Duffy On Using Design To Make World A Better Place

In response to GDUSA’s October Responsible Design special report, which looks at the growing movement toward sustainable and socially responsible graphic design, the Duffy firm of Minneapolis MN and Chicago IL adds its view. The firm, founded in 1984, has long used design and technology to solve brand challenges, grow businesses and make the world a better place. Branding work includes Aveda, Coca-Cola, Sony, Jack in the Box, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Bacardi, Hallmark, Fisher-Price and Education Above All.  

At Duffy, we combine design and technology to solve brand challenges, grow businesses and enrich everyday life. We’ve also always been committed to utilizing eco-friendly materials and processes whenever possible, keeping in mind how our decisions and designs can impact issues related to ecology and sustainability. For a number of years, Joe Duffy served on the AIGA National Board and has served as chairperson of the Environmental Committee.

A number of projects over the years have been for clients that are doing good things for society. It’s our practice to always have at least one project of this type in-house, whenever possible. These are some of our favorite projects and favorite folks to partner with.


Meals On Wheels America

While this great organization was already enjoying nearly 100% brand recognition, their offering was perceived as merely a meal-delivery system when, in fact, it delivers so much more.

It was time to unlock the full breadth of Meals on Wheels and spark a movement focused on keeping seniors in their homes, where they want to be, living healthier lives. With over 5000 independently run programs and 2 million volunteers, the association needed to galvanize the branding efforts to leverage the incredible strength of their brand while shifting perceptions.

The new identity includes their well-known initials and symbolizes the power found in people coming together – a forward movement – where the wheels of urgency generate an energy that is central to the very essence of the organization.


Susan G. Komen For The Cure

Breast cancer is the leading female health threat. Yet the words were not to be uttered aloud in 1982. That’s the year Komen was founded, based on a promise between sisters to fight until death to end the disease.

25 years later, progress had been made on many fronts but the brand’s identity was holding it back, as people around the world rallied for the cause.

A strong design modernized and clarified Komen amidst a sea of pink ribbons. It infused the movement with momentum and integrated the foundation – with its many races, events and support groups – into a unified army of pink warriors.




Water For People

There are thousands of water focused non-profits vying for funding and attention every day around the world. Water For People’s difference is in their belief that not only is safe water key to global health and progress, but that local community engagement and collaboration is the only formula for sustainable success.

As with any non-profit branding assignment, there’s a fine line between designing an identity system that projects a sense of professionalism and progressive thinking, without risking the impression of becoming too marketing focused.

The design solution visualizes people and reflection and employs imagery to communicate the critical ideals of transparency and impact.



Points of Light Foundation & Hands On Network

In 1989, President George Bush invoked a “thousand points of light” crusade, inviting the nation to take action in service to their fellow citizens. The following year, the Points of Light Foundation was created as an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit organization, inspired to put people at the center of change for good.

HandsOn Network spawned from this effort as an umbrella organization to make it easier for people to volunteer across the nation. As the network grew, there was confusion about its relationship with the foundation.

A new identity system was designed to create a common visual language for the two organizations and has become an iconic trademark for the largest volunteer and civic engagement organization in the nation.




The Loppet Foundation

Accessibility to activity for all. Appreciation for the outdoors. A passion for living healthy. These are all critical to building future leaders and strong communities.

The Loppet Foundation, an organization that drives community partnerships and hosts year-round events, needed an identity to inspire and encourage outdoor enthusiasm, especially among inner-city youth.

Beyond a logo, the brand language celebrates multiple seasons and myriad activities. It enables the organization to entice people to engage with their community by participating and to stay active by playing outside all year long. With each new season, custom apparel and promotional materials are designed to promote the foundation’s many events and serve as collectibles for all involved.


Nice Ride Minnesota

The 1930s saw the Works Progress Administration commission public roadways, bridges, buildings and parks. The 1950s continued with Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System.

In 2010, a similar vision for community advancement spurred the creation of Nice Ride MN as a new transportation system that would impact both environmental health and lifestyle concerns.

Named to reflect the vernacular of biking culture and the unique “Minnesota Nice” personality, this bike-share system was designed as an innovator in modern urban transportation. Success has been delivered. Tremendous system growth has been realized yielding outstanding recognition by many measures.