The average person may not automatically associate graphic design with service and community building. Designers just create a project for a client and that’s the end, right? While in certain cases this may be true, there are also countless ways that designers at large are constantly affecting our way of life, our everyday activities, and how we navigate the world. And then there are designers like Briana Metzger, who are using their design work to nurture our sense of community right here in Indianapolis.
Metzger was born and raised in Indianapolis, and attended the Herron School of Art + Design where she graduated in 2016. She started interning at RLR Associates design firm during her junior year of college, and now works there full time as an experiential graphic designer. The biggest project she’s worked on recently is one that focuses on a idea that is quite true for her: “Indiana is home.”
The project that RLR took on was to design the Indiana Association Realtor’s new office in the Harrison Building. Being an organization with a lot of pride for Indiana homes, IAR wanted the headquarters to include a visual display of Indiana’s diverse real estate, as well as a timeline history of the Harrison Building.
“We had the idea for their realtor members to submit their favorite piece of real estate that represents Indiana as home,” Metzger said. “And there are different perceptions of home. Home could be the downtown of South Bend. Home could be the farmland that someone is taking care of. It could be a small historic neighborhood. It could be a big apartment complex. Those are some things we wanted to capture: the realtors are a part of a larger, changing Indiana community.”
Despite being native to Indianapolis, Metzger says that the project really opened her eyes to everything that Indiana has to offer.
“I’ve been learning about these small towns that all have their own unique culture, and have places that I would love to spend time in,” she said. “It shows me that we have these different lifestyles in Indiana, and there’s more to it than just Indianapolis.”
Metzger, and the Indiana Realtor Association, hope that the new headquarters will encourage viewers to consider their Indiana home, as well as appreciate the history of historic Indiana buildings such as the Harrison Building.
In addition to her work at RLR, Metzger has found several other ways to help better the Indianapolis community at large.
Metzger started volunteering at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, an organization that cultivates Indianapolis neighborhoods and public spaces, when she was in high school. With her friends, she would spend weekends and summers planting flower beds and trees in local parks, and tending to them as they grew.
“In addition to beautifying, we were helping the communities there, and helping them have a connection with nature and each other,” Metzger said. “We would also teach them how to take care of the trees and plants, and help them learn about the environment and the importance of keeping your home clean.”
Metzger worked there for seven years, and eventually took on a leadership position in which she helped facilitate volunteer projects and mentor kids who were volunteering. She says the experience has helped her realize her love for “sustaining Indianapolis and its communities.”
At Herron, Metzger found another way to pursue this love while simultaneously using her design experience as a tool. She started working with a professor on his research project with the IU School of Medicine: the creation of a “road map” to help patients with acute myeloid leukemia understand their diagnosis and the decisions that are made when deciding treatment.
She has helped this ongoing project by doing design work for the guide itself. Overall, she says that this, combined with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, showed her that she can “really help others, and use design skills to help others.”
More information about Metzger’s and RLR’s design work can be found at www.rlr.biz/.