My Sticker Calendar – A Child Support Program

My sticker calendar is fun little thing that is created at our department to promote the city’s child support program. Parents brought their children to the closest Human Resources/Child support center, where the kids created drawings that were later sent to us. My adviser and I chose the twelve drawings that were going in the calendar, which I then designed. This was a fun project to work on and was the first time I designed a calendar.3IMG_29314Untitled-5

Event Invitation Cards!

Besides all the big projects I worked on,I worked on some small ones as well, such as invitation cards for some of the smaller events at HRA. These had a quick turn around time and were quite fun to do. Some were printed, while some were used as email invitations. Most of the time I was given complete creative freedom for these. Here are some of the cards I created.NAIAN_Invitation_2015eidEid_Invitation_Card_web

Celebration of Latino Heritage at HRA

One of the most challenging projects I have worked on were the designs for the Latino Heritage Annual Celebration in HRA. I created the poster and program designs from start to finish. During the course of the project I did not interact directly with the committee members, but my director did and they requested several changes to my designs. They constantly changed their vision for what they wanted, thus making me come up with a fresh design every time.

This was the first project where I decided to make the designs full-blown illustrations. The first design I came up with, what my co-worker named, ‘the androgynous person’, is an abstract profile portrait that incorporates national symbols from several Latino/Hispanic countries. The committee liked it,but thought it was too serious and this time they said they wanted a globe with only Latino countries on it and have all the flags kind of floating around it. My director wasn’t too excited with their idea, so told me to make it more interesting and she will try to sell the concept to them. So, for my second design I created the globe, but instead had a tree growing off the land and integrated even more national symbols growing off it. Like a bouquet of flowers. They took awhile to respond after my director submitted this design to them. During this time I decided to go back to my initial design and tweak it which resulted in a series of illustrations that everyone loved except for the committee.Untitled-2

Here is link to the series I proposed,but got rejected.

Afterwards my director came to me with another idea they had which was to do something with Latin music and the color yellow. I was really frustrated at this point and did not want to do another design for them, but I did anyway. This time they loved it and it got approved. I put in the least effort into this last one.

In the end I did not mind the constant changes I made , as it only served to my advantage. I got great results in the form of multiple finished pieces of artwork and refined my technique as well as trying doing some new ones.




The Role Model

Marc, our team’s illustrator, is a very talented and hardworking individual. He is humble and a well-spoken person. Alongside his day job, at HRA, he works on his artwork and has had his work displayed in several galleries around the city. His work is usually a kind of collage of numerous illustrations that he creates and puts together. The final product illustrates some social issue in America, that he has turned into a series.

We often engage in conversations about art, society, politics and everything comic books related. From time to time I would show him artwork and he would respond with a meaningful critique. It’s always been a good source of encouragement having a professional, well into his career, provide all the thoughtful insight he has, on the progress I’m making as an illustrator in training.

I am fortunate to have met someone like him while still being in school and will definitely be keeping in touch with him in the future.

Women’s History Month

For the past three weeks, I’ve been working on creating a design for HRA’s Women’s History Month event. I was stuck for awhile and so were all the other designers. The committee in charge of the event wanted a design revolving around the phrase, ‘ I AM………HRA Woman’.

After a lot of brainstorming I came up with an idea that everyone seemed to like including my director, who needed a little more convincing, but gave me the green light to create the final designs. So, for the imagery I took some photos from a previous HRA women’s history event and turned them into graphic sketches. I did this by turning them into gray-scale images, traced them in illustrator and finally drew in some line-work of my own. This was half of the design. The other half was the typography that I kept simple yet dynamic. Together the type and illustration gives a propaganda poster type feeling I was going for.

After the final designs were approved by the committee and my director, I printed and laminated 2×3 feet posters. In addition, I designed, printed and cut around 250 program booklets and bookmarks for the event.DSC_0260 DSC_0261 DSC_0262


Throughout my internship with HRA, I have maintained a professional attitude. I did everything I was asked and delivered my work in a timely manner. I have formed a good relationship with everyone in the department and they have grown to like me as well. I have definitely learned a lot working with the team and in return have produced better work than I did before, for the agency, school projects and even my own personal projects. I have learned how to use my time with far better efficiency to get my work done, giving me extra time to look at my work and pick out any imperfections before it reaches my director. Overall I have enjoyed my experience here and continue to do so.

