Visuals Matter: Our New Mindful Design To Inspire Change
At a time when we are increasingly flooded with visual content, effective design is crucial to grabbing the attention of an audience. As the Digital Coordinator at the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP), I am tasked with creating digital content that encapsulates the essence of our work to boldly serve the movement for equality and justice in Texas, in and out of the courts.
Over the past year, I have worked with TCRP staff and our graphic designer, Sebastian Gomez de la Torre, to develop a set of brand guidelines. These guidelines go beyond simple color choices and fonts. We have delved into the symbolism and meaning of our design features, as well as intentional imagery guidelines. This ensures that the visuals we use are consistent with our values and mission.
Key Themes of Our Imagery
Key themes of our imagery include community, nature, and cityscapes. These are depicted in a unique illustration style inspired by folk art, which is art that is of the people and an expression of community life.
We also aim to depict what we are for, instead of what we are against. In this work, we are engrossed in the fight to defend the rights and humanity of those facing systemic oppression. In the face of this daunting task, it is easy to become discouraged by the injustices occurring in our state. We seek to combat this in our imagery. By painting an inspiring and colorful picture of the Texas we want to see, we believe we can create a positive vision for the future. This will allow us and our audience to stay engaged and continue working to build that future.
The Design Process
With respect to TCRP’s long and rich history, we traced back to the first logos and designs used for the organization to uncover our key themes.
Evolution of the Texas Civil Rights Project logo
Using these as a guide, our graphic designer created a refreshing new illustration style. This brought new life to our imagery of the people of Texas.
Illustrations by Sebastian Gomez de la Torre
We then extended this to create illustrations of Texas’ landscape. This includes nature and cityscape imagery that highlights Texas’ diverse landscape and prominent cities.
Illustrations by Sebastian Gomez de la Torre
What Our Color Scheme Represents
Our color scheme is reminiscent of a beautiful Texas sky and Texas greenery.
The burnt orange represents a sunset and the yellow, blue, and green represent the rising sun, clear sky, and new life.
This symbolizes our dedication to the vision of a Texas in which all communities can thrive.
Tying It All Together
Our Beyond Borders program envisions a border state that respects the right to migrate and supports human dignity for all people. It aims to eliminate policies that sustain the harmful effects of militarization, cultural erasure, imprisonment, and exclusion along the Texas-Mexico border and across the state.
For this program, we use a butterfly icon which represents freedom of movement and migration. We also utilize imagery of the landscape of Texas, especially Texas borderlands as a symbol of open land and free movement.
Our Voting Rights program is dedicated to protecting the right to vote for all Texans. It defends voters by combating practices like gerrymandering and voter intimidation.
Here, we use an icon of a ballot box that contains imagery of diverse Texans symbolizing our vision of a Texas where all people’s voices are heard in our elections. We use images featuring voters centered on major elections and year-round civic engagement activities such as people testifying on issues at the local and state level.
Our Criminal Injustice program strives to remedy the injustices of Texas's criminal legal system for people suffering inside and outside of jails and prisons.
We use a flying bird icon to denote freedom from restriction and the ability to soar. We also use imagery of major cities such as Houston and Austin to honor the critical work of our team to advance a new vision of public safety that focuses on positive community resources rather than policing in these localities.
In the advocacy space, digital content is a strong medium to raise awareness and inspire people to take action. At TCRP, we aim to be intentional about our design choices. With that in mind, our new brand guidelines ensure that our content is both aesthetically attractive and mindful. Ultimately, this will allow us to maximize the impact of our design to bring change.
View our full brand guidelines here: