John Caserta
Campaign identity for Democrat Nirva LaFortune, who ran for a seat on the Providence City Council in a special summer 2017 election. She handily won both the primary and the general election. This page contains 456 words and is filed under projects
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Vote Nirva LaFortune

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In the spring of 2017, Providence Ward 3 Councilman Kevin Jackson was ousted in a recall election. Providence native Nirva LaFortune stepped up and ran on the platform that she would bring the various factions of the Mt. Hope and Summit neighborhoods together. Having a female candidate (and person of color) run so quickly after Hillary Clinton’s defeat energized many of us. I also knew Nirva, and was convinced she would represent the people well. I jumped in to help, working with Campaign Manager Kath Connelly to create the identity and templates that could be used to target the neighborhood. She won both the primary and the general election. Did the graphic design contribute? Maybe.

Purple

Nirva loves purple. It is a part of her everyday look. So when I suggested the color as a central part the campaign identity, she went for it. More than the typography, the color purple was identifiable with Nirva. People dressed in purple to support her, and even made their own signs in purple.

Purple is a mix of bright red and blue
There were a bunch of different printers involved, so trying to match a single purple would be near to impossible. Rather than worry about having a single purple (traditional brand move), I made a gradient and embraced the variety of purples that emerged. Why not embrace all purples? Her campaign sign used the gradient.
Ward 3 is full of purple flowers in summer

Typography & Mark

I will fight was a slogan she used often. It was important to have the typography be strong. The typeface is Basis Grotesque, a font I licensed previously for The Design Office. After choosing it for its punchy clean modernity, I noticed it had a checkmark in it. I adapted the mark so it would work as a capital “V” and for the lowercase “v” in Nirva. Given the purple, I didn’t mind getting a bit playful or overtly political with the checkmark.

Photo by Jo Sittenfeld via Instagram

Ephemera

A lot of paper gets printed in a local election. Door hangers, mailers, letters, and more. I was not creating all of this, but would set up templates for key materials. The font and the purple were what could hold it together. We did not produce t-shirts, but I we made one to see what it would look like.

Animated / Social

Animated slogans and the wordmark on purple were used on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook sharing was used quite often, particularly in the days before voting. I generated animated and static typographic treatments and put them in a folder for campaign staff to use when they wished.

Victory!

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About

John Caserta is a designer and educator based in Providence, R.I. He is an Associate Professor in the Graphic Design Department at Rhode Island School of Design. He is founder and co-director of The Design Office, a workspace for designers. This site is updated regularly and outputs to a book with Bindery. Get in touch via email.