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Designers are problem solvers. It’s their job to use their creative skills to help a user or company solve a problem. The majority of the time, their task is to sell a product or service and ensure that the user looking for said product or service is guided to the right place. However, as one of the first things that many users, consumers and peers will view, design can be used to make a big impact in more ways than you may realise. In fact, design can be used to connect audiences with charities and causes and help aid fundraising, awareness and a message's impact. Adam Campion, a Designer at Delete, explores his journey in designing for the greater good.
Where it all started
Over 10 years ago, both my Grandads were diagnosed with prostate cancer at similar times. One did something about it straight away and was cured, the other kept it to himself and left it too late. Shortly after, I discovered the charity “Movember” and the work that they did to raise awareness and discussion around male cancers. I thought their mission was great and I really wanted to help raise money for them.
At my first agency, I encouraged the team to participate in Movember. We set up a 70s themed charity website that pitted staff members against each other to raise money for Movember. Each day we took a “mo’gress” shot of our moustaches and we developed a digital photo booth that automatically placed a moustache onto someone's face. At the end of November, we’d raised just over £3000 and managed to win 3 awards for the site.
Encouraging donations with art
Following this project, what I noticed was that although the website drew in a heck of a lot of traffic, it was mainly friends and family who donated to the cause. This got me thinking…
“What can we do to encourage the general public to donate”
Why would anyone donate to a stranger because their website looks cool? Well, I knew I wouldn’t, so why would they? With this in mind, I wanted to come up with a way to creatively solve the problem... And I happened to think of the solution on a bus to work.
For the second year of fundraising for Movember, we could give the user something back in return as a thank you. This thing would be an illustration (or “mo’trait”). And as a personal thank you to every person who donated to the charity through our website, they would receive the gift of a mustachioed portrait.
This idea worked on multiple levels. Not only would it encourage users to donate (great for the charity), but those that did would also have something related to the charity that they could share on their social channels to show their support (raising awareness and forcing conversation). And with this, the Gallery of Mo was born.
Myself and a colleague designed and built the website in less than a week and we roped in a few of the design team to help illustrate portraits. At the end of its first year, we raised £5081, had over 52k page views (in a month) and 182 portraits illustrated (thanks to 20 creatives).
The following year we wanted to raise even more money for the charity. To do this we needed more artists and so we created a campaign to encourage artists to sign up. We signed up 174 artists all around the world to help with the project. That year we raised £11,883, illustrated 599 portraits and attended over 10 Movember events where we curated a selection of artists to do live drawing. The "Gallery of Mo" ran for 4 years and in total raised over £25,000 for the charity… all from an idea that was had on the bus.
When I was looking to move agencies, Delete stood out to me as an agency who use their creative skills for the greater good. Having worked with a number of charities, including Meningitis Research Foundation, Save the Children, The Migraine Trust, Space2, Pace and Yorkshire Cancer Research, I knew it’d be the right move for me.
As an agency, Delete had participated in Movember a couple of times with staff growing moustaches during November and getting sponsored to do so. I wanted to increase the participation of the team and in turn raise more money. The main problem was encouraging the men to grow a hideous moustache. As many of the younger guys saw the tash as uncool (or they couldn’t grow one), as a team, we wanted to think of a way that anyone could participate... including the ladies.
We came up with the idea “Challenge Mo”. Challenge Mo is Jackass meets dares. The concept is simple, the public challenges the team to do something and we set a donation amount. Once that donation amount has been met, we participate in the challenge and document it.
Over the last three years we’ve done some crazy challenges ranging from a David Dickinson Tan and listening to “Happy” on repeat for 7.5 hours to wearing a pink unicorn onesie and having a pink glittery moustache in the office. Over those three years, we’ve managed to raise over £3500. All of this was done purely through social media and targeting friends and family. Our aim is to develop this concept further as a platform to allow others to participate.
Last year we were approached by Movember and asked if we’d be interested in working on a collaboration with WeTransfer. The brief was simple, “showcase Movember in a visually artistic manner”.
The key goal was to encourage people to click on WeTransfer’s background wallpaper while on their site and sign up to participate in Movember. To address the brief we wanted to utilise the skill sets we had in the agency which might not necessarily be used in our day to day projects. Combining photography and illustration, we developed a concept which showed what people could be doing to help raise money for Movember. In total, we developed 4 wallpapers which ran throughout October and November. Not only was this project fun to work on, it was really rewarding to know that we’d help get the charity 126,626 visits onto their website from Wetransfer. You can view the full case study for this project here.
Turning anger into something productive
More recently I got some pretty shocking news about a loved one who has been diagnosed with an incurable type of cancer called Peritoneal Cancer. When your immediate family are affected by something like this you’re faced with a mixture of emotions, first I was upset, then I was angry.
It angered me that something like cancer could just stroll in and affect someone who really doesn’t deserve it. I wanted to do something, I wanted to change the anger into something productive. I’m no scientist so I can’t help to find a cure, but I could use my creative thinking to raise awareness and hopefully money to help fund cancer research.
There’s a lot of cancer campaigns out there and lots of charities raising money, but I wanted to do something which people affected by cancer in some way could relate to. I woke up 2am one morning with a pin badge design in my head. A simple badge which showed my feelings towards cancer and a conversation started. The middle finger.
I mocked up the pin badge and shared the idea with friends and fellow Deleters. The idea had lots of positive responses….a few negative, but I thought what the heck. I came up with 2 initial pin badge designs one for cancer overall, and one for prostate cancer (a middle finger wearing a rubber glove).
I sourced a company to get the pin badges made and started to create the branding and website for this idea in which F.U Pins was formed. F.U Pins uses the middle finger to vent some anger toward cancer while raising money for different charities.
The first couple of pins have been selling really well and it’s great to see total strangers from around the UK making orders on something I’ve designed and had made. Now, as I write this I’ve got 9 different pins available, each for a different cause. So far 131 pins have been sold helping to raise over £500 for charity. When all these pins sell it will be over £4,000 for different charities.
Get creative for the greater good
The key purpose of me telling you the “greater good” projects that I’ve worked on is to hopefully inspire you. We might not be doctors or nurses, but as designers we do have the skills to have a huge impact on raising awareness, encouraging donations and promoting conversation for the greater good. As designers, we have the potential to catch a consumer’s attention in the first instance, tell an important message and encourage them to support it. And that’s a powerful thing.