Women's Design Salon Recap

Last month, we helped each other set goals for the new year and find support in taking the next steps! verynice Women's Design Salon: Resolutions, was an unforgettable event, thanks to the women that contributed their time and talents to facilitate and attend the event.

And here's a great recap of the event by verynice Marketing & Impact Coordinator, Anna Zigmond:

After an eventful and somewhat relentless 2017, a little bit of inspiration heading into the new year felt much needed. The latest verynice Women’s Design Salon: Resolutions, lifted my spirits in a whole new way. The idea of a resolution can often seem overwhelming, but we were reminded that a resolution is really just the determination or the resolve to do something. Joined by special guest Lynda Decker, we dove into this idea covering topics on women in leadership, goal setting, and supporting ourselves and others to reach their goals in the year ahead.

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The evening kicked-off in an open-discussion format that felt more like an intimate gathering of friends, rather than a structured event. Prompted by questions, everyone was encouraged to contribute to the conversation by sharing personal experiences, asking questions, or offering advice. Given our current political and social climate, it was encouraging to be surrounded by women with such a determined and optimistic outlook on change moving forward. We discussed how now more than ever, it is crucial for women to be in leadership positions. Although it’s not often the easiest journey, we can use our strength as women to encourage good behavior in the office and amongst our peers.

I was not only blown away by the experiences people shared around leadership, communication, and the perception of women in leadership positions, but I was even more inspired by the words of support and advice that were shared amongst the group to combat these issues and motivate progress. We took this energy to action with a postcard activity, where we were encouraged to “Thank someone that inspires you or write to someone who needs encouragement.” Written on custom Women’s Design Salon postcards, we were able to send this inspiration to others.

Diving into the second half of the evening, we discussed goal setting and different motivators that are unique to each individual. Lynda shared how she started her agency to prove her ex-husband wrong and wouldn’t be where she was today if she didn’t push herself out of her comfort zone. It turned into a discussion about finding what works for you and pushing yourself, even when it’s difficult. Everyone shared personal methods to setting and celebrating goals!

Words of Wisdom:

People always overestimate what they can get done in one year, but underestimate what they can get done in 10 years. Try writing down 25 resolutions and pick 5 of them to focus on at a time. Write down all the things that you’ve done, accomplished, or been through over the past years so it doesn’t feel like they just disappear. It is important to reflect on the good and the bad and celebrate those moments.

At the end of the day, most people have no problem creating resolutions but lack accountability when it comes to working towards those goals. Try different ways of staying accountable for your resolutions such as trying it at the same time as a friend or creating a system where you can write each one down and them mark them off as you go. For some people, just telling others about their resolutions keeps them accountable, because not only is it out in the universe, but their reputation is also at stake. So find what works for you and stick with it!

To visualize this conversation, everyone was prompted to write down a resolution for the new year and to set reminders to check-in on their progress. We ended up with a wall of inspirational and concrete steps for the new year----look out 2018!

Photography by Latoya Hawthorne

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

Our friends and partners:

General Assembly

Sweetgreen

Our amazing guest speaker:

Lynda Decker, President and Creative Director of Decker Design

Our wonderful volunteers:

Latoya Hawthorne, Photographer

Alisa Olinova, Clarisa Valdez, and Anna Zigmond, Event Facilitators

Melissa Flower, Visual Recap

Please follow WDS on Instagram for updates and inspiration! Interested in getting involved with the Women's Design Salon? Please get in touch at info@verynice.co!

 

 

2017 Year-in-Review

As we close out our 9th year of business, I can’t help but look back at the past 12 months and stand in awe of what our team was able to accomplish. 

2017 was one of the most generous years in verynice’s history.

We managed to give away 57% of our work to deserving causes and organizations throughout the year, a series of donations and discounts worth over $1.3 MM. This year, we also completely re-imagined our approach to impact measurement, and built a tool that allows us to better track how much we are giving across all of our impact models, even broken down by cause. More on that in the new year.

