On September 26, 2013, We welcomed panelists—Chicago’s Dawn Hancock of Firebelly Design and the Firebelly Foundation; AIGA Atlanta Fellow Doug Grimmett of Primal Screen and Good Thinking Atlanta; and Raleigh’s own Aly Khalifa of Gamil Design, founder of designbox and SPARKcon—to participate in a special event, Made Good: An evening to celebrate design & its promise for social change. In recent years we have seen a movement to create positive social impact through design. Made Good was planned as an event to celebrate this shift in thinking and to hear from three leading design entrepreneurs who have embraced this movement in different ways in their professional practice.
Dawn Hancock was the first to share how she incorporates social responsibility into her practice (read the recap here). Up next was Doug Grimmett, who expanded on an impressive presentation that he gave at the 2013 AIGA Leadership Retreat in Philadelphia, about the Atlanta chapters Design For Good program.
When the AIGA Design For Good initiative was introduced, the Atlanta chapter new that is was something they wanted to get involved in, but were unsure who to proceed with a program. They had questions they needed to find answers to about how such a program would operate. Their solution: Good Thinking, a “volunteer organization that produces ‘design for good’ while demonstrating best practices, ethics and standards of the design profession.”
Good Thinking pairs volunteers from the design community, and beyond with non-profit organizations who develop strategies, tactics, and tools for the client to achieve their goals through better communication. Eligible non-profits need to be established and well managed. But not so big that they are already served by the ad council or have a marketing department. Client organizations that meet the vetting criteria work closely with their Good Thinking team in a true partnership.
Good Thinking projects have two objectives:
- to have meaningful, positive impact on society
- demonstrate the power of design
And follows Five Rules of Engagement:
- We define the problem and solution
- Define the problem AND solution
- Establish benchmarks with measurable results
- Work directly with the organization’s leaders
- Require 10% of fair-market value for services
Doug outlined two of their most recent projects. The first, City of Refuge, a non-profit organization that provides a wide range of social services to residents in one of Atlanta’s most crime and poverty-ridden neighborhoods, “restoring individuals to personal transformation and independence.” 1 The organization faced dwindling donations and ineffective messaging that failed to reach new audiences. What at first seemed to be a fundraising problem, was actual a brand experience problem. City of Refuge need a total overhaul of their brand—identity, messaging, and print and online communications.
A team of 14 volunteers crafted a new message—”Where Good Works”—to support the re-branding campaign. A new logo, website and print collateral were created. The campaign featured portraits of current and past residents, volunteers, staff, and leadership to accompany the stories of loss, redemption and transformation that take place at City of Refuge.
The results were huge: giving increased by $40,000 from individuals through social media campaigns, there was a dramatic increase in volunteers from the website, and online donations were up, and website visitors were getting more out of the site and sharing it.
Their most recent project has just been completed. Good Thinking partnered with the A.D. Williams Chapter of the I have a Dream Foundation in Atlanta. The organization “works to empower our group of 60 children from a low income community to achieve higher education by equipping them with the skills, knowledge and habits needed to enter and succeed in higher education and beyond.”2
The Good Thinking team created a new identity, tagline and redesigned their website. They also designed thank you cards, print collateral and branded their annual fundraiser. The fundraiser included a gallery show featuring images of the most of the students in the program and raised over $200,000 for the organization.
Doug said that Good Thinking is a still a work in progress but is pleased at how successful their approach has been so far, and that the experience has been transformative for him.
While I had seen most of Doug’s presentation before, I still felt inspired and highly admired their approach. Given the success of their first two projects, it’s clear that their approach was well-thought out and gets results.
Stay tuned for part 3 of my recap of Made Good: An evening to celebrate design & its promise for social change.