Design tips and insights for nonprofits and social enterprises.

Do you know what design for good is and how it can make a difference in the impact you have? This type of work goes by a few names: social design, design for social impact, design for good. But what does it mean? It used to mean doing pro-bono work for nonprofits between paying gigs. Now, it’s much more complicated than that.

Many designers are now tasked with driving impact and improving services and processes. It’s new and exhilarating territory for creatives like myself.

My two cents on what design for social impact is, and can be:

  • Any project that strives for positive economic, social, or environmental goals.
  • A bottom-up approach to the needs of the audience.
  • Being inclusive in who your audience is and how to reach them.
  • Designing anything for a nonprofit or social enterprise
  • Design-developed solution to a specific social problem, without a client.

How to use design to increase your social impact

It can seem complicated to engage a designer to help you think, or even rethink, a problem. It’s so much easier to just say, “I need a new brochure.” If that is all you ever do, then you’re just scratching the surface.

A few tips on how to use design for social impact:

  • Explore the value that design can bring, and tell others about it
  • Bring a designer to the table early in the process, not at just when you’ve already decided what you need.
  • Start small

How have you used design for social impact? I’d love to know.