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Posts from the ‘Follow the Fellows’ Category


Wrapping Up – Henry Ding BArch 2026

My months of gathering, conversations, and research has led to my final design deliverable! I’m designing, writing, and curating a digital collection! Based on the themes of “The Queer Home”, I’m designing a book to be published in The ArQuives digital library as well as set to be displayed physically later at the end of the year! An incredible opportunity that has become a true passion project of the last few months.

The collection will entail three sections based on: placemaking, domesticity, and forgotten narratives. After processing and transcribing my interviews I went to straight to work on the collection’s visuals. The aforementioned sections will be accompanied by photographs that I’ve gathered through archival digitization and fieldwork throughout Toronto. These will also be accompanied by self-made designs and architectural visualizations. The goal is to reframe a period of Toronto’s queer history from the 1970s-90s through the perspective of home and architecture. The alternative and revolutionary lives lived by thousands of queer people in Toronto has been inspiring to study, and I’m excited to help spread that spirit in further. Below I’ve attached some excerpts of two spreads for my section on domesticity!

The process of putting together this work has been tough. I had never realized a book could be so much work! Besides archival categorization and research, digital design programs, writing/transcribing, I also have to worry about copyright and sourcing! I’ve grown an immense amount of respect for anyone who has to do any of this work professionally. It has definitely been a community effort and I’m so thankful to the archival, library, and research staff at The ArQuives and several friends that have helped me review and check my writing and designs—I write this book on the backs on so many people who have made groundbreaking research before me.

Below are some pictures of my everyday work at the end of this fellowship! Spot my fun little work corners that I would set up in the deepest, darkest corners of The ArQuives’ libraries!

And that’s really all for now! My next post with my finished book will be my final sign-off! So super excited!


Change is Imminent: Fabrication In The Final Weeks | Samuel Aguirre | MFA Furniture Design ’24

We are in it. Deep in the fabrication process and all the hurdles that come with it. There is not one shop where all the work is taking place. There is not one supplier providing all the materials. There is not one location with all the tools we need. The fabrication process has been a series of hurdles, surprises, uh-ohs, and a couple ‘WOAH, didn’t see that coming”. The only constant would be the 500 board feet of donated redwood, myself the artist/fabricator, and the support of What Cheer Flower Farm Leadership. For this I am grateful.

This summer has been a lesson in the art of pivot. To accept the surprise around every corner and adapt to find the best path forward. I’m not your typical graduate student, in that I’m a little more “experienced”. I’ve been around the sun a few more times… I’ve lived through change and have grown because of it. And even with all the experience and mental preparation, change can still blindside. It takes time to recalibrate, shift focus, and move forward. To properly recalibrate is to accept the inevitable surprise is a part of the process. Sometimes it takes a moment to remember that. To change my expectations is to change my attitude toward a situation. And it’s attitude that dictates if a hurdle is a source of stress and anxiety, an opportunity, or simply a bump in the road. Sometimes two steps back and one forward. Other times one step back and two forward. But always a lesson to be found.

As the artist, and having spent countless hours handling the material, I inevitably have a relationship with these redwood objects, and would be at fault if they didn’t exude some emotional response. For me, these flowers represent the lessons learned: patience, the importance of a strong team and collaboration, remembering it’s ok to ask for help, and accepting defeat as part of moving forward.

Over the next couple of weeks we will finish the work. And on the Fall Equinox we will erect a few 8′-12′ solid redwood flowers. We will invite the community to celebrate the close of the season. We will acknowledge the highlights of the year and stir excitement for all that’s to come. For these flowers, this moment of celebration will mark the beginning of the next chapter for this redwood. Over time these wooden flowers will come to represent what they are asked to represent. It is not in their power to tell the world why they are here. But for the community to slowly impress their desires and needs over time. As the artist I look forward to watching that happen. As a community member, I look forward to being a part of it.


