What is Design Activism?

I recently purchased a copy of The Design Activist’s Handbook, a fantastic book written by Noah Scalin and Michelle Taute. Their book discusses how designers can use their powers for good, creating graphics that inspire others, educate people about new topics, or provide a platform to people whose voices are often not heard. As designer David Berman explains in the foreward, “Design is a very young profession. We’ve barely begun. Over 95% of all designers who have ever lived are alive today. Together it is up to us to decide what role our profession will play. Is it going to be about selling sugar water, and smoke and mirrors to the vulnerable child within each one of us? Or is it going to be about helping repair the world?”

“We have the opportunity to decide whether we will simply do good design or we will do good with design.” -David Berman

Design activism has grown into a movement of its own. Organizations such as Design for America and IDEO aim to create social impact through design. Elefint Designs uses design to “help good causes create a better world,” and Design Corps uses design to “create positive change in traditionally underserved communities.”

“Design has the power to give a voice to people and causes without access to multimillion-dollar advertising budgets and to offer people alternative visions of how the world might be.”
-The Design Activist’s Handbook

Design activism is about using your talents as a designer to create a positive impact in the world. It means using your talents to help non-profits establish their identity or offering to create a logo for an organization run entirely by volunteers. It’s about designers using what they know best, design, to help solve problems and build a better world.

You don’t have to be the CEO of a nonprofit to make a difference. Anyone can make a difference using the skills and talents they have combined with motivation and passion. For designers, that means using your skills in design to improve the lives of others.

The Design Activist’s Handbook, by Noah Scalin and Michelle Taute

About the author: Lisa Dzera

I’m a graphic, motion, and UI designer who thrives on finding creative, outside-the-box solutions to design challenges. I have a love for coffee and an eye for design.

2 comments to “What is Design Activism?”

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  1. Robbyn Millisor - April 14, 2016 at 3:39 pm Reply

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  2. walmart mastercard login - May 26, 2016 at 7:10 pm Reply

    You are so awesome! I don’t suppose I have read through
    anything like that before. So wonderful to find somebody with a few original
    thoughts on this issue. Really.. many thanks for starting this up.
    This site is something that’s needed on the web,
    someone with a bit of originality!

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