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September 26, 2019

Design Developments for VIM and the New York Health Department—Raina Wellman, BFA Graphic Design, 2019

by Raina Wellman

In addition to my research project (which I wrote about in my last post) I’ve continued to work with Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) and the New York Health Department on visual communications projects.

Invitation option #1

Invitation option #2

Above are two invitation options I created for the annual Founders & Friends Gathering.

I also created these flyers for the clinic’s free series of diabetes classes.

Through the process of creating these graphic materials (as well as time spent in both offices) I’ve been able to learn a great deal about the ways in which their projects and office operations are structured.

Above: Some early drafts of the NYCMAP book.

Above: Further screenshots of development for the NYCMAP book.

I’ve particularly learned a great deal about the New York City Mural Project (NYCMAP), a project which utilizes mural making to start dialogues, reduce stigma, and support local communities. To make the event happen, the NYC Health Department works with community-based organizations, artists, leaders who live with mental health condition/s, and the community surrounding the mural to discuss and organize around mental health and wellness.

The images above are some draft layouts I created for a project I’ve been working on with the New York Department of Mental Health regarding the NYCMAP event series. We are still actively working to create a booklet that can show the impact of the project and also perhaps help others organize events with similar goals/intentions.

Below are a series of posters options I created for them to use for promoting the paint festivals that they organize. I added a little to their brand guidelines, which include certain color combinations, image use restrictions, and the paint swatches.

Above and below are some images of the posters and fliers in use at a community paint fest earlier this summer:

I also got the chance to visit a few of the murals in person. I helped with a quick clean up at one of the Brooklyn schools where they collaborated on a large-scale mural creation.

There are two photos of the school below:

Working at these two organizations has been extremely rewarding. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to be immersed within these two very different health environments and to learn about the ways in which graphic design can serve them and also push the boundaries of what is expected.

While working at the New York Public Health Department I was also able to talk to a great deal of people involved in communicating and working to solve public health issues. It was really valuable and inspiring to see the ways in which they successfully tackle issues that are weighed down by a lot of stigma, particularly (in this case) drug addiction. It was also interesting to see the ways that they currently use graphic design to communicate messages and the flexibility within those visual/written applications. It made me really curious about what types of visual and written communication are most effective when trying to speak to the general public, particularly about public health issues.

I’ve included some examples of the material produced by the New York Health Department (primarily regarding substance abuse and addiction) below. I was particularly impressed that they have decided to take on substance abuse with education in mind. The ways that they approach the subjects are non-judgmental and tend to be really informative. They also produced a series using personal stories and photographs.

I’ll end this post with one more project I worked on! Some coloring book pages for VIM. They are producing them to raise awareness about their work. It was a fun little project and a great opportunity to keep working with them.

This fellowship has given me the opportunity to expand my research and really immerse myself in the public health field. I’ve learned so much about the ways in which the organizations work; from the content they take on to their complicated hiring processes. I feel like my opportunities to contribute and learn have been really successful and I am so appreciative that the Maharam Fellowship was able to support me in taking on these projects.

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