Team Stickers: Interview with the designer, Greta Snodgrass
July 31, 2017
Ever wonder where the “Team ____” stickers QMUNITY uses during Pride season come from?
CJ Rowe, QMUNITY’s executive director, sat down with the creator of the design, Greta Snodgrass, for a Q&A.
Pick-up your stickers at the Sunset Beach Festival on August 6.
What pronouns do you use?
What brought you into the world of graphic design?
I’m originally from Jefferson, Missouri and when I was in high school I started taking art classes. In fact, I took all of the art classes offered in school. But, when I think about it, I’ve always had an inclination towards graphic design. I was that person who always wanted things to look nice, all of my papers for school where typed in the best “fonts,” and I paid attention to format and layout of each page. The kind of things that most kids in school wouldn’t think about.
At the time, I didn’t know what to call it. It wasn’t until one of my art classes that I decided what it was. I was sitting in class looking at the bookshelf along the wall when I noticed a book about an art college called Savannah College of Art and Design. I looked the College up online and went to check it out in person. As soon as I arrived in Savannah, Georgia I knew that that was where I was going to go to school. I majored in graphic design and minored in art history and graduated with a 4-year Bachelor of Fine Art.
After my time in Savannah I moved to Toronto, Ontario where I volunteered with Pride House Toronto in 2015 during the Pan Am Games. Since that time, I moved to the Okanagan which I now call home.
What inspired you in the development of the “Team _____” campaign?
The “Team ____” campaign came about when I became involved in Pride House Toronto. A friend of mine reached out to me to see if I would be interested in designing some buttons for the 2015 Pan Am Games. There were a number of people working on different projects for Pride House Toronto and the “Team ____” campaign was a unique design developed by me.
As I was thinking about this project, I knew that I wanted to design something interesting enough for people to put on their shirts or bags and walk around town wearing. It had to be something related to Pride House Toronto’s mission and vision statement as it relates to the Pan Am Games.
The concept of Team is contextually important to the Pan Am Games. There is a duality here. Every sporting event during the games is a team event. Even with those that are singular sports (like fencing, wrestling, equestrian sports), you are part of the team representing country. The design draws on the notion of “team” in sport just as it draws on the notion of belonging and association. People have different identities and are part of different identity group whether they are gay, lesbian, queer or whatever you want to wear that day.
In Toronto, just as in Vancouver, there is such a huge community or communities that if you walk down the street you kind of wish you had ESP to know what someone is thinking. The design gives us a fun way to self-identify, to show others what “team” we belong to and identify with. It is meant to be used as a way to start a conversation with whomever you are standing next to. It’s an icebreaker!
How does design help social activism?
Without getting too technical, there is a line between practical and pretty. Finding the balance is vital to designing for social activism.
From a simple visual standpoint, anything can be used for social activism. However, if the content is not visually appealing or not designed correctly for the context, no one will “see” it and the message will be lost. You can have the best slogan, but if you aren’t visually sharing it in a way that makes viewers want to engage, what’s the point?
I always work to the best of my ability but do find myself going above and beyond for not-for-profit organizations who generally don’t have the budget or the access to work with a professional designer. Their message needs to be seen and heard just as much, if not more, and I am happy to help. It’s almost my professional graphic designer Hippocratic Oath.
What is important to you as a designer?
I make a point to make designs that find solutions to problems that aren’t just pretty but have a function, they solve a problem. When you have something that is multi-layered with meaning, that is what I’m passionate about.
How do we learn more about you?
I do have my personal website. LinkedIn.
People really like your “Team ____” design. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
As a designer the best compliment is to have your artwork out there. It’s a powerful tool for your organization to use to generate a conversation, a discussion, pull people in who haven’t had the opportunity to engage with that conversation before. I’m glad people like it. You know you have a good design when it stands the test of time and moves past the location in which it was created.