Kelli Miller is the co-founder of creative studio And/Or, a creative production studio known for intelligent humor and bold, systematic design in motion. Their work focuses on branded content, show titles and packaging, and entertainment campaigns. Kelli has worked in motion design and branding for 15 years with brands like MTV, Netflix, and Amazon. She is a graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art and has taught and lectured at the College for Creative Studies, Pratt, NYU, SVA, Yale, and RISD.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN DESIGNING FOR GOOD AND WHY DO YOU BELIEVE DESIGN IS AN ESPECIALLY EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR THIS GOAL?
I have always been interested in how design can be used for social good. My undergrad program at the College for Creative Studies had a good sense of social responsibility built into the curriculum and I was taught early on that ideas matter and design is a powerful way to connect to people. I’ve been inspired by designers and artists who make work that feels really punk rock and activist driven like the work Gran Fury did for ACT UP in the eighties, the work of the Guerilla Girls and Barbera Kruger. It’s part of my nature to seek justice and equality in the world, I’m an Aquarius after all! I am really proud of all the social good work we do as a studio. I’m super proud of the work we did for March for Our Lives. It was a very fast turnaround and we were able to deliver some really powerful work which I think just proves our team’s commitment to the message. We also recently finished a full motion design strategy and toolkit for Open Society Foundations. It’s great to know that we had a hand in helping an organization like OSF create impactful stories and share those with the world.
GIVEN THE CONFLUENCE OF EVENTS AND CHALLENGES WE FACE THIS FALL, DOES 2020 PRESENT ANY SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES, URGENCIES, OBSTACLES TO DESIGNING FOR GOOD?
Yes, of course! We are already seeing designers selfinitiate for change. Our designer/animator, Natalie Hawkins took up the torch and started Design for Black Lives, which is a network connecting designers willing to do pro bono work for black organizations and businesses. We’ve seen lots of work relating to getting out to vote, too. I think these are the most urgent causes of the moment: dismantling systemic racism and getting people to vote in the election. Once we get past this election we can take it from there — there certainly is no lack of issues that design can help change. Global warming is a ticking time bomb that we need to fix immediately. Challenges to this work are in creating materials that affect actual change versus using a social cause as a platform to explore formally. Like, nobody needs a poster, we need solutions. I think designers and studios can work harder to partner with clients who see things that way too. It’s about more than a budget or a cool portfolio piece.