As part of the Designing for Good Thesis Project back in the winter of 2011-2012, which covered various ways that design can be used for social good, I explored the visuals individuals use to ask for support.
Perhaps different from the requests non-profit organizations and established charities use to ask for requests, these signs were for individuals to make requests (whether it be food, cash, transit tickets, cigarettes or otherwise).
Typically, signs are made with very basic supplies, are random sizes, and various levels of legibility. The question became:
How can a normally hand-written sign on a torn piece of cardboard be improved?
The sign I gave to the individual on the streets of Toronto read, “Have any change? It would really help me!”.
There are alternate concepts, including different ways of wording the messages (direct, humourous, few vs. many words) and including options that the user of the sign could check-off and re-use the sign for different purposes.
I would definitely explore this project with others and sign messages in the future.
Photo by Andrew Ly. January 2012, Toronto.