UT alumna Rachel Wyatt was scrolling through her news feed last December when she came across another report of a school shooting. She thought of those lost, those in danger, and her husband and eight-year-old son. Moved to tears, she realized she had to do her part to help.
The next day, Wyatt pitched a “No Guns” campaign to her team at the Wyatt Brand, an Austin graphic design company she and her husband founded in 2006. The team of eight employees designs magazines, websites and advertisements for over 200 clients including H-E-B, the Long Center and Texas Monthly. Two weeks ago, they launched a series of free downloadable signs for businesses opting out of the open carry law.
“This is something we can do to contribute in a positive way,” Wyatt said. “I don’t know anything about how to change the law — all I know is art. If each person contributes their gift, [it will] help make [the community] better and more peaceful.”
In 2006, Wyatt decided to quit her job as a publication designer for Texas Monthly. After 10 years of working 5 a.m. nights in a newsroom, she finally decided to pursue a career in art, something she had always dreamed of. She put in her two weeks notice, and her husband quickly followed suit. Three months later, they co-founded the Wyatt Brand.
The “No Guns” signs have been downloaded for the use of small businesses over 300 times since debuting on Jan. 19.
The Wyatt Brand offers legally compliant 30.07 signs, which prohibit the use of openly carried weapons, in six different colors. Wyatt Brand art director Rachael Craft said the signs were created to help people feel safe in their own environments. Businesses that opt out of the open carry law are required under penal code 30.07 to post a poster with contrasting colors within their establishment. The no-gun signs’ modern designs make it easier for small businesses to post their open carry preferences.
“From a design standpoint, legal posters are really typographically offensive,” Craft said. “We wanted to make something nice, tight-set and beautiful that — even though it was giant — was easier on the eye.”
The team also designed four smaller, creative signs that do not legally prohibit customers from possessing a handgun but note the business owner’s anti-gun preferences. One reads “Oh shoot … no guns allowed,” while another has an illustration of a cowboy drawing his weapon with the phrase “Easy there, cowboy!”
Wyatt said her favorite sign is one that resembles the 1940s “Rosie the Riveter” campaign and has an illustrated flexed arm with the words “The right to bare arms” on the bicep.
Craft said the website shows how many times each sign has been downloaded so business owners feel more comfortable downloading and posting their preferences.
Aside from its “No Guns” project, the Wyatt Brand is working on the campaign for the Austin Public Library’s new central branch. They also plan to continue cooperation with some of their current clients, including Read 3, a program sponsored by H-E-B that provides curricula for children learning to read. Wyatt said she hopes to continue doing her part in larger issues.
“It’s a way of having power without having to have that weapon,” Wyatt said. “It’s a serious message, but I think it can be friendly and fun.”