Showcasing an expansive community with expressive art

The year 2022 marked the 35th anniversary of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which was founded by a small group of families affected by suicide who banded together with a team of researchers to learn more about how to prevent future loss of life. Since its research-focused start in 1987, AFSP has continued to grow in size and scope, investing in education, advocacy, and support for those affected by suicide — and saving lives.

For their 2022 annual report, AFSP wanted to recognize their work leading suicide prevention for 35 years, while also conveying their commitment to save more lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide. As a community-driven organization, they always aim to highlight their volunteers, advocates, researchers, participants, and staff too. Through conceptualization and design, our job was to help weave together the story of their past with the present, and make the enduring theme of community feel fresh.

Key Insight
While AFSP social media often features illustration and hand-lettering, the visuals of past annual reports have focused on photographs of individual volunteers. With a theme based on a broad range of people coming together, we decided early on that illustration could give a more inclusive vision of their community, both past and future.

Drawing on content written by the AFSP team, we identified core activities that have made up their community's work over the years: banding together, growing together, learning together, and hoping together. We commissioned illustrator Monica Obaga to bring these four ideas to life through her diverse characters, distinctive color palettes, and gentle, fluid shapes. We also created custom lettering of these "together" phrases, which became the title of the report. Inspired by Monica's style, the forms change from letter to letter to further reflect the diversity of the AFSP community. This custom art is featured prominently in the print report and on the annual report microsite, where it has been subtly animated to produce a dynamic landing page. Importantly, the organization's impact stands out throughout the body of the report with the use of bold, expressive numbers as a primary visual.

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Services: Content Strategy, Art Direction, Online Microsite