Friday, September 11

va: Interview with Michael Zeller


The conversation started by us explaining the class and what our general idea is. He then drew us a map of KC in 1950 & gave a brief history of the racial divide. He explained how poverty was a main cause to this divide. 18th and Vine was a booming area and pretty diverse as far as class goes, even some white people lived there (even though it was an African American dominate area). But then the crack epidemic caused the middle class to flee the city seeking more opportunity elsewhere in places like Raytown and Lee Summit.


Since the public school system in KC is filled with 90% poverty, parents who have a choice are sending their kids to private school. He also talked about how we as a community have this group thinking syndrome. If one parent moves away and takes their kid to a better school, people in the same area get this syndrome and they all start to flee together. Then the schools are left with people that don't have the option to leave and it's filled with kids who are all in poverty. Once a school is mostly one demographic, it hits the point of no return.
-70 schools in KC, 60 of them are in poverty
-people who have the choice will leave public schools in this area
-CEE Trust (example of what to do)
They close down the lowest 5% schools but open 5% new schools.
-Solution would be to slowly start moving schools East of Troost
-to send each kid to a district school cost $14,000 per student
-To set up a new running school in an existing abandon building cost
8 million dollars.


The word "diverse" is used lightly when describing the demographic in Academie Lafayette. No millionaires kids are going there, but it's 36% minority and 25% poverty. Something they do to keep these numbers is proving transportation (school buses) that go way out to pick up kids in poverty to come to Academie Layfayette (located in Brookside), even though it's very expensive to do so. It's also diverse in the since that the students are fluent in French and are taught by teachers from foreign countries.  Enrollment is first come first serve.  About 120 people get turned down each year to put their kids into K-5. Also a downfall is that they don't accept kids to enter the school into any other grade. Only K-5 because they teach everything in French. Academie Lafayette is successful because it has a brand that gains trust in a community that lacks trust in education. It stated at 220 kids and now has 950 students, they've bought new buildings and expanded as much as they can using the resources they have. But because they are not getting public funding to build new schools with the same structure, they are currently one of two charters in the KC area. The other one he said was doing good things was Crossroads Academy located downtown.
-Cost $10,000 per student

root of the problem

-slowly moving / improving in small increments
-SPACE outside of city , it's easy for people to run away from the problem
but if they were forced to stay, the problem probably wouldn't still exist
-Fear of the other & gun culture
-"The Tide wants to come in"
-He talked about how our generation is more prone to live in the city.
Not concerned with having a yard & car like previous generations. But then he
said the problem is give us 5 years, we want to have a kid and put them in school
but none of the public schools are good enough.

How to Reach People
-Have a clear and compelling vision
-paint a draft / can't start with a blank piece of paper
-allow ownership
-create a self-fueling cycle

Referred Contacts:
Darron Story
Eric West

va: final stages of logo + branding system

When finalizing my logo, I decided to incorporate the one element of my design that was working (the pizza lips) with this typography sketch.

Clearly the type had a long way to go, so I spent time refining that, till I ended here:

I realized that this mouth icon could become a system in the identity. So I started editing my collateral ideas to incorporate it. 


(crushed red pepper ///
 parmesan cheese packets)

Thursday, September 10

va: reading response

Graphic Authorship by Michael Rock

I think this idea of authorship can get very complex. We often are faced with the question, what is an authentic new idea anymore? We are constantly reading other people's text and reusing other people's ideas, most the time unintentionally. Not only in art and design, but in our everyday language, and just life in general. This article just reminds me of a discussion I had in a writing class Freshman year, I think it was over the importance of citing. But anyways we talked about how it's hard sometimes when writing a paper, to separate ideas that's "already in your knowledge" compared to "ideas borrowed by someone else." Arguably someone had to share the knowledge you already know with you at some point in your life. Obviously when you're copying word for word out a book or literally copying and pasting a design, citation is essential. But moving on from that philosophical view, I enjoyed the parallel between film directors and designers.  A film is such a good example of something that is almost impossible to give complete authorship to the director, yet we totally do. His or her name is typically large underneath the title of the film itself. Obviously he oversees it, but there's so many aspects that go into a film and luckily films are good about giving credit where it's deserved with opening title sequences and ending credits. What's interesting to me is that in terms of design, the Creative Director kind of plays this same role as a Film Director, but it's too hard to literally put the names of all the people's ideas and labor went into a design. So in this sense the Creative Director gains authorship. I feel the same way about Andy Warhol's factory and fashion designers. I guess it's just something people have to decide for themselves before taking on a career underneath someone else's name or brand, if authorship is important to them. 