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2017 also stands out as “the year of travel” - we were on a total of 80+ flights this year for workshops and talks all across the United States, as well as internationally in Mexico, Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands, and Russia. These adventures are almost entirely thanks to the incredible growth and interest in our Models of Impact toolkit - thank you!

Here’s 12 additional highlights from 2017, in no particular order:

  1. Serving as a judge for the prestigious 2017 SAPPI Ideas that Matter Competition in Boston.
  2. Developing campaign materials for the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.
  3. Working with General Assembly and the Los Angeles Design Festival to produce 4 successful Women’s Design Salon events.
  4. Partnering with our friends at Socialab to bring our Models of Impact methodology to over 1,000 social entrepreneurs in Mexico.
  5. Teaming up with PandoPopulus to facilitate a design workshop in “Death Alley” that involved community members in the re-imagining of use-cases for vacant lots across South Central, Los Angeles.
  6. Hosting a 24 hour-long pro-bono marathon at our office with a dozen of our Los Angeles-based volunteers to produce 23 deliverables for 4 local non-profit organizations. 
  7. Kicking off an exciting partnership with Mozilla to develop new models of impact for the open-source community.
  8. Delivering the first public lecture on Social Entrepreneurship in a former soviet propaganda theatre in Saratov, Russia (yeah, for real!)
  9. Working with the American Heart Association to invent a new methodology for engaging with rural communities across the United States.
  10. Partnering with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office to develop a recruitment campaign for the LAPD.
  11. Facilitating a session with Sutter Health to imagine the future of everyday health in San Francisco.
  12. Working with AIDS/LifeCycle to launch the 2018 Ride Love Live campaign and brand identity system.

Wow. What a year! 

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2018 will be our 10th year of business (!!), and we’re working on a few exciting things to share in honor of this major milestone. Keep an eye out on our social media for updates. We think you’re going to like what we’ve got up our sleeves for the new year.

As always, we couldn’t do any of this cool stuff with out the support from our friends, followers, and clients. Thank you so much for your continued support. You rock.

– Matthew

verynice 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Whoa! It's already almost the end of the year. At verynice, we are so fortunate to work with so many amazing companies that are working to make the world a better place... one product or service at a time. Today we're excited to share with you some of our favorite "do good" products on the market.

URB-E

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URB-E is the global leader in lightweight foldable electric vehicles and mobile power sources. This product is a wonderful solution for commuters that need a little help getting to their destination in the "last mile". The product even has a wonderful payment plan to make this within reach for many households.

etkie

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Etkie is a unique bracelet that is hand loomed and crafted by Native American artists. The company is in the early stages of becoming a worker-owned cooperative, providing talented Native American women artisans a pathway to becoming business owners.

DIGDEEP

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DIGDEEP helps Americans who don't have clean water get it. Currently working to bring water to families in the Navajo Reservations of New Mexico, the organization sells beautiful blankets and other products to support the work they do.

JENGA Ocean

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JENGA Ocean is the first board game ever using plastic recycled entirely from fishing nets. Did you know that fishing nets discarded at sea are considered the most harmful form of plastic pollution in the ocean? Buying this game helps support the removal of nets from the ocean.

Kiva

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Kiva Gift Cards make it easy for your friends and family to loan people in need small amounts of money. Pick up a gift card for $25... $50... or more. The best part? Once the loan is paid back, the money goes back into your account, allowing you to lend again, and again.

LSTN Sound Co.

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LSTN Sound Co. creates amazing headphones, speakers, and earbuds that deliver a high quality sound. What's even better is the fact that every time your purchase a product from LSTN, your money helps provide hearing aids thanks to the company's partnership with the Starkey HEaring Foundation.

Swipe Out Hunger

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Swipe Out Hunger is the leading organization partnering with universities to end college student hunger. Students donate excess meal points at the end of a semester, and the donated points are issued to students as dining hall credits. The organization also sells a range of fun shirts, stickers, and hats. Each purchase helps support their incredible cause.

