Experimenting with community resiliency… and selling t-shirts

This year’s Transition Network International Conference brought 350 people from 35 countries to Devon to discuss the many ways that resilient and active communities make a real difference in creating new solutions to food, energy, housing, livelihood and relational needs.  T-shirts were a new addition this year, and the message seemed to hit the spot.  I asked those who generously bought one to send me photos of themselves wearing it… here’s Rob Hopkins and Pete Lipman sporting theirs.

Bringing back a heartbeat

It’s rewarding to see something you’ve designed interpreted as a giant iced cake, pinned on a wooly jumper or held high in the hands of hundreds of people.  It started with a campaign in 2012 to draw people’s attention to a derelict site with a long history.  In November 2015, the community votes on a fully envisioned and visualised plan for Atmos Totnes.  In between was a truly innovative and creative process of community engagement for which we produced a wide range of communications to reflect “the heart of a new economy”.

Using a car only when you need it

As a car share participant for over 10 years, I have helped Jeremy and E-cocars to succeed in obtaining a grant to increase the number of cars in the fleet and launch a new identity and a non-corporate, responsive website.  I’ve also learned a-hell-of-a-lot about just what it takes to consistently and pleasantly support 40+ members of a rural car club.  The journey has been an absolute pleasure.

Aligning work with values and sticking with it

As Communications Director for TRESOC, a small community energy outfit, it’s my job to keep the 560 members of our society informed about their investments and the wider context of renewable energy in the UK.   Right now Tory cuts to solar subsidies threaten community projects worth over £100m, so the picture is not so bright.  But what this role has taught me is ‘sticking with it’ counts for a lot.  Graphic designers rarely get to know their end users or customers… it brings a very different perspective.

Bringing attention to 30+ environmental projects

California Trout is a San Francisco-based environmental non-profit.  Our marketing material has established a voice that has evolved with their mission over 7 years, supporting their efforts to solve complex resource issues while balancing the needs of wild fish and people.  The ‘Trout Camp’ gala is an important fundraising event, contributing significantly to the $2M that the organisation raises annually.

Brewing up a new local economy

A group of beer lovers have revived a brewery that was one of the largest businesses in Totnes, Devon.  Since 2013, the New Lion Brewery has created a demand for its Pandit IPA (No. 17 in Britains hottest 100 beers, 2015) – boosting the local economy – and supports local entrepreneurial businesses with its ‘Community Brews’.  We’ve produced a line of labels with the new identity that include special editions for events, like the relaunch of the Totnes Pound, featured.

Portraying tolerance and mutual respect

A major project grew out of the Committee of 100 for Tibet into a multi-media art exhibition that brought together 88 respected artists from 30 countries.  With the life and principles of the Dalai Lama as inspiration, the intention for this project was to shift the world’s attention towards peace.  My role, as a Board member, was to develop the project’s intention into a graphic language that subsequently took on local characteristics as the exhibition traveled the world.