VCU ‘Design Rebels’ launch LGBT coffee sleeves

Richmonders will soon be able to hold members of the local LGBT community in the palm of their hands…literally.

A group of VCU students have created 1,000 coffee sleeves with depictions of local LGBT individuals to distribute this morning at coffee shops around town in an effort to support equality.

“Our goal is to promote acceptance and tolerance in the community,” said Megan Maloney, one of several students involved. “To really just show that everyone is people.” The project arose from a VCU undergraduate course titled Design Rebels, meant to study and create socially conscious graphic design.

The group initiated the project by interviewing four local LGBT individuals. The group then placed a quotation from each interviewed person, along with a monochrome image of them, on a coffee sleeve. The project team chose a sleeve as its medium because they’re subtle and “wasn’t too in your face,” Maloney said. “We wanted it to be something that people didn’t notice on the first glance.” The coffee sleeves will be dispersed Rev It Up in The Fan and Crossroads in Forest Hill on Tuesday from 7:00 – 9:00 AM.

“We’re not trying to do a political thing, just really trying to connect on a human level,” Maloney said. The faux ingredient box on each sleeve titled Human (see image below) will be checked off to underscore the humanness of LGBT community members. “We’re all human, and that’s the whole point of the project we’re doing.”

The group hopes to continue the project beyond Tuesday, funding another production of 1,000 sleeves for further distribution next week. People can make a tax-deductible donation to the project through the group’s community partner, The James House, to continue supporting the project’s life.

The group is also working on a documentary video that will showcase the project’s work.

LGBT coffee sleeves

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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

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