Building (Internal and External) Communications

For the past six months I've been redesigning, rebranding and revamping internal and external communication plans and marketing materials for one of the most unique departments of CCF: The Sponsorship Department. 

The confirmation email that leads sponsors to a Resource Center, a website platform designed specifically for new sponsors to find resources and answers to questions they have.

I say unique for many reasons, but the main one I'm referring to when I tell people how wonderful our sponsorship program is, is that our program is a one-to-one relationship. We will actually kick a sponsor out of the program for not communicating with their sponsor kid regularly. Sponsors can meet their sponsor kids - in the flesh (no unreal kid scams here). The kids build lifelong relationships and friendships with their sponsors and their sponsors' families. I've seen kids here in Phnom Penh, during a Skype date with their sponsor families. It's moving to see our CCF kids tell their sponsors how much they love them through happy tears. It's moving to see sponsors come to Cambodia and take their sponsor kids out for pizza or go swimming when these kids may never have the chance otherwise. It is one of the best programs we run, in my opinion. 

Ok, back to design and strategic communication revamping. I really can't say enough great things about CCF and my time here.

The best part about this project and my work at CCF is that I really get the chance to use all my skills on almost every project. For this particular project, I used a few of the following skills: design, photography, video, web design, managerial, strategic development, marketing...Here's a breakdown of some of the work I produced on this project and a few of my thoughts.


I worked closely with the Head of Sponsorship to find areas that communication could be improved, both internally and externally. I set up surveys for existing and new sponsors in order to understand weak and strong points of past communication avenues and how we can improve them in the future. Once these weaknesses were obvious, I restructured the internal communications workflow and created a new strategic communication plan.  This took many interviews and meetings with key individuals including in-the-field staff, managers, employees and sponsors.

COMMS PLAN VISUALIZED   Below is an example of the way I used design to help everyone visualize the new Sponsorship Communication Plan. This design was used to explain to employees their new roles and timeframes for each task so that there was less confusion when we rolled out the new process.


One of my biggest concerns in branding the Sponsorship department was making sure it was developed in a way that would allow other departments the option of branding so that they would all seamlessly fit together under the existing CCF brand. 

Obviously an in-depth rebranding should be done at CCF with multiple branding elements in mind. At this stage in CCF's growth, we have chosen to redesign our website and branding will come later.

There really isn't anything deep about how I did this. I picked a color that works in our current branding guidelines, played with a bunch of hand drawn fonts, drew my own, incorporated parts of the current CCF logo and put it together. The key here was making sure other departments (such as the Volunteer department - coming soon!) could also follow suit with the hand drawn feel. 


This is the logo we ended with, in one of its many forms. The graphic below is the one I used as the opener to the video welcoming a new sponsor. I used it in several other spots throughout the identity rebranding. 


3. SAVE THE PLANET One of the most important complaints/suggestions we got from our survey was to stop wasting money and paper on physical leaflets and packages. Our old system was set up to send a physical folder in the mail, from Cambodia, with a photo of the newly sponsored child, a DVD of our CEO thanking the new sponsor, information about CCF, policies and other important info. Sometimes this packet would arrive 3 months after it was sent and sometimes not at all. One of my biggest tasks was breaking this packet down into a "Digital Sponsorship Package." 

Eventually we decided on keeping key parts of the physical package and reducing everything else to a resource center. The Sponsorship Resource Center is a place where new sponsors can come to access any and all information regarding sponsorship at CCF. I took the photos, did the design and produced the video. I love this part of my job. Below is a final version of the design:


One of the things we didn't want to lose with the new rollout was the feel of being in Cambodia while communicating with sponsors around the world. Who doesn't like to get a package from a far away land? So I redesigned a few materials that will stay as part of the physical contact we'll make with sponsors and potential sponsors. 

This is the outside. I will try to post a printed picture soon. It's confusing.

This is the inside. 

housing for a community

the organization i work for provides alot of cheap, affordable necessities to a small community of people in Cambodia who live near or on a trash heap in Phnom Penh. one of the things we offer is extremely affordable housing. they have teamed up with World Housing a non-profit based out of Canada to build almost 200 homes this year. they asked me to shoot a few houses, in the process of being built. 

Images In Infographics

I've been working on this technique where the photojournalist in me slaps the designer in me. As a photographer, I know the power of images but as a designer I neglect images because of how jarring a photo can feel in a graphic design, especially when it comes to infographics.

Designing with images is all or nothing. I used to either let them tell the whole story, simply, or not use them. Throwing a border on a photo or cutting it out as a circle feels cheap, leaving the designer in me feeling cheated.

