Socially Conscious Graphic Design

Socially Conscious Graphic Design

Communication, Arts & Culture, Environment

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  • Man Made Image

    Environment, Communication Design

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    “We can recognize random logos of corporations but cannot identify a tree in our front yard.” I was inspired by this from the documentary “11th Hour” by Leonardo DiCaprio. It reinforces the idea that nature is not relevant to our daily lives. If it is not a part of our culture and daily interactions, then how do we expect to understand the magnitude of what we have done to the planet. In “Blessed Unrest” Paul Hawken describes how much we miss if we are not looking for it. Right now we are looking for corporate logos because we feel they have more relevance in our lives than the tree you stare at everyday outside your window. It makes sense because we have been trained to think and look at things this way. The abstract symbolism of a corporation we buy products from becomes ingrained in how we look at ourselves. Thanks to designers and brand strategists like myself, the force of brands connecting to individuals is powerful. Gutterleaf

    The tree outside, while it lives in our physical environment it does not actively try to interact with us. It does not send you emails or connect to you on Facebook. It does not know about the latest trends or best buys. What that tree does is far greater. It takes the carbon dioxide we produce and turns it into oxygen that we breath. It prevents the foundation of your residence from being flooded. It traps moisture in our environment to help support a water rich ecosystem. We do not see these things happening. These processes are no...

  • Dream-center-logo_177_

    Recently, I participated in a logo design competition sponsored by DESIGN 21. Designers were challenged to create a logo for the UNESCO DREAM Center, a project with the goal of providing underprivileged children, especially in post-conflict regions, the opportunities and tools to express themselves creatively through the arts. DREAM Center

    My entry, “Bringing the Arts into Focus” was one of over 1500 entries from designers around the world. Submissions represented all parts of the logo design spectrum: simple to intricate, serious to playful, large, small, good, bad, and everything in between. However, this article is not about logo design. (For principles of effective logo design, check out this short article by Jacob Cass.)

    Before this competition, I had never given much thought to how I presented a logo or identity design to a client after it was completed. Looking through hundreds of submissions during the voting period, I realized that presenting an identity design is much more than providing a color and greyscale version of your logo.

    The best designs in the competition stood out for more than just their conceptual strength or creativity – they had an effective presentation. Below are the aspects I believe contributed to this professional feel, with examples selected from this competition and several others sponsored by Design 21.

    1. Negative Space

    Many entries uploaded an image that left empty space around the logo at the center. This minimalist desig...

  • Dave Cuvelot on "The Price of D&AD New Blood"

    Communication, Communication Design

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    In a recent article, aptly named The Price of D&AD New Blood, Graphic Designer Dave Cuvelot comments on his experience of D&AD New Blood - 'The Creative Talent Show' and offers an well written opinion on its true value to today's graduate designers:

    "If our top-level conferences are ‘just’ lining up celebrity designers to show off their own work, then is that what graduate showcases are setting us up for – to become the celebrity? With such significant influence and positioning in the design industry, I’d like to think design ‘celebrities’ could not better use their time in the public eye and communicate the power of design to other areas of society, maybe they could share what they have learnt about design, share issues which matter to us all and fight to change the discourse away from stardom, and back to a discourse focused on where design is going and more importantly how it can be used to better society."

    Read Dave's full article here: The Price of D&AD New Blood.

  • Global Color Infusion - Madras Morning

    Arts & Culture, Communication Design

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    "I was wandering through a narrow Madras alley on a very hot morning in January. The sun was beating and colors appeared especially vibrant within the bright light. The streets were crowded, Bollywood tunes blasting, and intense aromas of spices and sewage filled the air. Amid the chaos, it was beautiful."

    Every so often, I’ll shoot a particular photo that ends up becoming a great source of inspiration. This inspiration can root from a variety of things, such as the color palette, the composition, the content, or even simply the memory of the moment.

    In this article, I have presented a particular photo that inspires me, followed up with a few design exercises, and then showed how the particular theme is reflected around the world by presenting work from other photographers.

