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How to Design for Social Change

Learn how to design for social change from graphic design consultant Chanelle Henry in this Howcast video.


So design has more of an impact than just being something pretty or designing an awesome commercial for a soda or doing club promos or promotions or book covers. But it can also be something that's really, really important for like social change. One of the things that CHD Collective prides itself on is being able to work with non-profits, NGO's and other corporations that are doing things for the community.

We really love to like, basically encourage our freelancers and our contractors and our employees to really think outside of the box. Design is one of those things where you can actually change the world with it because of the impact that one design can have. If you just, even think about certain initiatives that are out there that of course aren't coming to my mind, you can see that when you have a good design and reaches people, then people are affected and they give. It's just that simple.

The recent storm that hit New York, Sandy, one of my contractors decided, Philippe, he decided that he wanted to do something in order to help those that were basically affected by what Sandy had done. So he came up with something called Rescue by Design in United for Sandy. Within a week, me and him went back and forth on trying to figure out the logo and trying to figure, what is it going to look like, what are we going to do? What's the initiative going to be? And in turn, created a website pretty much within a week that talks about you know, how Sandy devastating and how many people lost their homes and in some cases, their lives.

So we decided to basically make this initiative to reach out to other freelancers and clients and agencies to be a part of being united for Sandy. So far we have four people and we're all giving a portion of what we earn this month to the victims of Sandy. And then also, making this a more open forum for any other natural disasters that may happen in the upcoming months or years. It's really important to reach out to your community, whether you're going out to help with the Red Cross, or going out to help with organizations that already exist, or providing a way for your services to help them out as well. There's a lot that you can do with your talents. And the good part about that is knowing that there's always someone else that has the same vision, and the same like, heart to want to change the road as you and it's finding those people and creating something that can create a long lasting change.

Another good example is Charity Water, which is an organization based here in New York. And what they do is they actually help to do different water projects around the world, whether it's creating wells, or building wells in like developing countries or just partnering with different people like celebrities and other organizations to help get water to those developing nations. And their design is something that's also very beautiful. They use info graphics to show like, "Hey, how many people are without water? How many water projects have been funded? What are we doing? Let us show you what we're doing and let us prove it." You'll see like a lot of different organizations start to take hold of this call to action. Where it's like, how can we reach people and show them the boring data through info graphics and also connect to them through compelling videos and compelling stories to help people realize that there are people out there that need our help.

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