Women's Design Salon Recap

We had a blast last month at the verynice Women's Design Salon for the Los Angeles Design Festival. As the closing event for the festival, the creative energy was high, and a number of new faces joined the Salon community. Piecing together the experiences of our panelist revealed their truths, their lessons, and passions as they applied to every one of us. 

There is never a space when you aren’t collaborating or compromising or working within a framework.
— Anne Burdick
A lot of leadership and success comes from showing up and saying yes to things!
— Celina Pereira
Thanks to Amy Nadeen Wilson who created this visual recap for our event. Connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter (#amydrawsstuff).

Thanks to Amy Nadeen Wilson who created this visual recap for our event. Connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter (#amydrawsstuff).

Download this wallpaper for your desktop, and for your phone!


We played games to understand what a path of success looks like and discussed the perception vs. the reality. Our panelists told us what inspires them and how they keep the momentum and creativity going. We even did a group tarot reading to help us make sense of it all. Overall, we filled the room with bad-ass boss ladies with good ideas and very real aspirations. 


A very special thanks to all that contributed to the inspiration.

Our friends and partners:

Los Angeles Design Festival

Our amazing panelists:

Anne Burdick, Media Design Practices MFA Chair at Art Center

Celina Pereira, Creative Director at OSSO

Our wonderful volunteers:

Diana Molleda, Photographer

Florencia Di Sarli, Samantha Cabrera, Isabelle Gioffredi, and Samantha Becker, Group Facilitators

Amy Nadeen Wilson, Visual Recap


Please follow WDS on Instagram to stay in the loop! Interested in getting involved with the Women's Design Salon? Please get in touch at info@verynice.co

verynice Volunteer Spotlight: featuring Steve Olimpio

Since our inception, giving has always been at the core of our mission. Through our Give Half model and pro-bono movement, we’ve successfully taken on over 1,200 projects and initiatives, and donated services and resources worth over $10M.

How does a small company make such a great impact in the nonprofit world?

Our amazing network of volunteers allows us to do meaningful pro-bono work that extends across the globe. By taking on pro-bono clients, volunteers are able to collaborate with our team to create impactful work.

One of our talented volunteers is Steve Olimpio. As a multi-disciplinary designer and art director, Steve has worked at a handful of design studios, branding agencies, and creative shops in Boston and LA. With an interest in new ways that digital platforms connect designers with clients, and participating in work that matters to his personal practice, Steve found these passions intersect at verynice.

Recently, Steve worked with our team as a volunteer to design a new logo for Trade-Works that better embodies the organization’s mission of empowering individuals with real life trade skills. As the sole Founder and force behind Trade-Works, Andrea Pezzillo carried the challenge of wearing many hats within the organization. We were excited to take on this project and leave her with more time to focus on building the mission.

The logo was inspired by the company’s core values of unlocking people’s potential around the world through experts who hold the key to someone’s future. Through the iconic key and lock, we exhibit opportunity in the Trade-Works community. An evolution of the existing logo, this design showcases both the lock and the key, representing the reciprocal relationship and adventure that awaits both the mentor and mentee. The color treatment serves to highlight special pieces of the logo.

“Engaging as a volunteer is unique because it demands a personal commitment and connection to the work that paid work sometimes doesn’t. You have to believe in it.”

This authentic intention is what drives our volunteer process and creates captivating and impactful work. Our volunteer network is presently comprised of over 500 professionals around the world who team up with us on a per-project basis. These professionals from transdisciplinary backgrounds such as business, law, and engineering exemplify that there are individuals apart from designers who are drawn to verynice’s mission of giving back.

“This process has taught me to evaluate my own work more effectively-what should I be spending my creative energy on? Who can I be helping. Why do I do what I do?”

People like Steve are what makes giving back a reality at verynice. Hats off to you, Steve, and your willingness to donate your time to projects that make this world a better place! To learn more about our volunteer network, or get involved, please get in touch at info@verynice.co.

 

 

Celebrating Impact Holidays in July with Desktop Wallpaper

It's July! We'll be featuring the artwork from one of verynice's volunteers each month. The prompt was to pick a holiday(s) that inspire us to give back. This month we feature the work of Olivia Sy! Download our wallpaper and celebrate the spirit of giving back with us. 

Olivia Sy Headshot.jpg

Volunteer Spotlight
Olivia Sy

Second Half of the Year Day!
It’s actually a thing, and a perfect time to Give Half in this annual midpoint!

Click here to download

Why I give back

I do pro bono work to create and return positive impacts for communities who supported me into my current privileged standings. I’m grateful to have the skills to contribute and support something larger than myself, and to continue battling against the ludicrous notion that we can’t afford to do a little good in our rocky, uneven world, especially through humanistic art and design. I believe that pro bono work provides opportunities to explore and (re)examine how we visually communicate critical concepts, link diverse experiences, and grow a better universal empathy beyond our own personal interests.