Archiving 12 years of struggle, Aya Abdallah, MFA Digital + Media ’24

Hello! As the end of my internship approaches, I’ve been fully immersed in the preparation for the upcoming exhibition on Kafala over the past few weeks. As promised, here are some details on the work we’ve been doing:

The primary objective of the archival exhibition is to provide visitors with a comprehensive understanding of the Kafala system, its impact on migrant workers, and the changes it has undergone over the past 12 years. The exhibition seeks to shed light on both the challenges and progress made in the realm of labor rights, immigration policies, and social discourse surrounding Kafala. 

Being the only artist/architect in the organization definitely elevated my role and responsibilities in the making of the exhibition. I wasn’t assigned specific tasks in particular; instead, there existed a sense of mutual trust and a welcoming atmosphere from the staff. My work began with creating a 3D model of the space, a method I use for its effectiveness in visually conveying any potential concepts. Subsequently, my focus shifted to researching exhibitions that revolved around similar themes. I documented my findings and shared these insights with the team.

Along with the team of migrant workers and ARM staff, we came up with several curatorial ideas and themes for the exhibition, of which we discussed and narrowed down to the following conceptual framework. The iterative nature of our discussions and the collaborative spirit within the team led to a refined and resonant curatorial concept that encapsulated the multifaceted stories and perspectives of migrant workers.

Taking a speculative approach, the exhibition is set in the future, a time where Kafala ceases to exist. All items in the exhibition are considered ‘artifacts’ from ‘a dark time’. The idea is to highlight the absurdity and violence of a system that continues to exist. To mirror it to struggles that are deemed as “a thing of the past”. The exhibition takes its format as a journey starting from arrival to departure. Throughout the exhibit, a story unfolds of a migrant worker’s struggle against a system of exploitation.

That’s all for now! Keep an eye out for more details about the work and my Maharam experience.
– Aya


The Last Weeks, THE ZINE ZONE!! and Signing off :,) -Carin Carrion BFA Illustration 2025

Hi everyone! So, my last two weeks here have been busy yet once again very exciting! In the beginning of last week, I checked in with my supervisor and during our conversation the topic of artist housing came up. Ian my supervisor had told me about my coworker Ebon who had past experience in artist housing in Portland, so around the middle of last week I was able to schedule a meeting with Ebon to interview zim on zir experience and thoughts.

Ebon’s artist housing experience specifically was with a place called Milepost 5 during the time frame of July 2019 and November 2020. Milepost 5 was initially presented as an affordable housing space for artist to live and work, however by the time Ebon had arrived the priorities of the housing became more capitalistically focused instead of prioritizing artists. There was also a shift in property management after Milepost 5 was no longer politically backed by Sam Adams who has previously been a mayor of Portland. Ebon recounted to me the various concerning experiences ze observed and lived through during zir time there. Not only was there the concerning presence of asbestos in the building but there was also the limited facilities available to the residents at Milepost 5 such as having one micro fridge instead of a full fridge in each common area per floor when it was not common for a majority of resident to have a kitchen space in their home. Facilities gradually became less attended to which also included the security of the building which in result would have unhoused people or people in crisis entering the building and setting up camp there or being disruptive and creating a potentially unsafe environment to live in. During Ebon’s time there during the summer there were wildfires which lead to Portland’s air quality being very poor but being indoors at Milepost 5 would not be enough as Ebon recount how ze had to close zirself in zir bathroom with a covering over the lower doorway crack for a semblance of breathable air due to the windows in zir housing being so poor they would no close properly. Ebon told me how ze and other residents of Milepost 5 at the time had collectively banded together to bring their complaints to owners and property management however the communities concerns and needs where not being taken in and problems where still unsolved. This would then lead residents to leave, apply for rental assistance to find a new place. Eventually Ebon would leave as well in late 2020, but zir experience does further highlight the need for affordable housing, but also housing which the integrity of the building in terms of its goals and mission is maintained. From what Ebon disclosed to me from what ze learned from residents who had been at Milepost 5 during the beginning of its initial establishment, the housing had been well maintained, affordable artist housing but once there was no longer political backing and changes in building ownership the mission was no longer a priority. Ebon expressed how if a project like Milepost 5 where to every happen again there needed to be a consistent politically backing, committee made up by residents which could have a say in the maintenance of the building and if the property ownership where to change.

