Recently I participated in an event where the Vermont graphic design community got engaged in helping relieve hunger in Vermont. The AIGA of Vermont and Hunger Free Vermont teamed up to raise funds Vermont households that are food insecure with hunger. AIGA asked Vermont designers to create a poster design based on the theme of abundance and scarcity. The top 25 designs were then be reproduced and sold at a modest price to event attedees. It was a great sucess with a wide variety of creative design solutions being submitted.
As a design educator in the Graphic Design program at Burlington College, I look for ways to engage my students in the community. Community engagement is actually one of the core values embedded in the Burlington College learning experience. So, trying to lead by example, I submitted a design of my own. Happily it was chosen to be one of the 25 posters that went on sale to raise funds fight hunger in Vermont. This gave me opportunity to share the experience with my students, offering another example of how they as designers can use their talents and skills to effect social change.
More and more I see students wanting to embark on designs careers that are focused on working on social issues that are important to them. Here in Vermont, opportunities to work for these kinds of organizations are growing each year. I now make the book Designing for Social Change by Andrew Shea required reading for all graphic design students. Another resource I found helpful in articulating these values is the publication Design Revolution: The Toolkit, by Emily Pilloton and Jince Kuruvilla. The authors express what many design practitioners, students, and educators are looking for—a way to use their talents and skills to, "...design better solutions for the greater good: for people instead of clients, for change instead of consumption."
My involement inspired at least one student to attend the AIGA/Hunger Free Vermont poster event—seeing first hand how design can be used to affect social change, like feeding the hungry. I think a seed got planted.
Here are few of my favorite designs from the event.