January’s Still Kickin Poster: Hardship and Hope

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 fifth poster is by Sam Wick, a California-based senior experience designer. We asked Sam to give us the inside scoop on the meaning and creative process behind this month’s poster, available here.

When you learned about Still Kickin’s mission, what meant the most to you?

I was really impressed by how Still Kickin helps people without putting them in a traditional victim role. The organization has its roots in Nora’s struggles, and in how she was able to take control of her own narrative. Now the organization helps other people do the same. I was also moved by the way they refer to the people they help—Still Kickin calls them heroes, and I hope this helps empower them and helps us all think differently about people who are overcoming huge obstacles.

What was the inspiration for your poster? What did you want to communicate?

My poster is about how dark and lonely extreme hardship can feel, and the power of hope to get through it. I created a spot of blue sky that’s meant to be a metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel. It represents the hope of getting through seemingly insurmountable hardships. Like the figure in the poster, you may be able to see what that looks like, even if you don’t know how to get there yet.

Tell us a little about your creative process for this project. Where did you start? How did your work evolve into the final product?

My first step was to sketch out a number of ideas, just to get them out there. I explored concepts surrounding hands and helping. I also considered themes of darkness and light, hardship and comfort. Ultimately, I landed on my design because I thought it was the most focused idea, both graphically and conceptually. I drew the figure in Illustrator Draw and took it into Photoshop. Then I created the ray of light and composited the sky and the texture together.

What do you love most about the piece you designed?

My favorite thing about this poster is that it supports a good cause. And it was great to get to do some illustration. What I love most about the final piece is how the high contrast creates drama.

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 everyone can, and should, play a role in making the world a better place, whether they are designers or not. For some people that means dedicating themselves fully to a cause. For others, that might mean donating money, time or expertise. When designers lend their professional expertise to a cause, a lot of us find that our skills are powerful and welcome. And since finding ways to improve things is a core skill for designers, hopefully everything we do contributes to a better world, even if it’s in a very small way.

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