Fair Folk


fair folk

A design-driven creative shop, providing direction across all advertising outlets.

Meet Sam Kelly, the mastermind behind the Keys to the Community logo.

When you visit the landing page for Keys to the Community, a small graphic will catch your eye: two keys crossed in an X shape, ending in a K and C, with a heart hovering above them.

Designing a logo is integral to any business because it’s a visual representation of the company, and when done well, it is a memorable and instantly recognizable symbol of a brand’s values. We wanted our logo to reflect the values of community and compassion that have driven our organization, and with the help of Sam Kelly, a senior art director / designer who works with the brilliant team at Fair Folk, we were able to make this vision a reality.

About Sam Kelly and Fair Folk

Sam Kelly has always been very visually driven — his struggles with dyslexia as a child created an affinity for a visual language that provided an alternative outlet for his creativity. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a degree in psychology, but was drawn during this period to art and design — so he decided to pursue his passion at a portfolio school in Atlanta called the Portfolio Center, where he earned his graduate degree in design.

Kelly currently works full-time with Fair Folk, but does a few freelance projects on the side, including his work with Keys to the Community. He works on a team of 5 people, including Fair Folk’s co-founders, Jon Casey and Kevin Cimo, who started the design company two years ago. Kelly was their first hire, and since then, they’ve done a variety of projects for companies both big and small. They’ve done advertising and video production for giants like New Balance and Warrior Sports, and they also do branding and identity work with smaller companies, like Boston-based Trillium Brewing Company, which recently earned the number 3 spot on the 2017 list of “Best Breweries in the World.”

How the Logo Came To Be

Kelly was actually contacted by an old friend, Julie Gratz, who works with Keys to the Community and was on a mission to develop a logo that really personified our organization’s mission. Kelly, an avid lover of logo design in particular, eagerly agreed to help out.

He began by learning everything there was to know about Keys to the Community, including what we do, who we work with, and how we got our start, developing a firm understanding of what Keys to the Community was all about in the process. Armed with this knowledge, he was able to put together his preliminary ideas in the form of mood boards, which he sent to the team for feedback. These mood boards included graphic representations of how the potential logos would look in action, on t-shirts or on a website.

Two designs made it to the final cut. The main crossed keys logo was a favorite for any and all purposes. The second logo, a more type-driven design, was selected as an alternative for marketing collateral like t-shirts and postcards:

Kelly worked in close collaboration with Gratz, who suggested rounded, softer edges for the logo that would be more well-suited to the Keys to the Community brand. The collaboration, understanding, and hard work that went into designing our logo perfectly represent the ethos of both Kelly’s work and our organization’s mission.