On the note of community assistance, last week I had finalized the designs for the Q Center’s Career Closet and Marsha P Fund logos YAY! Thanks to the learning experience that was formatting Apple the Crow to a printable vector file I was able to do the same with both logos to leave for my coworkers in case they needed to print the logos on anything in the future. Finalizing these logos in the aftermath of Apple the Crow allowed me to consider a lot of things when I got to the final design and coloring process. For example, there would be only so make colors I could make the logo with as if the logo ever where to be printed there would be a limit to about 16 colors to reasonably print, there was also the aspect of linework were I have to consider linework that was too thin would not guarantee it being printed. I really got to get my hands pretty dirty with Photoshop and a little bit with Illustrator during this internship and it make me really happy to have used these new deepened skills for community projects. Before and during my internship my coworkers expressed how having a logo for these projects, especially with the Marsha P. Fund would be really helpful in providing the community with a visual to bring more attention to them and in turn more support.

Now for my next and pretty much final order business was the ZINE ZONE!!! Before my internship had started, I had found out the Q Center had a library for the community I really wanted to see in what ways I could incorporate my excitement for zines and the means it can connect the artist community together from a LGBTQIA+ hub that is the Q Center. However, with management changes holding a zine event became not much of a feasible option so PLAN B! I talked with my coworker Julie, and I found out we had a couple of zines which we didn’t quite know where to organize to, so we decided on a pretty spacious shelf in the corner of the library, and I got to crafting. I made my proposal last week and got approval to create a post for Q Center social media for zine donations! With the crafting paper we had in the office I also made a silly sign for the ZINE ZOONEE!! Yeah, that pretty wraps up everything. I’ve been coordinating with artist for picking up their gallery artworks and I’ve also been getting inquires on if another gallery show like this will happen again which was a bit hard for me to give an answer for. Neverless I do think from the positive community reception of the gallery I have hope more community galleries will happen in the future!

During my time at the Q Center, I saw the many ways it provides a safe space for the community to come together and the constant potential it has to continue growing. I feel very honored to have worked in a space such as the Q Center this summer and the opportunities I had to learn and grow with it. Anyway, this is Carin signing off and I wish you all a happy Friday! 🙂

my best friend Lily is also signing off LOL!

Down with Kafala!, Aya Abdallah, MFA Digital + Media ’24

Hi! This post is long overdue as I am more than a month into my internship, but here we go!


It has been a vibrant two months back in my home city, Beirut. The weather is harsh, but nothing that a trip to the beach can’t fix!
Still amidst a political and financial crisis, and still recovering from the tragic Port Blast of 2020, the city’s problems remain the same, anxieties rush back and take a toll on you at some times. Other times, you experience the rich culture and joy of being back amongst your family and community.
My internship experience at the Anti-Racism Movement (ARM) has been expectedly great so far. They recently took over a 3000 sqm open-floor space located on the outskirts of Beirut. Coincidently, this space was previously used by Ashkal Alwan, a well-known art institute that ran exhibitions, talks, residencies…that I frequently visited. Being in a familiar space definitely helped me quickly adapt.

During the first week of the internship, I got introduced to the entire team at ARM and the Migrant Community Center (MCC) which both operate in the same space. It’s been a great pleasure to personally meet with migrant workers to listen and learn from their experiences and their plight against the Kafala (sponsorship) system. It does become overwhelming at times and it is difficult to not be emotional, but the solidarity network and community building that is formed as a result of a shared struggle is something to be celebrated.

I am currently working on three different but related projects.
1- An exhibition, set to open in December 2023, archiving 12 years of activism against the Kafala system.
2- Conceptualizing an idea for a Blog, to be operated by migrant workers as a platform to share and spread their stories.
3- Media monitoring reports and analysis.

I’m excited and looking forward to sharing more details of the work we’re doing at ARM in the following week.

