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New year, new look: ‘The Write Question’ gets a 2022 makeover

New TWQ podcast cover (left) and monogram, designed by Molly Russell.
New TWQ podcast cover (left) and monogram, designed by Molly Russell.

In its fifteen seasons, The Write Question has been hosted by three different book-lovers: Chérie Newman, Sarah Aronson, and the program’s current host, me—Lauren Korn. During its tenure, the program has sported two different logos, and it just got a third—a new logo and complete branding package designed by Missoula, Montana-based illustrator Molly Russell.

Molly is a freelance designer and illustrator with a formal education in media arts and, according to her website, specializes “in collaboration with small to mid-sized businesses, creating visual identities that are true to their values and resonate with the right audience.”

I became familiar with the playful and colorful illustrations Molly is known for via her Instagram account, and after beginning my search for a designer, I knew she would be a good fit for The Write Question. Not only does Molly have a wonderfully engaging and imaginative social media presence, she’s also the illustrator behind a beloved Missoula children’s book, Goodnight Missoula. (Written by Linda Giammona-Eggers and Laura Timblo, the book is a local interpretation on the classic, Goodnight Moon. Both books make great gifts!) I knew Molly would have an appreciation for the world our program operates within. I also knew that I wanted that same attention to color and imagination put towards our new logo. Once I got it in my head that Molly and her style could be a possibility, my heart was pretty much set on her involvement.

Molly Russell, the designer behind the new TWQ logo and brand.
Molly Russell, the designer behind the new TWQ logo and brand.

For the 2022 makeover, Molly designed an entire branding package: a new logo, a podcast cover (which includes text: “Montana public Radio Presents,” “with Lauren Korn”), a monogram (see above), separate illustration files, and social media templates that will bring the logo’s new colors to the program’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.

Molly and I spent a good amount of time in conversation about the different elements of the new logo. From the color scheme and the typography to the different illustrated elements of the design. I’m laughing as I write this: Molly was a really good sport. I’m, um, particular about aesthetics, and Molly was really patient with me as I hemmed and hawed over every little detail. But she was also really forthcoming with the knowledge she has about design. One element I was initially unsure about was the absence of something representative of literature in the logo. Molly assured me that the size of and the emphasis on WRITE was enough to clue-in readers to the focus of the program. And the tin can telephone, which I adore, speaks to the conversation-based format of the show.

If you’ve ever listened to the episodes I’ve hosted, you know that many conversations have been about serious topics, but what I hope also comes through in those conversations is the fun my guests and I have while recording. My little secret is that my conversations with authors do not last the mere half an hour of the program’s air-time. Most of my conversations reach an hour (or more!), and so much of that time breeds laughter and absolute joy. I think Molly’s illustrations really reflect that tone, and I’m thrilled to now have a brand that will not only mirror my experiences in the studio, but one that will guide them.

Listeners and readers should keep an ear out—a conversation with Molly Russell will air later in our current season.

Lauren R. Korn holds an M.A. in poetry from the University of New Brunswick, where she was the recipient of the Tom Riesterer Memorial Prize and the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize. A former bookseller and the former Director of the Montana Book Festival, she is now an Arts and Culture Producer at Montana Public Radio and the host of it’s literature-based radio program and podcast, ‘The Write Question.’
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