Celebrating Impact Holidays in December with Desktop Wallpaper

It's December! 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 Shauna Panczyszyn! Download our wallpaper and celebrate the spirit of giving back with us.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Shauna Panczyszyn

I chose to illustrate Wright Brothers Day because my late grandmother was an avid pilot her entire life, having been an active member of the Chicago area chapter of the 99’s flight group for women. Aviation has been prevalent throughout my family as my grandfather was also a trained pilot, as is my dad, though he prefers fishing to flying these days. My parents live in a fly-in community, so seeing planes flying over my house growing up was a daily occurrence. I felt drawn to it and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do an homage to something that’s been so much a staple in my life.

Though I'm pretty sure my dad never had my sister and I take flying lessons because we would crash the planes on the flight simulator game he had. He tried to teach us very basic things like how to take off and read the dashboard, but thankfully it was a computer game so the only thing injured were pixels.

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Click here to download

Why I Give Back

I do pro bono work and enjoy creating it because I want to give back to an industry I love so much. I’ve managed to find my niche early on in my career, and along with that have had many opportunities I would otherwise not have had.

Check out more of Shauna's work here!

Winter Visual Design Internship

We are hiring a visual design intern to join our team this Winter! 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.

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Winter Visual Design Internship

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. Our business hours are Monday – Friday, 9am to 6pm. This is a 3 month position, starting early January, 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, December 3, 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.

Celebrating Impact Holidays in November with Desktop Wallpaper

It's November! 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 Jesus Jacobo! Download our wallpaper and celebrate the spirit of giving back with us.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jesus Jacobo

   

 

 

I am a November baby and this was a fun choice for me. Choosing to create “The Old Wise Eye” to highlight men’s health and specifically No Shave November and Movember was both fun and rewarding to further help that cause.

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Click here to download

Why I Give Back

“Think globally, act locally.” Armed with the tools and skills of a graphic designer I’ve found organizations that share similar interests as mine and use that energy and passion to become an activist for change. I give back because it makes me become proactive as a citizen with a voice and it helps others in achieving goals and aspirations. In my early education as a graphic designer I was approached by a local arts collective, South El Monte Arts Posse, and I volunteered my time and I developed skills while helping out with their cause. Empowered by the experience I took part in a 24-hour hackathon sponsored by WeHack/Southeast Cities, which was specific to the southeast communities in Los Angeles. Having grown up in the southeast neighborhoods of Los Angeles which has been plagued by corruption by its elected officials, I was compelled to help my city as a participant in this event. My team focused on civic government and our app challenged the current barriers and constraints there are to attending public meetings at city hall and promote community involvement. I would then work with another arts collective, Project 51, where the focus was the Los Angeles River. Through heavy onsite research and prototypes, my group used a speculative design approach that aimed to spark conversation around the topic of gentrification between the residents, business owners, developers and policymakers in the Elysian Valley. I also had the opportunity to work with the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA, a nonprofit, and in a group, environment designed a movement which aimed to create an awareness of the effects humans have on the ocean with the everyday choices they make. I have been very fortunate with the help I have received with my education and career goals and these projects have become a way of saying thank you to the universe for that support; it has been my way of giving back.

Check out more of Jesus' work here!

 

Women's Design Salon Recap

Last month, we looked into the future. verynice Women's Design Salon: Future Tech, was one of our best events yet, thanks to the women that contributed their time and talents to facilitate and attend the event.

Thoughts from our Desktop Wallpaper Designer, Fran Gonzalez: A group of four inspiring women from different areas of technology came together in an insightful conversation about women in tech. They discussed the common misconception that we must have the expertise and a body of knowledge to partake in the field, but in reality, technology is constantly changing so it's more crucial to be curious and eager than to be an expert. It's our duty to insert ourselves into the world of technology and remind ourselves that we are allowed, and meant to be there. Listening to these successful and inspirational women talk about their practice and approach to technology in such a humble and genuine manner made me feel empowered and encouraged. I find myself feeling eager to experiment and deeper explore the dynamic and evolving world of tech. Events like this remind us of the importance of sharing knowledge and connecting with one another through our skills and passions.

