What should you bear in mind when designing for a good cause? “When taking on a project on a ‘sensitive’ area,” says Kyle Wilkinson, “always approach it with empathy but without patronising the audience. Think about the colours, the imagery and the typography, making sure they’re consistent with the message.”
Jon reinforces the need to weigh up your work. “What you create may be seen by millions of people, so make sure you understand what you’re saying and the impact it may have – in a positive or a negative way. Once it’s out there, there’s no taking it back.”
Stylised ‘E’ for the Renmen Project, by Australian designers LoungeKat (Kate McInnes) and BucketOThought (Sean Kelly)
As ever, research is a vital part of the process, says Anna. “Find out everything you need to know about that project, its history, previous work and campaigns. Look at the flaws in [previous] design work and what can potentially be improved.”
If you get directly involved in fundraising, you will have to be on top of nitty-gritty financial matters, too. “If you’re managing a long-term project or a big event, it’s usually worth notifying the charity and working with them to ensure the funds are collected and passed on as efficiently as possible and in the charity’s preferred manner,” says Ben.
It is all about trust: “The customers who have bought your work are entrusting you to pass on the sales or profits to the charity,” he says, adding that his accountant is actively involved in making sure all Renmen Project funds are processed correctly.
Ultimately, your generosity towards others may be rewarded in having your own outlook on life transformed. “Everything about the project has changed my life in every aspect,” says Matt Daniels of his fundraising efforts. “I find myself a lot more positive from witnessing such love from everyone around me, and I’ve met the most incredible friends.”
This Matt Daniels illustration was among the works auctioned for Squiddles
Sometimes personal adversity can lead to inspirational change, as Matt Daniels discovered. He took the brave decision to try to create something positive out of the passing of his girlfriend Emma Wilkinson last year at the age of 19.
“Emma inspired me in many ways while she was alive, giving me the confidence to pursue a career as an illustrator. I wanted to honour her memory, because without her I’d probably be stacking shelves.” So he organised Squiddles (squiddles.net), an auction featuring work donated by established British illustrators, in September 2010. It raised nearly £2,000 for the Francis House Children’s Hospice in Manchester, UK.
“When Emma passed away I hated everything,” Matt says. “Without sounding melodramatic, I didn’t know how to cope. Squiddles made me a better person.” The project has snowballed, spawning a line of clothing, and a second charity auction is in the pipeline.
Squiddles’ ‘navigation vest’