Ties that Bind Continuum Fund

Giving Back to our Community

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There are many kinds of communities: some are determined by proximity and location, some are defined by religion, some by shared interests or politics, and some by avocation. Many of these communities are financially held up by their bootstraps through charitable donations, and gifts of time.

I have always been of the opinion that it is Grafik’s moral responsibility to give back to our community. So, every year, we donate hours of pro bono service and donations to members of the greater DC area community and its many deserving nonprofits. Read More

Our partners celebrating our Founder and CEO, Judy Kirpich.

A Night to Remember

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This past Thursday, Judy’s friends, colleagues, clients, and family members gathered at Grafik to celebrate her tenure here. It was clear from every conversation that during her 36 years at the helm, Judy built a legacy of admiration, respect, and love. A phrase I kept hearing around the room was “it’s the people.” At the end of the day, that really is what is unique about Grafik—the people Judy chose to surround her. She created a community that spread far beyond the immediate Grafik family, one that values respect, talent, dedication, and passion. Together we have achieved greatness for clients, for our community, and for ourselves. Thank you to everyone who joined us to make it such an amazing night for all of us, and especially for Judy.

For more photos of our evening, visit our Facebook page.

Design in Service of Understanding, Dyslexie Font

Design in Service of Understanding

Posted by | Anything + Everything, Design Issues, Digital | No Comments

I’m a graphic designer. I am also dyslexic. The second fact is a lot more common than the first—it’s estimated that about 10% of the world’s population is affected by dyslexia. I can say with certainty that far fewer than one in ten people are art directors or designers.

My initial reaction to Christian Boer’s font dyslexie, designed specifically for easier reading by dyslectics, was heavily influenced by my training and discipline as a designer. In short, I didn’t like it—at all. It’s bottom heavy. Some letters lean a bit. The negative spaces within the forms felt huge and clunky (oh, for the perfect teardrop shape inside the Helvetica “a”). It’s overall quirky. And that is exactly what makes it work. Read More

Grafik's installation that reads "Ties that Bind" to promote our fundraising efforts to give back to the Continuum Fund.

Giving Back To Someone Who’s Given So Much

Posted by | Anything + Everything, Food for thought, Grafik Culture, News | No Comments

The installation that greets every visitor to our office is more than just the nails and string that weave across the lobby wall. It’s an homage to our founder, Judy Kirpich, and the importance of giving back.

Throughout her career, Judy has been an ambassador and mentor for the design community. Judy’s door is always open, and even the most junior designer has benefited (myself included); a massive network of loyal friends and colleagues is proof of her influence. So when Grafik became involved in the 10 for 30 campaign (read Mila’s post), we wanted to proclaim our personal investment to the cause in a way that would make Judy proud. Read More

Practical Wisdom for Young Designers

Practical Wisdom for Young Designers

Posted by | Anything + Everything, Design Issues, Food for thought | One Comment

It’s a sad reality that schools are ill equipped to impart some of the necessary practices that make a truly successful designer—and I don’t mean the kind of success that comes with money. I’m referring to maintaining your sanity and creativity in the face of a relentless onslaught of external pressures and your own internal anxieties. The truth about this industry is that it will eat you alive if you’re not prepared for it—the competition is fierce, the environment fast-paced, and burnout is rampant. However, if you’re a young designer fresh out of school, there are fundamentals you can learn to sustain your creative career. Read More

Ties that Bind Continuum Fund

Ties that Bind. Transforming the Continuum Fund.

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I’ve learned a lot as part of the Grafik team for nearly 10 years, but nothing as important as the value of giving back to our design community. I owe this understanding to my boss, Judy Kirpich. From the day I started, she emphasized not only doing great work, but also the importance of using our design skills to help people. So when, earlier this year, Judy announced that she was stepping down from day-to-day management, we decided there was no better way to honor her than by participating in the AIGA DC 10 for 30 campaign. In the next two months, Grafik, along with 10 other studios in the D.C. area, are committed to raising money for the Continuum Fund—a design scholarship fund that sponsors the education of passionate young deserving designers from minority and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. As part of our fundraising effort, we launched “Ties that Bind,” an homage both to Judy’s textile art and the loyalty she inspires in others through her passion for excellence.

Please help us raise money and awareness for this effort Judy has passionately supported since its inception. The lives of the students receiving scholarships and support will be forever changed by our collective generosity.

Donate now.

Please note that all donations go directly to helping the fund build a permanent endowment—a sum large enough that, when properly invested, it can fund the scholarships in perpetuity.

Congratulations Grafik

Congratulations to the Grafik team

Posted by | Awards, Clients, Digital, Grafik Culture, News | No Comments

Over our 36-year history, we have been recognized for many awards and honors, and every one of them is special to us. After all, every award highlights the hard work of our talented staff. This fall, our team picked up a Gold W3 award for the EYA Philosophy video, and two Silver awards for animations we developed for AES and AdvicePeriod. Additionally, we received three awards in HOW magazine’s International Design Competition for the work on AdvicePeriod, Honda in America, and our Grafik signage. Last, but not least, Grafik’s skateboard design for the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s Erase Hate campaign was selected for Communication Arts Typography Annual 2015. Congratulations to the designers, writers, and strategists behind these pieces. Our clients were wowed by the work. It’s great to see it wowed the judges too.

Swift Domination

Swift Domination

Posted by | Brand Marketing, Digital, Social Media | No Comments

For many brands social media is seen as the golden ticket to increase brand awareness far beyond their inner circle. Although many are active on social media, most find they don’t receive the traction or conversion rate that they expected. Brands fall into the trap of not controlling their own brand narrative. Partnerships are formed for immediate gratification or to boost sales without considering the long-term strategic value that the partnership will provide to both parties. They struggle to make their brand authentic, approachable, relatable, and relevant to their target audience. Many are too focused on short-term sales leaving the opportunity to build a long-term loyal fan base left at the wayside. And one of the biggest mistakes is not consistently adding value, incentivizing, or rewarding customers for continuing to stay engaged with your brand, which limits the likelihood of the consumer building a lifelong relationship with your brand.

At a time when most marketers struggle to break through the noise, Taylor Swift has effectively leveraged marketing and social media to expand her network since her humble beginnings on Myspace. Her 12 million Instagram followers, 46 million Twitter followers, and “1989” album sales that are projected to sell more than 1.3 million copies by Sunday, are redefining what success can look like in a world with Spotify and Youtube. Read More