Design for Good is an ethos to use problem-solving and design thinking towards social change.

AIGA Design for Good highlights opportunities of engagement for designers to build their practice, expand their network, and have hands-on leadership opportunities. Design for Good recognizes the wide range of designers’ work and hands-on leadership and professional development opportunities, which benefit the world, our country, and our communities.

Design for Good sustains designers playing a catalytic role through community projects that create positive social impact. By supporting designers through online networks, inspirational stories, meaningful programs, open dialogues and chapter events, impact measurement toolkits, and national advocacy and promotion, Design for Good serves as a powerful resource for designers who wish to work in this area and a beacon for designers leading the charge.

The Design for Good umbrella includes the following strategic initiatives:

  • Design for Democracy (program focus: Get out the Vote and ballot design)
  • Diversity & Inclusion (program focus: D&I Guidebook)
  • Women Lead (program focus: Gender Equity Toolkit)
  • and the repositioned Design for Communities (which covers most of the chapter activities, including partnerships with local nonprofits, youth development programs, creative placemaking efforts to name a few)

Ways to get involved with AIGA

  • Meet the new Design for Good task force.
  • Join us for the Design for Good monthly webcast series, which started December 2, 2016, and has new episodes rolling out the third Friday of each month through Spring 2017. The program will address the following themes: social impact design, gender equity, civic engagement in urban communities, government innovation, racial justice by design, youth development, impact measurement methods, and public health access.
  • Read through our rich collection of case studies profiled below, which cover a wide range of stories from designers pushing health care and safety clients to embrace social innovation to engaging in cities, partnering with local non-profits, and more. See how design can make an impact.
  • View our resource list of organizations, schools, programs, training and fundraising opportunities
  • Follow @AIGAdesign on Twitter and tag your Design for Good tweets with #AIGAdg

How to engage Design for Good in your community

The outline below was largely inspired by the work of 2017 Medalist Mark Randall’s long standing practice in social impact design.

Design for good

  • Initiate a project or group that uses design skills
  • Facilitate design thinking
  • Establish a socially-engaged business or nonprofit
  • Inspire a movement

Designers for good

  • Observe and engage through social media
  • Investigate and advocate for social causes
  • Donate money or goods to an organization
  • Volunteer time to a local organization or community
  • Create a fundraising event for a local nonprofit

How do I begin?

  • Explore your passions. Become curious about your local communities, government, and nonprofits

  • Design with heart. Follow your interests and offer your natural abilities
  • Be realistic and think small. Big changes can ripple out from close to home, and every community needs good design
  • Build relationships. Your partnerships allow you to accomplish more with less by leveraging the assets each individual and/or group brings to the table. Be considerate of the assets that already exist within the community, and engage community members in your process. They’re essential to doing good design
  • Iterate. Don’t be afraid to fail, and learn from that experience
  • Persevere. Designing for social change is hard work, but it’s work that needs doing, and designers have a special skill set to bring into questioning society
  • Measure. Start thinking about data and metrics early on, evaluate your work, and constantly ask yourself if you’ve achieve your goals
  • Document your work. Storytelling is the best way to engage an audience for your cause. Be inspired to utilize photography, voice recording, video, and workshop style exercises to gather and retain information
  • Connect online. If you’d like to connect, follow our social media channels, watch our webcasts, and YouTube videos. You can also submit a case study of your own to AIGA.

Where design thinking can have an impact:

  • Domestic violence
  • Food desert and access to quality nutrition
  • Gentrification
  • Homelessness
  • Immigration
  • Poverty
  • Public health
  • Race & gender equality
  • Recycling and conservation
  • School To prison pipeline
  • Support for artists
  • Veterans issues
  • Voter registration and participation
  • Water access and safety
  • Any reality that is unmet or needs clarity, advocacy, and/or a voice

Skills that are commonly needed:

Design for good is about good design

  • Graphic design
  • Branding and identity
  • Creative direction
  • Event organization & promotion
  • Design thinking facilitation
  • Storytelling via print, digital, video and motion
  • Communications strategy
  • Business development
  • Product development
  • Exhibit design/ Interpretive design