Article 2: Designing For Good | The Impact of Design

Last winter, GDUSA introduced a “Designing For Good” feature category as part of our 59th annual American Graphic Design Awards™ competition. The idea resonated: we saw several hundred entries and roughly 50 winning pieces were selected.

This is the second in a series of articles that take a deeper look at the winners of the new category, their motivations, their creative strategies, the impact of their winning projects — and why these creative professionals are engaged in and committed to socially responsible design. 

Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized talent solutions, is the founding sponsor of this initiative which encompasses graphic communications that advance positive social and environmental action and social justice impact; promote diversity, equity and inclusion; and aim to make communities and the world a better place for people and nature. 


Article 2: Designing For Good | The Impact of Design

Our first article examined how and why creatives view design as an effective tool and a powerful force for good. This time around we asked several of the “Designing For Good” category winners “what do you see as the greatest potential impact of the winning piece?”

While the winning projects are having positive implications internally within the creative agencies and the sponsoring organizations — we’ll explore this in a later article — in response to this specific question the winners tended to focus externally on how their designs are influencing the target audience and the broader community. In this connection, the designers  see their work as  delivering three primary benefits:  building awareness, trust, credibility and enthusiasm for the client and it’s mission; engaging and activating volunteers and donors; and developing a foundation for the organization’s ongoing branding and marketing activities.

For example, Anne Marino of Studio Three Design, whose creative tri-fold brochure for the Windham Endowment for Community Advancement visualizes the essence of the mission and features a 15-year timeline highlighting successful initiatives aligned with that mission, tells us:

“This strategic piece is engaging and will be used for about three years to help educate people in the community about the Windham Endowment. When people understand the impact of an organization, they are more likely to become involved. Through this marketing effort — paired with other tactics — more people will donate, volunteer, become a corporate sponsor, apply to scholarships, and request grants.”



Similarly, Saoul Vanderpool, Vice President Creative at The 92nd Street Y in New York City, sees the value of the winning Impact Report as a chance to showcase accomplishments and generate support for the venerable institution: “Since this piece was developed for a nonprofit organization, the end goal is always to encourage patronage from the larger community in order for us to continue the impactful work started over a century ago. Those who viewed our winning piece have shared how powerful is the layout and copy.”



And states Joana Miranda Jordao of Cherish Impression, who created a volunteer orientation booklet for the Pet Adoption Center of Orange County: “For my winning piece, I believe the greatest potential is to effectively inform new volunteers and affirm that the Pet Adoption Center is a serious and dedicated organization. That the PAC is a place that you can trust and want to participate in and hopefully have more people signing up to volunteer.”



An enthusiastic Shayla Hufana of ConceptShell, who created ‘We Are Human’ public art in collaboration with Urban Artworks and the WNBA Seattle Storm, declares: “I’ve received lots of positive and heartfelt feedback, even outside Seattle. It’s been awesome to hear an Asian parent tell me it’s the first time their kid has seen themselves on public art. Growing up, I didn’t see many AAPI people in professional sports. In Filipino culture, we’re taught we’ll be the most successful as a nurse, doctor or lawyer. Children are told that playing sports should only be a hobby, and to just keep their head in the books. So to hear that a kid is inspired from seeing themselves being represented means the world to me.”

David Langton of Langton Creative Group, who is helping the Legal Aid Society to educate New Yorkers about new parole laws and rights, explains: “Bringing attention to the cause of parole reform is very important. Critics think that letting anyone out of the system contributes to a higher crime rate–and yet keeping people in a system that is unjust and uncaring is not improving life for all New Yorkers. The old way of enforced parole expands the disparity between the haves and the have-nots. We need to advocate for a fair system that doesn’t impose heavy fines and useless bureaucracy.”



For Jerry Nieves of GoldenSnow Agency, the impact of his event promotion and design for the 25th National LGBTQ Task Force Gala is measurable: “In terms of attendance, the event attracted nearly 70 sponsors/advertisers and roughly 650 guests. Over the previous 25 years, we raised more money only once, making 2021 our 2nd highest revenue year. The money we raise at the Gala has a direct and tangible impact on the queer community, both locally and nationally.”

And Stacy Karzen, whose consistent support for the Jacque Pepin Foundation includes the design of invitations and materials for the organization’s recent 5th Anniversary Celebration, believes: “Powerful branding is as vital in the charity sector as in the the commercial sector… Continued excitement and building of the JPF brand translates to more funds raised and more grants given. The JPF supports community kitchens that offer free life skills and culinary training to adults with high barriers to employment, including previous incarceration, homelessness, substance abuse issues, low-literacy and lack of work history.”



Last but not least, Jon Kowing, VP, Executive Creative Director of Signal Theory, explains how the ad agency’s “Get Out The Vote” campaign for the Babes Helpin’ Babes employee resource group — addressing diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace — has had a dual positive result:

“The most significant impact of this campaign was increased awareness of the election and accessibility to voting materials with information about ballots and local officials. This campaign inspired voter participation and community connection by empowering people to become educated and take advantage of their right to vote, which was the ultimate reward for our efforts. Babes Helpin’ Babes  also saw a significant increase in internal participation from Signal Theory employees, and our Instagram saw a 228% increase in account engagement and a total of 28,170 impressions throughout the campaign.