In the Summer of 2017, I joined the board of AIGA Austin as a "Board Explorer" — essentially a support role, designed to let the individual assist in organizing various programming events, and have a voice in board meetings; feeling out where in the organization they might want to focus their energy. In that time, I got to work with the fabulous Jess Moss who had been organizing Creative Mass for the previous few years. Shortly after we began working together, I started making the postcards/announcement-cards (see below) for each event. A couple years later, the branding has changed, but the heart of the event is still the same.
When Jess decided it was time to hand things off, Carlos Menchaca and I started making plans for how Creative Mass might be improved. We thought about the nature of the event, and how our attendees benefit from making it to each edition. While we have a fair amount of folks who return regularly, for a lot of people that come out, Creative Mass is their first foray into the Austin design scene after having moved to town, or graduating (we have a lot of students who come out also). With this in mind, we decided to embrace a 'snake oil salesman' motif. We were determined to help shape something that would more efficiently and effectively bring people together; enliven their spirits; and help them feel at home in the Austin design community.
Having decided on the snake oil salesman theme, there was only one choice in designers to approach for the final branding execution, Daphna Sebbane. She has been doing some really amazing work in digital illustration. Carlos and I put together a visual brief (see below) using the same branding methodology we used in art directing Design Ranch 2018 and 2020; then met with Daphna to make a plan. A few weeks later, we were able to launch the new branding, and introduce the 'Lucky 13 Drinks Club' and 'Frequent Flyers' initiative. We are all incredibly proud of the new branding, and excited to see how it evolves.
Magic Box, Postcard, Lucky 13 Drink Coins, Stickers, Guest Book
One of my hobbies is wood working — ask me about my bedroom set. My style is very simple/utilitarian, so I thought it would be just right for making the 'Magic Box' for Creative Mass. I thought the final product worked well, but plan to add to it as time permits.
Also shown above are some of the awesome 'Lucky 13 Drinks Club' tokens that were generously donated by Lasers Make It Awesome. The idea for the club is that we want to reward the first 13 people who show up (I'm crazy about punctuality, also, more people at the beginning means individuals feel comfortable staying longer) by having AIGA pick-up their first drink.
We also decided to start keeping a 'Guest Book' for people to sign each time they come to an event. Doing this allows for a little analog analytics on our part; the benefit for the guest is that each time they indicate their attendance, they come closer to being a Creative Mass 'Frequent Flyer' — we have adopted the grackle as our mascot due to it's nature being similar to Creative Mass'; transient, but somehow always around; and often found in large gatherings (they're also pretty clever). It takes 5 visits to Creative Mass to be a 'Frequent Flyer'; so once a person has signed in for the first time, the next few times they come, they mark next to their name with a "Secret Symbol" that is unique to the given event, and in a specific ink color. 5 visits may seem like a lot, but we have some pretty hardcore attendees.
Below, are some of the postcards I have done for each of the Creative Mass events in the past couple of years. Each is based on the destination for the event. The new branding meant a new orientation for the front-side contents, but for the most part, things are still the same.
Instagram announcement graphics