Neither Dave Brown nor his friend Dylan Ousley like the stigma associated with using San Diego's public transportation system. Even in a city where owning a car seems requisite, and where the transit system isn't exactly as user-friendly as New York or San Francisco's systems, the boys certainly made the best out of riding the bus and trolley.
“We both ride public transit and, well, I'm broke,” says Ousley via e-mail. “Dave has this huge box of transit passes that he has been collecting. He knew that when the time was right, they could be put to use. We decided on creating a typeface out of the passes and use it to develop a socially relevant poster that reflects both Dave and I, the city and the future.”
The result is “I'm OK,” which, if we worked at the Metropolitan Transit System, we would immediately snatch up as our next advertising campaign, especially considering ridership is at an all-time high since the economy is still in the shitter and gas, after a steady decline in price, is beginning to creep back up.
“We decided to turn all my trolley tickets into a handmade font and develop a concept that was socially and culturally relevant,” says Brown, who's been saving the red and white passes since April. “The layout was intentionally clean. We're big fans of less-is-more. The messaging was intentional to let others know that while this economy sucks, it's gonna be OK. We're gonna get through this.”
The piece was specifically created for the cover of CityBeat.
Both the guys are in the business of making things socially and culturally relevant. Ousley, along with partner Gareth Geraty, runs Home Ec, a partnership that has worked on projects for Beer Advocate magazine and Waffo Clothing. Brown, on the other hand, has been a cool-maker for years. He heads up Holiday Matinee, a local creative think tank and branding company that has worked with everyone from UNICEF to MTV. But Brown's altruism doesn't stop at UNICEF. On Wednesday, Aug. 19, at the W Hotel's rooftop beach bar, he'll host Holiday Matinee's 10th anniversary party, which also serves as a Cause for Drinks benefit for Friends of TOMS, a nonprofit that helps prevent a debilitating foot disease called podoconosis in Ethiopia. Brown makes a strong connection between his branding work, the charitable angle of the party and his collaboration with Ousley on “I'm OK.”
“Giving is viral; it tends to boomerang,” he says. “Never under-give; always over-give—whether it's time, creativity, money, whatever. When people get together, great things tend to happen.”