on our way to website that far-exceeds the reach of our last setup.
Our web presence will consist of three parts; one part to catalog projects that we are currently working on or have succeeded with, a second section will provide you insight into our PR work by importing an RSS feed of our recent press releases, the last will be a newsfeed that we will slowly start opening to activist guest bloggers who want to share their work & opinions with the world.
We will continue with our 50/50 benefit prints through Merchdirect, and will be publishing a once yearly journal with writings and art from some of the world’s most influential revolutionaries.
We welcome you to join us in this process. If you are interested in contributing to our newsfeed, journal, or current projects feel free to send a writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org
Calling all community-based graphic designers! Author Andrew Shea is looking for projects to feature in his upcoming book. Have you used a graphic design to help a community in need? Do you have insights into this process? If so, visit andrewshea.com/book.html and submit your work.
From the website: “This book will emphasize strategies to help designers address the complex dynamics of working with communities. Twenty social design case studies will make up the bulk of the book…Each project will show how graphic designers worked closely with communities to develop design solutions that address specific social problems. While some of these projects made a significant impact on communities, others may have missed the mark. The design process will become transparent in both cases. These can be either pro bono or for profit and submission is free.”
The following video has been circulating around activist communities in the past few weeks, it’s a brilliantly animated typographic depiction of a poem by Taylor Mali. The artist, Ronnie Bruce, made it as a class project over a year ago and later posted on his vimeo page. Without over analyzing, this video is a prime example of packaging & moving a complicated message in a way that feels good & resonates long after in the viewers mind.
The poem too is spot-on. How often are we told to not be too political, or too affirmative in our tenor because we may potentially alienate a section of a (potential) audience. Inarticulate melancholy is too oft celebrated.
When you care about something it’s ok to be adamant about it, especially if you feel it inside. You don’t need to use big words, just strong ones. There is a lot to be zealous about, war, animal abuse, environmental degradation, commoditization of everything, capitalism, you name it. Watch, listen & feel then get out there and speak with conviction.
Each design is a partnership between Sparrow & an artist or activist who works with one of the organizations that will be benefiting from the sales. We are calling the project 50%50 because even though we offer art direction we want to empower the people involved in the causes to have their struggle reflected in the art. This is just a sneak peak at what will be coming. Tee’s will be available online soon for $25. They look good & feel good.
Many thanks to Brooke, Alex, Beck & Jason at MerchDirect for bringing this all together.
On December 3rd, The Sparrow Project joined Rawthentix.com, Special Sauce and the Guardian Brian Foundation in presenting “Street heART,” a unique benefit art auction aimed at raising awareness & much needed funds for individuals with severe brain injuries, brain cancer, and prolonged brain trauma. What started as an idea shared by Vanessa Diaz of RAW creative agency and Maria Ruggiere soon became an event that would encompass all walks of life and give hope to so many. For many artists & attendees at the Street heART opening it was a night of firsts. For some in attendance it was their first brush with activism, for some of the contributing artists it was an inspiration to be able to help people, for others it was the definition of solidarity in action.
The debate and debacle over heath care in this country has become a familiar topic for all of us. Outside of the media spectacle and whirlwind of pundits the issue of health care is an all too real and at times fucked up reality. Sadly, the medical expenses related to prolonged brain traumas are often not completely covered by those victims with the best private medical insurance… now imagine what it is like for the partially insured, or worse yet, the uninsured…
“Outside of the heated national debate engendered around health care, too often victims of serious brain injuries, even those who have insurance, cannot receive the proper benefits to help them meet the special needs they have, making it even harder to maintain a semblance of what most of us take for granted as a ‘normal life.’ This is why the work that The Guardian Brain does is so essential,” says Vanessa Diaz director of events production for Special Sauce. “Special Sauce is proud to be bringing together 22 artists spanning from Los Angeles to the Netherlands to support individuals who suffer from the lasting disruption of brain trauma and cancer.”
“Recently I learned that the Guardian Brain Foundation gifted a wheelchair accessible van to a local family whose 7 year old son suffers from limited motor functions as a result of a brain hemmorage,” says Street HEART contributing artist Brendan Munday of Huntington, Long Island, “I am grateful that my art can help benefit another child just like him.”
Solidarity. Standing together as a community, graffiti writers, urban typographers, stencil artists, illustrators, and graphic designers donated their talents to raise thousands to benefit local individuals who suffer from severe brain trauma, cancer, and prolonged brian injuries.
Street heART’s opening event had a few stars, a few pro skaters, a few professional break-dancers, good music, and it resulted in a decent amount of local press coverage. Sparrow Media sent the press releases and The Long Islander (local weekly, circ 18,000) ran a nice spread on the opening. You can check out our video wrap-up above and you can visit our exhibit page for a gallery of high-res images of the opening.
17 of the 25 pieces sold before the show came to a close on December 30th, the remainder of the pieces will remain available for purchase downstairs at special sauce’s flagship store, every dollar raised from the sales will directly benefit the Guardian Brain Foundation’s efforts to directly support Long Island’s brain injured.
For Vanessa Diaz & Maria Ruggiere Street heART started as a small idea & quickly grew into a event that inspired hundreds and raised thousands of dollars, their inspiration was infectious…
In 2007, Blackwater Worldwide, the world’s largest private security company, made the wrong kind of headlines when Blackwater contractors allegedly shot and killed 17 Iraqis in a crowded square in Baghdad. This resulted in protests, congressional inquiries and the Iraqi government refusing to allow the organization to operate in the country. And now, in an effort to improve public perception, Blackwater has changed its name to Xe (pronounced ZEE).
Organizations that change their name usually do so to “better define” what they do, or to “clarify” a shift in services, and this is often in tandem with a repositioning of services or a shift in core competencies. Anne Tyrrell, a spokeswoman for Blackwater, explained that the company was changing its name because “the idea is to define the company as what it is today and not what it used to be.”
The Blackwater name has being expunged from all of its business units: Blackwater Airships (which offers surveillance services for intelligence gathering) has become Guardian Flight Systems. Blackwater Target Systems (the unit that develops and builds targets) is now being called GSD Manufacturing, and Blackwater Lodge and Training Center has been named the U.S. Training Center.
Not everyone agrees with Tyrrell. RJ Hillhouse, a national security expert and author of the blog called The Spy Who Billed Me, said the company is “obviously trying to distance itself from their image as reckless cowboys that’s etched into the world’s mind from the…shooting.” With a new name, “there are a lot of people who probably won’t connect the dots,” she said. “In a year or two, people won’t remember that’s Blackwater.”
When asked about the name change, Robert Passikoff, president of the New York marketing research firm Brand Keys, Inc. offered this: “There’s an old saying about brands: ‘When you can’t change the product, you change the packaging,’” he said. “It’s common for companies to rename in an effort to distance themselves from bad publicity, but in Blackwater’s case, things have gotten so bad that the company had little choice but dump the brand.”
Tyrrell disagrees. She countered that Blackwater’s past was only one of several factors involved in the decision. “The company leaders came up with and considered several new names,” she said. “Xe had the best potential for brand identity but has no special meaning,” she added.
No special meaning indeed. The same can be said for the identity, which is a bizarre cross between the old Xerox brandmark and the logo for Xena: Warrior Princess. As a result, the only X this rebrand deserves is for a new identity that has gone terribly, terribly wrong.
Debbie Millman is a board member of the National AIGA, and teaches at the School of Visual Arts and Fashion Institute of Technology. She is also an author on the design blog Speak Up, a regular contributor to Print Magazine and she hosts a weekly internet radio talk show on the Voice America Business network titled Design Matters. This article originally appeared on the Brand New blog.