So, this is my challenge - use storytelling images in a powerful but not forceful way in conjunction with my designs. Here are a few examples of how I've been trying to make this happen...does my use of images in my designs work for you?

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Apple Exploits Nepali Migrant Workers

I worked on this story for Bloomberg News while I was in Kathmandu last year. The topic needs much more coverage and so much more action. I have heard reports of at least one Nepali corpse coming into the airport per day from Qatar. It's slavery. And it's worldwide. I'm quite clueless when it comes to international law, but it's obvious that some type of international regulation needs to be in place for migrant workers around the world.

I use an iPhone; I'm writing this on one of my two Mac laptops. It's obvious Apple holds their product design to an incredible high standard. That standard should be reflected in their international labor regulations.

Bibek is just one of millions who are abused and enslaved daily so that we can use our iPhones, computers and other gadgets.

Here in Cambodia, It's not just labor that is being sold. It's women, children and it's horrific. When will this become a major issue for governments around the world? When will international standards be implemented?

Here are some ways to help and become aware.


cambodia and a new life

so, we moved to cambodia. got a sweet job with a fantastic organization and a swanky, brand new apartment and we're doing great.

getting these (below) printed and they're going over our bed. i'll have lots to show off as my new position is graphic designer/photographer/videographer/web designer. yay.

life is good. but gotta remember where my roots are.


Book Design and Layout

I've been working with SPRINT Initiative out of Malaysia for the past few months on a Facilitator's Manual. In the beginning, I created a concept-design for a book or manual that would help the facilitator's focus more on teaching. SPRINT has printed the first draft of this 400-page book and I am hoping to attend the next facilitator training in the Philippines so that I can make changes to the manual that will drastically improve the design. Below are the proposed cover, beginning chapter pages and an example of a content page. All of the content is from a previous design.

In order to make this design easier for the facilitator's to understand and use, I created a set of icons that correspond to the different activities that will be used during the training. I also added a time and date indicator to the header of each page to inform the facilitator's of where they are (or should be) in the training.

Cover for SPRINT Facilitator's manual.

Cover for SPRINT Facilitator's manual.

Chapter opening pages

Chapter opening pages

Content example

Content example

Film Southasia Designs

I've been working hard with FSA [] for the past few weeks to get ready for the documentary film festival. We're doing standies, flex prints, schedules, invitations, web stuff...everything design. The best part of this experience has been seeing my designs in very large quantities. The schedule (below) was printed 3,000 thick and the 60-page catalog had 500 copies. It's been fun, hard, and challenging. I will post official designs once everything is printed.


KTM street art

finished a video for Katie Green yesterday ( she's an incredible artist, one i am proud to have worked with. i challenged myself to think outside of the box on this video. i wanted something more edgy and a bit less-traditional in the storytelling arena. in the end, i think we came out with somethink Katie likes and i was proud to publish. what do you think?

Finished this a while back, but needed to add it to the blog. Here is the front page and below are a couple of details. It's still being coded, but I really enjoyed this job. It went through many drafts and I was told from the first draft that it was too, "French" looking. I listened to my clients and really tried to make it less French. They liked this in the end.

Hotel search results page.

Pretty gold search engine detail.

Fashion: The Buddha Does Not Approve

An artist and costume designer asked me to shoot a few of her in a dress she  made. Sounded kinda exciting. She sent me a zipped file of all her previous dresses and they are quite stunning reflections of nature melded into wearable art. In one shot she looks like a piece of forest with moss on her head. 


The piece she wanted me to shoot was a dress made entirely of Buddhist prayer flags. At the Monkey Temple in Swoyambhu, we were instantly greeted with dirty looks and a comment from a woman who said, "She can't do that." I started to get a tad bit nervous as we are in a developing country where religion is taken very seriously. I've seen placid situations escalate into mass maiming in a nano second in Kathmandu and I was sure we didn't want to see that.

I told her we should shoot what we can and get out quickly. Seems like this won't fly for too long. So we shot about two scenes and a monk appeared at her side. "No no no no no," was all he snarled at her as he ripped off some of her flags. He was very angry. So I shuttled our human prayer flag into a bathroom and she changed quickly while the masses got riled up behind us on the stupa.

I'm caught in the middle on this one. Because I get it. I really do. And I'm not in love with fashion, ever. But those prayer flags are made in a factory by common men and women with common tools. 

Yet feet are very unholy and truly the dirtiest, at times, in Nepal. Even to point a foot at someone is considered disrespectful. So I understand how blasphemous walking on flags that signify prayers to god sounds.

It was an interesting experience either way.