Do Good Design For Good

Assignment: Do Good Design For Good

Design Indaba—a better world through creativity

Your assignment is to select an issue, problem, or cause that you feel passionate about and apply your skills as a graphic designer to try to make a difference or be a part of the solution to that problem, issue or cause.

You will do research, write an abstract, submit your abstract to NCUR and have an option to get published, and design a campaign.

Read the AIGA publication “Do Good Design” by David Berman.

Cover of

C560sR-UsAATHtq.jpg“If art cannot change the world,
it can help to change the consciousness and drives
of the women and men who would change the world.”
—Herbert Marcuse

“It’s easy to make a buck, a lot harder to make a difference.”
Tom Brokaw

“What you do for yourself dies with you. What you do for others and the world lives on and is immortal.”
—Albert Pine

“We are not going to change the world, but we can certainly be a supporter of changing the world by creating great design… by helping to communicate the message.and wouldn’t you rather design trying?”

What Role Does Design Play in a Public Health Crisis?

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Check out these Additional Resource Links:


Alec Shigeta’s “Gone is Forever” poster series. It’s purpose is to bring environmental awareness to a local level. When one normally thinks of endangered animals, one thinks of Siberian tigers or Ganges River Dolphins. While its true they are endangered, they are far removed from the reality of an everyday American. These animals depicted live within the state of California and it shows how industry and pollution deteriorate the biodiversity of our own backyards.

What to Make?

After writing your abstract you will begin on the actual project. That project will be up to you. You must decide what kind of design applications and overall design approach would be most appropriate in meeting the needs of your issue/topic and the target audience that would be most affected by your efforts.

Look at these three specific areas to aid you in determining what products of design you should create:

  1. The characteristics of your target audience
    • Identify a specific audience for your campaign. This is your target audience (demographic) using at least 4 “defining” characteristics. Ask yourself, who is your campaign specifically trying to reach, or currently not reaching? Then, pick characteristics which will influence what you do or not do design-wise to effectively reach them. These are characteristics which will help you make decisions about color, type, composition, applications, wording, image treatment, style, etc. Examples of some of these defining characteristics are:
      • lifestyle choices (you must use this characteristic)
      • age range (ex. 30-50 years old)
      • gender
      • education (ex. college degree)
      • geographical region (ex. northern Cali)
      • urban/rural
      • Your goal is to “know” this target group as you would your group of best friends. If you were to give the members of the target audience a birthday gift you would know what choices would be exactly perfect for them, much like you would when giving a gift to your best friend. Feel it
      • 6 Steps to Define Your Audience—how to define your target audience
  2. Your findings, research, the facts about the problem/topic
    • Know your topic. Specifically identify a problem related to this general topic. Find out through research more than what you initially were aware of as common knowledge. Become an expert on the subject.
  3. The “environment” or venue where your target audience most likely or generally can be expected to be found.
    • specific locations (examples of such characteristics include, but are not limited to: school, sports/music events, clinics/hospitals/doctor’s office, job/occupation, town, retail store/venue, etc.)


You are creating a unified group of design products—a  visual campaign. This is not simply a group of different designs, but instead a closely connected/integrated approach to delivering the message. One thing leads to another. For example a billboard may have as its primary purpose to grab attention and then to direct the audience to a website for additional information, which in turn, directs users to a smart device app allowing personal interaction on an ongoing basis. Metaphor Campaigns make use of metaphor as a technique to visually engage the audience through creative juxtapositions or unusual comparisons and are a common characteristic of many contemporary campaign approaches. This technique is closely tied to expressing your ideas in a compelling fashion.

More than the Facts—a Compelling Story

It will not be enough for you to simply present factual information. You must instead present a compelling story supported by factual information. A compelling story is one that motivates. It employs the Gestalt principal of Isomorphic Correspondence and is grounded in knowing your target audience to the degree that you present the information in a manner that will touch your audience members on a personal level. You must therefore, know several important things about your audience before you begin. That information will guide you in how you make an effective and motivating—compelling—visual message.


Incentivize your message

In addition to making your message a compelling one you must also “incentivize” or this for your target audience. Unfortunately, human nature has proven to us that people simply will not do anything, let alone the “right” thing, unless personally motivated in some way. They must see how they will personally benefit or gain from doing what you want them to do. You must therefore “connect the dots” for them. Empower them. Spell this out explicitly, meaning, you must indicate what or how they will be rewarded. Simply telling them that the result will be a better community is not enough.


After you have written your abstract and before you submit it to NCUR, you first must send it to Pacific’s director of undergraduate research, Dr. Lydia Fox. Her contact info:

Lydia K. Fox, Ph.D.
Director of Undergraduate Research
Dept. Geological and Environmental Sciences
University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211


My contact information:

S. Brett DeBoer
Chair, Department of Art and Graphic Design
University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211


Let’s make your project a reality!

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