social innovation

Sweet Ride by Anthony Schmiedeler

This is a genius way to combine a useful tool with social impact. This URL shortener gives you a shortened link to your content but anybody that clicks on it gets your content with a banner riding the top of their page encouraging them to donate to the Red Cross. It seems okay in this instance to use unrelated content as a vehicle for their message because it's for a good cause. And the messaging is great. Easy and unavoidable exposure!

Charities generally are trying to get large-scale social reach in the same way that the A.L.S. Ice Bucket Challenge did,” “This idea is kind of in that space, but it’s tied into the act of sharing, as opposed to us trying to come up with the content that is super shareable.
— Tom Markham, the executive creative director of BBDO New York

Impact, by Design by Anthony Schmiedeler

Art vs Design

I’ve been privy to many arguments about the differences between art and graphic design. Some say art is more about expressing emotion and design is a calculated outcome defined by rules. Others say art is all about how a viewer interprets it and design has intended goals. I think there is a lot more overlap than that. A lot of times, art take a rigorously planned out path where as design comes out as a spontaneous gesture. Likewise, a design can be interpreted in many different ways no matter how much effort was put into crafting an obvious conclusion.

Impact vs Aesthetics

Despite their similarities, I do believe that they should be criticized on different scales. The primary focus of good design is to solve a problem. That problem could be as simple as forming an honest representation of a product with a brand or figuring out a comfortable path for readers in the layout of a magazine. Art can at times be used to solve a problem but I would argue that those artworks are designed to do that. So why is it that design isn’t judged on it’s ability to solve problems?

The Beauty in Solutions

In my experience, most graphic design is judged on the way it looks rather than what it does. No matter how much thought is put into function, form seems to win out. This perpetuates those trendy waves that swell and die out year after year. It also seems to cut down on people’s efforts to actually use graphic design for good. In a perfect world design would be judged on impact. Even if that impact is very small or only has the potential to be effective. After all, any design that tries to solve a problem is inherently beautiful no matter what it looks like.