Stay tuned !
– Aya


Government-Resident Communications – Viola Tan, BArch Architecture ’24

It feels surreal to be done! The last few weeks have been mainly focusing on wrapping up my work and writing reports for both of my projects. What’s fun about that? Well, it’s actually pretty interesting!
For my independent project on co-living, I’ve been going a bit back and forth all summer, since there are so many different aspects we need to tackle. Writing the report helps me keep track of all of them – zoning approval, licensing, meeting the sanitary code, support programs and funding, initializing a pilot program and so on. 
Looking at some of the City precedents who initialized programs on co-living, many of them (City of Alexandria, VA; City of Denver, CO; Salt Lake City, UT) have conducted surveys to gather residents’ opinions on co-living, which was so interesting to me. I’ve been a huge fan of community engagement since freshman year at RISD. However, this summer has been a lot of “it’s not that simple” learnings for me. I was very lucky to have a conversation with the Director of Communications at the Mayor’s Office of Housing (thanks to my supervisor for introducing us to him), who told me a bunch about communications between government and residents. For example, he told me how some people just “fundamentally disagree with” what the City is doing, even on issues like spending government money on addressing homelessness. This provided some context for me when sometimes the the iLab is more of a “let’s just try some stuff to see if it works” vibe versus a “let’s do a bunch of surveys first” vibe. That makes sense, but I still think good government-resident communication is so important in general though!
I’ve always had this question of how we can ensure equity and fairness in government-resident communication. Instead of answering it, it’s more like this summer’s experience has given me a deeper understanding of what the question really means, and triggered more questions for me. Somehow, these questions parallel some of the questions I had during middle school when I was first introduced to the subject “Politics” in China. Is what the public “want” really the same as what they “need”? Is “the minority listens to the majority” really democracy? (This is a Chinese phrase that I don’t know how to properly translate, I know it sounds so wrong, but it’s referring to a voting context and such, where the decision is made according to the number of people agreeing to it.) If there is no one public, is it even possible for a decision maker to be completely “fair” and “for the public”? And these are not rhetorical questions – I’m not saying “no” – just some questions I’d continue to explore throughout the foreseeable future. And of course, the question of what can design and designers do in it? I believe there’s a lot we can do.
Overall, I would like to express my endless gratitude towards RISD Career Center (Kevin, Lisa, Scott and Karen), Maharam, and the Boston Mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab (my supervisor Paige Roosa and all my colleagues – Nick, Arun and Holly), for this awesome summer that was challenging, exciting, fun, and most of all, curious. As Lisa said, the Maharam Fellowship is a learning experience. I learned a lot indeed!

Me and Holly kayaking on the Charles right before a thunderstorm

A tour to the Boston Public Library, Roxbury Branch

A rainbow on my last day in-person!

(P.S. Our Building Differently final presentation won so many “Great job!”s within the Mayor’s Office of Housing!! Yay!!)


THE GALLERY IS ALIVE! ALIIVEE!- Carin Carrion, BFA Illustration 2025

As my time at the Q Center is reaching its final weeks, I finally can spill the beans on my journey in learning about galleries and coordinating a community artist gallery show. In the beginning of June as I was getting my bearings, I received the green light in having a gallery show in the Q Center, and at the Portland Pride Waterfront Festival. At the same time, I was introduced to Geeta Lewis, an artist and elder in the community, from her I got to learn about various do’s and don’ts in setting up a gallery space and the many MANY types of hardware used for preparing artwork to hang. She also told me about her upcoming art shows at the Portland Art Museum, and the Ori Gallery, a gallery space which provides a space to amplify the voices for queer artists of color.

Geeta currently and previously has made comic work alongside her gallery pieces. The gallery pieces she has made confront different aspects of Portland such as gentrification and racism, alongside these themes she uses the canvas to express and show members to the Portland community as one of her recent projects is to paint 100 portraits of the people in her community. Also last week was the opening of Geeta’s show at the Ori Galley!

