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  • In the beginning of this year, a billboard that was created by a local teenager, Eloe Gill-Williams and his design mentors Mary and Topher @ makelike design, went up for a brief time in downtown Portland.

    It took a long time to get to the simplicity of this idea. The concepting began with lots of ideas about how to finally tell the police how f*ed they are and these sorts of things.

    In the end Eloe decided that to hurt others that weren't intended, simply because of a few bad people's ignorant actions, was just doing the same kind of thing that he was (rightfully) pissed off about. He decided that the most interesting communication would be to add something positive to the culture - despite how uncool it might make him look to his cool friends, etc.

    This is why I work with teenagers. Remembering how thoughtful and aware of context they can be despite the way they are represented always shifts my perception to how I am treating others in the world. It is very hard to be this simple and powerful in your language. It stands out visually because of the simplicity but also the contrast to our expectations of what a billboard does.

    I have seriously been mulling over the idea of not continuing this free after-school design program I direct, re:active, but am now realizing how much impact it has on myself alone. As my thoughts turn toward my hopes for creative output and what I want in general for the coming year, it has reminded me of all the people it touches. Myself perhaps the most.

    Keep it simple.
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