RCMA

The Roaming Center for Magnetic Alternatives (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 brand identity and website experience for her project.

The Roaming Center for Magnetic Alternatives (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 brand identity and website experience for her project.

My Role
Branding & Identity
Web Design
Research
Wireframing

Client
RCMA / Kendell Harbin

Client
RCMA / Kendell Harbin

Completed
2017

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Inspiration

We collaborated with Kendell to create visual mood boards to understand the aesthetic and essence. She wanted the brand to feel nostalgic, yet modern and draw inspiration from VHS covers, vintage film, old 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 essence. She wanted the brand to feel nostalgic, yet modern and draw inspiration from VHS covers, vintage film, old TV production company logos, and contemporary print design.

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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 various supporting graphic elements.

The final branding for RCMA features a logotype, a suite of flexible logo lockups, and various 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 that 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.

Circular lockups feature a graphic representation of a road leading toward a horizon that 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 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!

RCMA-Web-MacbookProMock

Establishing the web experience 

Establishing the web experience 

Establishing the web experience 

We had brainstorming sessions with Kendell to learn about her goals for the site, determine necessary pages, and discuss the overall user experience. The insights we gathered guided initial site map sketching and low fidelity wireframing to work out the information architecture.

We had brainstorming sessions with Kendell to learn about her goals for the site, determine necessary pages, and discuss the overall user experience. The insights we gathered guided initial site map sketching and low fidelity wireframing to work out the information architecture.

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

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

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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 story and mission. We structured the page so that relevant imagery splits up the copy to support the story and make large blocks of text 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 story and mission. We structured the page so that relevant imagery splits up the copy to support the story and make large blocks of text 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. 

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.

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.

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Archive

Kendell collects VHS tapes at events and gathers donations to digitize. The Archive page is a space for this content to live online in its new digital format. Because some of the videos from events are personal to the donors, 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 VHS tapes at events and gathers donations to digitize. The Archive page is a space for this content to live online in its new digital format. Because some of the videos from events are personal to the donors, 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. 

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

Brand Application

In addition to web application, the brand identity is utilized on promotional and informational materials including screen-printed tote bags and t-shirts, buttons, and risograph printed handbills and flyers for events. It is also utilized across social media for online promotion.

In addition to web application, the brand identity is utilized on promotional and informational materials including screen-printed tote bags and t-shirts, buttons, and risograph printed handbills and flyers for events. It is also utilized across social media for online promotion.

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