Archive for the ‘Action’Category

Sustainability and Design Resources

AIGA Center for Sustainable Design

Dedicated to providing designers with a wide range of information regarding sustainable business practice. Through case studies, interviews, resources and discourse, this site will encourage and support designers as they incorporate sustainable thinking into their professional lives.

The UK Design Council

The national strategic body for design. The UK Design Council believes that Good design can help integrate environmental sustainability into the creation of attractive products and services. It can help shift customers’ consumption and lifestyle aspirations as well as stimulate the market for sustainable offerings.

The Designers Accord

A coalition of designers, educators, researchers, engineers, business consultants, and corporations, who are working together to create positive environmental and social impact.

Design Can Change

An effort to bring together the world’s graphic design community to address the issues surrounding climate change. Take the Pledge!

Design by Nature

An Australian resource established to inspire, educate and empower Australian graphic designers to work towards more environmentally sustainable practices.


Helps to start the conversation on green graphic design by providing defintions, tips, and links to sustainable resources designers can use to make their work a little greener.

Organic Design Operatives

A diverse collective of creative people brought together through the common mission of reconnecting people with nature by design.

Spread The Word

Your design superpowers are a force for good. Changing the world is hard work, but when the benefits are so obvious and the need so crucial it’s hard not to answer the call. A sandbox for


05 2013

Social Good Design: Thoughts from RGD

Important messages have to compete with an almost limitless array of information. As consumers of all this information, we become increasingly skilled at filtering out seemingly irrelevant communication that could otherwise influence the way we think and act for the better.

Today’s graphic designers have an ever greater responsibility to visualize the significant issues facing our society and find new and powerful ways to incite change in the way we behave. When we approach these issues creatively, we can make a real difference in the world. Ultimately, it is time for us to apply our creativity to shift thinking toward alternative solutions to ethical issues that impact our lives and the world we live in.

The Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) invites submissions of graphic design projects done under the theme of communication design for social good; work with the power to incite action and make meaningful change in the way we live our lives.


05 2013

Better Signs for the Homeless

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.


04 2013

Logo launched for Scarborough Civic Action Network

As described in a previous post about the progress, a new logo was designed for the Scarborough Civic Action Network as a deliverable for the Designing for Good thesis, as an example of what would be produced from the centre. For background information on the logo design process, click here.

Despite the effectiveness of the Scarborough Civic Action Network (SCAN) in extending its reach throughout Scarborough and facilitating civic engagement over the past ten years, the organization did not have a logo to identify their work.

SCAN wanted a logo that represented connecting people and ideas across Scarborough, and the positive growth and change that develops from these connections. They also wanted the logo to reflect that the civic engagement work undertaken in Scarborough has ripple effects throughout our communities, Scarborough and the City of Toronto.

Jessica Roher, Coordinator at SCAN during the process, explained that “the logo developed by Daniel Francavilla reflects the positive impact we can have when we make a concerted effort to contribute to improving our communities.”

“While we wanted SCAN’s logo to be professional and clean, we also wanted to ensure that it reflects that we work with communities at the grassroots level to make civic engagement fun and accessible. Capitalizing the word ‘Scarborough’ while writing ‘civic action network’ in lower case, allowed us to balance the formal and informal engagement that we do.”

In addition, the organization required flexibility because the Scarborough Civic Action Network is known by most in the community as SCAN but has previously been referred to as ‘ScarboroughCAN’.

A logo was developed along with three alternative variations to be used in certain situations. The main logo, displayed above as the finalized design, will be applied to SCAN’s documents and marketing materials, beginning with the website (currently being developed). Along with the logo, a typographic style and colour scheme were provided to the organization for implementation.

“We wanted to make sure that our logo could be adjusted so that variations could be used for different events. Daniel developed a logo that allows for this flexibility but is consistent,” Roher explained, ”We are really excited about our new logo because we know it will help us extend our reach further and be more visible in the community”.

Colin Hughes, Chair of SCAN, stated:

“We are very pleased and excited about the new logo designed by Daniel Francavilla for the Scarborough Civic Action Network and extend to him our gratitude and congratulations! The new logo gives SCAN an unique and fitting visual presence and is especially needed to make fuller use of social media to outreach and connect with the community on civic issues and civic involvement.”

It was a very positive experience working with the SCAN team and developing a logo for an organization that is making real change within Toronto.

Organizations interested in design services can contact


04 2012

Logo Design Process for a Local Civic Action Network

As an application of the Designing for Good project (an example of what the centre would develop), a logo was created for Scarborough Civic Action Network.