During my first four weeks Geeta Lewis prepared me heavily for the storm that was coordinating the Q Center Gallery.

Before making a post for submissions of the Q Center’s social media I created a form for submissions and due to the limited space, we had at the gallery we planned on closing submissions when the submission reached around 25 or at the very least a week before reaching out to artists who submitted to coordinate with them on when they could drop off their work at the Q Center. After creating the form, I finalized two advertising drawings, the bigfoot one was for our social media and the one of the characters was used in the lobby area of the Q Center.

During the time we were receiving submissions it was brought to my attention by my coworkers on the multiple uses the Q Center Gallery had for the community as a space for support groups. The work shown at the gallery not only had to fit the space but also have a consideration for the people in the space with the work, and to coordinate the work in a many which would not trigger a member of a support group. In the end, we were still able to accept most of the work submitted into the gallery and accommodate the support groups. In the mornings I would take down a few art pieces which might be a problem for a support group and once the support group has finished for the day I would hang the pieces back up just in time for the gallery hours during the week.

Not long after the opening of the gallery would be the community gallery’s next adventure to Portland Pride Waterfront Festival. Which was later this year to avoid the festival interfering with June 19th and because in July there was much less of a chance it would rain and make the festival very muddy like last year. And so, I worked with my supervisor to transport all the artworks to the festival, and I helped set up the area and monitor the space during the festival. It was really lovely seeing people excited with various pieces and seeing some of the artists themselves come by to see the gallery there. After packing up and returning the artwork to the gallery, I created a thank you post for the community and the artists. A small problem I ran into was the photos I took of the gallery space were a bit barren of people hahahaha that’s what I get for taking photos before the festival had opened LOL. So, I decided it would be fun to feature the Q Center pride mascot submissions taking their own gander at the gallery.

SORRY I LOOK SO DEAD IN THE LAST PHOTO HAHA the excitement from proposing one last project relating to zines at the Q Center kind of wiped me. I’ll let you all know how that all goes on my last day next week WOW! Anyway, feel free to stop reading at this point as a ramble on my thought process for how I organized presenting the work in the galley. So, I organized the walls by four themes more less: bonds, abstraction and living, the body and then leading to nature in the final wall. I mainly did this through not only how the pieces looked to me from both first impression to me as the viewer and then reflecting on the artists statement from the artists and how they all kind of hold a flow of connection to one another despite being various subject matter. This pretty much concludes my second to last post. Thank you for reading 🙂


Camp’s Out!, Graciela Batista, 2024, BFA Illustration

First day of camp!

I know I promised a post after the first week but here I am, a week late, hat in hand, and asking you to hear me out. A week of ice-breakers, introductions, guided practices, main writing lessons and high energy socializing really knocks it out of you. The weekend between the two weeks of camp consisted of a lot of sleeping and re-energizing in nature, meaning my update now will be a full camp overview! Phew it’s over!

We started strong Monday, June 10th. I was proud to Co-Lead the class with my manager, Pedro Estrada, swapping over sections of the lesson plan as we planned every morning an hour before the kids started knocking at our door. The first day, I felt happy to take a page from my past experience with CityArts, by asking the students to help build the community agreements as an introduction to the space. Loudly and enthusiastically I asked them if they knew what the number #1 rule at 826LA was. “Respect!” beamed through the room. I was actually quite surprised until I realized it was because there was a poster behind me revealing the answering. I asked them what makes them feel respected; listening to each other and keeping hands you themselves were popular suggestions. With help from the volunteers I told them to wrote their answers down on a sticky note and come up to the board to stick it on. Quietly they began, taking their pencils, peeling sticky notes from the stack and telling the volunteers at their tables they didn’t know what to write. Conversations unfolded between students admitting what respect looks like for them and volunteers adamantly listening while further prompting them to consider how other’s actions make them feel. Moments like these, hushed conversations led by a prompt projected onto the screen asking students to dig within and find a feeling were incredible. I would find myself asking if I did that sort of self reflecting and self questioning at their age, and what a sense of individuality it could grow to start doing so, so early.

