Feminist Allies in Business: Designs by Northcoast Zeitgeist


When I started this website I didn’t have a clue where to start with the logo design. I fumbled around in a trial of Adobe Illustrator for hours, hired an online company, and enlisted the help of a friend. All to no avail.  Other than my complete lack of skill in Adobe Illustrator, my unhappiness with the logos being produced stemmed from the fact that  I couldn’t articulate a lifetime of feminist perspective and my vision for a logo that captured that perspective (pretty tall order, huh?). I also struggled with the choice of where to spend my money. I’m a firm believer that if it is possible, feminists should give their money to other feminists and their companies, projects, or causes. It was starting to look like finding a feminist designer was a pipe dream.

And that’s when I remembered the guy I met through a series of casual social media interactions, Joseph Hughes at Northcoast Zeitgeist.

Joseph Hughes and his wife Casey Myers are the talent behind Nortchoast Zeitgeist, a company located in Kent, Ohio. They describe their company as, “Part design, part photography, part civic boosterism, Northcoast Zeitgeist is an outlet for our creative energies and an attempt to highlight the best of what our little corner of the world has to offer.” Joseph quickly assuaged my fears, and helped fill in the blanks in a way that only a fellow feminist could. He was upfront with the pricing options (something that other company’s don’t do well enough), and he worked patiently with me as I fretted over colors and sizes. He also explained his creative thought-process behind every design iteration. For example, one of the prelimenary designs came with this description attached, “The resulting lockup is powerful, evocative, and modern with a nod to our progressive heritage.”

Our progressive heritage! That’s right, I was “keeping it in the feminist family.” The final logo is something that I am incredibly proud of, and I know Joseph is too. If you need design work, and you want your money to go to people  who agitate for worthy causes, you need to contact Joseph and Casey.

For further evidence of how awesome Joseph is, check out these interview questions that he happily responded to:

  • Do you identify as a feminist? If so, what does that word mean to you?

Of course! In fact, I’m always suspicious of people who DON’T identify as feminist. How could you trust someone who doesn’t believe in the fundamental equality of the sexes? Who believes that women don’t deserve the same rights or opportunities as their male counterparts? Or who doesn’t even believe that basic inequalities exist and who question the necessity of feminism? To me, however, feminism doesn’t just mean a baseline recognition of rights. It’s a struggle that extends to every corner of our society. And it’s a struggle that must be embraced by everyone, not just women.

  • How do you incorporate your ideology into your design work?

In a few ways. In my freelance design work (I have a full-time design job at an ad agency, too), I have the luxury of being choosy about who I work with. So of course I’ll steer clear of projects for clients whose politics or ethics I don’t agree with. Beyond that, conversely, I always seek out projects with potential clients who share my values. That’s why it was so fun working with you. Anytime I get to combine my passion for design and progressivism, I feel very fortunate.

I also volunteer as an organizing partner for the annual Weapons of Mass Creation Festival in Cleveland. In this role, I’m charged with bringing in 20 speakers for three days of creativity-related lectures, a gallery show, and a full slate of bands. It’s been my goal since joining the team to deliver a roster that both reflects and respects its audience. We have a real problem with sexism and diversity in my field, especially when it comes to the makeup of conference rosters. I want to show people that assembling a truly representative slate of speakers is both necessary and easy.

  • If you could invite any three feminists/activists to dinner who would they be?

Wow. Three is such a small number! Regardless, here goes: I’d choose Gloria Steinem, Billie Jean King, and Hillary Clinton.

Do you have a feminist ally in business that you would like to promote through SLC Feminist? Let us know, and we will happily post your recommendation! 

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