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The woman behind the design – Emily!

Have you noticed our awesome posters for Belonging: Undocumented and American? We have to thank Emily Vriesman for this! Emily is a Cincinnati based graphic designer who has volunteered to help us get together some design elements for this event. Learn more about her below!


Name: Emily Vriesman
How would you describe your aesthetic? I like to keep things modern and simple, but with a fun and creative edge to it. For example, the poster that I created for the Belonging event has a handlettered title as well as a handdrawn motif pattern on the side. It still keeps with the organization’s aesthetic, but brings something new and fresh to the design.
How did you get involved with graphic design? I’ve been an artist my whole life, but it wasn’t until my first design class at Xavier that I realized how much it. I had spent hours on my PC growing up downloading free fonts and using WordArt on Microsoft Word, and that was my idea of fun! After talking to a friend in that first design class, I realized it was a passion and a talent of mine that I could definitely pursue. One of our first projects was to create little advertisements about three different social issues. That was my “aha” moment. I realized that I could combine my heart for social impact with my design talent to create a fulfilling career and future. After that project, everything that I created was geared towards a social issue and I absolutely fell in love with it.
What’s the importance of graphic design and marketing within social justice issues? I think graphic design has such an integral part in the growth of social justice issues. Design has been used for a long time, from war propaganda, to cartoon illustrations in newspapers and posters pasted around cities. It’s a vehicle for a social justice movement to grow and gain followers. With an engaging aesthetic and compelling verbiage, graphic design can be a major component to raising awareness and gaining a following for social issues.
What’s some words of advice you’d give to young professionals looking to use their talents “for good”? Find organizations that align with your beliefs and ideals. Reach out to them and see if they’re looking for design work! Start making work on your own and establish a network of others in your area that have the same heart for using their talents for good. There are always places that are looking for design help– it’s just a matter of putting yourself out there and asking the question. I love the website called Catchafire. They match volunteers, like designers, with social good organizations that need assistance with services like graphic design. It’s all pro-bono, but it’s a great way to build your portfolio in the ways that show off using your talents for good.