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By Andrew Shea

168 pages, softcover, $24.95, published by Princeton Architectural Press
, www.papress.com

Designers who want their work to improve their community and create social impact will benefit from reading the case studies in Designing for Social Change. From helping unemployed teens in Alabama create a food business to informing street vendors of their city’s policies in New York, this collection includes education, health and environmental projects, all prime examples of working with “people instead of clients.” Longtime pro-bono advocate William Drenttel writes in his introduction that, too often, nonprofit projects were used by designers to showcase their work, rather than to create meaningful change. Social design, he says, can’t be a subspecialty like package or product design, and it must go “beyond trained designers to include end users and social participants.”

Graphic designer and author Andrew Shea writes from experience beginning with his students at Maryland Institute College of Art. After guiding their extensive work on a public awareness project, all of his group’s proposals were rejected. Shea’s research and subsequent community work led to a list of ten proven strategies to successfully interact with nonprofit organizations. Each strategy includes project examples, challenges and lessons learned. While the issues are briefly summarized, readers will note how complex many of the problems are and how often setbacks are revealed, such as a poster for the homeless that was designed as a resource for services, then rejected for including their legal rights. Written for creatives, teachers and organizations, Shea also addresses project-funding ideas in the final chapters of this colorful and concise guide. —Ruth Hagopian

 

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