Website: https://www.oliviasy.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/artreleaf/

Introducing Anna Zigmond As Our Marketing + Impact Coordinator!

Anna is joining us after graduating from Indiana University where she studied journalism and business. Her interest in design and socially conscious companies drew her to our team and the L.A. community.

What is your favorite social cause?

A: In high school, I was disheartened with the constant negativity coming from my peers regarding self-esteem and body image. I started a club to educate and empower young girls to fully accept themselves, which quickly led to several initiatives throughout my school. This personal experience fueled my passion in supporting causes that empower our youth, especially girls, by tackling bullying and self-esteem issues. Shout out to Step Up and Kind Campaign for all they’ve done and continue doing for young girls! #GirlPower

What are you most excited about for your new role at verynice?

A: My passion for service pushed me to work for and with companies actively pursuing opportunities to give back. I am thrilled to be working at a company that values a methodology focused on collaboration and sustainable solutions through design. I’m looking forward to continue sharing our work with the world, and ultimately help more people.

What interests do you have outside of your career?

A: I grew up as a ballet and modern dancer, so you can always find me dancing! Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with family, playing ukulele or exploring my new city, Los Angeles!

$10,000,000.00!

In 2008, verynice was established with a bold aspiration: to, one day, become known as the most generous design firm in the world. We're excited to let you know that our original model is evolving in an exciting way in order to allow us to accelerate our impact, and ultimately provide our services and resources to even more people. Now, our firm and leadership is not only providing traditional pro bono services, but also sliding scale fees, board service, pay-what-you-want, pro-bono marathons, open source services, traditional volunteer service, and more! As of last week, our mission has reached a new milestone. We have officially provided access to $10,000,000 worth of free and discounted resources and services to thousands of organizations and practitioners from 150+ countries!

Looking forward, we are excited to continue pushing ourselves to find new ways to help as many people as possible. Thanks so much to all who have supported us over the years. Updates to reflect this on our website, and more announcements about what to expect as we start to approach our 10 year anniversary, coming soon.

Looking for design or strategy services? Working with us directly supports our mission to help others. 

5 Tips for Improving Your Annual Report

Balancing the primary requirements of an annual report with the marketing needs of diverse stakeholders requires a keen sense of objectivity, transparency, and narrative. Outlined in this article are 5 tips for improving your annual report planning, execution, and distribution.

Leverage Your Brand

Who are you? Consider that many people looking at your annual report are new to your organization. They may have some understanding of what you do, they may understand how you do it, but it is the function of a brand to ultimately articulate why you do it. This goes a lot further than having a logo, or visual consistency. Whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a small nonprofit organization, having control of your voice across the way you communicate data, stories, and develop marketing collateral can give your audience a sense of who you are and why they should support you.

Example: The Downtown Women’s Center 2014 Annual Report

The Downtown Women’s Center had just rebranded their organization and although they had a toolkit with a new logo, colors, some fonts, and photography, the annual report we designed for them for 2014 expanded on how those elements could really come together and come to life. This report leveraged the opportunity to showcase the new brand and potentially get new people interested. Bold color blocks, a strong grid, and full bleed photos of real DWC beneficiaries created a vivid report, gave insight into the the organization’s impact, and established a system for the brand that could be recognized over time to cultivate the trust necessary for donors and advocates to participate.

What Do You Need to Communicate?

By thinking strategically, you will uncover the best tactics for writing, organizing, and showcasing your content. Not only will this help you understand how to leverage your current resources, but also consider the tone of voice, and graphical style for the report. Particularly when it comes to solving communications challenges such as confusion in the market about what you do. For some organizations this means taking a moment to collect stories from stakeholders and telling them in a succinct way that shows relatable context for your reader.

Practice Using Data for Storytelling

Data doesn’t have to be boring, and using a narrative to digest data is a more interesting and entertaining way to get through large sets of numbers. Consider ways that you can create a story with numbers. Consider adding context to your numbers by framing numbers in terms of time or place, personalizing or localizing numbers, or making direct comparisons with things that are more familiar to the audience. You can also try throwing in a bit of irony to highlight any misplaced societal values. These can include how we spend more on products with little impact than we do on solving big societal issues.

Example: The Downtown Women’s Action Coalition 2016 Needs Assessment Report

For the Downtown Women’s Action Coalition we had the pleasure of joining volunteers to take surveys of Skid Row’s female homeless community before designing the Needs Assessment reports. This experience highlighted the importance of humanizing the data to tell the story of these women. For this report we created custom illustrations for as much of the data as possible. These illustrations allowed the readers to not just see the numbers, but understand the tone and significance of the insights through the lense of the real people affected. Visual symbols and illustrations are evocative, they able to convey a message or feeling without words and therefore communicate quickly and to people that speak different languages or think differently. Replacing complex language with a more universal one will allow your data to reach and be understood by more people.

