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Once upon a good design for good.

I recently shared a of Designer Wish List for all your potential holiday shopping needs. In case you need a refresher, you can always read it again...and again...and again. I jest, but in counterpoint to all the "give me" feelings the holiday season can promote, I want to share a (small) list of designers who are using their skills and talents to make the world better. Beyond just the "can you make a logo for my cousin," people...these designers created a body of work focused on improving what they see around them.

This list is hardly all encompassing and the people or agencies I’ve included were selected on a personal whim. It’s just good to know there’s good out there – and designed well, too!

Justin Ahrens – Rule 29

I heard Justin speak at a design conference several years ago and started following him on all the social channels while still in his session...he was that inspiring. He believes in making creative matter and his entire firm joins his endeavor, supporting social causes with their design talents and personal time. Learn more about Justin’s Wheels for Water campaign where he, and many of his teammates, ride across the United States to raise awareness and funds for safe water in Ethiopia.

5 + 8 –

A creative agency is Houston Texas, Five plus Eight is founded on the principle that, when you’re happy you do good work, and when you do good work you’re happy. So, together they created a Houston Rising campaign - complete with shirts for purchase - to raise funds and awareness of the needs in Houston as the city rises, first from unprecedented waters and now as the people who live there care for one another.

Design Impact –

This group is design firm 2.0 material. They combine design, social justice, and leadership practice to address pressing issues, equip communities, and inspire social change. As an example, they recently worked with a local hospital to improve children’s heal out-comes in two Cincinnati neighborhoods deeply affected by poverty.

Rachel Martin – Rachel Martin Design

Rachel believed in designing for good so much she built a studio that works exclusively with socially responsible and sustainable business. Her social media posts are sprinkled with tips and thought provoking statements, all meant to create a better world through shared social values.

Paula Scher – Pentagram

Yes, I’m trolling out million-dollar earning Paula Scher, creator of identities like Citibank and the New York Public Theatre. She’s famous and she’s just as fabulous as she is well-known. A partner at one of the most prestigious agencies in the world, she took on a pro-bono task to create building facades in Maddison Square Park’s Conservatory (including Shake Shack’s façade, which turned into a lucrative project for doing good paid off nicely!). Paula, whom I also fell in love with after hearing speak at a design conference, believes in the need to play while designing solutions...and both the solution and the play should center on doing good.

For the five designers or teams I’ve highlighted here, there are five thousand more out there, giving their time, discounting their work, dedicating themselves to solving real problems for real people who need real help. Maybe their wish list includes a few items from my recent blog post, but I bet a better world tops their it does mine.

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