Creative Action Network
In 2013 I co-founded Creative Action Network with Max Slavkin on the belief that non-profit organizations need the help of the creative community to tell their story in an emotionally compelling way, and that a passionate segment of the creative community wants to use their talents and work to help important causes. We have built a community of visual artists that we organized around crowdsourced campaigns, each focused on a different cause. We invite artists and designers to contribute designs that are made available for sale as various products including wall art, apparel and home goods, that are sold to benefit both cause and artist.
As the Creative Director, I have been responsible for all brand and product design as well as building most of the internal structure to make the machine work. This has included making everything from pitch decks and share graphics to artist payment and accounting systems. This is one of my favorite things about working in a small organization: the necessity of wearing multiple hats and continuing to learn every day.
Things That I Designed & Directed
Below is a selection of content that I have designed and art directed over the course of my time at Creative Action Network. This includes publication design, social media graphics and ads, photography and video production, product design and art direction, and a handful of my own posters.
Featuring "Civil Service” by Hayley Gilmore
Pin design by Devon Bragg.
Featuring "Jefferson National Expansion Memorial” by Shane Henderson
Featuring “Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” by Gareth Graham
Featuring “Peter Pan” by Roberlan Borges
Featuring “Everyone Welcome” by Crystal English Sacca
Featuring “Mount Rushmore” by Wedha Abdul Rasyid
Infrastructure That I Built
I was responsible for building (and working with our developer to design and build) a machine that accepted user submissions, turning them in to products, making them available for sale and fulfillment through an ecommerce and print-on-demand platform as well as an accounting database and payroll system.
Built on the Shopify platform, the Creative Action Network shop features over 16,000 product sku’s, several thousand artist bios, and a custom setup that automatically displays each artist bio and cause description on every product page. Additionally, it is connected to multiple print-on-demand platforms allowing for instantaneous order fulfillment and little to no inventory.
Artist Submission Portal
Rather than building a user-submission portal from scratch, we leveraged the Submittable platform to host our creative briefs and upload forms. Each campaign got a creative brief describing the requirements for that campaign and allowed artists to submit their design files and information. Once approved by a moderator, the design information was handed off to our back-end application using Zapier where the product was created and sent to the shop for publication.
Airtable Accounting System
Every design that has been received, every sale that has been made, and every payment made to an artist or non-profit partner lives in our Airtable database. I built this system from the ground-up to keep track of our community of creatives and extensive library of designs. Most functionally, this database is used to store sales data and generate sales reports on a quarterly basis.
Campaigns I Helped Organize
The function of all of the structure and content described above is to support the campaign work, which is the main unit of content at Creative Action Network. Each campaign started with a creative brief that I helped craft and was designed to frame a specific cause issue as a creative problem. The goal of the brief is to help an artist get past the white page problem (“Where should I get started trying to help this cause?”) by laying out some criteria that will also help hold the overall collection together. Before launching a collection publicly we would seed it with work from artists we’ve worked with previously and I helped art direct them to ensure the initial batch of designs properly conveys the message. Once launched publicly, the campaign would be open to anyone and everyone that wants to contribute. Most campaigns remain open for submissions and continue to grow over time. As the collection grows, we add additional products through the shop and make the collection available to our network of licensing partners for various retail and publishing projects.
Started in 2008 and revived in 2012, Design For Obama is a grassroots collection of posters from artists around the country that helped elect Barack Obama as President.
One of Creative Action Network's first campaigns, originally inviting 12 up-and-coming artists to illustrate 1 of 12 quotes about community, conversation and collaboration from Margaret Wheatley's text "Turning to One Another".
While the Green New Deal is still in its infancy, we’ve taken up the charge of helping the public understand and imagine what could be possible with this exciting new set of policies -- just as the artists of the original New Deal helped to inform and advocate for those innovative programs over 80 years ago. Proceeds support Sunrise Movement.
A collection of original covers for great works in the public domain. Sadly, many of the greatest classics in the public domain are left with poorly designed or auto-generated covers that fail to capture what makes these books exciting to us. So we invited our community to create new covers for 100 of the greatest works in the public domain. Proceeds support The Digital Public Library of America.
A collection of political protest posters. We face a great crisis: climate change, extinction, destruction of wild places--and we must all raise our voices: in our work, in our schools and, most importantly, at the ballot box. A 2014 election season collaboration with Patagonia and The Canary Project.
A collection of political protest posters to communicate Patagonia’s belief that our country’s economy, security and future are wholly dependent on a healthy environment and urging all of us to take action and vote to protect our planet. A 2016 election season collaboration with Patagonia.