As a designer and a young person with a passion for social issues, Mallory Krubenik’s article for OnMilwaukee caught my attention right away. The article is about the Lacey’s Hope Project, a campaign to spread awareness about human trafficking. The article discusses the topic of human trafficking in the city of Milwaukee and also touches on the meaning of “design activism” with a brief interview with Alison Galarza, the Designer and Art Director for the campaign.
I think this is a successful article, according to the insights and advice from OnMilwaukee Senior Writing and Editor Molly Snyder. The article is short- approximately 500 words- but gives an adequate amount of information on a serious topic. My attention was not lost at all while reading the article and it was an easy, interesting, and informative read.
The writer’s introduction is fitting for the OnMilwaukee audience, which we determined to be tourists and the young, liberal adults in Milwaukee. So starting the article off with “For many, Milwaukee is the vibrant and energetic undiscovered gem of the Midwest” is perfect. It then gets serious and to-the-point as the following paragraph transitions into statistics about Milwaukee’s human trafficking problem. Throughout the article, hyperlinks are used appropriately to give the reader the option to learn more about the marketing team and the campaign.
My only critique of the article is with the headline. The headline, “"Design activism" raises awareness through advertising of serious issues” merely states the definition of design activism, and doesn’t mention the campaign at all. In my opinion, the campaign is the main topic of the article, and the topic of design activism is touched on later in the article. I would have preferred to have seen Lacey’s Hope Project somewhere in the headline, rather than having it pushed into the subhead.
From forming my own analysis of the OnMilwaukee website and reading fellow classmates’ blogs, I think it is accurate to say that OnMilwaukee seems to cater to the white, liberal population of Milwaukee. There are a lot of articles about the “pretty” side of Milwaukee, fun things to do, top tier restaurants to check out, etc. The article I read for my first blog post was about all the cool rooftop patios and restaurants in Milwaukee. So, with that in mind, I was a bit surprised to see this article about one of Milwaukee’s biggest urban design dilemmas: the ugly parking lots.
In this article, Jason McDowell mourns the loss of Milwaukee’s old architecture and, essentially, Milwaukee’s history. It’s an interesting article that touches on some of Milwaukee’s issues- gentrification, parking, poor stewardship, lack of attention to urban planning- and includes valuable insight from Professors of Architecture, Robert Greenstreet and Arijit Sen. McDowell’s article is written with lamentation (using words like “decay,” “passive,” “loom,” “razed”) but also has the perfect amount of sarcasm and “sass”. You can really feel his frustration towards the city of Milwaukee for letting the city become full of such barren and dull spaces. One of my favorite quotes was, ‘Nobody looks at a parking lot and says, "That is beautiful."’ Honestly, so true.
The article features side-by-side images of old, black and white, architectural images from the Wisconsin Historical Society next to new images of parking lots. Though the images are interesting, and McDowell makes a lot of valid and relevant points in the article, I couldn’t help but think that the article was a bit repetitive. One thing he mentioned that was interesting to me was about how all these new parking lots discourage the use of public transportation. I wish this thought was expanded upon more. I also wish the article didn’t end so abruptly and at least had some sort of conclusion or solution at the end.
Read the article here.
An author’s voice is a representation of how they think and operate. It can be formal, informal, pensive, creative, witty, sarcastic, meticulous, poignant, reflective...
It’s clear that artist and writer Todd Mrozinski has a strong attention towards detail and environment, and that he cherishes and embraces the feeling of intimacy and connection between himself, his experiences, and art. His article about his visit to the Portrait Society Gallery for UrbanMilwaukee tells about his experience viewing the work of 3 different artists in a poignant and evocative way. The article is written like a story, starting with Mrozinski entering the gallery, interacting with and reacting to the different pieces of artwork, and ends with a reflection as he exits the exhibition. I think what made the article moving was that Mrozinski had consideration for the artists’ personal experiences. I think the most powerful part of this article was when Mrozinski wrote, “I have never seen it without artwork on the walls and I feel a sense of isolation. As I take a seat in the corner, I think of M. Winston in his cell.”
“The Power of Great Paintings” for UrbanMilwaukee is less story-like than the aforementioned article. Mrozinski’s attention to detail shines in this article as he describes a handful of paintings he viewed at a European masters exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum. He takes time to paint an image in the reader’s mind with his descriptions of the artwork. Well-researched and knowledgeable about painting techniques, he explains in detail the compositions that he viewed: “The oil paint was teased upon the surface of the canvas and then slightly flattened, creating the illusion of candlelight hitting the fruit’s surface,” “The clay-like paint is pushed, smeared and built like the mountain, Mount Sainte-Victoire, that he would paint over 60 times in his life.”
View Todd Mrozinski's website here.
