Chronic & Iconic
An Instagram support group run by and for disabled and chronically ill college students.
Role: Co-creator and Designer
Back in the summer of 2020, when the pandemic was at an all time high, my college-aged peers were outright ignoring the CDC guidelines and the rules that were going to protect immunocompromised individuals, like myself. This meant that this was a very lonely and isolating time. This is where the idea of a support group for college-aged immunocompromised students came from. I reconnected with an old friend, Cameron, I knew growing up, who is also immunocompromised, and she told me she wanted to have a Zoom call with some of her other immunocompromised friends. I was eager to join and help out in any way I could.
That first Zoom call had about 5 other people in it, besides myself and Cameron. That same day I started a Group-Me and since then we have grown to having over 75 people in the group. We hold weekly Zoom meetings and have a Snapchat group as well.
With the Group-Me taking off, Cameron and I decided we wanted to expand even further, we wanted to reach as many people as we could to educate and inform people on college-aged immunocompromised and disabled people, since a 20-year-old college student isn’t the image that pops into your head when you hear the word “disabled”.
Through this Instagram we began to create posts that ranged from educating people on the different disabilities members of the group had, to talking about the importance of the election, to ways our able-bodied peers could support us.
I have had such a fun time being able to use my design skills to help and promote something I am so passionate about: disability rights. It has been a very cool experience being able to apply what I’ve been learning to the real world and seeing it make a difference in people’s lives.
- Adobe Illustrator
I am going to walk through how I came up with one of the designs for the Instagram.
This post started off with the idea that although 2020 was clearly one of the hardest years for so many people, it is still important to “see the good”. I wanted to have a post that allowed people to focus on some of the good that came out of this year.
The idea for the design of this post came from that one of my escapes this year was being able to go watch sunrises and sunsets in the mountains.
This was the first step of my design:
After creating a basic outline of what I wanted the mountains to look like, I went in with the colors from the color scheme we have from the side to color the mountains. Here is the color scheme:
I decided to go with the blue color for the mountains and mess with different shade of it so you got the contrast of the mountains.
Once I settled on the different shades I wanted, it was time to start on the sun. With the sun being the most important part of a sunrise or sunset, I knew I wanted to make it very colorful. I started off with just having the circle colored but decided that wasn’t enough and I wanted to add some beams coming out of the sun.
I knew I was starting to get closer with this one but still thought it needed more, and I wanted to include more of the color palette.
All that I had left after this was to add the words “see the good” and a few other minor designs and it would be complete!
Next, I had decide which font I wanted to use. After looking over all the options I had, I narrowed it down to the three options below. I wanted the font to match the funky theme the rest of the design had but also be very easy to read which is why I decided to go with option 2. I felt as if it was the easiest to understand as well as being fun with the bubble letters and mix of uppercase and lowercase.
And after plugging in the words and adding a few other minor design details to the mountains, here was the finished product:
Here are a few of my favorite posts I’ve designed.
Overall, I learned so much from this project. I was not only able to work on something that I am so passionate about, but also incorporate what I am learning through my job and through my classes. One of my favorite parts about learning is being able to apply it to the real world and my life and Chronic & Iconic is a perfect example of that.
Some of the challenges I faced during the creation of this Instagram and the continued management of it is having to deal with people who don’t understand the purpose of our posts or try and argue with us in the comments of our posts. It was challenging to not have comebacks to them, but instead realizing that despite some negative comments, our posts were educating people and it’s better to just ignore the negative comments than to draw attention to them.
Chronic & Iconic is a project that I plan on continuing for years and years to come. Cameron and I hope one day we will be able to start a conference where all the members and followers would have the option to come meet each other in person and continue to educate each other on the different disabilities and the different ways we can improve in our lives to make the world a more equitable place for the disabled community.