Work That Feels (And Is) Meaningful

Gordon Kaye and Sasha Kaye-Walsh are editors at Graphic Design USA/GDUSA. The comments below first ran in the October 2022 print and digital editions of GDUSA magazine.

The October 2022 edition features our annual Responsible Designers To Watch round up — aka “designing for good.” The two dozen designers (profiled herein). like so many people “post-pandemic,” are looking to focus their creative efforts on work that feels meaningful and impactful to them. Reading over them all, I was struck by the range and scope of the issues tackled: from addressing predatory economic power to fighting climate change; from supporting marginalized communities to providing free medical care to the uninsured; from promoting civic engagement to raising funds for good causes. They also have a mature and nuanced perspective: no one is claiming game-changing solutions or diminishing the roles of scientists, doctors or engineers. As Ben Greengrass says, “We’re not trying to announce that design can save the world or solve all its problems, but when you see it helping people and making an impact it makes you happy to do what you do.” Their efforts are making an impact – all of these designers’ ideas and work are on the front lines – locally, nationally, globally – every day pushing us forward. And that’s why they’re worth watching. SKW



Our annual competition honors graphic design excellence in this fast-growing and transcendently important segment of our economy and society. This year’s competition is the largest and most selective yet, with winners chosen from a stunning array of design firms, agencies, and departments. Honored projects run the gamut from traditional medicine and healthcare to health lifestyles and holistic alternative to public, institutional and community health initiatives. Healthcare and how it is delivered has been an epicenter of national conversation for decades but, in this moment when the unfathomable has happened, the creative work represented in this very select showcase reminds us — as if we need reminding! — that engaging, effective, informative and impactful graphic communications can make a meaningful difference in our personal and collective health and well-being. We like to believe that our yearly showcase contributes to the conversation about what it means to be a healthy and a well society. GDK



I generally try to avoid writing about things I have aged out of — for fear of being wrong, or missing the point, or being ridiculed. It works. Occasionally. That said, I cannot help myself from inviting trouble by reacting to the results of a new survey by Adobe about the role of emoji in our lives. In essence, the findings reveal that a vast majority of users believe that emoji have transformed the way they express themselves, make it easier to communicate their true selves, and otherwise perform all manner of worthwhile functions — including increasing empathy, enhancing work product, improving mental health, and bridging differences across race, culture, age and beyond. And let’s not get started on their central role in dating, sex and romance for millenials and, especially, Gen Z’ers. This should make me happy: who can be against visual symbols that promise improve lives and enrich lifestyles. If it were a drug I would take it. In truth, however, I feel sad because, rather than seeing emoji for what they are — a marginally helpful device that augments digital messaging — respondents to the survey imbue them with the promise of personal connection and the ability to fill big, personal, emotional gaps. Which under- scores what all know but have yet to fully come to grips with as a society: people are quickly losing the skills, the desire and the opportunity to interact face-to-face, and thus to experience the beauty and richness that human connection can provide. You can find the story and links to the actual Adobe survey, for your own evaluation, later in this edition. GDK