Jesse Paul Warren
A Designer*
Jesse Paul Warren
a designer*
A New Way Forward
Campaign for City Council in Burlington, VT.
Designer + Candidate

In 2017, I ran for City Council, challenging the more conservative incumbent in the South End of Burlington, VT.

I designed the lit pieces myself. I thought that if they were clearly made with more care than what people were used to seeing from a political campaign, they might think twice before throwing it straight in the trash.

In hindsight, that proved to be true. The campaign came closer to winning than any challenger had in recent memory. And to this day people still bring up the most significant lit piece of the campaign, a 40-page booklet we dropped on every door in the district, titled "A New Way Forward."


The most significant effort of the campaign was a 40-page booklet I wrote and designed. Each booklet was stamped with the title, “A New Way Forward”, and hand signed and numbered. I thought that signing and numbering it might make people take notice of it, rather than throwing it straight in the trash.

I wrote and rewrote it over the course of two months. I wanted to communicate the degree I was thinking about these issues. I wanted people to know I wasn’t just listing off a bunch of policy priorities and calling it a platform. I wanted to go in depth into why I felt this was the right path, and how it connected with my own life.


The booklet closed with a poem I wrote. I wanted to communicate that I was thinking about politics and campaigning differently.


I also designed the envelope that the booklet came in. I wanted it to be distinctive, easy to hang on doorknobs, and low-cost. I actually printed the 2000 envelopes on my cheap black and white printer.

People later described receiving this booklet like getting a present. That's what I wanted it to feel like.


The first lit piece, while less notable then the booklet, was still unique. I also designed it to be visually distinctive, hang on doors easily, and print cheaply. It featured a poem on the front which, looking back, was probably a little cheesy. But it was unique nonetheless.

It opened through a gateway fold, held closed by a sticker that a team of volunteers helped apply to each piece. The colorful sticker added a pop of color to the black and white printing.


Ultimately the incumbent beat me by a slim margin. But we got further than anyone thought we could, and closer than anyone else had in recent memory. And people continue to mention the booklet to me, and how much of an impact it had on them.