    Continue reading »

  • Graphic Feast Forecasts Future

    Communication, Communication Design

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    What challenges will the next decade bring?

    And how are we going to overcome them?

    So asked the The Institute for the Future of thousands of participants via its progressive Superstruct online interface to co-create its Ten Year Forecast. Density Design was asked by Italy's Wired magazine to devise a visual synthesis of the forecast which could be used to stimulate onwards discussion by a wider audience.

    Density Design is a research lab at the Politecnico di Miano which explores the emergent relationships between communication design, information visualisation and complex systems. It supports the use of communication design to facilitate dialogue within participatory decision making.

    Creatively combined with an exquisite concoction of allegorical illustrations, the resulting Map of the Future provides a common visualisation on which to base discussions and analysis of what may lie ahead. The map has already been put to use at the Capitale Digitale collaborative sessions held by Wired & Telecom Italia. Hard to imagine going back to a paltry powerpoint pie-chart after being served up this flavorsome infographic feast.

    Download a original (largest) version of the map on Flickr

    ...
  • Artistry_177_

    In today's fast paced world of information overload, have we lost the ability to truly devote ourselves to the ultimate mastery of a single art? Read Article »

    Photo by: Carlos Bohorquez Nassar

  • Aspen Design Summit

    Communication, Communication Design

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    “We envision a select group of 60 designers, change leaders, NGOs, foundations and experts coming together to engage actively in opportunities to demonstrate design thinking in crafting solutions for large social problems, as well as to use existing networks and programs to accelerate change.”

    The impressive list of attendees of the Aspen Design Summit next week will be collaborating to come up with design solutions and create concrete two-year implementation plans for 5-6 new projects. The themes include poverty, health care and education and collaborating organizations include UNICEF, the Mayo Clinic, and the Center for Disease Control. The Summit will include considerable dialogue and discussion of role of the design industry in leading social change initiatives.

    Learn more »

  • Join the *Free* Design Revolution

    Aid, Communication Design

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    Learn about the value of pro-bono design and easy ways to get involved in a project.

    Read more »

  • Renourish_177_

    Re-nourish.com is the industry's most comprehensive free and independent resource for sustainable graphic design. Our goal is to move the industry forward, making sustainable design what design is, not merely what it "could be." We believe the best way to do this is to provide reliable, accessible tools to working designers everywhere.

    Our team, consisting of three designers (two of whom also teach design at the university level) spent a year and a half developing Re-nourish as a way to bridge the gap between sustainable design theory and practice, and to help designers integrate better decision-making into their everyday design process.

    We offer a free suite of tools and information that include:

    • Heavily researched primers on everything from paper and print to packaging.
    • Searchable paper and printer databases.
    • Inspirational case studies.
    • A project calculator that helps you reduce paper use/cost on projects (and save them to track over time).

    Help Re-nourish Spread the Word

    Re-nourish is constantly updated and expanded based on the input we get from stakeholders at every point on the supply chain. And we've gotten a lot of input - overwhelmingly positive, thankfully. In fact, Re-nourish is now up for a Cooper Hewitt People's Choice Design Award!

    This is particularly exciting for us not so much for the win itself, but because if Re-nourish was to win this award - from such a venerable institution, and the People's Choice at that - we think it would send a re...

  • Comparative Cartography Assists War on Drugs & Crime

    Communication, Communication Design

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    Pentagram partner Harry Pearce recently devised a project for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) which provided graphic training tools for the Russian police. Employing national abbreviations (GB, US, RU, etc) the folding posters presented comparative data surrounding drug abuse, intervention, therapy and health related consequences as a way of clarifying various aspects of drug policy during training sessions. (English versions shown here, with Russian versions being used on the ground.)

    Read more on Random Specific.

Whenever I draw a circle, I immediately want to step out of it. Buckminster Fuller

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Socially Conscious Graphic Design

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Moderator: Kate Andrews