The result of a grant from Sappi’s Ideas That Matter, Savage worked with GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) Houston to develop literature that would raise awareness of issues surrounding sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, and change the culture of intolerance in schools.
Title: GLSEN Brochures
Client: Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
Design Firm: Saveage Brands
Design Team: Design Director: Doug Hebert, Illustrator: Juliet Borda, Writer: Molly Glentzer
The brochures were printed on FSC-certified recycled paper. More importantly however, the focus of this project was not on environmental sustainability, but social sustainability.
The brochures’ straightforward presentation of the detrimental effects of bullying on LGBT students incites discussion at GLSEN workshops. The case studies and response scenarios educate students and educators in how to treat LGBT students with tolerance and acceptance. The intent is to change the school culture, where currently 2/3 of LGBT students feel unsafe and 9 out of 10 experience harassment because of their sexual orientation.
These materials helped GLSEN generate brand recognition, so that when on-campus Gay-Straight Alliance groups need advice or assistance, they will know to reach out to GLSEN Houston as a resource. This leads to more opportunities for GLSEN to lead workshops or seminars, distribute materials and generally contribute to discussion on tolerance and social wellbeing within the educational environment.
By creating meaningful discussion and educating teachers and students about bullying, these materials are part of GLSEN Houston’s efforts to change the culture of intolerance in Houston’s schools. Not only are LGBT students harmed emotionally and physically by bullying, it also jeopardizes their future success by putting their education at risk. LGBT students who are harassed at school have, on average, a half-grade lower GPA, and are three times as likely to miss school.
In line with GLSEN Houston’s goals, the messaging of the brochures encourages tolerance and awareness of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. The narrative purposely does not sugarcoat the subject matter. With concrete facts about the detrimental effects of bullying on LGBT students, the brochures raise awareness of the prevalence of the issue. To support appropriate behaviors, Savage gathered real-life stories to create response scenarios that provide solutions for diffusing bullying situations.
The GLSEN brochures were developed as two companion pieces: one targeting students and one targeting educators.
Because the case studies featured minors whose identities needed to be protected, the brochure designs used casual illustrations in lieu of photography. To overcome the challenge of audience indifference, the brochures feature compelling, personal stories and facts that convey the prevalence of bullying and its detrimental effects.
Savage interviewed LGBT students across Houston to determine the sources and effects of intolerance and insensitivity in their schools. It was from these students that Savage gathered the real-life situations featured in the brochures. After the surprising fact that insensitive adults are as much a source of intolerance problems as students’ peers was discovered, companion pieces – one for students, one for educators – were created.
The goals for this project were to create materials that would attract attention, engender meaningful discussion about the bullying epidemic, educate audiences about how to better handle bullying situations, and compel change in the current culture of intolerance in Houston schools.