Interview with Catherine Clement: Public Engagement and Non-Profit Communications

This week’s Designing for Good Interview is with Catherine Clement, Vice President of Public Engagement and Communications for Vancouver Foundation, where she has introduced a new brand for the organization. She has also worked in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors including the City of Vancouver and Ontario government in addition to running her own communications firm in Toronto which specialized on communications for non-profits.

DF: As someone who has worked in the non-profit and public service sectors, how has design impacted the cause or organization you are involved with?

CC: Design has been key to attracting people our philanthropic message. A modern yet approachable logo, and strong, eye-catching images for our ads has been important to help us stand out from all the other messages.

DF: What are your thoughts on how your organization or project would function with poor, default, unthoughtful design and branding?

CC:  We would not get noticed if we had poor design, and that would truly result in waste of money.

DF: Do you feel that non-profits, social enterprises and grassroots initiatives can survive and compete for attention with the visual branding of large companies?

CC: I absolutely do think they can compete. But more non-profits need to recognize the importance of not only the message but the medium. Too many produce mediocre design. Most charities have that same vanilla look.

DF: In your opinion, should all designers have some sustainability or social conscious in their practice and philosophy?

CC: I am not sure it is important for all designers to have this. But it would be nice if in school each designer in training had an opportunity to apply their skills to a non-profit project.

DF: Do you think that a physical storefront (or space or studio) dedicated to offering design services for “good” would be a useful idea?

CC: I think this could be useful for the smaller non-profits. Bigger ones have their own machines to help with communications and marketing and the design that goes with it. It is the small charities that could really use a resource like this.

DF: Are there any non-profits or social causes that you would identify as examples of good design having a positive impact overall?

CC: I like some of our own materials — Vancouver Foundation. There are some good design pieces coming of out the US. Can’t think of who off-hand, but I know that every once in a while I see something that grabs my attention. It is relatively rare.

DF: Do you know of any causes, movements, groups or non-profits specifically that lack great design, and could benefit from some assistance should the services be provided?  

CC: British Columbia Cooperative Association is a great organization, doing fabulous work in the community, but could some updating. Nice logo, but that is about it. Some animal welfare non-profits could also you some assistance. These organizations have the most challenge raising money.

About The Author

Daniel Francavilla

Daniel is a graduate of OCAD University's Graphic Design program. He is the founder of Now Creative Group, and is inspired to make positive change through design and youth organizations like ACCESS and Speak Up for Change. Follow him on Twitter @Francavilla and @NowCreates.

Other posts by

Author his web site


03 2012

Comments are closed.