Design Students Take the Lead On Creating Social Change


Seniors Anahi Rodriguez and Amaya Blanton presented their proposals to Carol Kirby Brown. Photos by Jan Ballard

A staggering 26% poverty rate and food insecurity are some of the dire plights in “Como,” a low-income, historically African American community hidden within the affluent Fort Worth 76107 neighborhood. Department of Design Senior Instructor Jan Ballard created a community engagement grant to assist Como Lions Heart Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to providing services to support families, youth and senior adults living in the underserved neighborhood.

In her course, “Professional Recognition for Graphic Designers,” seniors Anahi Rodriguez and Amaya Blanton designed new brand standards and collateral for the nonprofit.

“Como is an impoverished area amidst an affluent community. The irony within that is amazing,” Blanton said.

A Project for Change

"Back to School" event hosted by Como Lions Heart Inc. Photo by Jan Ballard

“Back to School” event hosted by Como Lions Heart Inc. Photo by Jan Ballard

Ballard presented her class with an opportunity to design new brand standards and marketing pieces for Como Lions Heart Inc. to raise awareness and promote its youth program’s success. Students learned about the mission of Executive Director Carol Kirby Brown and her initiatives.

From there, Rodriguez and Blanton eagerly volunteered to create individual proposals to assist the operations, fundraising and social media presence of the nonprofit. The students designed an updated logo, grant fundraising packets, testimonials flyers, business cards, custom stickers and rally towels.

“I’ve been in Fort Worth for three years and consider the city near to my heart. I wanted to participate in this project and help support the community,” Blanton said.

The students presented the proposals, with Carol Kirby Brown and Como stakeholders supporting both of their creative ideas for a brand refresh.

“We combined our proposals to create a happy medium,” Rodriguez said.

Working in the Community

Rodriguez and Blanton developed the new brand standards and collaborated with vendors to bring their vision to life. The pair updated the branding to reflect the nonprofit’s family and community-oriented initiatives. They also developed flyers highlighting the success stories of residents impacted by Como Lions Heart Inc., including a lawyer, nurse and NFL football player.

“I’m sure it’s amazing for Carol Kirby Brown to watch the organization grow and receive the support it deserves,” Rodriguez said. 

Anahi Rodriguez and Joe Brown at HF Customs. Photo by Jan Ballard

Anahi Rodriguez and Joe Brown at HF Customs. Photo by Jan Ballard

The students had the opportunity to visit Joe Brown (no relation), owner of HF Customs, to review the silk-screening production of the rally towels deliverable. Brown is an alumnus and was recognized as a 40 under 40 honoree by the Fort Worth Business Press.

“The Graphic Design program is one of the top programs at TCU, and it has been a pleasure working with these world-class students,” Brown said. “I really enjoy being able to share the back-end process of how their designs get produced on products. Understanding how artwork makes it on to merchandise and apparel is a key part of the corporate design process.”

Rodriguez and Blanton hope their project is the springboard to encourage community members to volunteer, support and participate in the organization.

“This is only the beginning, and I’m glad I was part of it,” Blanton said.

Explore upcoming events at Como Lions Heart Inc.