OnMilwaukee is an independently-owned digital media company that focuses on creativity, community, and connection. The publication has a strong digital and social presence. For me, the first thing I noticed was the branding of the publication. The logo looks friendly and approachable, and includes a symbol that is recognizable to Milwaukeeans. When I browse through the site, I don’t feel as if it is being targeted to a certain gender. The simple primary color palette makes it neutral and appealing to people of any gender. In regards to age, I feel that the demographic that is being targeted is 25-35-year-old, young professionals. The UX of the site is simple. There are only 3 tabs on the navigation bar (“Home”, “Guides”, and “on/anything”) and a large search bar up top. The website is a continuous scroll, but there are some featured articles on top, along with a featured authors section and latest podcast section.
Article: 19 rooftop patios to explore before summer’s end
This article is in list format. It gives a brief 3-5 sentence summary of 19 different rooftop patio restaurants in the Milwaukee area. It definitely appeals to OnMilwaukee’s target audience that I mentioned above. I personally find this article appealing because I am always looking for new restaurants to check out and I love well-designed spaces with a good view so the content of the article was of interest to me. I thought the photos were stunning and gave a good representation of each of the rooftops that were discussed.
Right off the bat, the look and feel of this site is different from OnMilwaukee. It feels geared towards an older audience. There are 17 tabs on the navigation bar. It is not a continuous scroll, but similarly to OnMilwaukee, it has the latest articles at the top of the page. Different sections- for example, music, sports, food- and their featured articles are organized in a cluster-like way.
The Shepherd Express is a free weekly newspaper featuring independent local journalism. They have options to financially support the publication by becoming a member and getting perks.
Article: This Week in Milwaukee: Aug. 26-Sept. 1, 2021
I think the article was well-organized. It had headers with dates, then subheadings with the title of the event, location and time, then below was the body which goes into more detail about the event. I liked that they went into detail explaining the Japanese Taiko drum performance and the significance that it has in Japanese culture. I liked that they inserted a youtube video of one of the performances from a past year. The typeface that’s used for the article feels a bit “old” and boring. Not something I personally find appealing but it makes sense for their audience. Another thing about this article is there weren’t many photos. I think one of the photos is placed under the wrong date/event.
The Urban Milwaukee publication was founded in 2008. It feels like it’s geared towards an older audience based on the design. There are 6 tabs up top, when you hover over the tabs, “sub-tabs” pop up. There is one big article at the top then as you scroll, it’s just a long list of articles not organized in any specific way. It seems to publish more “mature,” adult articles.
Article: Family Files Complaint For Discrimination Against Native Students
This article felt like a more formal news article. It included lots of quotes from the parties involved. There is one photo at the top, but none throughout the article. The point size of the text is smaller than the other publications I looked at.
The UX of the website feels more interesting and modern than urbanmilwaukee and the Shepherd Express. The typefaces feel more “fresh.” There are 10 tabs at the top and a side navigation bar as well. It feels geared towards a younger audience, maybe 25-35 year olds. There’s a “slideshow” of articles at the top, trending articles, then as you scroll down, they’re organized by topic.
Article: You Can Have Your Portrait Taken Today for an International Art Project
There is one photo at the very top of the article. There is a main article title, a brief subhead right underneath and the author’s name. This is a very short article. It seems like the main goal is to spread information (date, location, time) and briefly explain the event. It has hyperlinks throughout the article.
It feels like the audience for Milwaukee Record is 35-40 year old males. It has a navigation bar at the top and their socials listed right below. The featured articles are arranged like a gallery at the top. It seems to have a heavy focus on music and local events. They have certain features like “Record Recommended” and “Mandatory Milwaukee”.
Article: Mandatory Milwaukee: Art and nature collide at Lynden Sculpture Garden
This article has lots of photos of the sculpture garden. The article is written in an informal and conversational manner, but still provides relevant information. It gives history of the garden and has links embedded in the article. There are captions on some photos of sculptures stating the title of the piece and the artist’s name
i-D has been creating editorial content for over 30 years and started as a fashion fanzine. It is now a magazine and digital publication. It covers topics like news, culture, fashion, photography, music, beauty, and communities in the U.S. The target audience seems to be young people, maybe 18-25 years old. There is one giant photo/article when you open the site, which spans across the whole screen. Then as you scroll, there’s a “today in i-D” section and “features” section. There is a specific aesthetic of how the website is designed. Some of the headings are all lowercase, including the first letter of the word. Only sans serif typefaces are used.
Article: The queer artist exploring masculinity with Medieval symbols
The article features 6 pieces of artwork from Jakob Rowlinson and digs deep into the imagery and motifs that he uses. The article is well written, formal and scholarly. It contains some big vocabulary words that I didn’t know the meanings of. It was an interview but it didn’t feel like an interview- the quotes from the artist were scattered thoughtfully throughout the article. The images of the artwork were placed every two paragraphs, so it felt balanced. The images were crisp and high quality. I do wish there were little captions with titles of each piece.