Posts Tagged 'poverty'

new year | new work

Happy New  Year. 2010 is such a typographically-friendly number, and it’s so fun to say with it’s three-t syllables–it can’t help but be more delightful than 2009. Last year was a challenge for the entire design industry (heck, for everyone), but it did have a few professional high points. One of them was our relationship with Reach Global, absolutely our most inspiring and exciting client. We recently launched their website, version 1.0.

Reach germinated at Freedom from Hunger, as a new way to deliver services to the poorest of the poor, particularly women and adolescent girls. Reach’s core service is training, delivered to women in the setting of a self-help or savings group, which are popular and essential resources, even in the most rural areas. Last year Reach became an independent organization, and we’ve been engaged in the development of their marketing and communications strategy and all of their materials.

Today the program is active in India (where I visited in 2008), but plans are underway to expand to the poorest regions of Africa. Reach’s focus is on delivering training, on health, family finance and micro-businesses to adolescent girls, along with their moms. The trainings are called Learning Games for Girls, and they are a powerful and effective tool in helping girls take control of their own lives. This is part of the Girl Effect, and Nike Foundation was an early supporter of their work.

And it’s our work. Work we’re proud and honored to have been part of. May 2010 bring us all work that inspires, delights, perhaps provokes, and helps to change just a small corner of the world.


merchandising for a good cause | charity: water

Almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water. That’s one in eight of us. charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.

Bono was the first. Selling cool stuff to promote good work was redefined (no pun intended) with the (red) campaign. I rushed out for my inspi(red) t shirt and have been wearing it ever since. Lots of folks are doing lots of great work, but some groups have a level of design and  marketing savvy that make their projects even more accessible, and dare I say it, cooler.

Check out charity:  water.

Their projects are important…but what is equally impressive, at least within the context of this blog, is their approach to marketing. The website is clean and intuitive. The video is powerful. And they sell stuff, lots of stuff.

I have a small issue with the fact that their “store” has a higher web presence than the information about clean water (and I hope that’s about holiday fundraising). But they make it easy to support their work, and to add their banners to your blog or website. They are using social networking for social good, and folks are truly excited about the opportunity to be engaged. I know I am. (By the way, that statement in bold at the top of the post….writing a clear positioning statement like that isn’t for the wimpy. The middle line “That’s one in eight of us”, brilliant. The us part. I have been part of defining what an organization does, so that it resonates with donors, and we weren’t this successful. Will learn from this.)

They’re smart. They’re doing the work.

And they are using design. Simple type and a clear message. And a pathway for us to be part of their passion. Sure, it’s slick. But it’s really, really good.

Check out this video. I promise, you will appreciate your next glass of clean water.

For a little more on the organization’s start and their really, really good promotional hook (hint, it will change your concept of a birthday party).

I know design works. And I know folks are doing great work for the world. And when the two of them join up, we’ll it’s something to support.

re:treat | Mankind Is No Island

Now this is what I am talking about! Thoughtful, creative, powerful…delivering a message that stops you in your tracks. It makes you pay attention. Even if just for a moment, but hopefully longer than that.

Three minutes, shot on a cell phone, in NY and Sydney. A $57.00 budget.  It’s by a filmmaker named Jason von Genderen of Treehouse Creative and was the Tropfest NY 2008 winner. It’s not an accident…there is talent behind this.

Typography, message, music, and a little bit of hope. It’s worth the time, I promise. Brilliant.

(Thank you Michael B. in Australia!)

Girls for a change

Some of my most meaningful work has been with Reach India, an organization that works with poor women and adolescent girls in rural India, helping them develop the life skills to change their own lives and create their own future. I visited the program last year, and it was an inspiring experience that will always stay with me.

Reach India is supported by Nike Foundation, and they have a true understanding of the power and potential of girls. This video, done by Wieden + Kennedy has been around, but it’s so important to my work, that I want to share it here.

As a communications piece, the video is simple, clear, powerful and inspiring.

For more information, check out