signs of sanity in an increasingly insane world: part two: good design

Can good design save the world?

Seriously – doesn’t it seem that most conflict arises out of deep miscommunication? We’ve gotten so far removed from people we disagree with that we never talk, which makes the situation worse. Good design can be a bridge to open up communication, don’t you think?

It seems to me that productive people know how to use design to get ahead, and angry people need to learn to do the same, if we’re ever going to get anything changed.

So, the New Paltz Green Party has been trying to spruce up our image. This causes a lot of lively and good-hearted discussion at meetings. Some of us think we need to present ourselves as a multi-faceted, modern party in order to attract new members because the clichéd image of treehuggers will only appeal to a certain number of people. Some of us personally think that the sunflower is a really trite, boring, simplistic image for the Green Party, one easily laughed at and stereotyped that we desperately need to outgrow. Some of us grew up with hippie mothers we adore but we still are not closing our eyes to the ways that our parents’ generation, well, kind of failed us when it comes to that whole “you say you want a revolution” thing. Then again, some of us are hippies of that generation, and we really like sunflowers. And some of us are hippies of the next generation, and we like sunflowers too.

After some minor grumblings from the old-school treehuggers, our amazing graphic designers – Kate and Kevin of Dresser Johnson in Brooklyn – provided us some with designs we all agree are really wonderful. It was great to give them some ideas and see what they did with them. For some reason I have a handful of graphic designer friends, and they are all fascinating, weirdly cool people. I am not a fan of working with computers, but I ‘d love to have the designer’s mind.

K&K’s designs are so brilliant, actually, that I thought I’d share their “artist’s statement” about them. Here are the designs and their comments:

About the logo:

“What is it? It is a combination of two concepts. We started this process by contemplating the current New Paltz Green Party sunflower-style logo. We noticed that the sunflower is the main concept for most green party groups throughout the United States and some outside of the United States. We thought that it would be an interesting approach to take the sunflower concept in a different direction. And, this cannot hurt, since BP’s logo is a giant abstracted sunflower. We don’t want to be confused with a fuel company logo. We believe that each day, the New Paltz Green Party is planting seeds to make change locally and globally. And, we thought that Equality plays a major role in New Paltz, especially since Jason West performed gay marriages there in 2004. This started us on a visual path of designing iconography that represented the New Paltz Green Party. We started with designing four symbols for Ecology, Grassroots Democracy, Non-Violence and Social Justice. Ecology became a seed. Grassroots Democracy, a check mark representing voting. Non-Violence was the peace sign and Social Justice was a mathematical equals symbol.

After pondering these marks, we though it would be amazing to combine the idea of planting seeds and equality into one unique symbol. Hence, we took the equals sign and combined it with the seed idea. We realized that if we dropped the equals sign over the shape of a seed, it created a bold graphic sunflower seed mark.

Ah! There it is, a sunflower seed that also represents equality.

A symbol that well represents the New Paltz Green Party.”

About the scattered seed post card:

“Starting as a grid on the left representing a more conservative world view. Then, as you move along the card, the New Paltz Green Party comes in to shake up the system by scattering the grid into a more organic cluster of seeds. And, the off-the-grid scattering seeds are never rotated beyond 15 degrees to make sure the “Equality” lines are still horizontally balanced.”

Was your mind just blown by a postcard?

Here’s the back of the card:

Did you catch the super cool part?

I’m going to plant a few in the spring – I’ll let you know how it goes!

We did another card too, printed with soy-based inks on 100% post-consumer recycled paper:

It’s so wonderful to have these great designs – it’s one stop towards a stronger, sleeker Green Party. And it shows that “green design” can be eco-friendly without being super crunchy, something most people know by now, but everyone needs to remember.

Hooray for design!

3 Responses to “signs of sanity in an increasingly insane world: part two: good design”

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