Tuesday, October 12, 2010

VIS ADVOCACY | Studio Research: ALR – Another Limited Rebellion

For the NYC based Ma-Yi Theatre Company's production of the new play Microcrisis. The show is a dark comedy about the recent financial crisis and the possibility of another one based on the recent interest in microcredit, thus the use of penny roll wrappers as cartoon style dynamite...

Inspired by the enduring legacy of punk rock activism, ALR Design was founded in 2001 by Noah Scalin, the former art director for Troma Entertainment and Avirex Clothing company. ALR was founded as an ethnically driven firm based upon his experience with youth marketing and passion for grassroots activism.

activism: a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue. Merriam-Webster

Noah and his firm, comprised of 3 others, are all about positive change and meaningful design; he has developed a course on socially meaningful design for Virginia Commonwealth University as well as a community supported agricultural group in Richmond, Virginia.

Noah defines their philosophy as one of a challenge to himself but also to those they come in contact with...

"Can someone make a living doing what they enjoy and effect positive change in the world?" - Noah Scalin

"Could I create graphic design that upholds my deepest beliefs yet still be able to feed myself?" - Noah Scalin

Brooklyn based Target Margin Theater; a season brochure that reflects the spirit of the work being produced rather than the literal content
This multipurpose folded mailer promotes their Laboratory productions and also functions as a poster for the entire season. It benefits the company by costing less than multiple pieces and benefits the environment by creating less waste...

ALR is a prime example of the practices we have been reading about concerning meaningful design and putting your beliefs at the forefront versus doing work that you may see as controversial only to see its benefits on payday. Within these beliefs they have defined a list of commitments they with hold for their own integrity which effects their client audience as well. To hold their beliefs in such high regard and implement them everyday is quite remarkable. Below are a few on the most significant in my opinion:


• Provide high quality design for clients whose work benefits the communities in which they are located.

• Work with clients who are not involved in the creation of cigarettes, alcohol, or weapons.

• Work with companies who are not involved in a labor dispute nor are targets of a boycott for its labor or environmental practices.

• Attempt to make designs that create a minimum of waste and do as little harm to the environment as possible.

• Donate 10% of profits to non-profit organizations.

"Sure this is a monumental task. It means redefining what it means to be successful, but this is a challenge worth taking, one whose rewards are manifold." - Noah Scalin

The goal with the new logo was to show the fun, bold, and vibrant energy around the diverse international productions that The Play Company produces. The group also wanted to have an edge to their look, showing they were willing to take risks.

Due to this Philosophy, Noah has been invited to speak at conferences and school around the country, they have also gained international exposure in the publication of two-dozen books and several design publications. Noah has also been working on two books of his own, 365: A Daily Creativity Journal from Voyageur Press and The Design Activist’s Handbook from How Books. The 365 book is an interactive publication encouraging the reader to create every day for a year, embark on a year long journey of creativity.

"By no means do we think we will be 100% successful. Instead ALR is offering a learning environment for ourselves as well as our clients: a hands on approach to incorporating socially conscious philosophies into every aspect of our lives." - Noah Scalin

The logo, which will mainly be used with their potential partners, needed to reflect the idea that their form of "green" energy is extremely reliable. The simple repeated shape within the icon speaks to the fact that they have a systematic approach to problem solving that creates create strong partnerships and sturdy structures. And while the forms have an industrial feel there is still an organic quality to their layout which hints at the positive growth associated with working from an environmental standpoint.

His firm, ALR, operates by a business model known as the Triple Bottom Line which is essentially a strategy for sustainable growth taking into consideration People, Planet, and Profit. With this model, the firm reports its it impact in terms of social and environmental values as well as financial returns.

All information and design work has been referenced from the following sources:

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