Talking Trash

How can a complex subject be distilled into a bright and engaging piece for kids?

Client: The Center for Urban Pedagogy
Studio: Freelance
Role: Graphic Designer


The Center for Urban Pedagogy is a NYC-based nonprofit that uses the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement. As part of a Digital Investigation, CUP collaborated with a a group of students and a Teaching Artist to dig deeper into the trash and recycling infrastructure of NYC. Their research, interviews, and findings culminated in a video. I was tasked with designing the curriculum guide based off of the content from the students into a set of materials that could be distributed and used in classrooms throughout NYC.


One of the most charming aspects of the original video were the students’ claymations—they used stop motion to explain different processes throughout the video. Inspired by this, I created illustrations and patterns throughout the curriculum out of clay. I also pulled in the color scheme they used in the claymations to create a fun, bright, and engaging piece.

Typography was built off of the illustration style—blocky, structured, and tangible. Special attention was paid to typography and layout so teachers could easily take notes or make copies of pages to distribute to their classes.


The curriculum guide and full project have launched with success with positive reviews from teachers about its engaging nature and ease of use.

Read more about the project here.