Designer as Producer by Victor Margolin

More and more in the creative world, I think there is the move towards being well rounded in doing everything rather than the history of "mastering" in one specific area. Just by using our school as an example, the "painters" in that department are building sculptures and making films. The "designers" are making photographs, prints, and animations. The separate departments are not so separate in terms of the work we are producing. To quote the reading, "design schools, which have historically prepared designers to serve manufacturers rather than become entrepreneurs themselves," I'm glad to say I don't really feel that way about our design department. We are required to make our mock ups for a lot of projects which I think is super beneficial.

Wednesday, September 9

va: interview prep | Michael Zeller

Interview Questions
About Michael
  1. What is your mission/goal in terms of the future of Kansas City, or a personal goal?
  2. Who do you focus your mission to? Who are you trying to reach and why?

  1. As one of the Board Members of Academie Lafayette, what recurring issues do you see in charter schools in general and in the education system in Kansas City?
  2. How successful do you think Academie Lafayette is in promoting diversity as a charter school? What could the school do better?
  3. What are the factors preventing schools from integrating?
  4. How does Academie Lafayette filter their enrollment?
  5. How does the current Kansas City's educational system look like today?
    1. Biggest challenges?
    2. What is lacking? Why?
    3. What is working? Why?

Public Relations & Strategies
  1. In your experience, what would you say is the most successful way in reaching people?
  2. Concerning the matter of strengthening our community (with so many factors involved), how do you go about approaching it and tackling the subject?
  3. What are the best ways to approach the current issues?
  4. In what ways can we strengthen our community/promote equal opportunity?

Next Steps / Solutions

  1. What are some immediate actions that can be done in order to bring people together?
  2. Is there anyone else you think we should talk to?

va: research on charter schools

(1) Charter Schools
The degree of freedom charter schools have differs by state.
The difference from public:
  • Charter schools must be nonsectarian and nondiscriminatory in all programs, enrollment, employment, and other operations
  • Charter schools cannot charge tuition
  • Set their own discipline, personnel and curricular practices (much like private schools) but are public
  • Must comply with the federal No Child left Behind Law

Most offers:
  • Smaller class size than traditional public schools
  • Specialized education targets at a particular population of students such as at-risk or performing arts students
  • High standards of fiscal and academic accountability. If the school doesn’t show gains in student achievement, it can have its charter revoked
Charter schools can tailor their curriculum to their students and try new approaches / innovative curriculum.
“taking a cookie-cutter approach to education”
space is limited, enrollment done by lottery
preference may be given to siblings of students currently enrolled and to children of employees
Who starts charter schools? Businesses, community leaders, teachers, parents, municipalities and school districts interested in alternative education submit a charter proposal to the local school board. Renewed in 5 year periods
(2) The Truth about Charter Schools
They are able to organize a school that’s outside the control of the local school district but still funded by local, state, and federal tax money.
  • This approach to education tends to produce a more diverse range of schools than might be traditionally found within school districts
  • Today, more than two million students attend about 5,700 charter schools nationwide, each with its own rules and education model.
  • 518 new charter schools opened, boosting charter school enrollment by 10 percent in a single school year
  • They can be run and operated by a nonprofit Charter Management Organization (CMO), such as Knowledge is Power Project (KIPP), which operates more than 120 elementary, middle, and high schools across the nation.

Could be a downfall? Or an advantage :
  • Parental involvement is often more than encouraged, it’s expected.
  • Many charter schools begin each year by asking parents to sign an agreement to support the school and their child’s learning, including a pledge to contribute a certain number of volunteer hours.

A 2003 national study showed charter school students were no better than public schools at educating kids. Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2010-2011 show that overall, fourth and eighth grade students in charter schools did not do as well in math and reading as their counterparts in traditional public schools.
The study shows positive effects are strongest at charter schools serving primarily low-income students: there are more excellent charter schools serving low-income students than there are high-performing traditional public schools serving low-income students.
Students in Arkansas, Colorado (Denver), Illinois (Chicago), Louisiana, and Missouri, for example, made larger gains on standardized tests than would have occurred at traditional public schools.
About 15 percent of charters have closed since 1992. One common problem is that charter schools, on average, receive less money to operate their facilities than public schools.

