My name is Zachary Reese and I'm a designer from Philadelphia. I work at a University of Pennsylvania think-tank where I create projects like the political literacy site and the teaching tool Civics Renewal Network. I also founded Sport, a design agency specializing in virtual reality. My work has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, PBS, MTV, USA Today, and tons of other places. I feel like I'm doing okay for myself.

A Guide to Effective Zika Coverage

Put together this brochure/webpage aimed at increasing the quality of news coverage devoted to the Zika virus. This was spurred by Annenberg Science Knowledge survey results that found 46% of people in the US incorrectly think Zika always produces noticeable symptoms. On top of that, 36% think an adult with Zika is likely to die from it. That seems kind of ridiculous for a subject that’s getting 24/7 news coverage, no? The idea is that if journalists and newscasters follow the best practices we’ve outlined, understanding of Zika goes up, and, in turn, health risks go down.

I did the bulk of the writing, copy editing and layout on this project, as well as designing the webpage and doing the illustrations.

First slide

ConQuest: A Text Adventure

Developed under a grant from the National Institutes of Health's Tobacco Regulatory Science Program.

Results of this project were published as Counteracting the Influence of Peer Smoking on YouTube in the Journal of Health Communication, April 2017.


Second slide

First slideNCSS is like the Comic-Con of social studies. It’s a huge deal for educators, and since 16 of the Civics Renewal Network partners were going to be exhibiting I thought it would be cool to do something different. I knew the partners were eager to have something that identified them as being involved with CRN, so I came up with a scavenger hunt idea… founding fathers (and mothers) hidden in partner booths, take pics, win swag. It was a huge hit all around.

The hardest part was taking all of these founders and homogenizing their portraits. I didn’t have the time to do illustrations of all 16, and the primary sources available all varied drastically in quality and style. Some founders only sat for a single portrait in their lives. My solution was to use a convolutional neural network to create a treatment that could be automatically applied to all the source portraits. I wanted a “crafty” tone since this project was giving nods to propagandist tactics from the American Revolution, which was easily accomplished with a basic style transfer tensor.

Democratizing The Debates

I worked with the Annenberg Working Group on Presidential Campaign Debate Reform and Ogilvy & Mather to build this report concerning ways to increase the value of presidential debates. It’s one of those “big deal” projects where it needs to be simple and sensible. Like, the president of the United States read this report. That’s pretty cool.

This report is notable because it’s the first research project at the Annenberg Public Policy Center that operated “web first”. Previously a printed product was the end result of any research… a book, a journal article, something like that. I managed to get the team to put the entire report online and built a really lovely page template that they’ll be able to use for any future publications.