Understand Different Types of Infographics

Infographics became all the rage when social media proved to be a viable communications channel for visually displaying data. But did you know that infographics range from graphical approaches that span academic/scientific, to marketing, to editorial? Each of these purposes calls for a different approach to helping the content appeal to the audience, comprehend the information, and ultimately retain it in order to recall when necessary. Some designers such as Yale Professor Edward Tufte have gone as far as coining the term “chart junk” for graphical elements that do not have quantitative value. When working with a designer, it is key to be able to 1. Pick the best data that helps tell a story, and 2. Identify the best type of infographic for your primary audience.

How Will You Get the Word Out?

While content is at the core of the exercise, having an understanding of how you will distribute the report will not only help you allocate your resources accordingly, but also inform your designer as to what opportunities and constraints they must work with. In many cases this means knowing whether this annual report must live in a kiosk within the lobby of a high traffic area, or whether it makes sense to draw chunks of information from this report for long term distribution on social media platforms like instagram. Some organizations can go as far as creating interactive digital content in order to showcase their impact. These are a few examples of the way design can help the document be most effective and potentially serve as a multi-format piece.

Example: The Downtown Women’s Center 2015 Annual Report

Much of DWC’s donor audience communicates through the mail. To connect to this audience, be flexible to new audiences, and maximize a smaller annual report budget, we created a more consolidated annual report for 2015. This challenge resulted in a design that showcased the experience at the Downtown Women’s Center--a welcoming brochure that unfolds to reveal relevant information, guided by beautiful photography of real DWC women and staff. The content was broken down into a few simple categories to fit the flow of each panel. This grided, panel design not only allowed the brochure to bend and fold down to a mail-friendly size, but also allowed the information to be easily broken down into sections that can be shared individually and digitally for a different audience.

Overall, we recommend working with a professional that will help guide you and your team’s effort so that your story can be most effective within the hearts and minds of key stakeholders. The ultimate goal of every business leader is to inspire confidence and showcase the clarity and effectiveness of their strategy. This ability to show the inner workings of an organization not only serves as evidence of hard work, but also has the ability to prove to supporters that the organization is transparent and has the honesty to showcase their results, and yes, challenges, in an appealing way.

Celebrating Impact Holidays in June with Desktop Wallpaper

 

Wow! Can you believe we're already halfway through 2017? We'll be featuring the artwork from one of verynice's volunteers each month. The prompt was to pick a holiday(s) that inspire us to give back. This month we feature the work of Alisa Olinova. Download our wallpaper and celebrate the spirit of giving back with us.

Volunteer Spotlight
Alisa Olinova

Did you know that June is National Adopt a Cat Month? There are 3.4 million new cats in shelters every year, but only about a third of them get adopted. Cats are adorable, hilarious, low-maintenance roommates that can lower your stress, provide companionship, and help you invent new memes!

Click here to download

verynice_17desktop_June_AO.jpg

Why I give back

My family immigrated to the United States when I was a baby. My parents’ journey inspires me to push myself to be someone that they will be proud of, that I will be proud of. There’s a lot of different ways to define it, but for me, success is the privilege to be able to help others be successful. What compels me to give back is actually a selfish need to achieve and be fulfilled, to prove that I am successful. It’s not a requirement that I am able to give back through my work, it’s really an honor that in my current position at verynice, I get to fulfill this need while doing what I think I do best. Working with passionate, deserving, and inspiring clients, I get to use art and design to get more donations, increase awareness, and communicate their missions to more people. What a great feeling! I think we can all be more selfish and show the world what we can do as individuals to make the lives of others and the environment better. ;)

Visual Design Internship Positions Available

We are hiring a visual design intern to join our team this summer! To apply, please send your cover letter, design portfolio and resume to info@verynice.co with the position you are interested in indicated in the subject line.

Position Description:

The Design Internship is a production-oriented position that supports our creative team in the visual design process for various client projects. The Design Intern will split their efforts between our for-profit and non-profit clientele. This is a flexible 16 - 32 hour per week position, and is housed in our downtown Los Angeles office in the Arts District area, requiring 2-4 full days in-house. Hours are Tuesday - Friday, 9am to 6pm. This is a 3 month position available for current students in their junior or senior year of undergraduate studies. Compensation options include a paid stipend or course credit.

Deadline to apply is Sunday, June 11, 2017 before Midnight PST.

Position Requirements: 
Pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Design, Visual Communications, Fine Arts, or a related field. Strong verbal and visual communication skills. Interest or basic experience with socially-oriented design. Entrepreneurial spirit and attention to detail. Ability to handles multiple projects and deadlines at once. Must have own computer (preferably Mac) and Adobe Creative Suite. 

To apply, please send your cover letter, design portfolio and resume to info@verynice.co with the position you are interested in indicated in the subject line.