Club Bubbles: Behind the scenes

New Lens designers present a draft comic strip story board for critique (11/17/11)

When RHIC and New Lens youth designers started designing our "Flip the Power" energy conservation outreach project in 2011, we started with a few questions:

How can we make energy conservation seem like something appealing to Reservoir Hill neighbors? Important? Understandable? Urgent?

And don't forget funny, creative, and original.

New Lens designers working on comic book illustrations (1/25/12)

We went through all sorts of ideas, from hanging porch mobiles to lawn signs, that would make energy conservation appear to be a more public, collective effort than the typical energy-related activities--turning off lights, lowering the thermostat-- that happen inside your home.

We finally decided on comic strips. Their bright colors would be attractive to kids, but they would also allow us to slip in useful content for adults. We spent the following days, weeks, and months writing, drawing, revising, and then re-writing, and re-drawing, and revising more. It takes a long time to make stories interesting when the characters are washing machines, light bulbs and sweaters!

New Lens designers and RHIC discuss an early draft of "Club Bubbles" (11/17/11)

But when youth are creating the concepts and designing the final products, you can end up describing energy conservation in ways you never thought possible.  We've now finished three comic strips:

  • Club Bubbles: What happens when laundry machines go to the club?
  • Meet the Brookfields: What do you when your energy efficient boyfriend meets your old school parents for the first time?
  • A Winter Crime Scene: Who will save the neighborhood from a dollar-snatching cold front?

In the coming weeks and months, we will be distributing each comic strip to all 4,000 or so Reservoir Hill households. Here is a sneak peak of Club Bubbles (front and back):