Think INSIDE the Circle: A Creative Approach to Donor Recognition at Lakin YMCA
YMCAs add an element of fun to any community, and it’s been a part of Council Bluffs since 1867 when it was founded by a Union Pacific employee. Since then it has grown to serve the greater Omaha area with multiple locations. Recently the Charles E. Lakin Foundation and the Iowa West Foundation began a joint venture with the YMCA of Greater Omaha to build a new facility featuring swimming pools, multiple fitness rooms, an indoor track, and early childhood development educational rooms.
When they built the new Charles E. Lakin YMCA in Council Bluffs, they wanted the donor recognition signage to be impactful and colorful. Their primary request was to include circles. They even had a preliminary design of circles in varying sizes and colors that would be scattered along a wall. Andrej Steinbergs, Environmental Graphic Designer at ASI Signage, imagined something more. Led by Justin Hart, the ASI team pitched a more distinct approach that encapsulated all the donor circles into the shape of a large circle with the donor title on an arc around it. The “circle of circles” was an instant hit with the YMCA leaders and these custom shaped sign design can be seen throughout the facility's signage package.
“My favorite designs are not the ones I sit and stew over, they’re the ones that hit me like a lightning bolt and then everything falls into place.”
“I had 2 options ready, both more vertically based because of the space we were using, but then these circles popped into my head, Justin told me to go for it, so I did. I put the circle idea together quick the same day they were coming in and it just clicked. The circle option was presented last and she chose it immediately.” said Andrej. “The most rewarding part of my job is when my design is exactly the right “fit” for the client.”
Interior Sign Design
The circles didn’t end with the donor recognition signage. Room identifiers were designed with a playful combination of colorful circles and rectangles that visually connect the interior signage throughout the facility.
Since donors and room names often changed, they designed the playful interior custom signs with Infinity, a modular signage system that utilizes a perforated chassis and aluminum panels with an exclusive attachment and registration system that allow for repeated updates and ensure precise alignment.
“ASI is a resource for clients looking for creative, custom signs. Sometimes clients don’t even know what they want, they’re just looking for something ‘different’ and we excel at envisioning what has never been done and making it happen.”
RECENT CASE STUDIES
PACE, Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment opened their new Hoff Family Arts and Culture Center only to close it 2 weeks later because of the pandemic. Signage plays a critical role in honoring their donors and finishing the design intent as they begin to re-open slowly.
The donor wall design is essentially a blank slate for the “Spirit of Generosity” to grow. With the goal of honoring the character and generous spirit of Iowans, this donor campaign gives ample opportunity at many giving levels with donations starting at $100. See how the design came together and what the finished wall looks like.
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