Continued work on mariondesign.co
The summer of 2016 the mayor of Marion, Indiana came to the Art + Design Department at Indiana Wesleyan University and asked for a logo. A couple professors gathered a team of student designers willing to live and work in Marion for the summer to give the Mayor a logo. Three months later, we had a logo, but we had so much more. Little did we know that over the next 4 years the little design studio we formed and named Marion Design Co. would receive thousands of dollars in grants, invite student design cohorts back each summer, and fill every vacant building on the town square.
Initially, in return for our volunteer design work, the Mayor offered up an abandoned bank building downtown (with wifi!) as a workspace. This space completely transformed into a community hub. We listened to the stories of community members living on the same block (who happened to walk in because they thought the bank was still open). Stories of strength, resilience, gentrification and poverty filled the rooms of the "bank". We created a brand for the city only through the input of it's long-time residents. More than a brand however, we carved out space for people to come together that had not existed. Marion gained the voice to speak it's own future.
As I update this in 2020, I look back at the conception of Marion Design Co. as one of the most impactful projects I've had the opportunity to work on. It has been an honor to see the change that MDCO has been a catalyst for and the amazing proceeding cohorts of designers take on even bigger challenges in the town.