In the upcoming issue of HOW (coming soon, check back October 1 on My Design Shop), I wrote a piece about some kick-ass designers who are doing amazing projects to benefit their local communities. One quote from Matchstic’s Blake Howard really struck me: “Designers are visionaries, idealists and purists; we tend to see a better world that most people don’t. … I think we have a responsibility to work on passion projects that move the needle toward that better world.”
So how should designers go about fulfilling the responsibility to design for good causes? There are a number of options, and some companies are offering help to turn your creative ideas into a completed project. One of those proactive companies is Sappi Fine Paper. In fact, Sappi’s Ideas that Matter annual grant program has funded more than 500 non-profit projects and donated more than $12 million to worldwide causes since its inception in 1999. At the crossroads of graphic design and social good, Ideas that Matter is not only a way to do good, but also a way to be inspired by the good others are doing.
Take, for example, Mike Weikert, principle of Weikert Design and director of the Social Design (MA) and Center for Design Practice (CDP) at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Through the Ideas that Matter grant program, Weikert was able to fund the MICA Real Food Farm Food Truck, an initiative that would help put fresh produce in the hands of people living in low-income areas. Together, CDP at the MICA and Real Food Farm worked together to create a mobile farmer’s market to distibute Real Food Farm’s produce to locals. The project is now featured in a video on the Sappi Ideas that Matter website.
Not sure how to get started with socially-conscious design projects? Check out the Design for the Greater Good single. At $1.99, you can’t afford to miss out!