A Year Without Touch

Calgary Foundation

Art Direction / Editorial Design

Calgary Foundation’s Vital Signs is an annual report measuring our city’s quality of life, providing a yearly snapshot of where our heads are at. The report is widely circulated with politicians, media outlets, corporations, non-profits, and Calgary’s general population.

2021’s report was a year like no other; our first year lived entirely through a global pandemic. Our challenge became finding a design language that would allow the statistics to depict the deeper meaning of the story. We didn’t want to talk about the pandemic, we wanted to talk about what it meant.

For many of us, 2021 wasn’t defined by what we had, but what we missed — each other. It was the year we didn’t hold our parents, embrace our friends, or touch the hands of strangers. Our shifting feelings about the physical touch of others, how we both yearned for and were afraid of it, became the fundamental visual language.

We leveraged the new meanings and associations we now have with touch and contact — from the longing absence of simple affection to the visceral repulsion we might now feel from a surface or object touched by many strangers — to frame the unusual context this year’s report has over previous.

This special edition of the report features a black foil-stamped thermochromic ink cover activating and becoming transparent upon contact, bringing a sense of immediacy and reality to the effects of our touch, and providing a tactile experience to contrast a year where most have been made virtual.

How much is mine?

With the guidance of creative directors, I developed most elements of this piece, including the core concept, title copy, typographic style and layouts, conceptual imagery, and use of thermochromic ink. Shoutout to the Daughter Creative team for lending their fingerprints, and Keli Pollock for the silkscreen lesson.

Big ups:

Keli Pollock
Creative Director
Jordan Finlayson
Miranda Thorne
Account Manager
Steph Kochorek
Copywriter & CD


Merit | Design | The One Show 2022
Winner | Entire Publication Design | Applied Arts 2022
Winner | Cause Related Creative Response | Applied Arts 2022
Winner | Brochure | Communication Arts Design Awards 2022
Anvil | Brochure, Book, and Publication Design | Ad Rodeo Awards 2022
Merit | Design | Marketing Awards 2022
Finalist (Pending) | Design Communication | NZ Best Awards 2022
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