Student placing post-stick on board

It occurred also on day 4, I think, all the days are a big jumble in my head. The lesson plan was album cover creation, a day that truly homogenously mixed the musical, visual and literary arts. The students were tasked taking inspiration from a previous lesson plan that questioned moments in their life they felt a strong emotion, choosing a song that could represent it, and explaining it in a paragraph. For the current day’s lesson we asked them to gather their songs and compile them into an album. They tackled questions like what was the overarching feeling their songs or experiences exuded? Was there a narrative present throughout the songs? And how could these sentiments best be represented in the cover art or the back matter describing the “album” as a whole? If the presence of glitter markers wasn’t exciting enough, they also had the opportunity of having their picture taken with a Polaroid to paste onto the cover in order to further personalize the final product. Students were so proud of their creation, we hit our record in most participants during share outs (a daily part of the lesson plan where students can share anything they made during that day). They shared albums inspired by their experiences with friendship, pets, memorable vacations and special days at school. Also to my surprise, most of them were begging to keep working on it the next day!

Summer camp was a blast, the growing comfort the students felt sharing about themselves with me by the last few days was nothing short of incredibly rewarding. My only gripe was that it wasn’t longer, as a two week program is a challenge to any educator getting to know their students. Now, I only have a week left of tying loose ends! Will report back soon 🙂


Following the Singaporean Sun, Forever — Joel Yong, BFA Industrial Design 2025

Alas, the end is here! I’ve had the most joyous time in Singapore, and there is much on my mind today that I’d love to cover here.

First, how will I be concluding things at Terra? I’ve handed off my projects for Terra to begin implementing, and I’m so excited to see the things they do with what I had the opportunity to work on! I detailed these projects in my previous blog posts, so feel free to check those posts out if you haven’t already.

I was additionally tasked to offer Terra insight on how climate-focused organizations operate in America, so I’ve compiled some resources for them to help them reconsider or reinforce their operational strategy as a climate organization in Singapore, should they be curious about adopting some business strategies that are used in the States. But I’ve just handed them a starting point, and believe it would be best for Terra to decide for themselves what resources and strategies would be useful for their organizational values and goals!

That being said, I’ve been thinking a lot about the role organizations and corporations play in the fight for climate action. Working in the climate space in Singapore felt particularly profound, as conversations about climate exist in quite different contexts than that of America. On climate action, Singapore has a track record of top-down approaches, mostly in the form of policies like taxing takeout containers or subsidizing public transportation. These are all decisions that the government determines will be beneficial for the country, with little input from the citizens. This means that while Singapore is years ahead in sustainable innovation in both legislation and technology, it also means that everyday Singaporeans don’t necessarily have the same understanding or investment in climate change as you might expect. America, on the other hand, follows a notoriously bottoms-up approach in which grassroots organizations and civic collectives pioneer the path of climate action, and the government often takes years, if not decades, to finally pass appropriate policies or legislation. This is not to say that either one of the approaches is better than the other, but rather emphasizes the importance of understanding the political and cultural contexts that climate change exists within between countries.

The role of the organization in climate is complex because while most are founded by virtue of a mission of sustainability, they are also responsible for the livelihoods and welfare of the people that they employ. So, an “effective” organization balances the desire for impact with the necessity for meeting financial bottom lines. In some seasons, the work is more focused on the former, while in other seasons the work gravitates towards the latter. Still, organizations have a unique capacity for collective action that goes beyond what any individual can achieve, making them an ideal environment for optimal impact. What I have learned from working with Terra is the importance of recognizing that your work as an NGO is only as good as the well-being and commitment of the people who make up the NGO. Especially in a sphere like climate, which can be an incredibly discouraging space to work in, care must be at the center of how these organizations are being run and dare I say, designed.

These are things I’ll continue thinking about, perhaps as long as I would call myself a designer. To me, design is about looking at problems holistically, about understanding that the deep pain points in any given problem space are nearly never surface level. And, perhaps one of the most fun aspects for me is how design is about serving as a line of communication to get others on board to join in on collective action. Following my time at Terra, I feel more confident diving in than ever before.

My time in Singapore has felt formative, to say the least. As it comes to a close, I am deeply grateful for the life I was able to experience here, the people I was able to meet and love, the culture I was able to resonate with, and the person I was able to become because of all of this. Thanks for following along on my journey, and who knows, I may be coming back to Singapore sooner than I think.

Fun fact: Singaporeans call selfies with multiple people in them, “We-fies.” And so, I will end my final entry on the Maharam blog with a collection of We-fies I’ve taken with some of the most lovely people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with. Bye for now! 🌱🌟


Apple the Crow my Beloved- Carin Carrion, BFA Illustration 2025

Welcome back to my blog about my experience as an arts intern at the Q Center this summer. Now looking at the title I can understand the anticipation of finding out who Apple the Crow is but before I divulge this I must tell you Apple pushed me into becoming a Photoshop god (or at the very least more knowledgeable). This was mainly because we were working on ordering merch for Apple as they were this year’s Q Center pride mascot that was voted on by the community. After the voting was completed my coworkers and I jumped head first into getting merch sampled, formatted, and finding a local print shop we could print merch at a relatively affordable price.

The plan in mind was to have Apple the Crow merch ready for a fundraising event with a local vegan ice cream show called Kate’s Great Plant-Based Desserts or at the very least for Portland Pride Waterfront Festival, but during this point in my internship, the Kate’s event would be the aim. From behind the scenes I got to learn how the approval process for the merch was another variable to how much time it would actually be till we could even start getting the designs sent to print. Drafting and finalizing the designs for Apple felt like a training arc. Then there was the whole aspect of making sure the files could have a clear print and have them in…(imagine shivers going down my spine as I write this okay) VECTOR FILES! It was a challenging learning experience adapting a digital artwork to a vector file but in the end, we were happy the small details made it through to the final product.

Due to Apple’s initial design having many different values of similar colors, I needed to contact the original artist, Jay M, to ask for a file version with fewer detailed textual elements and readjusted colors as we wanted to make sure a printable version of Apple is still in their vision. The quick turnaround that week for drafts, files, and advertising had my life flash before my eyes….in a fun marathon way.

Above are some of the drafts I played around with for the Apple merch, in the end, we went with the designs in the bottom left corner and top right corner for the totes bags, posters, and stickers. One thing I want to mention is while working on the text was making sure reading the text could be accessible as possible, and this thought about text has followed me around like my cat Lily when I’m getting her food ready in the morning throughout this internship.

Then there was creating a post to excite the community for free ice cream (yum), by the way, the ice cream was so so so delicious I very much recommend if you are ever on Mississippi Avenue in Portland stop by Kate’s. We had to create some adjustments to the advertisement Kate’s kindly gave us to post, but I had to format it for Q Center’s social media while also incorporating the opportunity to preorder Apple merch. Because the Apple merch was not printed by the time the Ice Cream fundraiser rolled around my coworkers and I used our massive brains to brainstorm alternative merch we could make to sell for the fundraiser and we came up with buttons as we had the materials and tools for them in our office (which is very weird to say this now, but felt very retro).

One of the ideas my coworker Ryley brainstormed 🙂

Above where the four designs I made for the Q Center to sell during Kate’s Great Plant-Based Desserts ice cream event at the Q Center parking lot. They were really fun to do, and although we did not sell a lot at this event we did end up selling nearly all of them during Portland Pride Waterfront Festival!

This is the setup we had for the fundraising event, overal it was really nice seeing how the community engaged with the items we were selling as well as getting another layer of understanding of what a place like the Q Center means for various community members as a space to get together and find support.

We are planning on posting this Apple merch announcement soon on social media as of when I’m posting this all the merch ordered has finally arrived! YAY! I felt having Apple model the merch for everyone would be a very fun way for the character to interact with the community.
My thumbnail sketch of the Apple the Crow merch post :3