In 2018, Potion Design asked illustrator Veronica Lawlor to explore the idea of an interactive donor wall for the new NYU Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital. The ask – to find a way to not only share the names of contributors who made the Hospital possible, but to tell their stories, their goals, and how they were inspired by the project. And while there are always foundational donors that need to be acknowledged, an institution that lives on will continue to have people joining in its efforts. So they needed an idea that would allow the project to grow.
Styled to match the hand-drawn children’s book aesthetic of her illustrations for the nearby City Explorer installation, The “Giving Tree” Donor Wall features an interactive animated tree composed of over 90 individually painted and collaged leaves. Each leaf connects to the story of a donor, and the scale of the leaf corresponds to the scale of the donation.
A light wind blows through the leaves to cue users to touch them, and doing so expands different types and styles of stories about the donor, and their relationship to the hospital. Larger donor stories are illustrated in a reportage style, allowing for a more intense narrative, and smaller donor stories are illustrated with a graphic symbolic style.
The combination of line art and cut paper throughout creates a cohesive aesthetic that can encompass multiple points of view. An updatable back end allows new leaves to be added with stories of their own.
Images, from top to bottom: Early concept illustration, Giving Tree // Final Illustration of tree with 93 collaged leaves // Studio view: Tree in progress // Leaf highlight – Sala Family donation story // Leaf highlight – Hassenfeld family donation story // Short Form Story: doctors, parents and patients working together // Short Form Story: soft care for families of patients.
Leaf highlight design by Steph Goralnik.
Awards: Honorable Mention from the Society of Experiential Designers, 2018.