Design a Difference

Sydney Bishop

October 3, 2017

As with any job, the role of a designer can sometimes become tedious and mundane. Seemingly endless social graphics, PowerPoints, and brochures occupy our days. And while all of these things are good, and even necessary, they can become monotonous. As humans, we want to know that we made an impact or a difference in the world. Perhaps as designers, we wish for that even more. That’s why it is important to search out clients that you believe are making the world a better place. Work for charities, organizations, and causes that we believe in can re-ignite our passion for design.


  • Designers have a unique ability to make people listen, understand, or even change their minds. This can be a powerful tool for good and incredibly useful for the furthering of social change.
  • Designers are inherently problem solvers—applying this sort of thinking to various social issues can be invaluable.
  • When you feel you are making a difference, you perform on a higher plane. You make better work, and you feel passionate about that work. It energizes and excites you,  and it helps you get through the work that doesn’t excite you as much.


  • Approach clients that excite you; ones with causes you believe in. Ask them what they need, or think outside the box and present ideas for services they may not have thought of.
  • Be authentic. People can sense if you aren’t being genuine. This sabotages the relationship with any potential client from the beginning. Honestly seek out people that inspire you, and they will sense your enthusiasm and passion.
  • As a designer, you have to think about the agency/company you work for, but you also need to think about your own creative well-being. Sometimes an agency is busy and unable to work for causes or charities. If you feel strongly enough about a cause or charity, offer up your personal services, perhaps even as a volunteer. A burned out and uninspired designer isn’t much use to anyone, so be aware of what you need to make yourself productive, useful, and fulfilled. Working on projects that make you excited about being a designer will make you a better employee in the long run.
  • Think small. But big. Often designers set out with grandiose plans—but you don’t have to offer to rebrand the American Red Cross to make a difference (I think they’re fine). You can find organizations within your own community or circle on social media. By starting small in your own community, it will most likely spiral into more community work. You can do more good in your community than you realize.