My work at Creative State, a design agency started at TCNJ with the goal to turn project concepts that aid the surrounding community into actual, working products.
During my sophomore year at The College of New Jersey I took a class that showed me the power design could have in helping a community. The goal of the class was to work with real clients from the neighboring community, Trenton NJ, who could use some tech savvy students to make their organizations serve the community better. The problem was that a lot of great ideas lacked the resources and time necessary to bring them to life. So I decided to make it happen, pioneering Creative State in an effort to turn prototypes into tech that could actually help the Trenton Community and beyond.
The first project on the agenda was the Trenton Makes Campaign, which was started when I was in the Design Perspectives class. When entering Trenton you will undoubtedly pass a large bridge over the Delaware River with gleaming words that read, "Trenton Makes, The World Takes". Ask any outsider what Trenton makes, exactly, and they'll have no clue. The phrase is a nod to when Trenton used to be an industrial powerhouse on the East coast, but even though that era has passed, it is clear from talking to Trenton residents that the city is still "making", just in a different way.
My team sought to show that Trenton and its residents are still making...making beautiful art, delicious restuarants, lively businesses, and so much more. We created the Trenton Makes Campaign to showcase the wonderful people still living and making in Trenton. I eventually transformed the orginal prototype to a custom wordpress theme. The project has since prompted a collaboration between the Interactive Mulitmedia and Journalism departments to document stories and has even become the centerpoint for a TCNJ class.
Check it out here
The next project was the first I completed entirely while running Creative State. Solve City is a mobile reporting app meant to empower citizens of Trenton to report infrastructure problems in their city. This project also came out of the Design Perspectives class. Two semesters of the class worked to create the UI and graphics. I worked with a team of students to develop the mobile application and connect it to the open-source mapping platform, Ushahidi.
The app is meant to be as simple and easy as possible - essentially it's just a form for submtting reports. It autodetects location but allows the user to input their own. A user can also optionally add a photo. Then, review your report and submit. The report will then be pushed to our Ushahidi based platform. We're currently talking with the city of Trenton to make the app available to the public.
My next two projects with Creative State this semester are in the works! The first is a project to light up Trenton streets at night with engaging projection shows mapped to the windows of our downtown office. The second is to start a Code for Trenton Brigade! Check back for updates on both.