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Socially Conscious Graphic Design

Socially Conscious Graphic Design

Communication, Arts & Culture, Environment

326 Supporters

  • A Little Personal Green Up

    Environment, Industrial Design

    • Manufacturing a cellphone uses approximately 1390 MJ of energy and produces 60 kg of CO2 emissions
    • A gallon of gasoline has 131 MJ of energy and emits 8.8 kg of CO2
    • Manufacturing a cellphone uses as much energy as 10.5 gallons of gasoline and emits as much as 6.8 gallons of gasoline
    • Using a cellphone for a year on average uses 4,221 MJ of energy (equivalent to 32 gallons of gasoline) and emits 112 kg of CO2 (equivalent to 12.8 gallons of gasoline)
    • replacing a cellphone every 2 years rather than one would save 30 kg of CO2 emissions (about 3.3 gallons worth) and 700 MJ

    Source: Fat Knowledge Blog & UMTS report (ESU-services Ltd.)

    Bucking the Trend and Dialing it Back

    Generally speaking, I tend to go against the grain. I reject trends, I change jobs when I shouldn't (ask my wife), I ride the bus everywhere and I have the economy cable package (although DVR takes care of the time shifting).

    Admittedly, though, until recently I was a BlackBerry user (also known as the “CrackBerry” around my house) with a serious affliction. For the most part it began as a work-related nice-to-have – something all the managers carried – and was a sort of necessity.

    It wasn't until the prospect of ditching the BlackBerry came up that I realized the impact it had on my everyday life. From a purely practical standpoint, I was scanning email 24/7 and perpetually strapped to it. From an psychological perspective, I was always "waiting" for something to come in, and basical...

  • Designers as Agents of Change

    Arts & Culture, Communication Design

    What a debt we owe to Michael Bierut for advocating for us designers, and proving that the design's role in our culture and surroundings is one of importance and prominence.

    To say that as designers we have a responsibility to the people we work with, and that we have power as agents of change is indeed an understatement.

    In the following interview, given by AIGA Phily, Pentagram partner Michael Bierut discusses this in the context of the global economic climate, the proliferation of forces like "Target" and their ability to democratize design in today’s culture. He is also asked to comment on IBM’s Watson’s idea that “Good design is good business.”

    If you had any doubts about the collective influence of the design discipline, take a listen to one of today's foremost thinkers on the subject.

  • Save_the_world_lr_177_

    With this slide, Saul Griffith, inventor, MacArthur Fellow, Ph.D., launches into his presentation at San Francisco’s recent AIGA event, Compostmodern. I saw a re-broadcast of Saul’s speech at AIGA Portland’s event of the same name, that also featured Brian Dougherty from Celery Design. Shortly after showing this provoking slide, Saul is quick to report that he hopes this is not true, he hopes that there is still a chance for design to change the world, and he devotes the remainder of his presentation to showing us how.

    First, Saul presents the problem we all face: climate change. He shows how he evaluated his own lifestyle and figured out how much power he required in watts annually. He included not just the typical statistics, the power used in heating/cooling his home, the miles he drove, etc, but also he included all the objects he owned and factored in the power used to bring that product to life. These results were populated in a graph. The largest portion shown on the graph represented all objects that he owned that were designed, and this is the area he challenges the audience to rethink. He calculated the average watts used per person in North America at 11400 Watts, compared to the average European at 5400. Obviously this heavy power use has damaging side effects, as most of our current power sources expel carbon into the atmosphere at a rate of 8 billion tons of carbon every year. Which in turn, scientists now agree, is contributing to global warming and cli...

  • cause/affect 09 deadline is tomorrow, 6.19.09!!

    Communication, Communication Design


    TODAY IS THE DAY DO-GOODERS! Fed-ex, UPS, USPS those entries OVERNIGHT! Hand-deliver to the AIGA SF office. Do what you must to get your cause/affect 09 entries in by TOMORROW!


    How do I enter online?

    Where do I mail the entries? Send all entries, with completed forms (or online payment confirmation) and payment to:

    cause/affect competition category: (include entry category) attn: Don Savoie, AIGA SF 130 Sutter Street, Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94104

  • cause/affect 09 judges announced

    Communication, Communication Design

    Join us in welcoming some of the country’s top creative professionals and socially conscious business minds that have signed on to judge cause/affect09:

    Valerie Casey - Practice Head, Digital Experiences / Networked Culture at IDEO and the founder and executive director of the Designers Accord, a global coalition of designers, educators, strategists, researchers, engineers, and corporate leaders, working together to create positive environmental and social impact.

    Brian Dougherty - Principal creative director at Celery Design, a studio focused on creating communications that have a positive impact in the world, doing cutting-edge green design and brand strategy work across many media. Brian is the author of Green Graphic Design from Allworth Press and a frequent lecturer on the ecological innovation in communications design.

