How do I turn my values into projects? I suppose starting Quaker Creative was a way to make sure that all of my projects reflect my values. But as I start the business, I need to be able to get work. It doesn’t just come on its own. I have to attract clients. The best way to do that is to do self-initiated work. This means doing the kind of work that I want to be doing for clients. So that means I’m back to the initial question: How do I turn my values into projects?
Write down my values
and letter them
The easiest and most direct way is to write down my values and then letter them. What do I value? I value equality, diversity, peace, compassion, environmental stewardship, simplicity, integrity, and listening. Just letter the words “equality,” “peace,” “diversity,” and so on. That’s a start.
This is kind of a sledgehammer approach, shouting through a bullhorn, holding a sign, standing on a soap box. It’s obvious, and not terribly deep or nuanced. But this is fine for showing that I can interpret concepts. And among the mass of other messages on social media, it is often best to be loud and straightforward. It’s blunt, yes, but effective.
Reinterpret other work
If I want to get more nuanced, then I have to get creative. I can start with the art student staple and reinterpret other work. If there’s a campaign I support, I can reimagine how I would do that campaign with my lettering. Putting it out there might even reach a different audience and help the campaign.
Choosing a value to highlight can be difficult. To narrown it down I can ask, “Which of my values resonate right now locally, nationally, or globally?” As I write this, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th US president in less than 24 hours. There’s a lot of apprehension about this change in the air right now.
I strongly value diversity, equality, environmental stewardship, peace and truth. Trump and his incoming administration don’t seem to reflect those values. There is a Women’s March this weekend in DC and around the country, and I’ll be attending in Portland, OR to support and promote the rights of women and marginalized groups. How can I apply my craft to these values through this event? There are signs. I can letter one. There will be buttons. I can make some.
Create a campaign for
Going a step further, I can create my own campaign for another organization. This was the general idea with my charity: water birthday campaign. Donating a birthday to charity is something charity: water does already. It’s part of their funding model and readily available for people to make their own. I took it and put lettering to use for their campaign.
Create my own campaign
I can also try to do my own thing, create my own campaign for my own cause. This goes a lot further than perhaps I want to go, as my business is not the marketing itself, but is the work on the face of the marketing. However, it can draw attention.
This can be as simple as a poster. It can go a little further like a social media campaign. Or it can get more complicated, like a direct mail or book project. The number of “moving parts” are up to me. The nice thing is, I can make it bigger for greater impact, or I can restrict the scope to fit my schedule. No matter what, it’s going to embody fully my voice and my values.
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Out of these four things I think I prefer the first three the most for getting started. The fourth may have the most oomph, but takes more planning and commitment. They each have their merits, each have their place, and each exercise a different set of skills while honing my lettering. Whatever I do, they each get me closer to expressing my values through my work.