The good news is that many charter schools don’t limit enrollment by where you live, so parents can look outside their neighborhood to find the best charter school. The bad news? Charters can be so popular that you may find yet another lottery and waiting list when you get there. Across the country, there are about 610,000 students waiting on lists to get in.

mx: business card

This is our business card that we will pass out to local business owners as a call to action about our project. It looks backwards because it will fold in half and sit up on their desk.

ds: collateral progress

here's the beginning of some collateral. I figured I could add color + finished logos as that progresses. But doing the menu helped me figure out type choices + voice. It also gave me the idea for a new collateral item. I want to make stickers for the "hot slices" such as "Toppless" that you would stick on the pizza box slice to label what type they ordered. It could be an opportunity for them to post on social media, etc. 

menu + voice 

crushed red pepper + grated parmesan packets 

pizza box

These are raw images I shot, some messing with lighting to see if I could give off the night life vibe. I obviously still need to edit them and possibly photoshop in other collateral / like stickers onto the pizza box. One little detail I think was successful is the subtle steaming up inside the box, definitely goes with my concept. But this could just be my test run. We'll see how well the editing cleans them up. 

mx: initial wireframes

ITS ABOUT FUNCTIONALITY.  At the moment I wanted to make sure that the essential functions for a learning experience where organized and practical. I want  it to be clean to be capable of sophistication and follow design trends intended to create culture. The frames go from landing page>section page>and article page.

mx: list for KC project

This is a list of people/companies that we know and will probably start our phone calls and emails for interviews with.

  • DMH
    • Paul Diamond
  • Normal Human
    • Pat Egger
    • Dan Mahaney
  • Maker Goods
    • Felicia Koloc
  • Barkley
    • Lance Flores
    • Casey Ligon
    • Cady Bean
  • Halmark
    • Lee Ernst?
  • Bandwagon Merchandise
    • Christian
    • Alyx Jacobs
  • Two Tone Press
  • Vahalla
    • Dan Padavic 
    • Tad Carpenter
  • Bike Walk KC
    • Sarah Shipley
  • Manos
    • Sara Garrison
  • Bunker
    • Tori Wheeler
  • Record Machine
    • Nathan Reusch

Vendors at Normal Human
  • Owl & Mouse
  • Jim Ligon
  • Maker Goods
  • Sandlot Goods
  • Basement Soap
  • Sock 101

For now I think we will start with these places then expand to restaurants and bars and such.

mx: activity scenarios

* narrowed down directions

1. The Business Traveler

This business woman is only in town for a few days and wants to spend her spare time relieving stress. Walking on safe trails and exploring the hidden gems of the city. If she were aware of our site or app she would go to the "Parks + Rec" Section & then find the locations for Loose Park & local gardens. She could then set a timer that will disable her phone (aka sleep mode or airplane mode) giving her an hour stress free to just be in the moment and enjoy the garden.

2. The Local Freak

This young adult has lived in KC all their life and wants to buy everything locally and support the economy of the city as much as possible. It's Saturday and they are getting their fresh produce from the Rivermarket, but they realize it's their brother's birthday coming up so they want to get him a gift, made locally of course. They go to the app or website and find the "Made in KC" section. This brings up a list of shops / artist / print shops. The idea of something printed in town sparks their interests. They find links to Hammerpress, Normal Human, and Bandwagon Merch. They are able to shop Normal Human and find a unique and local T-shirt to gift their brother.

3. The Road Trippers

There is a group of friends traveling around America by car. Because they are always at a new location, corporate businesses don't really interest them because they see them everywhere. They want to find the new places of each city. They get hungry from their travels and use our App to locate local restaurants. They are able to choose from Bars / Grills, Beer Spots, Coffee, Food Trucks, Brunch, etc. They want somewhere to sit down that's not too nice because they've been in the car for hours.  They end up finding out about Beer Kitchen and get to walk around Westport to stretch their legs while they wait for a table.

4. The College Kid

The college kid doesn't have very much money or a form of transportation. By using the App he goes to the social organization tab and finds BikeWalkKC. Through this section he finds out that he can rent a bike at a very low cost. He's able to bike across town and get his school supplies.

5. New to the City *

A family just moved to KC midtown and doesn't know much about the area but wants to learn general information. They check out the website and find out about all the other major areas to KC such as the West Bottoms and the River market. But they don't know what events are going on at these locations. Through the website they find out that the West Bottoms has a first friday event with tons of local food trucks and open shops. They take the family out that weekend.

6. Local Business Owner *

Local coffee shop business owner gets an email inviting them to be apart of our kick starter event. Of course they want to be involved in promoting their shop. At the event their booth is set up right next to Hammerpress Print Shop. The two business owners get to talking and the coffee shop decides to start selling their local merchandise in their shop. Now Hammerpress employees get discounted coffee to keep them rolling and the shop has an additional attraction while also helping Hammerpress sell goods in another area of town.

