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How to Use Graphic Design for Social Change

March 16, 2012, 3:00 PM

What's the Latest Development?

A new book outlines the steps you can take to make your design project socially relevant, presuming you want to use your abilities to change the world for the better. In Designing for Social Change: Strategies for Community-Based Graphic Design, author Andrew Shea tells designers to 'confront controversy' because big ideas that make a stand also generate discussion. One tip is to tap into larger messages that people already relate to. An Ohio-based project, for example, visually equated environmentally conscious business with patriotism. 

What's the Big Idea?

While declarations of good intentions are sometimes earnest expressions of good will, you should not be making government pamphlets from the 1950s. Try to create a visceral response from your viewers, like the No Hooks before Books program which promoted after-school boxing programs in Baltimore with the use of heroic images. Perhaps most importantly, Shea notes that activism is going local, so make your appeal matter to the community you are trying to affect. In New York, rather than 'Made in the USA', garments are tagged, 'Made in Midtown'. 

Photo credit: shutterstock.com



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