An Iconic Tribute to an Iconic Woman: Interviewing the Art Director of the 2021 RBG Calendar

The U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, passed away in September of 2020, but her life-long mission of fighting for women’s rights and gender equality continues through the echoes of her tireless efforts and the countless individuals that she’s inspired with her life’s work. Independent publisher, Sourcebooks, is also continuing Ginsburg’s pursuit for justice and giving spirit by sharing her accomplishments, motivational quotes, and fan art created in her honor, with their 2021 The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wall Calendar. Not only is this vibrant collection of wall art a tribute to the incredible work of the Notorious RBG, but Sourcebooks is donating fifty percent of the proceeds to the causes that Ginsburg believed in and supported throughout her life.

Brittany Vibbert, Sourcebooks’ Senior Art Director on this project and entire calendar line, took a moment to share with us the process of how this inspirational and interactive tribute got off the ground and running, while incorporating many female and diverse artists from around the world.

 

IMAGE VIA SOURCEBOOKS

 

 

Can you tell us a bit about how this idea came about?

The day after RBG passed away, Sourcebooks’ Adult and YA Creative Director, Kelly Lawler, texted me this spontaneous idea that she had about making a tribute calendar for RBG. Everyone loved the idea so much that we said “how quickly can we get this out to people?” I immediately started designing it, creating the cover, and we started finding all the art for the collection. Within twenty-four hours, we had a cover live on Amazon, and in less than a week the product was at the printer.

 

The art in this calendar is very engaging and modern. How did you go about choosing artists for this collection?

We started with a piece that we had commissioned a few years ago for another female empowerment calendar. From there, we moved over to Instagram where an influx of pieces were being posted after RBG’s passing. Once we had the first few pieces secured, we visually worked to make sure that everything aesthetically fit together with particular quotes pulled by the editors, Taylor Maccoux and Karen Shapiro.

 

IMAGE VIA SOURCEBOOKS

 

What was the process of bringing these artists onboard?

Our calendar features all female artists with a variety of diversity and style, regardless of the size of their following. We simply reached out to these artists and asked them if they’d be interested in this project. The art is all licensed exclusively for this calendar allowing the artists to maintain rights on their end for personal projects.

 

What was the original vision for this calendar as a whole, and do you think that you’ve achieved that?

Yes, the actual calendar turned out pretty close to what was initially presented. When we first started, it was more about trying to figure out how we wanted to position it. We knew we wanted this to be a tribute, and we wanted to incorporate Ginsburg’s words because they’re so inspirational and strong. Being a primarily female publisher, it felt right to us to really put out this tribute for her and to give it a charitable angle.

 

IMAGE VIA SOURCEBOOKS

 

 

You incorporate lists and affirmations, as well as quotes, alongside the art. Why was an interactive calendar something that you wanted to explore?

That’s typically something that we always try to explore in our calendars. We like to think about the product as so much more than just a calendar. We want it to have pieces that people can take away and think about, so it’s important to us to have more content than “here’s a grid with some numbers on it.” That’s something that we do across the line.

 

What messages do you want this calendar and its contents to communicate to the public?

Everyone at Sourcebooks was devasted by her passing and wanted to produce something that could pay tribute to this legend. We want people to like the art and be excited about the product, but this calendar is truly a hats off to how great RBG was. That’s the great take away here; she was amazing and this is something that we could professionally do to show that to the world. The charity side of this operation was my CEO’s idea and it was just the perfect addition.

 

IMAGE VIA SOURCEBOOKS

 

Can you tell us a little bit more about the charities and why they were chosen?

Sourcebooks will donate half of the profits from sales of the calendar to nonprofit causes that RBG believed in and championed throughout her career. So, right now we currently have a committee going, selecting the organizations that it will benefit, and then our PR department will be making an official announcement next month.

 

How did you manage to balance inspiration with education in the quotes and phrases that you chose for the calendar?

We worked closely with the editors on this project for that specifically. Some of the pieces already had the quotes in them, but we had a running list of all the art and quotes that we felt were really strong, and that people would be inspired by. Then, we were just comparing and piecing together the strongest combinations that we felt would resonate the most with people.

 

IMAGE VIA SOURCEBOOKS

 

Did you receive any responses from the artists that contributed to the fan art?

I know that as soon as they were able to post this online, all the artists posted it to Instagram and tagged all the other artists. Very positive feedback across the board. Even people I haven’t talked to in years are immediately messaging me like “Oh wow, where can I order this?”

 

If Ruth Bader Ginsburg could see this calendar, how would you want her to feel or respond to what you have all created?

I would want her to be excited about it and be happy that we’re giving a platform for all of these amazing artists.  Sourcebooks’ motto has always been “books change lives,” and a calendar is also a book, so it’s just asking ourselves how we can do that in a way that is meaningful. I think RBG would absolutely adore the donation aspect, especially with her favorite causes. We had actually featured her in two other calendars in past years and she sent us letters of thanks, so I hope that she would feel similarly here.

 

IMAGE VIA SOURCEBOOKS

 

What better way to celebrate a new year and a fresh start than with a creative calendar tribute to the woman whose life was devoted to carving out a better world for women’s rights? You can learn more about this creative and motivational calendar in this article, and you can buy it now for your friends, family (or yourself!) here.

 

Featured Artists:

January: Umama Kibria @smallandstrong.co
February: Stevie Shao @stepfrae
March: Sarah Epperson @sarah.epperson
April: Isabel Everett @isabellie_boo
May: Kat Horwedel @kat.dsgns
June: Nicole Rifkin @nicolerifkin
July: Kimberly Glider @kglyder
August: Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya @alonglastname
September: Jade Orlando @jadefrolics
October: Kelley Dillon @kelleydillondesign
November: Shar Tuiasoa @punkyaloha
December: Monique Aimee @moniqueaimee
Tribute Page: Jillian Rahn @jill_tron