7. The Cute Couple

So there's this cute young couple that just moved in together. They want to decorate together, but don't like the idea of ikea. They want special one of a kind pieces. They hear about the kick starter event and go to see all of what KC has to offer. They leave the event with unique prints (local print shop stand) for their walls and an awesome table + chairs set from the antique mall booth. Urban Mining

8. The BBQ Fan *

There's this guy that loves KC BBQ! But he's always gone to Gates & just wants to see if these new places will measure up. He goes to our App to find out that he can go to the "Food" section to find a list of all the BBQ places listed. He's able to then plan a week where he can try out each place back to back, including Q39, Joe's, Char Bar, etc. But then when he goes to Joe's he finds out about our kick starter even coming up. So he saves money and gets free samples of all these places at the event instead.

9. The Big Business Owner

The big business owner wants to thank his loyal KC clients. He goes to the website and finds everything KC! He orders everything from custom Wine bottles at Mano's, BBQ sauce from Joe's, T-shirts from Normal Human, custom printed thank you cards from Hammerpress and coffee pour overs from Parsi. He then makes his own gift baskets filled with all the things that makes KC special and send out gift baskets to his clients to thank them for their business.

10. The Healthy Vegan

This person is vegan and has a hard time finding good places to eat in such a BBQ dominate area. She goes to the App and discovers Mud Pie & FUD. Which she loves but feels that the city is lacking so wants to start her own vegan local restaurant. She decides to attend the kick starter event to meet with these business owners and discuss how they got their business running / what farms they use / etc. Once she gets her company started she goes to the website to find a designer for her business' identity as well as a marketing tool to get the word out about her new business.

11.  The Designer

This student just graduated with an design degree and wants to freelance locally. By using the app / website she's able to find local companies offering internships and so she applies. But when she see's the kick stater event coming up she starts making custom designed give-aways to pass out at the event. She then gets to meet these business owners in person and give them a memorable give-away to promote herself.

12. The High Schooler

This kid is in high school and doesn't really think college is an option right away. He goes to the kick starter event with his friends and engages in conversation with some local business owners that need help in their shop. He actually gets a job and is able to start his own college fund and get hands on experience in the field that interests him.

13. The Dog Lady

This woman loves her dog dearly. She wants to take them on constant walks but needs a change of scenery and wants her dogs to explore new areas. She goes to our website and finds under the "Parks + Rec" section that there are a few dog parks as well as dog-friendly trails to hike. As she surfs the site she also finds out about the local dog store in the plaza and gets her dogs matching t-shirts.

14. The Grumpy Kid

This kid keeps complaining to his parents that they never do anything he wants to do. The dad goes to our website and finds the kid section under the "Locations + Events" tab. By clicking that he finds the Lego Museum and tons of playgrounds nearby. They start visiting these places once a week and the kid becomes really happy / also the dad gains quality time with his kid.

15. The Teacher

There's a high school teacher that wants to take her class on a field trip. She visits the website on her lunch break and discovers the First Friday event is coming up. She thinks it will be good for her students to experience the arts. She then goes to the location section and finds contact information for a gallery and sets up a private viewing of a show for her students to go during class time.

mx: problem statement + site map

Problem Statement: There is a disconnect between local communities in the KC area. The area has become very prideful community as a whole, but there are many sub sections of the community that could benefit from connecting with each other. 

First we made a mind map to see what sub-categories we could focus on fleshing out. 

Then we we reorganized the information into a site map, choosing fewer over arching tabs on a potential website or app. 

Monday, September 7

ds: logo development

after critique last class, I felt like I needed to explore more with my logo. I kind of skipped that experimental phase. So I took a few steps back and went to Santora's again to see what I was missing.

I decided to mess around with some of the existing typography.
I also felt like with my direction, it's important to include "Pizza" in the identity.

So now that I'm going with the full "Santora's Pizza" , I could cut a logo down to strictly the S & P.

Tried out some lips as well. 

I moved away from color during this exploration so I could just focus on form. 

Sunday, September 6

va: contacts / interviews

Mary & I have reached out to a few different organizations. 
We've set up one meeting so far with the contact that Kelly suggested. 

Michael Zeller
KC Reach
development expert 
we have a meeting set up for Thursday!

Melvin Merritt (founder) 
Penny Mill Foundation 

Collaborative Response

Here's some general interview questions we plan to discuss:

What is your mission?
What is the current Kansas City's educational system look like today?
What is KC's biggest challenge in education?
In your experience, what would you say is the most successful way in reaching people?
Who do you focus your mission to? Who are you trying to reach and why?
What are the best ways to approach the current issues? 
In what ways does your organization promote equal opportunity? 
What's preventing schools from integrating? 
What are some immediate actions that are most pressing at this time?
Can you refer us to any organizations that you work with or someone who is working towards the same goal?