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Who Would You Interview

Who Would You Interview

Communication, Community, Education

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  • What would you ask Dawn Hancock of Firebelly?

    Communication, Communication Design


    We are now in the sixth week of our Interview series, and this week we are fielding questions for Dawn Hancock, owner and creative director of Firebelly Design.

    What would you ask Dawn? Nominate your questions by August 31.

    Firebelly Design is a Chicago-based design studio specializing in meaningful and sustainable print, online and motion design solutions.

    Dawn describes her team as “super-talented patient listeners, genius problem solvers and forward thinking designers.” They work together to “create positive world change connecting authentic companies with real people in socially responsible ways.”

    Firebelly designs for sustainability-focused companies and non-profit organizations like Chicago Public Schools and MacArthur Foundation. They also advise clients who are looking to be more environmentally and socially responsible. The studio even awards an annual Design + Marketing Grant to non-profit clients who may not be able to cover the cost of their services.

    Beyond client work, Firebelly conducts its own internal initiatives to do good through design. One example is Camp Firebelly, a 10-day summer charrette in which college design students address social justice issues with design and strategy solutions for a specific non-profit client. ("Campers" actually camp over in sleeping bags in Firebelly's office.) The charrette provides students with real-world experience and the non-profits the design services they need.

    The studio also hosts the Firebelly Art Market, where staff and associates sell wares created outside of work, and donate the proceeds to communities and individuals in need.

    Exemplifying the proactive design studio, Firebelly does good through good design. So fire away – nominate your questions for Dawn and Firebelly today!

    Post your questions to here by August 31 at 4pm EST.

  • Hello Dawn,

    I'm wondering how Firebelly got to the point where you are now. Did you start small with the occasional non-profit client, or project for a good cause, and then as things rolled along you were able to turn this work into your main focus? Also, however you got here, how are you able to keep the lights on working for clients with little to no budgets and still have the time and money to create your own good projects?

    It is my dream to some day run the type of design studio you're running now, and I really appreciate Firebelly for being such a great inspiration. Thank you.


    Gage Mitchell, AIGA

    :: Graphic Designer


  • Other than being an effective way to do pro bono work is there any other purpose that this serves?

  • Hello,

    It often seems that non-profit organizations have more "cooks in the kitchen" than for-profits, and often use a voting technique to determine decisions. Without the same structure of hierarchy as the for-profit sector, how do you manage to please all of the "cooks" without having your designs watered down?

    Thanks, Ashley Stevens

  • My questions are a mash-up of the previous ones, as well as some new:

    • How do you decide to do the split up between the pro-bono and regular commercial work. Is there a ratio of projects, to keep everything afloat?

    •How does this stand out among other branding and design firms, a lot of who are doing CSR related work to broaden their profiles.

    • How involved is the whole team when it comes to handing out your grants? Is there a specific committee or is everyone involved?

    • Do you seek collaborations with other independent designers, illustrators, photographers and such, too?

    I'm asking these specific questions as I'm a Graphic Designer and educator, and am interested in discussing work like your with my students. I love the dynamic and spirited content of your website and profile! Great work, thanks for being such good examples of community oriented work!

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