African American Heritage Month

March is African American History Month, so the project to create a design has been assigned to me. This year the committee wanted the theme to revolve around the burial grounds of slaves here in New York, but also have something to do with Jason deCaires Taylor’s underwater slave sculptures. I decided to do an illustration by combining imagery inspired by wax statues in the museum by the memorial in the city, of a mother and daughter and African American symbology in an abstract composition. After quite some refinement I was happy with the result, but my director felt something was still missing. All the designers came together to come up with a solution. It was the department photographer who had an interesting idea. He used my illustration and combined it with a high resolution photo of the underwater sculptures and added some nice typography. In the end it this turned out to be a collaborative project with some nice results and everyone was happy.


HRA Culture

HRA is a government agency, so the culture is a professional one. Everyone dresses professionally. I usually dress in a button-down shirt and pants, with my shirt tucked in. Somedays I wear a tie, but it’s not mandatory.

As an intern I have my own cubicle with two computers, a pc and mac. When I get to work the first thing I do is check my HRA email for any notifications. My director and supervisor assign me projects in full detail this way and if I don’t have any questions I begin working immediately.

I take my lunch break around one in the afternoon. I usually bring my own lunch and eat at my desk. Days that I go out for lunch, I buy my food and come back to my desk to eat. I’ve never been out the entire one-hour break that I’m allowed.

I work with a pretty laid-back group of individuals. We spend our days joking around and laughing all the while getting our work done in a timely manner.

How I got the job

My role in the Communications department of HRA is that of a graphic designer. As an intern I do all sorts of graphic design. I create posters, pamphlet layouts, logos, infographics, illustrations etc. My supervisor, Joanna Flokiewicz, is the department’s senior designer and was also one of my interviewers alongside the department director.

I came across this opportunity through Citytech’s work-study, Public Service Corps Program. After I applied I received a call about a week later from the director, Ms. Gulamhussain, and set up an interview for the following week. I had an in-person interview with both her and my supervisor. The interview began with the director explaining what they do in the department and what the agency does in general. She told me how she also attended Citytech and got to where she is by starting as an intern within the same department. I was asked questions about what kind of design I was pursuing and if I was still interested in working at HRA. I had a physical portfolio with me as well so I had work to show and so we talked about my work and the type of designing I would be involved with if I took the job. I was definitely interested and just happy that I had this opportunity, so naturally I accepted the job. The next step, however, was a lengthy three week process to get a contract signed and processed through a few people, but I was just thankful to have found a good place to jumpstart my career and learn first-hand, from professionals to advance my own skills.

The Human Resources Administration of New York City

This semester I am working for the Human Resources Administration of New York City at World Trade Center building 4 in the Marketing and Communications Department as a graphic designer.

The Human Resources Administration (HRA) is a public company that was created on August 15, 1966 by Mayor John Lindsay and integrated a number of already existing human services offices. It is amongst the first to establish an agency for helping people with HIV/AIDS back in 1985 and comprises of numerous program areas called Responsibility Centers that all work together to reach people in need. In order to do so these centers are spread all over the city providing services ranging from cash assistance, child support to employment services necessary for better living quality.

In 2014, Mayor De Blasio appointed Steven Banks as the new commissioner of HRA. So far, it seems that he genuinely wants to make public services more efficient, but results are not being produced fast to enough to meet the needs of people who are seeking it. Nonetheless, he is moving in the right direction. One of the things he has been fighting for is improving the living situations of the homeless in our city. In a New York Times article, written last year by Leslie Kaufman, Banks has been working tirelessly to help the homeless. Mr. Robert Doar, banks immediate predecessor, in an interview said that, “He is absolutely determined to have the government to pay the rent of poor New Yorkers. He doesn’t want anyone to leave the city because they cannot afford housing. And he is making commitments to subsidize housing that will hurt working-class tenants who don’t seek public assistance.” We would have to only wait and see if his proposed plans actually make a difference and New Yorkers get the help they need.

Unfortunately, not all government employees are good-hearted honest citizens and find other means to take advantage of government assistance. According to an article in the Daily News by Greg Smith, last year, a group of employees stole about $120,000 in food stamps to buy Redbull cases in bulk and resell them. It’s not surprising that people would steal from the government, but the embarrassing thing is that these people were able to do this due to flaw in the system that allowed them to create fake electronic benefit transfer cards. After this incident the process has been made completely electronic and more secure.