Design & Innovation, Volunteerism

The Power of Design & Effective Communication for Social Change


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#MUNIonThis: Have you come across websites of nonprofit or government institutions and were just pained by their unsightly interface? Or encountered a campaign for a cause or an app that had promise but was just poorly designed and executed?

In many cases, these initiatives truly have something of value to share to the world and the groups behind them are working their butts off to make an impact, but lack the know-how to communicate their messages effectively through powerful messaging and good, clean design.

We often think of impactful work being done by people on the ground, those in touch with communities in the boondocks, those coordinating disaster relief efforts, and so on. And while that is also true, we all have our own strengths, and here, we’ll be sharing ways by which good design creates great impact, and the value that graphic artists and designers contribute to increasing social and environmental awareness and action.

Caritakathon: A Web Design Hackathon for Non-Profit Organizations

The Philippine Web Designers Organization (PWDO) gave web designers and developers an opportunity to give back by inviting them to join a hackathon (weekend marathon to finish a project) to design and develop websites for non-profit organizations to help them convey their purpose and their projects more effectively through Caritakathon.

The program started with a pre-hackathon bootcamp / lecture series on April 23 to prep them for the task ahead.

Jen Horn of MUNI at Caritakathon
Jen Horn of MUNI at Caritakathon (Photo c/o KC Coling of co.lab)

MUNI had the privilege of reaffirming the designers of the impact of the work they do, by sharing an illustration of the MUNIfesto by Kasey Albano, Your World, Your Choice, and reminding those in the audience to recognize the power of their personal choices and their ability to contribute to good in their respective fields of work.

Impactful design helped cascade messages through MUNI’s #CutTheCrap campaign, a collaboration between a writer, 7 graphic designers, 3 filmmakers, and 6 bands / musicians to raise awareness on the impact of cigarette butt litter on the environment, and the Muni x Moonleaf 2014 planner, a collaboration between two groups, 3 writers, and 12 graphic designers to share 12 different ideas on how we can live more mindfully. 🙂

Nico Encarnacion of Create.PH at Caritakathon
Nico Encarnacion of Create.PH at Caritakathon (Photo c/o KC Coling of co.lab)

Graphic designer Nico Encarnacion of Create.PH, (who also illustrated the poster for the first MUNI Market Day) generously shared his knowledge on tips and tricks of the web design and development trade, with principles of good design, as well as ways to make the work process easier, and more efficient.

Teams present the organization websites to the judges at Caritakathon 2014 (Photo c/o PWDO)
Teams present the organization websites to the judges at ‪#‎Caritakathon‬ 2014 (Photo c/o PWDO)

Then, on April 26-27, teams who applied took to the Microsoft offices and were then able to apply their design knowledge, skills and experience for a cause by cleaning and beautifying charity websites that may have otherwise lacked the ability to engage visitors in their cause.

Hearts Behind Work: Celebrating Art With Heart

Concurrently on April 26 at the NOVA Gallery in Makati, Works of Heart, a design company that has pushed for design as a tool for social change, also celebrated the stories of others using their creativity for positive impact.

Through the Hearts Behind Work event & exhibit, Works of Heart created an opportunity for those into design and those into development to meet, with featured speakers being: Dan Matutina, renowned graphic designer (locally and internationally) and creative mind behind Plus63 Design Co., which initiated Design Co. Mission, a collaboration with Team Manila and InkSurge to showcase the ability of good design to solve specific community concerns;

Dan Matutina
Dan Matutina of Plus63 Design Co.
Prim Paypno
Prim Paypon of The Dream Project PH

and Prim Paypon, social innovator and dream enabler at The Dream Project PH, a volunteer-based community initiative which helps build the nation by shaping the dreams of the Filipino youth, with pioneer projects like the Dream Expo, which will be making its way to Manila from June 11-13, 2014.

MUNI was also able to showcase illustrations from our awesome graphic designer-collaborators for the #CutTheCrap campaign and Muni x Moonleaf 2014 Planner at the event, while other event collaborators featured in the exhibit included OpenData PH – a source of data for transparency in government and an informed and empowered citizenry, and to promote efficiency and transparency in government, Risqué Designs – a high end shoe brand showcasing Filipino craftsmanship, and Juan Portrait – using photography for development in the country.

Hearts Behind Work Collaborators
Hearts Behind Work Collaborators

[See video here – see cameos of MUNI’s #CutTheCrap posters & film canisters + artworks from the Muni x Moonleaf 2014 Planner!]

The Role of Creativity in Change

In our content, collaborations and community events, MUNI aims to highlight the role of Cultural Creatives in creating a new culture of social and environmental awareness and action through creative means, whether you’re a writer, designer, filmmaker, entrepreneur, educator, and so on.

Having said this, we truly value and are happy to be able to work alongside groups like PWDO and Works of Heart in instilling a greater sense of altruism among the creative young dreamers of today, and we look forward to seeing the rise of more endeavors like these in the future.

How can you use your creativity for positive impact? 🙂

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