One of my first designs was a handmade valentine to my girlfriend, Patsy Auger (who is now my wife,
Patsy Duffy) when we were both seven years old. The tradition of
designing handmade valentines has continued for over 50 years and grown
to become one of our favorite family traditions with our children and
grandchildren. This is but one example of design as a gift. I can't
begin to keep track of the times I've either given or received a
personally designed gift. My latest gift creation was two mounted
largemouth bass that a 13-year-old family friend caught in our lake
last summer--within 30 minutes of each other! Some occasions simply
must be celebrated with the gift of design.
As I look back over the years and identify those business projects that
have brought me the most joy, I'm struck by the fact that most of them
were things my group has designed for individuals or organizations
we've worked with whose vision, values and causes have touched us all
Whether it's a new identity for our neighborhood farmers' market, Mill
City Farmers' Market, or our city's bike share program, Nice Ride
Minnesota, or all of our designers creating art for our very own
Mississippi River or larger, more widely known programs like The Susan
G. Komen for the Cure, or the Hands On Network, everyone here really
goes all out to give a very special gift of themselves. What we get in
return is so much more rewarding than money.
A gift, in concept is reciprocal. The gift of design is as well. Over
time I have seen many gifts of design that have made a powerful
difference--in educating, informing, changing perspectives, by engaging
and creating scale and movement. The (RED)™ Campaign
has several great examples of using design and scale to impact change. Attached are some of my favorite (RED) designs from Apple, Armani,
Converse and Girl Skateboards. I also thought the early GAP (RED)
shirts were a great way to see the brand.
Yves Béhar's $100 laptop design for One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)
is another extraordinary example of the generosity of design at work to
make the world a little better. Low-cost, small, durable and efficient,
the most recent model uses a smartly designed transformer hinge to
allow it to morph between laptop, e-book and router modes.
Shepard Fairey's most recent poster designs for L.E.A.D. Uganda
is another example of design as the catalyst for good. In this case
proceeds from his art will help fund this organization that is
committed to finding children living on the fringes of society in
Africa and giving them the world class, 21st century skills necessary
to lead Africa into the future. Two original mixed media
collages and two limited editions of 450 prints were auctioned off yesterday, November 12, at the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York.
We all have our favorite designs for a cause. Designs that have
inspired us creatively and compelled us to act. We also have our
favorite organizations that are doing good. What better way to give
back for the good fortune we've experienced as creative professionals,
than to combine our talents with a worthwhile cause.
As a business, design has provided a means to connect the world to my team and me. For this I am eternally humble and grateful.
1. Valentines, Mounted Largemouth Bass
2. D&P Logos: HandsOn Network, Mill City Farmers Market, Art for the River, Susan G Komen for the Cure
3. Red Campaign
4. Yves Behar's One Laptop Per Child
5. Shepard Fairey L.E.A.D. Uganda posters