The Houston Arrow

Client: One Breath Partnership

Role: Concept work, identity design, interactive design, layout, map design, data analysis, print layout, art direction

Collaborators: Leah Binkovitz, Allyn West, Phillip Pyle IV, The Gregory School

Uncovering the shape of Houston’s inequality by combining data and storytelling

The goal

The 'Houston Arrow' is a phenomenon that appears often when mapping any social issues in the city. We wanted to add more depth and context to the discussion around the Arrow, and asked Leah Binkovitz to write an article delving into the history of how this shape developed.

Approach

We quickly realized this was a topic that needed more than one article to cover, and it was expanded to be a 4-part series with a comprehensive design strategy to support the articles in an engaging and interactive way.

To provide proper context for the human history and experience of the Arrow, we chose to open the first part with a scrolly-telling map to quickly provide a foundation of the data that led to this discussion. An interactive map in Part 3 was used to present Freedman’s Town locations as they once were.

Impact

This project was very positively received. In terms of page views, it was the four largest days of web traffic that One Breath received across the life of the project. Additionally, the project launched the term “the Arrow” into a wider world of discussion in this city.

The United Way asked Keith Downey, Leah Binkovitz, and me to give a presentation on the series, the term has frequently appeared in other Houston media since publication, and it is even referenced in policy advocacy and debate in local government. Allyn West, Zoe Middleton, and I were guests on Houston Matters in 2023. Tim Carlin at the Houston Landing wrote a piece with updates on the Arrow in Houston in early 2024. This project also appears in the Chronicle and is often found on social media. A print version of the series was commissioned to be distributed at the Society of Environmental Journalists convention in 2021. I worked on the layout design and collaborated with Phillip Pyle IV, who handled the annotations, illustrations, and cover design.


Now booking projects for Early Summer 2024.
Let's talk about how we can work together.