Article 5: Designing For Good | Capturing Attention

This 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 first 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. We have explored the role of design, the special creative challenges, the impact of these projects, and how the recipients share and leverage the recognition.

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 5: Designing For Good | Capturing Attention

Our continuing series on ‘Designing for Good’ has been very well read and received — with the focus on graphic design’s unique power to effectively advance positive social goals having particular resonance. We addressed this question, in part, back in our opening article, asking several of the “Designing For Good” category winners whether “the experience of working on your winning piece confirmed your belief that graphic design can be a powerful force for good?” Given the fascination with the subject among our audience, we revisit that topic now with valuable insights from additional category winners.

Once again the unanimous response: Effective graphic design is a powerful force for good because it is perfectly suited to capture attention to and raise awareness of issues and causes; to tell stories, reveal truths, and crystallize the essence of a message or matter; and to inspire or persuade audiences to embrace the value of a cause, idea or action. The importance of design and designers in this process is amplified by our fragmented and cluttered media environment, and by the changing and challenging times in which we live.

For example, Jerry Nieves of GoldenSnow Agency states: “Graphic Design can 100% be used as a powerful force for good! Our agency’s main focus is telling stories, and the main way we do that is with graphic design. We always design for impact.”  GoldenSnow’s winning project in our ‘Designing For Good’ category involved extensive event promotion and design for the 25th National LGBTQ Task Force Gala.Asserts


Trevor Messersmith of 80east Design: “Yes – graphic design can always be a force for good. Engaging folks is always good – hopefully an exciting design can educate, or stimulate, or change people’s minds.” Trevor designed striking posters for the AIGA’s Turn Out The Vote initiative.



Joana Jordao of Cherish Impressions explains: “A good design can help in so many ways! Design has the power to grab people’s attention, and nowadays, having a few minutes or seconds of someone’s attention can be crucial. Helping to deliver the right message help lives and supports causes. It’s rewarding to design for something big, and what can be more significant than helping someone else?!” Cherish Impressions was recognized for a volunteer orientation booklet on behalf of the Pet Adoption Center of Orange County. involvement.”



Adds Jon Kowing of Signal Theory, whose creative team supported Babes Helpin’ Babes (BHB), an employee resource group that aims to uplift the voices of women and BIPOC, challenge norms and create change: “Powerful graphic design empowers people to action. The intentional, engaging design and messaging within our work raised awareness for the ‘Get Out The Vote’ campaign and our BHB chapter. Our t-shirts, buttons and stickers were intentional conversation starters. When people inquired about them at community outreach events, we encouraged them to register and vote as well as learn more about BHB. Overall, our designs promoted unbiased voter participation and engaged community involvement.”



For Eric Benson of Re-Nourish and Climate Designers, a true pioneer in climate-related graphics, tells us: “I helped start the Climify podcast because I firmly believe design IS a force for good. I chose guests who also believe this. Their stories and advice on how to do better give me further hope and confirmed my belief that design is a powerful positive force if used correctly.”



A succinct summary from Saoul Vanderpool of the 92nd Street Y: “I’ve always held the belief that graphic design has the power to be impactful be for good or not. I trust that the wining piece we developed will show what organizations like mine can do for communities across the globe.”




And Darcy Lacey of Watermark Design sums it all up nicely: “Definitely. Give people something beautiful and engaging to capture their attention and invite them in to whatever discussion your are trying to have with them. Once you have their attention, you have automatically increased the number of people previously engaged in this conversation. You have now grown knowledge in perhaps a previously untouched audience and have furthered the mission of the client.” Her agency’s winning campaign managed the feat of “marrying beer with the message of empowerment, hope and engagement that SARA, our local sexual assault resource agency, brings to the community.”