Participating in the Studs Terkel Centenary was a huge honor for me. Terkel is one of the gods of interviewing and oral history, whose methods inform the way I do UX research. The Centenary celebration was an effort by Chicago museums, libraries, journalists, and others to recognize Terkel’s contributions and expose his work to new audiences. I was invited by the Centenary Committee to design a web presence for the festival, advise on outreach, and produce a commemorative book for the celebration.
The main purpose of this site was to announce the festival’s events and to serve as a home for the Studs Terkel Hotline, a number anyone could call to share their experiences with or about Terkel.
I love how clean this design turned out. The banner at the top was something I put together in Photoshop, grayscaling a photo of Studs at WFMT and superimposing his signature. The schedule and hotline phone number appear above the fold, with most other paths just a click away from the homepage:
The phone number for the Studs Terkel Hotline appears in a small widget on every page, but more in-depth details about the project were made available as well:
To get a sense of the Hotline, here is one caller’s story about the first time she met Studs:
The commemorative book I designed for the event took inspiration from my time working at the Studs Terkel Archives in the Chicago History Museum. I had been processing Terkel’s 6″ tape reels and preparing them for digitization. I noticed as I went through the old tape boxes that Terkel had scribbled notes over each one, and frequently stuffed mementos from his interviews—things people had given him, poems they had written, articles about them which were written later on—into the little boxes to help him better remember each person.
I designed each commemorative “book” to imitate those scrap-filled tape boxes, even finding containers meant for 6″ reels and printing images of Studs’ original note-covered lids onto them. Inside were a collection of notes and poems and comics by Terkel’s friends and collaborators, printed on a variety of paper and folded neatly into the boxes: