Pro-Bono Design Work Makes a Difference

When a company or nonprofit organization has a small budget, it’s not likely the money will flow freely toward the design department. As you may have noticed, these companies and organizations tend to have pretty flawed logos and promotional brochures. The result can be detrimental: A good cause goes unnoticed; a smart idea lacks funding for implementation.

Because hardworking creatives know less-than-stellar branding and marketing means the masses might dismiss the well-intended mission, they sometimes take on pro-bono design projects to help out. Here are three memorable examples—complete with comments from the design firms who submitted the work—that stole the judge’s votes in last year’s HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards:

Camp Tanadoona Invitation by FAME

Camp Tanadoona Invitation pro-bono design by FAME

Camp Tanadoona is a non-profit summer camp in Chanhassen, MN, where kids escape their manicured lawns and wi-fi to become immersed in the wonders of nature (mosquitoes and all). Unfortunately, money doesn’t grow on the trees at Camp T and the grounds could use some sprucing. So they asked FAME to create playful invites for an open house to entice donors to pitch in on the restoration. Despite less-than-sunny weather, Camp Tanadoona had quite the turnout, along with glowing reviews on the invitation itself. And (bonus) the checks from extra-generous donors should help buy a few extra loads of lumber.

Austin Children's Shelter Annual Report by Mason Zimbler

Austin Children’s Shelter Annual Report pro-bono design by Mason Zimbler

Austin Children’s Shelter provides refuge and support for children and young adults suffering from abuse and neglect. Mason Zimbler designed the ACS 2011 annual report around a theme of ‘extraordinary normalcy,’ highlighting efforts to give these kids the experiences most take for granted. The report also gave donors the tools to become advocates, with detachable cards featuring information about programs, special events and donor opportunities to share.

PUBLIC WORKS Catalog pro-bono design by Studio Hinrichs

PUBLIC WORKS Catalog pro-bono design by Studio Hinrichs

The PUBLIC WORKS poster design and exhibition project, founded by Rob Forbes and PUBLIC Bikes, asked 27 international designers to interpret the combined ideas of ‘public’ and ‘bicycles,’ illustrating, in Rob’s words, ‘the impetus to bring greater attention to the critical issues of public space, access, and livability of our cities.’ Studio Hinrichs was asked to design a catalog of the exhibition. The catalog features all 27 posters, which each face a quotation pertaining to bicycles, cycling, public or public spaces. Designer biographies are accompanied by caricatures illustrated by Zach Trenholm.

Have you made a difference for a company or organization by tackling a pro-bono design project? If so, we want to see it. Be sure to enter it in the 2014 HOW Promotion & Design Awards. The final deadline is March 24.

HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards