Human-Centered Design (HCD) is not a new approach to solving design problems. In fact, organizations have been using it for years to understand demographics and create innovative design solutions.
Last year, IDEO teamed up with non-profit groups ICRW and Heifer International to develop a toolkit to help NGO’s and sustainable enterprises work with impoverished communities. Funded in part by IDE and a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this toolkit uses a common language around new tools and techniques to assist organizations in the development of new solutions for difficult challenges in the world. Best of all, this information is available open source and free for download.
Strengthening the nation’s economy has been a topic of conversation for months now and I have been fascinated by the notion of what role design can play in reshaping the future of the American economy. Apparently I am not the only one thinking about this because Cities x Design, a book, DVD and website, co-produced by Jay Corless and Sali Sasaki, is a project that currently emphasizes design, local skills and culture in 30 cities across the United States.
Cities x Design sees the current economic crisis as an opportunity for Americans to rethink the role of design in society. Touring 30 cities, the group interviews local designers in their communities and looks at bridging the gap between design and a creative economy. Examining regeneration, tourism, and branding, the project aims to prove that investing in design is an investment in America’s future economy and culture.
The death penalty violates human rights. Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Today, 58 countries in the world still seek the death penalty for justice. It’s time for this to stop. In December the United Nations will vote on a universal moratorium on the death penalty and here’s how you can help.
4tomorrow, an independent, non-profit organisation based in Paris, uses poster design to engage the world community on matters relating to social justice. This year’s poster competition, Death is not justice, focuses on creating awareness surrounding universal abolition of the death penalty and the call for entries is now open.
Be inspired. Get creative. Let your voice be heard.
I love it when powerful design addresses social issues; even more so, when the designers involved are youth from underserved communities along with their design mentors. Design Ignites Change, a a collaboration between Adobe Youth Voices and Worldstudio, is currently engaging our communities’ youth in design for social issues. Currently, there are two mentoring initiatives underway: Create! Don’t Hate. and School: by Design. If you’ve got some talent and time to donate, you could help mentor a student to design a powerful message for a billboard in their community.
Calling all designers and creative employers. Design can save the earth. It’s true. This isn’t something we are necessarily taught in design school and it took me a number of years, working as a young creative at NBBJ, to realize just how important a role design plays in shaping our future as a planet.
In 2008, I attended a local conference sponsored by AIGA and the School of Visual Concepts called 101 Things Designers Can Do To Save the Earth. One of the featured keynote speakers, Eric Karjaluoto of smashLab and Design Can Change, really stood out of the crowd and changed my outlook on my responsibility to sustainability as a graphic designer. I realized, that as a graphic designer, I play a very important role in sustainability: from the paper I spec to the printers I choose to work with, my choices matter. From that day forward, I decided to take the pledge to encourage sustainable practice in design on the Design Can Change website and help spread the word.
Whether you work for a large or small organization or are a freelance designer, you have the opportunity to educate your clients and our industry about sustainability and design. Inquire about your printer’s green strategies or make paper selections based upon recyclable content and manufacturing practices. Design like the universe depends on it…because it does.
Infographics constantly intrigue me. Sometimes it’s the obscure subject matter that interests me most. Other times, it’s the way the artist visually interprets the data that makes it most memorable. In any case, here’s a list of 30 infographics I happened to come across the other day. Oh, and check out the Röyksopp video for Remind Me. It’s an infographic lover’s paradise.
It’s no mystery that inspiration and organization are keys to success for any business. How many times have you asked yourself, “Where can I find a particular vector or icon?” or “Isn’t there a better way to collaborate on this project as a team?” Well, the folks at Mashable have heard your cries for help and have compiled a list of 10 tools to get you organized and on your way to a successful social profile.
Calling all nonstop design workers…and yes, that means us too. Animated gifs are cooler than ever before thanks to Johnny Kelly and Matthew Cooper’sIamnotanartist.org project. The project, commissioned by Elisava School of Design and created by Soon in Tokyo, presents 56 animated GIFs illustrating paranoia about nonstop design workers. In addition, the project also challenges global creatives to design their own animated GIFs and add them to the community library. OK creatives, just what you all need. Another project to add to your nonstop workload. What are you waiting for? Get crackin.’
Nathan Yau, statistician and blogger of FlowingData, has created an insightful infographic based upon UNdata’s statistics. UNdata, a data access system to UN databases, catalogs twenty-seven United Nations databases and sixty million records about what is going on in the world. This resulting infographic shows what all this information is about. Also, if you want to buy a print, all proceeds go to UNICEF towards relief efforts in Haiti.
For those of you that are not aware, crowdsourcing is the act of taking an activity and outsourcing it to an open community to develop a new technology or create community based design. There’s a discussion being generated this week at SXSW and there are quite a few new initiatives in the works. Marcia Stepanek over at Cause Global has listed some high impact crowdsourcing examples for your perusal. It will be interesting to see how these community based problem solving projects will affect social change. It will be even more interesting to see how they sustain it.