Site Guidelines

We want the content of the DESIGN 21: Social Design Network site the same way we want our design: thoughtful, inspired, and most importantly – responsible. Treat this site as a way to represent your professional self to potential colleagues. Whether you’re an individual or an organization, these guidelines will help you get the most out of the Network.

Being a DESIGN 21 member is all about:

Connection: At DESIGN 21 we value real connection. This site isn’t about swooping in for a minute, grabbing some info and then taking off. Rather, DESIGN 21 is about staying awhile, investing in people and investing in their design. Good design takes care and planning, and DESIGN 21 is about offering a space where thoughtful connections can lead to more meaningful design for everyone.

Conversation: We of course want everyone talking to each other, but please remember to respond to the content, not the person. The idea is to keep threads relevant to everyone in the Network and keep the conversation going within the Network. When responding to content, do so with something that takes the conversation further – i.e. a response to a blog about a portable homeless shelter should offer more substance than “That’s a good idea” or “Cool.” If you’d just like to show your support that way, simply click on the Vote tab. If you’d like to say something about it, respond to the post with at least a couple of thoughtful sentences that will enhance the thread and keep people engaged.

Sharing: We all know that the resources are out there – we just need to show each other where to look. So whether you’re posting an opportunity or an opinion, be accurate and specific. Where possible, offer links to sources and contact information (without bogging down your entry with too many hyperlinks). The more engaging and accessible your post is, the more people will check it out and the faster it will rise to the top of the blog entries.

Support: On different levels, we’re all here to gain support and awareness, whether you’re a Non-Profit looking for a global network of collaborators and volunteers or a designer in search of an altruistic outlet. DESIGN 21 wants to help people who actively help others. Negative or malicious posts, personal attacks or evasiveness will get our causes nowhere (and it might get you removed from the Network).

Insight:: Whether out in the field or in their studios, our members are actively engaged in the world. Sharing your unique perspective and activity with other members is a big part of helping make this Network successful. By contributing your first-hand knowledge, you offer new perspectives for designers, organizers, writers and readers to consider, thereby broadening their own scope of understanding and influencing collective change.

Maximize your group experience by being a positive contributor. To do this:

Complete your profile: Complete your profile: Your profile is a tool for telling this global community who you are, where you are and what you’re about. A good profile is not only an interesting one but a complete one so be sure to fill out all fields. Indicate which areas of design you work or are interested in. Tell us which organizations both inside and outside the Network you work for or support. Post up work samples and explain their context or relevance. Upload an avatar (your photo or icon) and create a “headline” to distinguish your profile in listing pages.

Post thoughtfully: Sharing knowledge and opinions is what makes the forum of social design so invigorating. You can use your blog to initiate new ideas or respond to conversations already in progress, but remember that the most successful blogs are punctuated with clear, well thought-out posts. After all, the hope here is that people will read what you’re writing and the conversation will continue. So write with a purpose, it will get more people engaged in what you have to say.

Respond to needs: While conversation and debate is a fantastic part of DESIGN 21, action is needed most of all. Read through the Wishlist needs of different Non-Profit organizations – these are also summarized in the Share section – and then see what you can do to help out. This takes DESIGN 21 out of cyberspace and into the real world, where real difference can take shape.

Blog Actively: Think of your blog as a camera you take with you every day, something that documents your thoughts and reactions to the world around you. But when you’re blogging, remember that you have an audience. Try to engage with your potential readers; this will get you noticed more, and your words will rise closer to the top of the Share section homepage. Intelligent, active blogs are great ways to gain recognition and respect in the Network.

Join Groups:: Whether you become seriously involved or just want to show an organization that you believe in their work and their cause, joining Organizations (or Groups) is an essential part of the Network’s support system. Join now, join often!

Form Groups: Think of an organization as a network within a network, where members can join to show support for the group cause. There are two main types of organizations in DESIGN 21: official organizations from the Non-Profit, Private, Education and Government sectors; and Interest Groups formed around a relevant social design-related subject.

To create a successful organization, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Be clear of who your group is. Are you a Non-Profit, Government, Education or Private Sector organization, or are you an Interest Group? Be transparent about it, so you will be legitimate and credible.

  • Define your interests and causes. The social and (if applicable) design categories you choose for your organization will define your presence to DESIGN 21 Network members and will also help them find you.

  • Make your organization appealing. Update your group profile regularly, post to your group blog. The more interesting and updated you keep your profile, the more interest and support you will gather.

  • Decide who can speak for the group. You can choose to keep the tone unified with only you and approved spokespeople able to post to your organization’s blog, or you can allow any DESIGN 21 members who show support for your organization to be able to post to the group blog. (In any case, all Network members have the ability to comment on posts.)

  • Note that you can’t create a group for an existing organization unless you work for that organization. DESIGN 21 can remove any groups that are not properly set up or authorized by the organization itself.

When you create a group, you are effectively the moderator of that group and you should be authorized to do so.

All organizations listed as Non-Profit should apply through the site to be approved by DESIGN 21 as a Non-Profit group.

Compete in our competitions: With the potential for outstanding exposure and substantial prize money, the DESIGN 21 competitions are great way to start creating tangible designs for change. With different competitions happening all the time, you’ll hopefully be able to keep yourself interested and engaged for as long as you’re a member.

Other things to keep in mind:

Etiquette: Please debate constructively and discuss with care and common courtesy. Remember that the people on this site are here because we want to make a collective difference – this isn’t the place for reactive rants or shameless self-promotion. If we treat each other with the same respect as we would in the workplace, the Network will maintain its reputation as a leading forum on social design.

What goes in your blog becomes part of the community conversation: Your blog is a space where you can address any topic you encounter on the site, or where you can initiate a new topic. When you’re blogging, though, keep in mind that everything you write will become part of the Share section and posted so that others may read it. And since we’re striving to make this site a formal resource for social design, please keep the tone professional and engaged. Consider your blog a communication tool between colleagues, and treat your content accordingly.

Appreciate change: Think of this site as a dynamic workspace for the world, as a place that is constantly evolving. Be willing to see things differently and support thoughtful work, whether it’s a new design approach or an unconventional conversation. The world can only get better if we embrace change and agree to be responsible for our part in it.

Our terms of use: If you’d like to read a more formal version of our terms of use, please click here.