The 44th NYHC Annual Awards: Communication and Coordination
A Case Study for Event Production
Held at the iconic Sheraton Hotel in Times Square, with over 1,200 people in attendance, the New York Housing Conference Annual Awards is a heavy-hitter when it comes to nonprofit events. So when the NYHC approached us in August in hopes of partnering with us for the event, we were eager to help out. Having worked with the NYHC on their website redesign last year, we already knew we had a strong rapport and a super productive working relationship. This time, NYHC had something of a grander vision in mind.
The Big Event
The NYHC has a history of pushing boundaries and creating increasingly progressive and revolutionary advances in affordable housing for New York residents. To celebrate their progress, each year they put on the NYHC annual awards to honor the people, companies, and housing developers that make the NYHC such a success. By nature, an organization with such a sweeping impact on one of the biggest cities in the world needs a partner who can keep up and deliver results. They asked if were up to the task. We said yes.
While we fancy ourselves a full-service digital agency, the NYHC event had us extending beyond our usual day-to-day tasks, and we have to admit, it felt great to flex our large-event chops and get down to the nitty-gritty. The tasks at hand were several and would require not only designing the concept that would extend across all of the event’s collateral, but would also involve extensive coordination between the NYHC, all fifty of the organizations involved in the community impact gallery, and Printech NY, the printing firm that would be producing all of our materials…but more on that later.
“You guys turned it all around very quickly. Even though we had all these deadlines, it didn’t feel like we were down to the absolute wire; it felt like we still had some wiggle room and it was not a super stressful sort of thing.”
Rachel Fee | Executive Director, NYHC
A Design that Celebrates
When it came to design, NYHC had one direction for us: liven it up! At their previous housing conference event, they had chosen a dark palette, and this year they were hoping for something brighter — something that reflected NYHC’s status as a beacon of light and hope within a city that at times can prove to be a difficult place to live. In order to achieve a celebratory feel, we created a bright, illustrated cityscape with a skyline dotted with colorful shapes that resembled confetti. The design was playful and warm while still portraying NYHC’s ultimate mission: progressive, revolutionary, and homey affordable housing for New York residents.
“Knowing that last year’s event theme felt a bit dark and dreary, we immediately explored a few different design directions we could go in, ranging from complex illustrations to a halftone image-driven design that would play out a wide color palette. Ultimately, we agreed on a minimal illustration style with bright colors and confetti raining down over bold typography.”
Jordan Harriger | Associate Creative Director, e9
Off without a hitch.
“The quality of the graphics were fantastic, and we were really pleased with the quality of the print material as well.”
RACHEL FEE | Executive Director
Once it was approved and in place, we used variations of our design across the various collateral we were in charge of creating — from little things, like table tents, a stage and podium sign, a PowerPoint, and over 1,200 name tags; to bigger pieces, such as a 96-page program booklet (1,300 copies worth!), several large lobby column wraps, 11 pop-up posters featuring sponsor logos, and the 50 pop-up posters that represented the 50 submissions for the NYHC competition gallery. All of these materials were filled with images that needed to meet certain specs in order to uphold the high standard of visual quality the NYHC had set for the event.
This required a level of coordination that could only be accomplished by the most fastidious of project coordinators — and luckily we have a few of those on staff. By using modern project management tools to clearly communicate deadlines and final deliverables and by making ourselves available to the NYHC, all the involved gallery participants, and the printer, we were able to run interference between all parties to ensure that images were up to spec, materials were in, and every i was dotted and t was crossed. That’s thousands of deliverables, thousands of images, and thousands of cups of coffee (ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration), to make sure this all went off without a hitch.
“From the onset of the project, our goal was to take the stress off of Rachel and her team. By opening up their time, they were able to hit closer to crucial content deadlines. Our team was able to divide up the workload evenly between client communication, designing, proofing, and printer communication.”
CHENEY O’NEAL | e9 Designer | Production Manager
The Final Bow
“I would give you guys an A+. I really thought you did an amazing job, and your team was great to work with.”
RACHEL FEE | Executive Director
The event was a huge success. Our colorful and homey designs warmed up the conference rooms of the Sheraton and the large, bright, column wraps and pop-up posters were a focal point, drawing people to what this event was all about: the amazing work done by the staff, developers, volunteers, and community to make beautiful, progressive, and multifunctional affordable housing for our fellow New Yorkers.
Above all, the NYHC excels at resourcefulness, functionality, and multitasking. Just look at the winner of this year’s Community Impact Competition, The Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory. This affordable housing development also serves as a community meeting place, a shared kitchen for small food entrepreneurs, an eatery, a job training center, an arts space, and a garden. Just like the NYHC strives for so much more than simply a roof over the heads of New Yorkers, we here at e9digital strive to offer so much more than simply delivering digital experiences. From design to coordination to execution, we found inspiration in the breadth, impactfulness, and resourcefulness of NYHC’s work, and we aimed to match it.