Throughline Summer Series

Art direction,
Brand design
Art Director


As the lead art director for NPR's Throughline show, I had the privilege of working on an engaging and visually striking art project for their summer series. Throughline is a weekly podcast produced by NPR (National Public Radio) that dives deep into the historical context of contemporary events, offering listeners a fresh perspective on the stories that have shaped our world. The summer series was a collection of special episodes, each focusing on a specific historical event or theme. To enhance the listening experience, our goal was to create a visual identity that would capture the essence of the series and resonate with the show's diverse audience.


The primary challenge was to create a cohesive visual language that would not only represent the Throughline brand but also capture the unique essence of each episode within the summer series. We needed to communicate complex historical narratives and abstract themes in a clear and engaging manner, while also maintaining a consistent visual style across various media platforms. Additionally, it was essential to ensure that the artwork remained visually appealing and accessible to both new and existing Throughline listeners.


To tackle this challenge, I hired Deb Lee, a talented illustrator with a distinctive style and a keen understanding of visual storytelling. Together, we worked closely throughout the entire process to develop a creative approach that was both innovative and true to the Throughline brand.

We began with a series of brainstorming sessions to explore various visual concepts and narratives for each episode. After extensive research and discussion, we decided on a flexible visual system that combined minimalist design with a bold color palette, allowing us to capture the essence of each episode while maintaining a unified aesthetic.

Deb Lee created a series of illustrations that represented key moments or themes from the summer series episodes. We then collaborated to develop a visual language of symbols and motifs that could be adapted for various formats, such as digital banners, social media graphics, and print materials.

Throughout the process, we maintained open communication and regular feedback sessions to ensure that our artistic vision remained aligned with the goals and values of the Throughline team.

Throughline Summer Series


The visual identity we developed for the Throughline summer series was met with overwhelming praise from both the show's team and its audience. The artwork not only elevated the listener's experience but also helped expand the show's reach, resulting in increased engagement and positive feedback on social media platforms.

The cohesive visual language we created successfully captured the essence of each episode while reinforcing the Throughline brand. Our collaboration with Deb Lee resulted in a visually striking and memorable series of illustrations that effectively communicated complex narratives and resonated with a diverse audience.

In conclusion, this project demonstrates the power of art direction and design in enhancing storytelling and audience engagement. By working closely with a talented illustrator, we were able to create a visual identity that both captivated and informed, ultimately enriching the listening experience for NPR's Throughline summer series.