No Jokes This Time, the Challenge is Difficult and Very Real

A tag team project with the Northfire Group. It is no secret that the opioid crisis runs rampant throughout the United State, and the colder North region is no exception. More specifically, opioid overdoses are killing more people in St. Louis County than anywhere else in Minnesota. There are significant social and economic impacts on the region as the number of deaths continues to climb; tragically affecting the lives of individuals, families, and the surrounding communities.

WDSE and WRPT enabled this project of story-driven public media across a six-part TV series, a podcast grouping, and a townhall presentation. Much of the project was also generously supported by local medical hospitals and organizations.

I was fortunate to be asked to create visuals that presented a specific tragic-frustrated-beauty to the project. Using very hands-on brush calligraphy techniques allowed me to create a very humanistic feel to be maintained in regards to a very human problem. I chose to reverse the proportions of the main ‘opioid’ letterforms were reversed from their typical appearance we recognize, echoing the very upside-down situation that the community is wrestling with. Finding a color palette that helped represent severity; optimism, and also the diversity of the communities within the North.