RCMA

The Roaming Center for Magnetic Alternative (RCMA) is a lending library of over 1000 VHS tapes and video technologies traveling Mid-America to connect with outlying LGBTQ+ populations. An ad hoc media and research center, RCMA provides free screenings, videography workshops and equipment access for communities who wish to uncover and tell their own stories. The research examines the role of archives, sharing economies and self-made media throughout queer history.

Kendell Harbin, the founder of RCMA, reached out to Special Edition Co. to create a flexible identity visual system and web experience for her project. 

The Roaming Center for Magnetic Alternative (RCMA) is a lending library of over 1000 VHS tapes and video technologies traveling Mid-America to connect with outlying LGBTQ+ populations. An ad hoc media and research center, RCMA provides free screenings, videography workshops and equipment access for communities who wish to uncover and tell their own stories. The research examines the role of archives, sharing economies and self-made media throughout queer history.

Kendell Harbin, the founder of RCMA, reached out to Special Edition Co. to create a flexible visual identity system and web experience for her project. 

My Role
Branding & Identity
Web Design
Research
Wireframing

Client
RCMA / Kendell Harbin

Collaborators
Trent Roach
Special Edition Co.

Completed
2017

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Inspiration

We collaborated with Kendell to create visual mood boards to understand the aesthetic and vibe that she wanted for the brand. She was inspired by VHS cover designs, vintage film, and TV production company logos and contemporary print design.

We collaborated with Kendell to create visual mood boards to understand the aesthetic and vibe that she wanted for the brand. She was drawn to lots of VHS covers, vintage film and TV production company logos and contemporary print design.

We collaborated with Kendell to create visual mood boards to understand the aesthetic and vibe that she wanted for the brand. She was inspired by VHS cover designs, vintage film, and TV production company logos and contemporary print design.

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RCMA-Inspire-3

Branding Iteration

Guided by our mood boards, we iterated broadly and played with different typography, graphic elements and shapes to ground the mark. We worked closely with Kendell throughout the process to learn what was working and continued to refine. Below are a handful of our concepts.

Guided by our mood boards, we iterated broadly and played with different typography, graphic elements and shapes to ground the mark. We worked closely with Kendell throughout the process to learn what was working and continued to refine. Below are a handful of our concepts.

Guided by our mood boards, we iterated broadly and played with different typography, graphic elements and shapes to ground the mark. We worked closely with Kendell throughout the process to learn what was working and continued to refine. Below are a handful of our concepts.

RCMA-LOGO-DIVIDER

Typography & Color

We wanted the type pairing to reference the vintage digital, yet contemporary feel of the inspiration. Kendell wanted the primary branding color to reference the VHS blue screen. We complimented the primary color with a set of lighter colors and gradients to act as backgrounds for web and print. 

We wanted the type pairing to reference the vintage digital, yet contemporary feel of the inspiration. Kendell wanted the primary branding color to reference the VHS blue screen. We complimented the primary color with a set of lighter colors and gradients to act as backgrounds for web and print. 

RCMA Typography & Color

Final Branding

The final branding for RCMA features a logotype, a suite of flexible logo lockups and supporting graphic elements.

The logotype features adapted letterforms, adding a +/- to the R and A, referencing "Magnetic" in RCMA.  There are variations with and without the full name for different applications.

The logotype features adapted letterforms, adding a +/- to the R and A, referencing "Magnetic" in RCMA.  There are variations with and without the full name for different applications.

RCMA Logotypes

Circular lockups feature a graphic representation of a road leading toward a horizon which can be paired with the logotype or a line graphic VHS tape. Some lockups feature the full organization name around the border, while others are independent for simple applications like stamps.

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RCMA-Circular-Lockups-Color-BG

RCMA on the web

RCMA on the web

RCMA on the web

After establishing the RCMA identity, one of the primary applications of the brand was on the website. The website is important because it provides context about the project and helps promote upcoming events and workshops. The site is fully responsive to ensure a seamless experience across all devices.

Check out the website!

After establishing the RCMA identity, one of the primary applications of the brand was on the website. The website is important because it provides context about the project and helps promote upcoming events and workshops. The site is fully responsive to ensure a seamless experience across all devices.

Check out the website!

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Establishing the web experience 

Establishing the web experience 

Establishing the web experience 

We learned about goals and requirements for the website from Kendell, then kicked off ideation by sketching out a site map and very low fidelity wireframes. This analog exploration helped us realize the architecture of the site.

RCMA-Analog-Wires

We digitized analog sketches to continue refining the UX and information architecture of the site. 

RCMA-Digital-Wires

Landing & Home

The landing page of the website features a VHS screen. Upon click, the user is taken to the Home page which features a brief description of RCMA. Below the logo, navigation links are universally displayed for easy browsing of all of the content.

The landing page of the website features a VHS screen. Upon click, the user is taken to the Home page which features a brief description of RCMA. Below the logo, navigation links are universally displayed for easy browsing of all of the content.

RCMA-Web-Landing Intro
RCMA-Web-Home

About

RCMA is a very unique project and it was important to Kendell that the About page had a clear narrative to explain its different facets and the story. We structured the page so that imagery splits up the copy to support the story and makes text blocks more legible.

RCMA is a very unique project and it was important to Kendell that the About page had a clear narrative to explain its different facets and the story. We structured the page so that imagery splits up the copy to support the story and makes text blocks more legible.

RCMA-Web-About

Upcoming

RCMA hosts lots of events around Kansas City, but Kendell also takes her roaming center on the road in her van and transforms parking lots, strip malls, private venues, and public squares into pop up classrooms. 

Events include VHS tape preserving and free digitization services, workshops and VHS and equipment rentals. The Upcoming pages are important for promotion and providing participants information about the events.

RCMA hosts lots of events around Kansas City, but Kendell also takes her roaming center on the road in her van and transforms parking lots, strip malls, private venues, and public squares into pop up classrooms. 

Events include VHS tape preserving and free digitization services, workshops and VHS and equipment rentals. The Upcoming pages are important for promotion and providing participants information about the events.

RCMA-Web-Upcoming-Macro&Micro

Archive

Archive

Kendell collects digitized VHS tapes at events and also gathers donations which she digitizes. The Archive page is a space for this content to live online in its new digital format. Because some of the videos from events were personal to the donators, Kendell wanted to keep this page password protected and only accessible to collaborators until the content was vetted and ready to go public.

Kendell collects digitized VHS tapes at events and also gathers donations which she digitizes. The Archive page is a space for this content to live online in its new digital format. Because some of the videos from events were personal to the donators, Kendell wanted to keep this page password protected and only accessible to collaborators until the content was vetted and ready to go public.

RCMA-Web-Archive-Landing
RCMA-Web-Archive

Contact, Support & VHS Digitization

Contact, Support & VHS Digitization

Other pages like Contact and Support provide visitors information about reaching out to RCMA about an event or to donate to the project. Additionally, there is a page for booking a free VHS digitization appointment. 

RCMA-Web-Contact SPONSORS VHS

The identity in use

In addition to web application, the brand identity has been applied to promotional and informational materials including screen-printed tote bags and t-shirts, buttons, and risograph printed handbills and flyers for events. It is also used across social media for online marketing and promotions.

In addition to web application, the brand identity has been applied to promotional and informational materials including screen-printed tote bags and t-shirts, buttons, and risograph printed handbills and flyers for events. It is also used across social media for online marketing and promotions.

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