SOCIAL JUSTICE RETREAT
Branding + UX Design + Social Impact Design
Over the last decade, the label “Social Justice Warrior,” has become more and more associated with aggressive far-left groups and an increasingly polarized vocabulary teetering on the edge of (what some might consider), “crippling,” political correctness.
These unfortunate biases have isolated conservatives and moderates who are skeptical about an increasing moral hypocrisy surrounding a movement originally aimed at inclusiveness. According to the conservative organization heritage.org, “Social justice is really the capacity to organize with others to accomplish ends that benefit the whole community.”
Social justice retreats run by campus organizations have become popular “crash courses,” to help students recognize and utilize the empathy and critical thinking necessary to understand intersecting identities among different groups of people.
Despite these efforts to bring people together, the aforementioned growing societal bias views the concept of social justice education as divisive instead of inclusive; an opposing image of its original intent. After reaching out to 6 universities which helped spearhead social justice retreats on their campuses, I came to discover they were lacking in organization, cohesive curriculums, messaging, and imagery, which could explain the opposition’s oversimplified views. Retreat materials were also piecemealed, making them less likely to be saved and/or reused throughout the participants’ lifetime.
Intersect is a branded educational retreat kit for college-aged students interested in learning more about social justice.
This attendance kit combines comprehensive research and friendly, conversational visuals to communicate the idea of different forces joining together in a goal of mutual understanding. This visual language combines friendly typography, colors, and shapes to provide viewers with an inviting tone that reflects the goal of the retreat.
Mood Boards + Color Studies + Industry Comparisons
The following features help reflect meaning and define Intersect’s visual language:
- Overlapping Typography
- Intersecting Shapes
- Variation in Scale
- Diverse Color Range
- Friendly Tone
Thumbnails + Notes
Intersect’s aesthetic was born on paper via loose pencil sketches and lists. These initial sketches were able to provide early visualization to what would become the final design of a varied and dynamic visual language.
Before bringing the Intersect content into InDesign, the brand language went through a few digital iterations inspired by a combination of each of the 3 moodboards. This included logos, colors, and integration of a tagline decided upon after competitive research analysis.
Compiling + Curation
The design process for Intersect was very similar to wireframing a digital UI/UX project. It began by contacting program leads at 6 pioneering universities including the University of Vermont, Chapman University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Colorado State University, North Carolina State University, and Temple University I.D.E.A.L. for their retreat materials and curriculum.
These materials were then evaluated against Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice by Maurianne Adams, Lee Ann Bell, and Pat Griffin, and the Social Justice Toolbox (both education industry standards). A hand-selected set of educational initiatives was then curated for the purpose of providing content to communicate Intersect’s overarching concepts.
RETREAT ACTIVITY GUIDE
The spiral-bound Activity Guide divides into 5 sections that help participants gradually intersect with one another through enriching activities. Designed to foster a sense of collective respect and understanding, it contains built-in space for reflection. The Activity Guide may be referenced and reused throughout both the students’ and facilitators’ lifetime.
An Activity Sheet envelope contains various educational worksheets designed to support activities in the Activity Guide. It also contains postcards with inspiring quotes by relevant figures. Students are encouraged to share postcards with friends and family who aren’t part of the retreat.
The spiral-bound Retreat Toolkit was designed to be kept, referenced and shared throughout both the student and facilitators lifetime. It’s flexible and reusable nature helps reduce printing costs and unnecessary duplicates. Each book is divided into 5 useful categories including Essential Terminology, Essential Figures, Collection of Case Studies, Recommended Media, and Contacts.
Backpacks, tee shirts, and buttons were created to showcase an on-campus collective in a fun, eye-catching fashion both universally relevant in messaging and appealing to the eye.
WHY SOCIAL JUSTICE?
I was first introduced to the concept of Social Justice at a weekend retreat my sophomore year of school at Chapman University. I feel the 3 days spent on this trip have been instrumental in helping shape my worldview, values, and beliefs in addition to helping me truly understand what it means to empathize with others. I remember years later wanting to re-use the activities learned on that retreat with nothing to reference but scattered notes in a folder. Intersect is my answer to wanting to share and revisit what I learned.
Graduate Thesis at Tyler School of Art
Director of Student Engagement at Temple University Institutional Diversity
Content Inspired by:
Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice by Maurianne Adams, Lee Ann Bell, and Pat Griffin, the Social Justice Toolbox (both education industry standards,) as well as social justice initiatives at Chapman University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Colorado State University, North Carolina State University, and the University of Vermont