Social Activism through Design
June 2, 2004 12:49 PM   Subscribe

"Don't just do good design; do some good." An initiative to promote socially-responsible projects as initiated within the design community, in small and large scales. And on a tangent, activism has certainly come a long way since Lennon.
posted by margaretlam (13 comments total)
i wish the gallery was open. i'm really interested in this sort of work . . . any idea when it'll be back up?
posted by nyoki at 1:11 PM on June 2, 2004

I am somehow put off by a graphic-design gallery / manifesto with such terrible web-design.
posted by signal at 1:18 PM on June 2, 2004

posted by machaus at 1:32 PM on June 2, 2004

Yeah... so I was at the 2001 AIGA Conference, "Voice" in DC where the entire shebang was about doing socially responsible graphic design. The question in the air was basically, "Can Graphic Design change the world?"

And the unspoken answer was "Uhm... probably not, but it'll make us feel better about ourselves."

Us graphic designers are kind of like Jimmy Olsen rather than Superman as far as world-shattering influence goes.
posted by Stan Chin at 1:32 PM on June 2, 2004

It's almost impossible to "do good" by setting out to do good. Much better to set out to provide a good service and make money. You won't "repair the world," because the world can't be repaired. But you will do just about as much good in the world as you are capable of doing, and you'll get a living out of it as well.
posted by Faze at 1:40 PM on June 2, 2004

Welcome to the Telephone Sanitizer Cares web presence. We are collecting professional acts of social responsibility, as an inspiration for those looking for ideas, and as a celebration of the role telephone sanitizers are taking in helping repair the world. Recognizing both the powerful role they play in the new world economy and the opportunity to make a positive social impact with their professional skills, telephone sanitizers everywhere are looking for ways to contribute. Telephone sanitizing is young: 95% of the telephone sanitizers who have ever lived are alive today. Together we can still define our profession: will it be about inventing sanitized lies to create larger market share or will it be about taking responsibility for helping build a better world? It's up to you.

(or in other words, what is it with graphic design as a profession that makes it so prone to self-important manifestos? It seems like every other issue of CA has a column/rant about how graphic design should Become A Force For Good, and just about all of them are as free of actual content or concrete suggestions as this website is.)
posted by ook at 1:45 PM on June 2, 2004

Just get the ad in by the deadline, and you've done good.
posted by letitrain at 1:59 PM on June 2, 2004

Faze = Tibor Kalman
posted by luriete at 2:12 PM on June 2, 2004

first things first year 2000 Design manifesto.
posted by dabitch at 3:16 PM on June 2, 2004

"[...] what is it with graphic design as a profession that makes it so prone to self-important manifestos?"

Over-compensating for feelings of guilt at being satan's whores?
posted by Blue Stone at 3:23 PM on June 2, 2004

Well, yeah, but we're all satan's whores. I mean, duh.
posted by ook at 5:15 PM on June 2, 2004

Calling all designers... 24 hours of mad creativity. This is a good thing. Our shop hosted this (Create-A-Thon) in our area last year (30 design/advertising agencies nationwide participated), and we're doing it again this year. I'd encourage anyone interested in doing some good to get the company you work for to participate. We read about this in How magazine a year ago at a time when we were looking to do something good. This worked out really well. Happy clients, happy creatives, and definitely a highlight in my design career.
posted by hypnorich at 7:57 PM on June 2, 2004

So sad, i don' t think we can afford to be whimsical about these issues, there are many organisations would benefit from YOUR design, marketing and communications knowledge.

Doing pro bono work through initiatives like Good Company here in Australia, I have helped many small non-profit social support structures just by slyly sharing the knowledge and research available to me as a creative beeyotch for an ad agency dealing with socially irresponsible big companies.

By helping the smaller, more socially valuable grassroots NPOs (the well known NPOs have demonstrated themselves as corporate whores in bureaucratic nightmares, fact) with identity, brand awareness issues, the power of the web, and basic marketing techniques (these small NPOs are so focused on their acutal service to the community they don't have time to do their own research and planning) they have been able to more confidently step into the tough market place of donation solicitation and gradually increase their income and influence - giving them more capabilties and opportunties to do good.

So, faze, i call shenanigans on your point - it's not too late to try. We may not be able to stop whoring, but at least we can be whores with big hearts, nice fonts and tickets to salvation :)
posted by elphTeq at 8:16 PM on June 2, 2004

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