Barry Lee
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Love Is The Message, Pride Parade Installation for Mailchimp

Photo by Savana Ogburn

Photo by Savana Ogburn

"Love is the Message" references the MFSB song of the same name from 1973 which was one of the first original disco songs to be played in underground Queer clubs to which in turn helped really lay down the groundwork for Queer culture to flourish. Showing solidarity through love, the heart shape is prominent in this installation. There are different sized hearts some with wings and some without. The reasoning for some without wings is to represent those who can't be out yet or can't fully express themselves but to tell them they are still loved no matter what part of the journey they are in. Using UX Design principles & Illustration, I teamed up with Mailchimp to come up with the Atlanta Pride Parade Installation.

Myself with a few of the folks I interviewed for the project. Some asked not to be pictured/filmed.

Myself with a few of the folks I interviewed for the project. Some asked not to be pictured/filmed.

When asked to create something for Mailchimp, I decided to use a little bit of User Experience processing to gage what the LGBTQIA+ folks who worked for the company would like to see at the parade.

I feel that if companies are interested in being actual allies for causes they need to be able to have these discussions with those who are actually in the adverse experiences they are showing ally-ship for.

With this in mind, I talked to over a dozen employees and asked them really three-four simple questions. The questions included: What are you tired of seeing at Pride? What is Pride to you? What is Love to you? What would you tell your 16 year old self today?

After the interviews, I took some time to collect the data from the interviews to come up with the concept. The concept was named after the MFSB song of the same name, “Love Is The Message.” In the early 70’s, DJ’s like David Mancuso would throw Queer friendly parties that would play soul & funk albums. One of the songs that would be played frequently at these parties was “Love Is The Message,” these parties would later turn into the definition of Disco which was a heavily Queer influenced genre of music. In the past Mailchimp has been known for creating floats for the parade, but this year with the suggestion of the design team, we opted to create balloons instead.

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Photos by Lizzy Johnston

Along with balloons, Mailchimp wanted me to help design various freebies to hand out to parade goers. Running on the theme of “Love is The Message” we opted to have merch that would include the heart symbol which included koozies, pins and stickers.

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In addition to heart pins, the Pride committee at Mailchimp suggested me to design a pronoun pin set as well. Mailchimp employees sported shirts that I designed, along with hats and specialty tote bags that held the merchandise that was being handed out. There was a total of eight balloons on display as employees walked hand in hand carrying balloons and little signs I designed.

Along with helping design the various giveaways for the installation, I was also asked to curate a playlist that would be played during the installation. Harkening back to the Disco theme, I opted to create a playlist that reflected the music that was played at Queer clubs around the early 70’s - mid 80’s.

You can listen to that playlist here.

Photos by Lizzy Johnston

Photos by Lizzy Johnston