10 Methods to Design for Social Change - Studio Humankind
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I'm a brand and website designer specializing in ethical storytelling for organizations tackling complex social issues around the globe.

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10 Methods to Design for Social Change

Want to create social change through your design but don’t know where to start? Here are 10 methods for community-based graphic design inspired by Andrew Shea’s “Designing for Social Change.”

  1. Immerse Yourself
    • Get to Know Your Community / Visit & Engage Community Partners / Work Alongside Community Members / Volunteer Time to Support / Let Community Influence Decisions /  Be Clear in Communication
  2. Build Trust
    • Find & Build Relationships / Meet Prominent Needs /  Help Support in Daily Agendas / Show Them You Care
  3. Promise Only What You Can Deliver
    • Avoid Solving Every Problem / Estimate Time & Resources You Can Contribute / Identify Deadlines & Plan Backwards / Establish a Set Budget / Identify Community Assets to Build On
  4. Prioritize Process
    • Avoid Quick Solutions / Thoroughly Research Problem / Generate Multiple Prototypes / Inform of Process / Be Transparent About Process
  5. Confront Controversy
    • Assess the Purpose & Message of the Project / Address Controversial Topics / Design Tasteful Solutions / Conduct Focus Groups to Guide Work / Meet with Community Partners Frequently
  6. Identify Community Strengths
    • Address Challenges in Uplifting Tone / Craft Design in a Way that Focuses on Strengths / Identify Unique Qualities of Community Members / Help Community Members Become Confident in their Own Needs
  7. Utilize Local Resources
    • Find Ways to Build on Established Resources / Survey Community to Determine Useful Materials / Learn About Community Member Skills to Support Process
  8. Design With the Community’s Voice
    • Connect Design to Community Style, Not Your Own / Research Colors, Typefaces, Elements and Take Inspiration / Feature Quotes, Video, Audio from Community and Integrate into Design / Consider Local Languages, Cultural Norms, and Literacy Levels
  9. Give Communities Ownership
    • Empower by Giving Ownership Over Design Tools and Methods, Involve Community Members from Beginning, Choose Form for Design to be Duplicated and Provide Clear Instructions in Training
  10. Sustained Engagement
    • Solidify Partnership by Keeping in Touch After Meeting Goals of Project, Offer Design Services or Internship with Community Youth, Join Community Board or Discover Other Ways to Stay in Contact

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