Meet Isabelle Doubleday
Hometown: Santa Barbara, CA
College: College of Human Ecology
Major: Design and Environmental Analysis
Affiliations: Cornell University Sustainable Design, Kappa Kappa Gamma, The Straight Edge
I came to Cornell as a freshman with a sense that I knew what I wanted to do and, perhaps more importantly, a hopefulness that I would get lucky. As a Design and Environmental Analysis student, there was little margin for error in a major so specific--I figured either I would love it or I would discover that it wasn’t for me. Throughout my time at Cornell, I have been incredibly lucky to have found what I love. I have been introduced to many different aspects of design; namely graphic, product, interior, architectural, and strategic. While at Cornell I have been able to explore and focus on what I find most interesting while gaining a more holistic understanding of design, the environment, and what I want my impact to be when I graduate.
This spring I began working with FarmLink, a grassroots movement started by college students that was created to alleviate food waste and food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis. FarmLink works to connect farmers with surplus produce to food banks in need. I began working with FarmLink early on as one of two designers to help the team develop social media posts and improve user flow on their website. I also developed an ad campaign and helped bring a fundraising movement to fruition on the FarmLink website. The graphic and website design knowledge I gained while at Cornell has been useful in its application with FarmLink, and it was moving to see how my designs were being shared and reposted. I have been able to see the impact that my design changes made in immediate ways such as click through rates and increased donations.
My hope is for FarmLink to grow in future years (hopefully in a post-COVID world) and expand to helping students on college campuses across the U.S. have access to healthy and affordable food year-round, for example. For the time being, working with FarmLink has taught me a lot about the nature of gathering support and spreading the word through shareable graphics and social media, and I hope to use this knowledge of the power of design to help on campus clubs or teams looking to gain momentum or support in the Cornell community.
One of my first “real world” design experiences at Cornell was a freshman year design sprint to create the new branding and user experience design for Martha’s Cafe when Martha Van Rensselaer Hall underwent renovation. My team was chosen to create the logo and branding design of “Martha’s Express”, and our proposed logo design was implemented in the building, on staff uniforms, and on boxes and containers. It was the first time I had seen one of my designs go from an idea in my head to a client presentation to real world implementation. The scale of the project was small, but as a design student it was so important to see the impact of my idea on a community and to take into account what worked and what didn’t, and what I might do differently in the future.
Right now at Cornell, I am a member of Cornell University Sustainable Design’s (CUSD) Marketing and Communications Team and have been responsible for web, logo, and exhibition design as well as the branding and upkeep of CUSD’s visual identity. I have also worked as a Brand Identity Consultant for The Straight Edge, the student operated rooftop bar and community center at Willard Straight Hall, helping them develop a style guide to aid in design and construction.
The inspiration to try new things at Cornell has come from encouragement from my DEA professors and the collaborative nature of my major. DEA fosters a close-knit and supportive community within the larger Cornell community where I feel encouraged to explore and take advantage of new opportunities. I am always hearing about research and on campus involvement opportunities through this community, and many of these opportunities are run by DEA students and professors. Several of my closest friends are in my major and we like to try new things together and work really well as a team.
Looking back at my first year at Cornell, I would tell myself that the end goal is nowhere near as important as the experience of getting there. I have oftentimes been so caught up in what the final product was going to look like that I have forgotten to look up halfway through to realize how much I’ve already done and how much I have learned. For new students coming to Cornell, remember that you are here for a reason. Your passion, whatever it may be, is important and one-of-a-kind. Cornell is such a unique place in that there are so many different kinds of students with such a variety of different interests. Meet as many people as you can and keep trying new things.