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Innovation & Job News

A designer, a typographer and an illustrator walk into a bar ...


… and end up with something very interesting.  

For Jody Williams, it doesn't matter where the meeting takes place--it is ending up with "something very interesting" that he is counting on.

Williams is the founder of the The Citizen Project, a collective of creatives from a variety of disciplines that he says will be working on interesting and thought-provoking visual projects on an annual basis.   

The first project for The Citizen Project is inspired by the upcoming 200th anniversary of the writing of Francis Scott Key's Star Spangled Banner. It features four different creative takes on the American flag. Participating artists include  Brian Edlefson, Terrance Weinzierl, Michael Nykamp and Williams.

To support the inaugural project, Williams created a Kickstarter campaign. He also says the art will be available through his website and his Etsy page. Williams says their goal was to create a compelling visual that goes beyond the standard images of the flag.

The idea for The Citizen Project is based on Williams' experience as an illustrator and the creative fulfillment that comes with collaborating with other creatives: "We all work individually, off in our own space. We all have side projects, but not enough time. This is a way to carve some space, meet up, have dinner or have a beer, and work together."  

Each year, Williams envisions a new project and a new team. "The Citizen Project is the umbrella. The plan is that every year a team of creatives will generate a project," he says. Williams says the projects and teams will vary every year and hopes to be able to have a philanthropic angle so that the projects benefit a nonprofit or charitable organization. "Next year it will be something different," he adds. "The structure is evolving and I do not need to be part of it each year."

Although it's not the main focus of the endeavor, Williams is also very hopeful that The Citizen Project will help showcase the "incredibly diverse and talented" design community in West Michigan. "I'm always amazed when large corporations look to the east or west coast for design help," he says. "The talent is here."

To learn more about The Citizen Project, visit their site here.

Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor
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