Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dordt Alumni in Design: Laryn Kragt Bakker

I graduated from Dordt in 1998, double majoring in art (graphic design) and computer science. I am currently Senior Designer at CEDC (The Center for Educational Design and Communication), based in Washington D.C., and I’ve been on the team here since 2003. Our tagline is “Social Justice by Design” because we are a non-profit that serves other non-profits in a number of ways, including through communications services such as web development, print design and logo/identity work.

The web was still quite new while I was a student, and the fields of graphic design and computer science didn’t cross in the classroom except in independent study. Since then, developments in the online world have exploded and there are a lot more ways to integrate the two.

I am an open source enthusiast, and over the last seven years I have expanded our web toolbox to include two robust and powerful content management systems (Drupal and Joomla). This allows us to design and build websites for our partners and give them easy access to add and edit their own content without having to deal with (and potentially mess up) the design of the site.

We also work on logo development and print design with our partners, creating everything from annual reports and brochures to posters and newspaper advertisements. One of the benefits of working for a small organization is that I generally get to be involved in the projects from start to finish, from the initial meetings with our partners through concept development, design and completion.

I also do some personal projects and some freelance design for entities that don’t fall under CEDC’s mission. I recently painted an original illustration for the cover and designed the cover and interior for my novel (Clutching Dust and Stars), which was recently published by *culture is not optional.

When you design, you have been hired to communicate something specific; you aren’t just creating art for art’s sake. I remember leaving Dordt with my degree in hand and being unsure where it would take me since I had no desire to head off to a traditional design firm and hawk Coca Cola or SUVs. I wanted to be sure that my energy was being spent and my skills being used in ways that were beneficial to others. I am grateful to have landed at CEDC and to be able to partner with such a variety of groups that are doing important work in areas of social justice, advocacy and education.

See the images below for a few examples of projects I’ve designed (and developed, in the case of websites). Click the images to go to a more detailed description of the project.

Clutching Dust and Stars. The cover of my novel, recently published by *culture is not optional, with an original illustration and design. Hello, Kiddies. A “Hello Kitty” parody advertisement for which ran full page in all editions of the Financial Times worldwide to call out the leaders who are blocking progress on the climate change issue.

Education for Justice. A member-based website with lesson plans and educational resources about Catholic Social Teaching.

CLINIC Legal. A member-based website designed to enhance and expand delivery of legal services to indigent and low-income immigrants. Our own website, which had been badly in need of redesign. I rebuilt it with a more colorful palette to represent the diversity of our partners and our projects. I also focused on Search Engine Optimization and we have definitely noticed an increase in our web traffic and digital inquiries.

*Laryn Kragt Bakker graduated from Dordt in 1998. He can be found online in a variety of places: his personal design site, his work blog, his informal blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, and LinkedIn.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the editor has approved them.