Name: Iliana Habib
Role: Graphic Designer
Location: Tennessee, USA
Meet Iliana Habib, one of our graphic designers. She and the rest of the creative arts team keep Random Acts looking our absolute best across every platform and medium. Iliana started out in the Fundraising department but her artistic background led to an invitation to meet with the graphic design team to see if that department might be a better fit!
Our designers create art, both digital and print, to fit the requests of all the various departments. That includes the Random Acts official social media posts but also anything that can be branded or co-branded with the Random Acts logo or presence – newsletter images, flyers to be handed out at conventions or non-fandom events like marathons, partnerships with an external company who may request a banner or flyer for their website or to distribute to their customers or audience, and many more custom requests.
Within the team, Iliana cites her main stylistic strength as usually in typography heavy requests, like word art, flyers, and posters. She also loves logo design and was asked to rework the AMOK logo and branding this year – which was, she admits, a lot of fun! The new AMOK theme is quite visually different to our prior logos and this new look represents the evolving tone that Iliana is excited to see grow.
“We do have a standard brand color scheme that we try to work within but there are times that the weight of the image/graphic/assignment dictates the tone more than our branding does. It is important to find that balance and make sure you still know this image, or whatever it may be, represents our brand standards.”
Where It All Started
Iliana first got inspired by Random Acts when she attended a Pittsburgh Supernatural convention as a vendor making painting commissions. Her table was next to the Random Acts booth which, on this occasion, was manned by Jennifer [Willis-Rivera, former Director of Operations and now a member of the Random Acts board.]
“I knew next to nothing about it as I was very new to the whole ‘Supernatural thing’ so Jen and I talked quite a bit about the Random Acts mission and the work they had done. We bonded. She told me that one of her kids was an artist (extremely talented, by the way!) so when I skipped out on karaoke to go to the Andy Warhol museum, I got her daughter a sketchbook and a pack of fancy Andy Warhol Pencils. I thought, ‘Hey, this woman works for an organization that’s entire mission is kindness, I’d like to show some to her as well.’ I applied for the first vacancy I remotely qualified for as soon as I got home. I just fell in love with the mission. Jen sold it and I bought.”
Iliana is a talented visual artist, working in a variety of mediums, and in addition to graphic design, she has incorporated that passion into a number of the acts and events she has participated in for Random Acts. During AMOK 2020, Iliana dedicated her time to creating a number of small paintings to send out as day-brighteners to various people. And for her first E4K (the year the cast did the Seattle Marathon) she painted a 4 by 3 foot painting and documented the process over the 3 day event to raise donations, and then raffled the painting off to one of the donors. “That was a lot of fun and it’s still one of my favorite paintings ever!”
She has other types of acts under her belt as well – (“for AMOK last year I got together with a group of 10 or 12 friends to run/walk a half marathon in Nashville. Some people travelled from as far as California or Massachusetts to participate and we raised almost $5,000. With funding from Random Acts, we also bought a personal care item for over 260 parents in a program designed to help stop the cycle of domestic violence”) – but the artistic element is where Iliana feels her most valuable contributions lie.
“My true love and passion is in photography. I have an associates degree in it and I planned to do it for the rest of my life. But life happened, so I got my bachelors degree in graphic design because I felt it was a more viable commercial option, job wise. I think that’s why I tend to like the typography and infographic end of the spectrum when it comes to digital art, because my intent when I was studying it was to work in branding. I like the simplicity of it. You can’t get too complicated or you get distracted from the message. Photography and painting though, are more where I feel creatively free for me. That’s where I get to show everyone how I see the world.”
Iliana is coming up on two years with Random Acts and looking forward to the future, she says: “We are growing so much and it is very cool to see from an internal perspective. I can’t imagine how much pride folks who have been with us since the beginning have. The multimedia department in particular is evolving into a much more robust department and I’m enjoying being a small part in those changes. I think Random Acts is growing up and out a bit and it will be amazing to see that embraced by our supporters.”
In these profiles, we often like to find out what area of interest our spotlight volunteer might have when it comes to the idea of a dream Random Acts campaign – often something that they might have personal experience with, or unique to their local area. Iliana is no exception and has a really interesting perspective on this.
“Something that I am pretty passionate about, outside of art, is financial literacy. My parents made some missteps that caused us a lot of financial troubles and I have spent a lot of my time as an adult trying to educate myself and my friends about things like credit scores and managing debt. If there was a program or organization that perhaps offers financial planning and education for marginalized or undeserved communities I would love for Random Acts to do something with that. I work in customer service at a bank now and most young adults don’t understand how checks work.”
Recently, Iliana has taken her artistic gifts and expanded the way she shares them even further, in a very special way. Since COVID lockdown started, Iliana has hosted an online painting class called “Quarantine Creatively” for her social media friends – a step-by-step live video tutorial encouraging everyone to join and follow along, creating artwork together based on the picture and process that Iliana plans out. Her motivation to plan these lessons and offer them to people is a serious act of kindness, and her positivity and encouragement of inexperienced students is all her own. But she has been putting to use some of the skills she learned as a teacher at a paint-and-sip party studio.
“What it taught me was how to break a painting down into layers and walk people of all skill levels through creating art. There were many people who would talk badly about their skills, or lack thereof, and it was my job to make sure that they understood that art was meant to be unique. I always told my class that if everyone painted exactly the same way, the world would be an incredibly boring place. The idea to take classes online for my friends on Twitter came actually from Amanda (Tucker, Director of Programming). We had talked about it as a possible fundraising idea before the pandemic hit and all of our focuses had to shift. So I thought, what if I can do this thing to just distract some folks from all the bad. Because that is one of the great benefits of painting, or creating in general, is that it’s an escape. It is really hard to think about much else when you are staring at an empty canvas with the intent to fill it. I have been absolutely shocked by how much people have enjoyed the classes and are learning from them. It makes me so happy when I get messages about how this one hour a week is time that they are carving out for themselves. Anyone can create art and the more people who realize that, the more art we will have in the world. That sounds cheesy, but it’s true!”