Rachel Frankel
Designer. Illustrator. Letterer. Doughnut Enthusiast.
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Meet Me in the Basement

Personal blog, illustration and design projects, process discussion, news, and everything else.

Design Equity Tournament

Last month, I participated in Visible’s Design Equity Tournament, on the very last day of Design Week Portland 2019. The beneficiary of this year’s tournament was Portland in Color, an online directory and feature series that highlights creatives of color within Portland, a city known for its homogeneity in representation.

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Participants had roughly 4 hours to come up with at least one brand identity concept with supporting secondary elements, typeface selections (open-source only) and a color palette. The time limit was nerve-wracking and exhilarating all at once. My working pace is usually pretty quick, so quickly ideating was a not a problem, but it was a challenge to quickly decide which directions to keep pushing forward and which ones to abandon.

Brand design + pizza: a winning combo.

Brand design + pizza: a winning combo.

I ended up creating four distinctly different concepts for Portland in Color, since the judges allowed as many entries as possible. In retrospect, I probably could have refined my selections down to one or two and sharpened each of them a bit more. But I enjoyed the spontaneity of it all and the way this challenged forced participants not to be too precious.

Took this roughly 30-45 minutes before final concepts were due.

Took this roughly 30-45 minutes before final concepts were due.

Notes from the judges on my runner-up submission. Forgot to kern that header!

Notes from the judges on my runner-up submission. Forgot to kern that header!

In the end, Portland in Color went with another designer’s choice, but I was honored to place runner-up in the competition with the first concept (yellow & black). The typeface choice and texture were inspired a bit by print and digital editorial publications, since the structure of Portland in Color’s main site felt to me like an online magazine. I thought the combination of the rounded serif and the textural element felt playful and human, while still showing restraint in its overall presentation. My other personal favorite was the second hand-lettered option.

Definitely the best trophy I’ve gotten as an adult. Also, the only trophy I’ve gotten as an adult.

Definitely the best trophy I’ve gotten as an adult. Also, the only trophy I’ve gotten as an adult.