For my day job, I serve as Marketing Director for the Evansville Christian Life Center. The ECLC works to restore people from need to potential by fighting poverty and strengthening families.
One of the major barriers the ECLC faces is a lack of awareness and understanding of what poverty is and effective ways to fight it. Raising awareness of these issues is a key component to what we do.
As a solution, we created a children’s story, Jeremiah Jettison and the World Beyond the Walls, to help parents teach their kids about poverty and generosity.
“When we work together we all get better.” – Jeremiah Jettison
To make this project effective, three main values served as guidelines for the creative elements:
1. Artistic and accessible
2. Timely and timeless
3. Teaching and telling a good story
ARTISTIC AND ACCESSIBLE
Working with the extremely talented illustrator Ben Wade, we created the world of Cheddarton through a visual style inspired by vintage Disney, Jim Henson, and classic storybooks. The challenge with an artistic style and craftsmanship is that there is a danger of leaning too far “critically” so that it becomes less accessible to children. We wanted to avoid creating something that we could pat ourselves on the back about, but that kids didn’t want to read.
TIMELY AND TIMELESS
Moving that point even further, the project needed to complement the overall ECLC (which happens to be a 30-year-old organization housed in a 100+ year-old red brick monastery) branding value of “timely and timeless.” Visually, we wanted to move beyond a contemporary suburban setting to one of a classic story. Yet, at the same time, we wanted the characters to be bright, colorful, and engaging to a young audience. These values affected everything from clothing style to the level of illustration detail to font choice (Henny Penny).
TEACHING AND TELLING A GOOD STORY
The other challenge we faced was of using story to teach. Message-based stories easily come across as heavy-handed and dull. Typically the story is sacrificed to get the message across. Keeping that in mind, we worked to make the message (“when we work together we all get better”) core to the story itself.
The resulting books, videos, and website reflect theses values and will hopefully serve to further the ECLC’s goal of raising awareness and action in the fight against poverty.
Check out the book trailer below, created by Fat Head Media.
Learn more about Jeremiah Jettison at jeremiahjettison.com.