Thoughts from our Desktop Wallpaper Designer, Fran Gonzalez: A group of four inspiring women from different areas of technology came together in an insightful conversation about women in tech. They discussed the common misconception that we must have the expertise and a body of knowledge to partake in the field, but in reality, technology is constantly changing so it's more crucial to be curious and eager than to be an expert. It's our duty to insert ourselves into the world of technology and remind ourselves that we are allowed, and meant to be there. Listening to these successful and inspirational women talk about their practice and approach to technology in such a humble and genuine manner made me feel empowered and encouraged. I find myself feeling eager to experiment and deeper explore the dynamic and evolving world of tech. Events like this remind us of the importance of sharing knowledge and connecting with one another through our skills and passions.

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


And here's a great recap of the event by verynice design intern, Zoe Berman:

I am still buzzing from last month’s Women’s Design Salon hosted by verynice at General Assembly. The energy and enthusiasm brought into the room by 50 or so women that night was palpable and gave us even more to feed off of than the complimentary Porto’s and Califia Farms goodies. The event kicked off with an exciting panel discussion moderated by UX designer and GA instructor, Kat Hargreaves, who used her questions to shape a sort of hero’s journey out of each panelists’ life and career in technology. The subtle–and at times, not so subtle–biases that we face every day in the tech industry were at the forefront of the discussion and the women in attendance were challenged to “put themselves in that space.”

Designer Stephanie Cedeño tells through the story of the everyday through her work, looking beyond big tech and focusing on the microlevel, the banalities of our everyday lives. When asked how she challenges her own discomfort, she encouraged the room to “go at it with your own perspective.” Noting that we don’t know yet what future tech looks like, so we can use our perspective to decide how it looks and feels.

Jillian Switzer of AirMap admitted that she’s learned a lot from the men in her life, highlighting the value of networking and making lateral moves rather than climbing the ladder. She recommended we all read Smartcuts by Shane Snow.

Noa Kaplan, an artist, researcher, and educator, shared with us her real world examples of how biases in tech and big institutions can actually take away from us some of the positive impact the advancements the tech industry has offered.

After the panel–which no one wanted to end– we broke out into small groups and what was already an incredible night got even better. Facilitators used an ad lib game to build a prompt to challenge each group. My group had three minutes to imagine that "in an 'exciting' future, there will be technology relating to 'picnics'." We came up some exciting ideas: drones that would deliver baskets at an annual picnic day, VR and experiential technology that would bring travel and the outdoors to everyone regardless of finances and physical ability, applications that would bring picnic goers together, and smart refrigerators that would pack your picnic lunch for you. Following the prompt we discussed the future of technology; the pros and cons of bringing a sense of empathy into AI like Siri and Alexa, the generational divide built inherently into today’s tech, the inevitable elimination of jobs thanks to automation and how humans will spend their time if they don’t have to earn a living any more.

Photography by Samantha Becker

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

Our friends and partners:

General Assembly Los Angeles

Califia Farms

Our incredible moderator:

Katharine Hargreaves, Instructor, Strategist, UX Designer, General Assembly

Our amazing panelists:

Stephanie Cedeño, Designer

Noa Kaplan, Artist, Researcher, and Educator

Jillian Switzer, Director of Marketing, AirMap

Our super break-out group facilitators:

Jessica Wen

Anna Zigmond

Tiffany Estrella

Isa Harvey Camino

Clarisa Valdez

Our wonderful volunteers:

Fransisca Gonzalez, Visual Recap

Zoe Berman, Written Recap

Samantha Becker, Photography


"Be the seed. Grab truth you believe in and run with it."

