Nina's Memorial Design Spotlight: Kelly Kurkjian

By Kelly Kurkjian, originally posted on the Craft Room

Last June, my cousin Nina passed away in a house fire. Nina was a beautiful soul with incredible journey ahead of her. Months after her passing, one of Nina’s best friends, Mary Grace, started to organize a 5K in her memory. As soon as I had found out of these plans, I wanted to get involved. I volunteered to design whatever was needed for the 5K.

I knew right after volunteering that this would be the most meaningful design job I’ve ever worked on. Nina was a passionate runner, who took that passion to the Middle East to help improve the lives of young women through running and athletics. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to help continue Nina’s legacy and passion by volunteering my very own passion of design.

Mary Grace, Lizzie (another one of Nina’s best friends) and I worked together to establish the logo for the race and memorial website. We experimented with many designs, but ultimately landed on a strong, bold typeface to represent her strength. We included Nina’s silhouette as well in order to represent her doing what she loved. A translation of the race name is shown in Arabic at the bottom of the logo to represent her passion for the language and connection to the people she loved in Jordan.

Once we established the logo, we kicked into full gear to make all the assets needed to make the race a success. Posters, race maps, t-shirts, and race bibs were just a selection of the things we put together for race day.

After months and months of planning and designing for the race, it had finally arrived! I can’t express the feeling of having all my family together to honor and celebrate Nina’s life and legacy. It was also finally time to meet Mary Grace, someone I had worked so closely with for months. Seeing everyone together in their bright orange shirts was emotionally overwhelming, but put the biggest smile on my face.

There have also been many extensions of the memorial identity we created, including a logo for the Nina Brekelmans Running Camp for Girls in Amman, Jordan. This camp was established in Nina’s name to continue her vision of building confidence and leadership among young women in Jordan. Check out the Nina Brekelmans Running Camp for Girls Facebook Page for updates and pictures!

I couldn’t be more honored to have created a visual identity for Nina’s legacy with Mary Grace. I am so thankful to be a part of such an incredible initiative.

Check out the Nina Brekelmans Memorial website to learn about Nina, the Memorial Scholarship 5K, Legacy Projects, Tributes, and Fire Safety.

I love you Nina, and think of you always.