Like so many people, Justin Miskowski and James Runkle are each trying to figure out how to shift their businesses in this new stay-at-home reality. As they juggle new demands from their homes, they also found that they wanted to support the Hoboken community that has given them both so much, and they wanted to do it in a way that felt true to their talents and interests.
Justin found himself torn between enjoying the time at home with his family and wanting to do something to help. He’s not on the front lines, but as Owner and Creative Director of Miskowski Design (aka Hoboken Made), a brand identity and design studio, he sought a way to put his creative skills to work instead, and started sketching. After playing with different colors and images, what resulted was a symbol that he felt could be used show his support for healthcare and essential workers, local businesses and his community. (See below for the work behind the logo.)
Enter, James. James has lived in Hoboken for twenty years, and opened Drummond St. Strategy here ten years ago. As life became more restrictive in Hoboken, James saw his fellow small businesses start to close their doors, both physically and digitally. He did what he could to help the community: ordering takeout from local favorites like Leo’s Grandevous, Dark Side of the Moo and Barbés…or contributing to the Hoboken Homeless Shelter and Hoboken Food Pantry.
But even “doing what he could” didn’t feel like enough, until he had the conversation with Justin that evolved into this project. Initially they concentrated on finding organizations in Hoboken that could use the logo for different charitable uses, but after brainstorming how this logo could be utilized by other organizations, James realized he could create a communications strategy to amplify important information to those who need it most, and he wanted to run with the idea.
Since the idea sprouted from their own questions and concerns for the needs people have in their own neighborhoods, they want the site to serve as an information hub and source of inspiration for the community they call home as daily life continues to shift and evolve.
About the logo
(an interview with Justin Miskowski, Owner & Creative Director):
I wanted to do my part as a designer…. as small as that may be. At times of crisis, design can be used for a greater purpose. It can be powerful, moving and an extremely effective tool in providing unity, solidarity and hope to those who need it most. This symbol was born out of the urge to do my part and I made it for those who need it, much more than I do right now.
At first I was trying to do a Double H monogram (Heal Hoboken) – in doing so, I noticed the center was creating a medical cross. I liked the aspect of the cross to honor and symbolize our healthcare workers, but that wasn’t enough; I was missing the aspect of healing. When developing a logo, you want to pack as much as you can into the simplest form it allows. I thought a bandaid would be the best symbolic representation of healing. So I tried using that to represent the crossbar of the H. In addition to the symbolism of healing, the bandaid created a bridge between the 2 sides of the H, in a sense creating the feeling of unity and togetherness. Without this link, the H is not complete and the two sides become independent of one another. The idea of these 2 pieces relying on that bridge felt significant and really symbolized the idea that we rely on each other in times of crisis. Without banding together, we will fall apart. Without the bandaid, the 2 pieces would not be stable enough to stand on their own.
The message that surrounds and encapsulates the H icon is set in a circle, as a symbol of unity, wholeness and inclusion.
H = Hoboken, Hope, Health, Healing, Honor, Hospital, Healthcare, Heroes
Cross = First Aid, Medical Workers
The Color Red = Urgency, Energy, Alerts us, calls us to action, and motivates us.
Band Aid = Healing, banding together to help one another
With the use of 7 squares and a few colors, I was able to achieve a simple mark that is packed with symbolism and meaning.