- Kat Hargreaves


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

Our Featured Collaboration with the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence

For over 35 years, October has been recognized Domestic Violence Awareness month, celebrated to spread awareness and connect all advocates working across the nation to end domestic violence. This year, verynice had the privilege of collaborating with the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV), who works year-round to eliminate all forms of domestic violence throughout the state of California and beyond. CPEDV looked to develop engaging materials and content to support impactful campaigns during Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (coming up in February!).

The Campaign

As California’s statewide domestic violence coalition representing 1,000 members across the state, CPEDV represents California’s domestic violence community, working to inform, inspire, and connect all those concerned with this issue. Taking on this design opportunity was not only an exciting challenge for our team at verynice but an important one. This campaign was CPEDV’s  first collaboration outside of the firm and required both the technical knowledge of developing interactive designs and informed cultural sensitivity.

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The Domestic Violence Awareness Month campaign provides an array of activities and resources for advocates and newcomers alike. Some of these resources, such as a daily calendar, includes shareable images, videos, and live chats to help initiate thoughtful conversation and educate viewers on actionable ways to advocate for policy change and community awareness.

The theme for the campaign was “In October, the golden state turns purple.” To kick off this project, we collaboratively discussed the campaign’s goals and any design requirements before delving into the visual concept for the designs. As partners to our clients, we work to ensure that all of our designs meet the identified objectives, are aligned with their values and mission, and capture the client’s unique vision for their visual aesthetic. Our team at verynice developed designs to help create consistency for the campaign over the years while improving previous designs to be more modern and complement the CPEDV brand.


“We felt like verynice really listened to us throughout this creative process. Communication was also very easy, and we loved their iterative process and how they always kept the project on schedule.” –Michelle Arcos, Membership Coordinator at CPEDV

The Designs

Our team created designs that reflected a weaving map of California, tying back to the weaving CPEDV logo design and reflecting a sense of intersection and togetherness. Extending the woven fabric also showcases our continued progress toward the mission to prevent and resolve domestic violence issues.

“verynice’s designs were very modern and refreshing. We felt like they were attention-grabbing and in line with current design standards.” – Jessica Merrill, Communications & Development Manager at CPEDV

Gradients became a core design element to visualize the transition from gold to purple. Whether used as a solid background or as an accent, the gradient serves to visualize and reinforce the campaign’s theme. Fonts were carefully selected to complement the CPEDV brand while also maintaining a distinct look for the Domestic Violence Awareness Month campaign. Large quotes or statistics were created to stand out and emphasize bold, bright, and captivating messages.

 

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Designs for this campaign included a series of social media graphics, an interactive daily calendar of activities and resources, a profile picture overlay, a selfie sign, and member-exclusive resources like a media guide and sample proclamation template.

Click the calendar to download.

Click the calendar to download.

We are so grateful and proud to have worked with CPEDV on this campaign and hope it continues to expand awareness and advance social change on domestic violence. Want to stay up to date with the campaign and lend your support? Check out the calendar above for numerous ways to take action and support this wonderful cause.

Sign up on www.cpedv.org to stay informed about the upcoming Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month campaign launching in February!

 

Celebrating Impact Holidays in October with Desktop Wallpaper

It's October! 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 Zack Forer! Download our wallpaper and celebrate the spirit of giving back with us. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Zack Forer

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Native American Day/Indigenous Peoples' Day

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Click here to download

Why I Give Back

I'll be honest, it's not often that I get approached to do pro bono work. Freelance is, after all, a business and how I earn a living. However, there are certain times where I feel it's necessary as an artist to give back to charitable organizations. Whether it's something small like an illustration for a calendar spreading social awareness to something larger like a mural in an inner-city community, the ultimate reward is knowing you contributed to a cause that benefits others. I know it's not much, but if I can use my artistic abilities to get a positive message across in a creative and informative way, I feel a sense of accomplishment. If I can inspire someone with my artwork or make someone feel proud or smile, it makes the experience all the more worthwhile.

Check out more of Zack's work below!

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