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A Michigan State University (MSU) advertising class is to thank for the ideation of Downtown East Lansing's "DNA" campaign. MSU advertising students played with the initialism of Downtown East Lansing's slogan, "Daytime. Nighttime. Anytime." to create a mock campaign about East Lansing's "DNA" — referring to the small businesses, university, events, landscapes, and people who make East Lansing the lively city that it is.

Upon being presented with this mock campaign, the City of East Lansing asked me to help bring it to life. Read about the different design projects I created as part of the DNA campaign below, and watch this Instagram reel briefly explaining the campaign.

Skywalk Banners

My Brief

Create a banner design to serve as a soft kick-off to the DNA campaign.

My Design

I knew I wanted to incorporate a double helix in my design as a recognizable depiction of "DNA". Though I began with a more structured, symmetrical double helix, I ultimately decided on the more dynamic, free-flowing double helix seen in my final concept. I believed the structured double helix felt too academic.


To tie the more literal imagery of DNA (the double helix) with the more figurative meaning as it relates to the campaign (what makes East Lansing the lively city that it is), I incorporated photographs of a diverse range of community members at different local events and businesses in the design. The photographs, all of which were taken by me, were framed in circles and dispersed freely across the banner to depict little nodes along the DNA strand.

My color choice was directly inspired by the turquoise color that appears in Downtown East Lansing's logo. After messing with the color further, I found a subtle gradient to be most complimentary to the dynamic double helix.

Downtown East Lansing eGift Card

While working at the City of East Lansing, I was involved in the rebranding of the Downtown East Lansing eGift Card — now called the "DNA Card". The DNA Card can be spent at over 40 participating local businesses and is a tool used by the Downtown East Lansing Downtown Management Board (DMB) to help promote economic recovery at small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The DMB commonly uses the DNA Card as a prize in community contests, competitions,  and giveaways, and community members frequently purchase DNA Cards to give to their loved ones as gifts for holidays, birthdays, graduations, etc.

I also designed the "How to Redeem a DNA Card" guide which was distributed to participating merchants to place by their POS system.

Clock Tower Banners

The centrally located clock tower banners debuted in 2020 with COVID-19-related messaging. However, in the Spring of 2021, the City wanted to shift the messaging towards economic recovery. I came up with the Calendar of Events Banners to display on two sides of the clock tower to achieve this goal. This left me with two sides remaining: a perfect opportunity to expand the DNA campaign.

My goal was to integrate design aspects of the DNA brand with the Albert EL Fresco brand in the DNA clock tower banners — hence: tie-dye + double helix. I also incorporated the same photo nodes as I used in the skywalk banner (above), but with all new photographs to represent even more of the East Lansing community

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