November’s Still Kickin Poster: Designing Loneliness, Comfort and Love

In the hardest times, we need each other. It’s something Nora Purmort knows from experience, and it’s why she founded Still Kickin. Nora’s organization helps build an emotional and financial safety net for people going through their toughest moments. We were so inspired by Nora’s work that we launched a six-month collaboration. Some of Adobe’s most talented designers from around the world will design posters that reflect Still Kickin’s impact and message, and Still Kickin will use the profits from poster sales to continue their work.

Our third poster is by the deeply introspective Isabelle Hamlin, Germany-based senior experience designer. We asked Isabelle to give us the inside scoop on the meaning and creative process behind this month’s poster, available here.

Why did you volunteer your time to create a poster for Still Kickin?

Nora gave a presentation at our office in San Francisco—I was touched by how open and mindful she was as she talked about her personal turmoil and heartbreaking losses, and I was impressed by her ability to turn them into something positive. So when there was a chance to design this poster, I jumped at the opportunity to support Nora’s work.

What is it about Still Kickin’s mission that means the most to you?

We all know that tragic moments are a part of life, but that we still have to move on with our sadness and embrace life in our own unique ways. Still Kickin is a way of saying that you are not alone on this path. You can’t really prepare for everything that might happen, but you can find someone who’ll hold your hand.

What was the inspiration for your poster?

I wanted to convey a moment of comfort when you feel lonely. I created a night scene because night is when things quiet down and, for me, those quiet feelings of burden or pain become loud. I have two little children, so there’ve also been many sleep-deprived nights when I’ve been up caring for them. My image stands for that feeling when you have a strong urge to sleep, to float on the clouds of dreams, but at the same time you’re being pulled down by the needs of a little creature (symbolized by the anchor), who has no interest in sleeping. Love is the power that keeps you going in those heavy moments.

Tell us about the design elements you used in the piece.

 There are five elements in the poster: the cloud, the anchor, the strings, the stars, and the ground. The cloud and anchor are bound together, and they keep moving together even though they also want to go in different directions. The cloud symbolizes lightness in life, the anchor is the burden, the string keeps the experiences tied together, influencing your path in life. The stars shine for optimism and putting yourself into perspective in the universe. The ground is a few lines to represent the German word Heimat—your relationship to a social unit—and the choice to move on, or to stay.

How did your ideas evolve into the final design?

 I work on the Adobe Design Icon team, so I specialize in simplifying complex concepts into easily understandable metaphors. In this case, I was trying to capture a swirl of feelings with simple metaphors that speak to me.

What do you love most about the piece you designed?

 To me, the design is a quiet place, a mixture of sadness and comfort. The project became much more personal than I’d expected, and now that it’s complete, I feel a moment of peace.

Do you think designers can play a role in making the world a better place? If so, how can they best use their design superpowers for good?

 I think designers can help make the world easier to understand and more aesthetically pleasing. To me, everything around you is part of your creation, and you can use that to transform the world in positive ways. I wish all designers, and all people, would remain conscious of the impact their work has on others.

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