Postcard with a map I created circa 2016 for Oniracom, of their now-defunct “Lagoon District” neighborhood branding. I like the map and put it in my portfolio, but the overall idea provoked frustrated community feedback for a dozen legit reasons.

Most people who liked this idea were creative-class-facing businesses, not older shops or actual local residents, who mocked it mercilessly on social media. And you know what? They were right! I can totally accept that.

It’s far from the most problematic project or client I’ve worked for in my 16-year creative career, but it’s still important to acknowledge my own work’s detrimental impact, because design has consequences, and pleading obliviousness or good intentions is no excuse.

I mean, I’d love to make neighborhood maps forever, but projects like this, if done at all, should be helmed by people in the communities who will actually be affected by the fallout of promotions like this. I’d ask creative professionals considering similar projects to think long and hard about what they’ll be doing and why.