A custom design brings life to a month-long celebration of creativity

AIGA is a nationwide organization creating spaces for those who find purpose in design. Their local chapters provide entrepreneurial agency to those in creative fields through resources, support, and connections. Through their work, they move the design community forward, especially for those in Mindgrub’s own neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. 

AIGA’s Baltimore chapter chose Mindgrub as a partner to create a concept for their 2022 Design Month theme: Designing Life. With Mindgrub’s experienced history in custom designs, they were confident in our ability to relate to their needs while bringing a fresh perspective to an annual campaign. 

Through this partnership, we created a clever concept representative of AIGA's Designing Life  theme, increasing social media engagement and bringing people together for the return of in-person events.

illustrations of AIGA mug character and Design Month badge

The Opportunity

What was once only a week has grown into an annual Design Month. Throughout October, AIGA Baltimore hosts events for creatives to celebrate their shared craft, participate in informational sessions, and make connections. The 2022 theme was chosen to showcase how design not only brings things to life but is also a vital part of  life. 

AIGA needed a creative concept that not only fit the theme but also was flexible enough to scale throughout the month-long celebration. The concept needed to cover a variety of deliverables—logos, event promotions, merchandise, blogs, and more—without becoming repetitive or stale.

registrations across 7 events
Our Approach

Mindgrub headed the concept design and curation of the project. We presented two options that incorporated our interpretations of the Designing Life  theme. AIGA chose the option in which we created a feeling of playfulness by giving life (pun intended) to the design trade’s most recognizable tools. 

Our passion for design aided the team while searching for inspiration for this project. To bring out the positive nature of our vision, we found Mindgrub’s core value of ‘innovation through collaboration’ to be a motivator. Since the project had so much potential for creative freedom, we stretched our abilities to their fullest potential. 

We began with a concepting phase. During this time, our team tested illustration styles on a variety of design tools, before choosing a final direction. As with any animating process, these sketches acted as the building blocks for the final product.

screengrab of alternate concept during the concepting phase
animation of sketching process of the characters
The Characters

We created animations out of a laptop, a pencil, a bezier pen, and more that appeared ready to jump off the screen. This style brought a light and optimistic feeling to Design Month. Because each character had so much individual personality, AIGA Baltimore could choose a ‘star of the show’ for each event. This allowed for longevity and differentiation throughout the campaign.  

Each illustrated tool was highlighted in various ways, whether they became the ‘face’ of a certain event or were showcased on a specific asset. For example:

animation of the laptop character

The laptop
A trusted designer tool used constantly in this modern-day work environment.

animation of the pen character

The bezier pen
When a designer needs precision with custom vector curves, line segments, anchor points, and control handles, a bezier pen is an ideal instrument. 

animation of the pencil character

The pencil
Before there were tablets or laptops, a pencil was the starting point for all designers. They still use them to sketch out their ideas before creating them digitally!

animation of the coffee mug character

The coffee mug
A trusted sidekick for everyone in the industry.

animation of the bounding box character

The bounding box
To control the scale of designs, this sets parameters for objects.

animation of the ink dropper tool character

The ink dropper
When adding color to designs, an ink dropper tool is the most effective.

image with pages from the Design Month campaign style guide
image with pages from the Design Month campaign style guide
Working Together

To bring everything together, Mindgrub created a brand guide and asset library that acted as a helpful reference point for the team at AIGA. These resources played an important role in handing off the design system to AIGA and allowed them to create additional assets on their own. The modularity of the design system allowed event graphics to have a unique look and feel, while fitting in with the overarching branding. Because of this, the design system can easily scale to different sizes from social graphics and emails, to event swag and signage.

increase in social media reach
image of Design Month campaign social graphics
image of Design Month campaign social graphics
views on the Design Month teaser reel alone
Our Event

In addition to being a brand partner, Mindgrub hosted a Design Month event, Figma: Fad or Future? During the panel discussion, Mindgrubbers debated the future of Figma, a design software recently acquired by Adobe. Watch the highlights below (or view the full discussion and recap): 

“It was a pleasure to collaborate with Mindgrub on the Baltimore Design Month 2022 branding and closing event, Figma: Fad or Future. Mindgrub has been well-known in the Baltimore community as a technology firm, so we were happy to showcase the team's design talents.”

Frances Miller, President of AIGA Baltimore
Results that Matter

Armed with extensive branding possibilities, the campaign contributed to increasing AIGA’s social media reach by 61% and garnered awareness for the chapter’s mission to inspire local creators. The AIGA Design Month teaser reel alone earned just shy of 2,000 views—their most viewed Instagram Reel to date. The month of events garnered an excellent turnout, totaling 300 event registrations across seven events, which allowed participants to network with others in the industry and connect to helpful resources. 

What's more, Design Month was awarded three Silver ADDY awards by the creatives at Baltimore's American Advertising Foundation chapter: 

  • Collateral, Brand Elements
  • Ad Chapter or Marketing Chapter Self-Promotion
  • Advertising Industry Integrated Media Campaign 

The collaboration between Mindgrub and AIGA Baltimore supports the ever-changing nature of the design industry. We push the community forward by joining forces to foster creative environments where designers can thrive (if that sounds like fun to you, consider joining our team).

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