Every week since the pandemic started, I do two things, I lead online exercise classes (I'm a certified fitness instructor) and I create self initiated projects (I'm a graphic designer and illustrator).
Recently I was reminded of Material by Google. According to its website, "Material is a design system created by Google to help teams build high-quality digital experiences for Android, iOS, Flutter, and the web." I decided to build a web and mobile template with Material for an imaginary local farmers market. The primary goal is to quickly find a list of vendors at this imaginary market.
I began research of farmers markets websites in the U.S. I quickly learned the digital presence for a farmers markets is either a social media page, a page on greater website, and a website. Since I consider the vendors the primary reason to visit a farmers website I found vendors lists don't exist or the vendors lists are a click or two away from the home page. Below, lists and links to farmers market websites to illustrate my point.
I live in Concord, California, just 30 miles away from Silicon Valley. Information about the Concord Farmers Market's is a page on the VisitConcord website, the Concord Tourism Improvement District (TID) Agency. The market's page provides basic information about the farmers market and its partnership with Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association (PCFMA). PCFMA's website lists farmers markets per county of the Bay Area.
The website for the farmers market in Concord, New Hampshire, has a tiny slide show of produce and customers found at the market, a section for (one) announcements, and a list of members, aka vendors. Listings of members include product and contact information.
The home page of the Warren Farmers Market in Warren, Ohio, has a (broken) slide show, a signup form for a digital newsletter, and links to information related to the market and local services. At the top of the home page are buttons with links to the vendors page and other pages. Sadly, the vendor's page is under construction so no list of vendors is available.
In Florida, the website for the farmers market in the city of Bradenton is a page linked to the city's development agency website. For a list of participating vendors, a visitor has to click on a 'read more' button. The upside is the vendor page categorizes the vendors, includes a description of vendors, and has links to individual vendor pages.
The home page for farmers market website in Omaha, Nebraska, runs a slider with current events and announcements. It includes an array of sponsors. Links to vendors and other pages run across the top of the home page. The vendors page lists and categorizes the variety of vendors at the market, and it includes contact information.
Links to other Farmers Markets websites and web pages (to be updated)
Web Page or Social Media Page
Cheyanne's Farmers Market, Cheyanne, Wyoming
SFC Farmers Market, Austin, Texas
Mentor Farmers Market, Mentor, Minnesota
Bagley Area Farmer's Market, Bagley, Minnesota
City Center Farmers Market, Florence, South Carolina
Greenville State Farmers Market, Greenville, South Carolina
In this pandemic moment my emotions run a course of challenging peaks and valleys. My emotions fluctuate between anxiety, calm, rage, and peace. I acknowledge my emotions. I wallow in them. Then, I wash them away. How? When a particular emotion nags I address it through one of a variety of personal activities - exercise (I'm a certified group exercise instructor), reading, streaming TV shows and videos, and sketching and drawing (I'm a designer and illustrator). In this pandemic moment I learn my emotions are a driving force toward constructive, distracting, or creative activities. How do you handle your myriad emotional states in this moment?
Animated GIF by Alex Savakis, illustrator. Quote attributed to Willa Cather.
I lead livestream workouts on YouTube and Instagram. At the beginning of the workout I encourage viewers with fitness devices to start tracking their workout. I lead viewers through a variety of exercises that target large muscle groups and smaller muscles. We challenge muscles in our lower body, upper body, and core. At the end I encourage viewers to keep moving and follow physical activity guidelines established by the CDC - 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous intensity exercise. Mix and match activity intensity with a run, a walk, or bike ride.
My fitness device, an Apple Watch, has activity apps to track goals for functional training to yoga, outdoor running to indoor walking. I rely on it to track my movement, exercise, and standing goals. After I lead a workout I do other work. I may hike, walk, or run. I may mow my yard. I may clean the house or wash my car. I may head over to the grocery store. Each daily activity requires the same muscles I use to lead a workout. Imagine if a watch or fitness device tracked these less celebrated but equally important daily movements in a deliberate way. Then imagine your daily movement is building a stronger, fitter you. Imagine, your fitness journey has begun.
Animated GIFs by Alex Savakis, Illustrator
A team addresses challenges. It finds ways toward helpful, useful, and beneficial solutions. As a designer, I know the actions and decisions of a team makes a concept stronger. A team exposes weakness and augments strengths. As a group exercise instructor each participant who attends a class I lead have unique physical challenges. I help participants to find ways to exercise effectively and safely as they present their abilities. I see participants work together and encourage each other. In a team I put ideas forward and ego aside. It's a simple lesson easily adopted no matter your occupation.
Besides working as a lettering artist and designer I lead exercise classes online. The experience of leading classes without participants in front of me is odd. It got me thinking about the new school year. How are students and teachers adjusting? Who has the means to adjust to changes in learning? Who is comfortable learning and teaching remotely and possibly isolated? Who has appropriate technology to complete homework or instruct? What happens if a student doesn't have a computer and internet access? Physical libraries where I live are closed but books are available for checkout through the library's website. Will students with means reach out to students who don't have the latest tech and assist them? So, what will we learn about ourselves in this moment?
I'm a lettering artist and illustrator. I'm a NASM-certified personal trainer and AFAA-certified group exercise instructor. Throughout the pandemic I continue to lead group exercise classes via YouTube (alexsavakis) and Instagram (@alex_savakis). The classes are streamed live and a recording of the class is uploaded to the respective social media platforms. They're freely available to watch and follow. The online classes keep me in a routine and they keep me connected with my fitness tribe. After class I make stuff. I draw, letter, and bake. I baked before the pandemic and I'll bake when this pandemic subsides. I found this quote attributed to Mary Berry, a former judge from the Great British Baking Show. Her words were the muse for my latest personal project. This quote assuages any personal anxiety or guilt. It reminds me to simply enjoy a daily slice of life.
After I read the poem "The Red Wheel Barrow" by William Carlos Williams I created a rough visual interpretation with gouache and ink in my sketchbook. Then I looked into background of the poem. According to a variety of sources the poem uses imagery for its clear and concise language. It echoes haiku for its short form and economy of text. Describing an ordinary object or subject may be a radical act because the meaning behind the poem is obvious and plain unlike poems where meaning is not easily understood. I thought this poem unlike the very few other poems I read had the essential elements of graphic design and illustration. The message and symbolism are easily understood. I thought the poem lent itself to a naive illustrative interpretation. It's a digital illustration. I used a pointed pen to letter the text.
My blog, LetteringGuy is gone but my lettering practice continues. Below, a piece I created from a quote attributed to Mother Teresa. This quote is particularly relevant considering the current state of politics in the U.S.