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Lisa Brown, a graphic designer who moved to Madison 11 years ago, has used her skills to help different organizations in town, including the bags given away by the First Congregational Church at the farmers market. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Brown )
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You may not immediately recognize Lisa Brown, but if you’ve spent time in Madison over the past decade, you’ve most likely seen her stamp on the town. She’s put her graphic design talents to work for numerous community efforts, including prominent banners hung on Main Street.
Lisa Brown lived in Narragansett, Rhode Island, before her husband, Kerry, got a new job opportunity in Newtown. The couple had been married for less than a year and decided to make a move, but when looking for a new community, they wanted it to be on the water. After searching the shoreline 11 years ago, they settled on Madison and have lived here ever since.
“The commute is worth it because we needed to live by water—we’re a big boating family,” says Lisa, who recently spent a week sailing with her family. “I love that Madison residents value open space and nature conservation. Living by the Hammonasset River in the woods with trails and rock ledges are part of why I love my home.”
When they moved, Lisa had left her job where she had designed packaging for jewelry and accessories and then toys and games. Soon after moving to Madison, the couple’s children were born.
A Natural Changeover
“Once I had kids and wanted to be home with them...it sort of was a natural changeover going from my professional background to doing graphic design,” says Lisa, who majored in illustration at the University of Connecticut. “I had always done freelance things on the side—posters, advertisements—and when we moved here, I had past connections who would reach out and ask me to help them put together something for sales pitch or an invitation for different events and started growing from there.”
Her company was born soon after her children. Taylor Brown Illustration & Design is a combination of her maiden and married name. Now her daughter Grace is entering 6th grade at Polson and enjoys tennis. Lisa’s daughter Gillian is going to be in the 4th grade at Brown and has been active in Kidz Konnection Shoreline Theatre Company for years.
As her children entered the school system, Lisa became involved in projects at Ryerson. Over the years, she decorated bulletin boards, designed T-shirts, and worked on the annual Give to Grow fundraiser by helping with the school-wide art project, which she coordinated for several years.
The classroom art projects were included as part of the auction, she says, adding that “it was fun to get all these kids to do something and put it together into one piece of art.” She has also painted murals for Nite at Hand in the past. “Because I’m constantly on the computer, I love hands-on stuff. I called it my mural therapy. I couldn’t make it work this year, but I’ll definitely do more of that in the future.”
As her children grew, Lisa not only helped out in their school, but she also began to grow her business through networking, joining the River Delta chapter of BNI and the Madison Chamber of Commerce. She has connected with other small business owners in both groups and found other ways to connect to the community.
“The chamber is a good supportive group of people and helps me to get to know other businesses here in town,” says Lisa. “There’s a lot of support for small businesses in Madison. People really embrace and support small businesses here.”
Making her Mark
Over the past several years, Lisa has used her graphic design background to help several local organizations. She designed a logo for the Tour de Shore Cycling Event, a bike race for autism support hosted by Vista Life Innovations. The logo was displayed on lawn signs throughout the Town of Madison.
Through another connection, she connected with Scranton Memorial Library’s Board of Trustees for work on the Be M.E. campaign. The library was looking to design a banner to be hung outside of the library.
“They had an idea, but they weren’t sure how to execute it. The concept was there, but it wasn’t ready o be made into a banner to hang outside, so I worked with them to recreate it to so it would work,” says Lisa, who also designed bookmarks for another library promotion. “The library is important for every community and I’m excited about the upgrades and excited to be a part of that project.”
Two years ago, Lisa and her family joined the First Congregational Church. She soon learned that the church wanted to begin a campaign though which visitors to the farmers’ market could trade in single-use bags for reusable bags. Lisa helped the committee design the bags that are made from recycled plastic bottles.
“They wanted to have their name on it, but still be something people wanted to use and that would look nice,” says Lisa. “I was excited they asked me to do it because I’m an environmentally conscience person and always happy to promote living a greener lifestyle.”
On the Water
Lisa, who grew up in New Jersey, has been enjoying her summer what she now thinks of as her hometown. She has been boating since she met her husband and for the first time this summer, they docked their Boston Whaler in Clinton.
“It’s been fun exploring the shoreline from our little boat and to see Madison from a different perspective when we’re out on the water,” says Lisa, who also has a sailboat that the family keeps in Stonington. “I’ve taken some sailing courses so I could be a better mate on the boat. It’s so fun and it’s awesome for the kids. They love it and it’s a great way for us to spend time as a family.”
When she’s not on the water, Lisa also enjoys gardening, focusing on perennial gardens around her wooded properties. She also enjoys hiking, cooking, and spending time with their dog, a Corgi named Franklin.
Lisa also stays busy with her freelance work as well as projects giving back to the community. One of her favorite things about projects like the library banner, the Vista signs, and the reusable bags is seeing her work around town.
“Doing anything visible in the community is always fun and it’s great publicity for me because I can use it as a reference that people have seen,” says Lisa. “When I work on these projects, whether for a local customer or the local community projects, it definitely connects you in a way that makes it feel more like home. You learn so much about different areas of the community this way. I’ve learned about the high school by working the murals, learned more about the church and the farmers’ market by working on the bags, and became more connected with the library by doing the banner.
“Helping with community initiatives gives those projects a special place in my heart,” adds Lisa. “It feels good to know that my designs have helped my town to put an image to their efforts. When I see my work displayed around town, there is a great sense of pride and accomplishment.”
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