    Yvette Irvin - Owner of SavvyClick Marketing, an Internet and marketing expert who has led programs for a variety of industries. Yvette is passionate about design and all things Internet and firmly believes in the power of words and design to facilitate good in our communities and our world.

    Jean-Benoit Levy - International designer, author of several design books, including the "Handbook", and prolific educator at several Bay Area universities including Academy of Art University, California College for the Arts, and San Jose State University. He is also a member of the prestigious Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI).

  • C-a_460x330_177_

    There's just 16 more days to enter - get cracking!

    New this year: fill out your entry forms and pay online! Scared of new technology? Simply download the entry form and pop it in the mail. Enter now

    Why enter?

    Your work will be seen by a jury made up of some of the country’s top creative professionals and socially conscious business minds.

    The truly worthy will pick up an award from the AIGA, the professional association for design, and their work will be showcased at our cause/affect awards ceremony on July 9 and displayed at the AIGA SF gallery through the summer. Winning entrants will also be featured on the cause/affect site.

    Regrettably, the deadline cannot be extended. Slap on a stamp and get your do-gooder work in the mail today!

  • cause/affect 09 now accepting entries

    Arts & Culture, Communication Design


    AIGA San Francisco has issued a call for entries for cause/affect, a graphic design competition that celebrates the work of socially-conscious designers. The deadline for entries is set for June 19, 2009.

    The details of the competition are simple: all work entered must promote or support social good. To qualify, all AIGA SF asks is that it doesn’t contribute directly to the profit of a commercial organization and that the work must have been produced between November 1, 2007 and June 19, 2009.

    Winning work will be showcased at the cause/affect awards ceremony July 9, 2009 and displayed at the AIGA SF gallery through the summer. Winning entrants will also be featured on the cause/affect site.

    For entry forms, and more information, please visit: <A href="">

  • Design Reaction wants to put a shirt on your back!

    Communication, Communication Design


    Starting today and continuing through the month of May, Design Reaction is going to send a free t-shirt to every designer who uploads an activist poster (or, posters!) to the Design Reaction poster gallery.

    Your poster submissions may promote any social, political, or environmental cause, but must fulfill the Design Reaction file requirements and preparation guidelines to qualify for a shirt. After you upload, we’ll contact you to confirm a mailing address, or you can contact us first if you’d prefer.

    If you’re a designer without a Design Reaction account, register today to upload your poster(s), and earn what will surely become the signature piece of your Summer 09 wardrobe.

    Visit for more information.

  • Doodle_logo_177_

    Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum has partnered with Google Inc. for its “Doodle 4 Google” design competition. K-12 students from across the country are challenged to think like designers, using Google’s iconic logo to convey their hopes and dreams inspired by the theme, “What I wish for the world.”

    On May 21, 2009 the winning student’s design will be the doodle of the day on the Google home page. The top four designs along with the 40 regional winners will be featured in a special exhibition at Cooper-Hewitt (May 21–July 5, 2009). The exhibition will focus on the problem-solving nature of the design process and will include educational programs for teachers and students.

    Students’ designs will be judged on artistic merit, creativity, representation of the theme and other criteria. A panel of independent judges and representatives from Google and Cooper-Hewitt will select the top doodles across age groups, from which the public will help select the final four designs. The grand-prize winner will be announced at an event hosted at Cooper-Hewitt and the Google New York Office on May 20, 2009. The doodle will be displayed on the Google home page the following day. Courtesy of Google, the champion “doodler” will also receive a $15,000 college scholarship and a $25,000 technology grant for the student’s school. This year’s competition also includes a $10,000 award to recognize the school district with the greatest-quality participation.


  • The Long Tail Brand

    Communication, Communication Design


    There is a lot we can learn from the success of internet based companies. One concept in particular, applies well to creating a strong brand, the Long Tail. The Long Tail is a phrase coined by Chris Anderson in October 2004 in Wired magazine ( It is created by a market of unique products. These products do not appeal to masses but instead to distinct tastes. What makes them distinct also makes them different. Differentiation is pivotal to creating successful brands. By creating companies and products in the Long Tail you have already solved one of the challenges of creating a strong brand. Here is some background information on the Long Tail from wikipedia:

    “The concept of a frequency distribution with a long tail — the concept at the root of Anderson’s coinage — has been studied by statisticians since at least 1946.[2] The distribution and inventory costs of these businesses allow them to realize significant profit out of selling small volumes of hard-to-find items to many customers, instead of only selling large volumes of a reduced number of popular items. The group that purchases a large number of “non-hit” items is the demographic called the Long Tail.” To read more go here

    As individuals in society we are looking to find networks where people have the similar tastes, values and shared experiences. We want to to be a part of a community united by common thoughts w...

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

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Moderator: Kate Andrews