This week’s Designing for Good interview is with Jay Eckert, R.G.D, the Principal and Art Director of Parachute Design, who believes good design is all about creating the most positive user-experience.
DF: As a designer, or someone who has worked in the non-profit industry, how has design impacted your design business?
JE: The quality of the design used to marketing our business is two-fold:
- We are designers, so showing a high level of design which is thoughtful, current and showcases visual strength we set ourselves apart from the melting pot of average design studios.
- The simple and clear communication of our online and print material provides to-the-point, direct information to the viewer and generates action.
DF: What are your thoughts on how your organization or project (or one you know of) would function with poor, default, unthoughtful design and branding?
JE: With poor design representing our business we would not convey strong talent and experience in the service we provide to our clients.
We would not stand out from the crowd.
We would not portray professionalism.
We would not instill confidence in our clients.
We would not be taken as seriously.
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?
JE: Without strong branding and clear and effective communications the message can be lost or not effectively delivered to the audience. Without a memorable and effective brand, the organization is not as easily remembered, or taken as seriously.
DF: In your opinion, should all designers have some sustainability or social conscious in their practice and philosophy?
JE: In my education (post secondary) working in partnership with non-profits was a great exposure to the working world of design and good practice for working with a client for the first time. This experience is very important and should be provided to new designers. The positive for the non profit is free work, however, the quality of the work rarely compares to that of a professional studio (very good example of “you get what you pay for”). For non profits in startup mode this is a great solution, but once up and running, considerable effort and resources should be put into furthering or refining the brand if not from the very beginning. I don’t believe all designers should have some sustainability or social conscience in their work as its a personal choice and should not be forced.
DF: Do you think that a physical storefront (or space or studio) dedicated to offering design services for “good” would be a useful idea?
The owners of “Designing for Good” are colleagues of mine and their mission is to provide full service solutions for non-profits. There are studios out their already following this mantra. I do think it is very useful though.
DF: Are there any non-profits or social causes that you would identify as examples of good design having a positive impact overall?
JE: YMCA, Salvation Army, United Way, World Wildlife Fund