Annual Reception Branding

DC Center

Project Type

Print Design



Creative Director



The DC Center for the LGBT Community is a non-profit organization that represents the local DC LGBT community, serving as a trusted source of advocacy, support, and education. For their annual reception, their largest source of annual funding, they wanted to craft a lasting identity for the event that rang true to their organizational values, garnered a sense of community and elegance, and was flexible enough to feel fresh, but recognizable from year to year.


To start the project, I sat down and had a chat with some of the board members to get a feel for their organization. We discussed what makes The DC Center unique, their organizational goals, as well as their goals for the event. Reflecting on this discovery process, I learned that the DC Center is a trusted source of information, a friendly, safe environment, and that everyone there was exceptionally passionate about what they do. While these values are core to The DC Center, they added that they wanted this event to have an air of elegance, but still feel inclusive. These values were core principles that guided me while sketching logo concepts.


After discovery, I worked to bring out the values that resonated well with the DC Center stakeholders, while focusing on aspects they wanted flesh out further. To this end, I experimented with using bright colors, rounded shapes, and iconic DC architecture, playing on common symbols to relay a sense of community and inclusivity.

I took this even further by experimenting with their current grid logo, building upon their existing brand equity. This experimentation hich led to some interesting results. I found that by folding the outer corners inward, one could create a bow tie.


What I loved about this discovery was the sweet spot where bow ties reside. They can be very formal, a classic compliment to a tuxedo, or very fun and avant-garde. Bow ties can be both fun, elegant, or both, depending on context. The more I worked with it as a symbol, the more right it felt for this client.

After settling on the design, I worked with the DC Center to create a style guide, as well as some basic collateral for this year's Annual Reception. The goal was to establish a lasting framework the DC Center could use every year, building annual themes around the familiar symbol we created together. This year's theme was speakeasy, so we adorned the symbol with an elegant gold decorative element, playing on the art deco aesthetic commonly associated with that era.

I also created a style guide that acted as the backbone for the new event brand. That way, any new designer that works for The DC Center can run with these elements and create new pieces for future themes

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