The Scarborough Civic Action Network (part of Agincourt Community Services Association), which has been operating actively for over a decade, was looking to develop a logo and defined visual identity for the first time.

The organization is a network of agencies, community groups, and individuals working to improve the quality of life of Scarborough’s diverse and growing population through civic action. They raise awareness and speak out on issues that matter to Scarborough residents as citizens of Toronto, Ontario and Canada.

SCAN was looking for a logo that reflects what they do and that appears interesting. Their coordinator (staff member) lead the process, and their Steering Committee provided feedback and direction along the way.

To begin work on this in a shorter timeframe, an Online Survey for the Steering Committee was conducted, to provide their answers and direction efficiently. Part of the research also came from both new and existing Key Informant Interviews.

In terms of visual style, the SCAN team requested something graphic and not solely typographical. Having a symbol was preferred over a wordmark-only solution.

There was debate and uncertainty in regards to the text or name used in the logo. One example for naming was the logo for the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance, which is a very large “CivicAction” with their full name as a sub-caption below it. However, others within the organization preferred the name “Scarborough” as the larger focus instead of “Civic Action”. Currently the organization can be referred to as both: “SCAN” or “Scarborough CAN”, which each work verbally and visually, however the meanings of them as words differ. When thinking about domain names for their upcoming website, the suggestion of was decided upon as part of the survey. Another suggestion was to create a tagline or phrase to use as domain (for example: “” or “”).

For colour, there had not been anything specifically defined or existing. One key note is that they would like to avoid using any of the political party colours (red, royal blue, green, orange). One suggestion was teal, or earth tones, from the SCAN team.

When it came to content and inspiration, a key note is that this organization focuses on larger issues, not solely civic engagement. Some of the key words and terms to consider include: Questions, Education, Network, Thought, Conversation, Ripple Effect, Communities Rising, Change, Bringing People Together. Several other non-profit organizations, governments and civic action-related organizations logos were reviewed and evaluated.

The Scarborough Civic action Network logo is a result of months of research and refinement of five concepts. The final version will be posted online shortly.


04 2012

Benefits of Designing for a Cause and Pro Bono Design

What are the benefits of designing for a cause, working with non-profits, or doing pro bono design work? The following is a list of benefits produced as part of RGD Ontario‘s (Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario) Designer’s Guide to Pro Bono Work. This document was created by members of the RGD Ontario Provisional Committee in 2007 to assist designers and non-profits to work together on pro bono projects that benefit the community.

  • Creativity: It is refreshing and inspiring to work with dedicated staff who believe in what they do.
  • Networking: Non-profit or charitable organizations’ Board of Directors and other volunteers are great people to network with since some of them are business owners and prospective clients.
  • Philanthropy: What is better than using your talent and knowledge to help effect change and support something that you believe in?
  • Portfolio: It is a way to explore areas of design that are not yet prominent in your portfolio and develop creative and innovative new work.

Although this is only one resource, and refers mainly to “pro bono” work, it is very relevant to the benefits of Designing for Good – whether it be officially documented for a registered charity or non-profit, or simply for the benefit of society and the greater good in general.

RGD Ontario’s Designer’s Guide to Pro Bono Work is available for download at this link.


03 2012

Design Excels Youth-Run, Non-Profit Organization

ACCESS is a non-profit organization I started 6 years ago as a high school student. As an organization, we have acknowledged how significant it is to have well-designed materials and identifiable branding.

From early on we had a website that has been constantly improving, and receive many comments about its design (creating a pleasant experience for donors and supporters would result in more support for the organization and increased likely hood to share). Having these materials designed from day one of our initial School Supply Drive in a suburban church foyer has helped ACCESS gain recognition and credibility, even as a smaller grassroots group.

Recently, ACCESS had a student designer through the Designer Combiner program of ArchiTEXT Inc, which gave us the opportunity to experiment, give direction and try several options without accumulating a massive bill (or any bill). A detailed article on the process and launch of the new logo is available at this link.

Design has been an asset as a grassroots, youth-run, non-profit group, especially in a field with so many new organizations sprouting up and expanding. The branding and design has helped us to receive grants with additional design standards for two of our major programs; Speak Up for Change and Youth Making a Difference.

Without consistent design work and branding, ACCESS would not have been able to grown nearly as fast, and may have had a much more challenging time in acquiring sponsorships, grants, and booking presentations at various schools and conferences.

Design will continue to play a key role in the success of ACCESS as we move on to new partnerships and funding opportunities.


02 2012