October 12, 2012
Below is a short article I just wrote for the Steamboat Magazine. This summer me and my fellow Yampa Valley Design Guild members put on a 5-day graphic design for good summer camp. Not sure when it’s going to come out in print or how the printing and editing process might change things up, but read all about it! See some sweet photos thanks to camper, Tarbia Minto after the words and follow this link to see the redesigned identity in action and check out the Design Camp Facebook page.
Steamboat Design Camp 2012
This past August, nine graphic designers from the east coast, midwest, and even Alaska gathered together in Steamboat for the first annual Steamboat Design Camp. Organized by the Yampa Valley Design Guild (Steamboat’s very own graphic design professional organization) Steamboat Design Camp was an intense collaborative design experience for graphic designers who believed that good design makes life better and who wanted to use their creativity to benefit a local Steamboat non-profit organization.
“I loved working with people from all across the US. I would definitely try to keep this up in the years to come. It worked out so well that none of us knew each other. It allowed us to bond so much more! And now we all have so many more touch points across the country!”
–Lisa Hoeynck, Colorado
The campers were fairly split in terms of experience. About half were recent college grads (or entering their final year of college) and half were working professionals with several years of experience in graphic design. The process of jumping right into a project and working for a common good bonded the campers immediately. Everyone embraced the ideas of collaboration so that the non-profit could get the best work possible and the week was refreshingly free from ego or creative self promotion.
The lucky non-profit the campers served was Yampa Valley Data Partners (YVDP). YVDP is an organization committed to gathering and distributing data for decision making and community collaboration in the Yampa Valley, Western Colorado and even on the state level. Working with Kate Nowak, YVDP’s Executive Director, the campers produced an assortment of print materials, did a complete redesign to the YVDP logo and provided YVDP with a fresh new look to their most well-known pieces, the Community Indicators Project and the Economic Forecast Newsletter. In the end, campers provided over $30,000 of design work to YVDP for free.
“The work we were doing was just for a client, but for a town and its community and businesses. Being nestled within the micro-culture of which we were designing for felt unique and energizing, yet completely normal and foundational to what we do as designers.”
–Jacob DeGeal, Illinois
“We won the lottery. The campers were a complete joy to work with on this project. If it were not for the Steamboat Design Camp we would not have had this wonderful opportunity.”
–Kate Nowak, YVDP Executive Director
But, lest the name “design camp” mislead you…it wasn’t all work and no play (and no one had to sleep in a tent.) One of the main attractions to Steamboat Design Camp was the small town, big mountain location. Housed on the ski mountain with hiking trails outside the front door and the Gondola a short distance away, the campers had many opportunities for outdoor recreation including a couple hikes, a trip to the rodeo, and even a ride up to the top of the Gondola for Brunch. And creativity wasn’t limited only to time spent behind the computer. Campers also enjoyed an afternoon of drawing and fine art exploration with local artist Gregory Block, cooking in the gourmet kitchen with fresh local produce found at the Farmer’s Market, and exploring many of the great dining and entertainment hotspots in downtown Steamboat.
At camp’s end, not only did YVDP have a new look, but 9 campers as well as several Design Guild members had a renewed understanding of how good design really can add value to daily life and made many great new friends with which to collaborate in the future!
“After camp, I feel that I could go into other collaborative efforts with more confidence.” — Adele Wiejaczka, Alaska
Steamboat Design Camp will be happening again next summer. If you or anyone you know would be interested in applying, check out the Yampa Valley Design Guild website for more information.