The Archive

Design For Good – History, Ethos and Vision

Author:  Ed Garrett  |  10 minute read

There’s a lot of incredible work going on in our local third sector, it inspires us beyond belief and gives us a whole load of reasons to get up every morning and do what we do. For us, great design isn’t just about looking good – it’s about the impact and outcomes that design helps to achieve.

We believe that we can and should use design to help make a positive impact in the world. That’s why we focus on supporting charities and nonprofits wherever we can, either by providing preferential rates or, for the third consecutive year, running our ‘Design for Good’ grant programme in partnership with the incredible teams at Voscur and the Quartet Community Foundation | Pro Help.

We understand that with limited resources, third sector budgets often have to be spent on service delivery and operations. The grant scheme provides charities in Bristol and the South West region the opportunity to elevate their branding, website and content marketing activity, to make sure it truly reflects the quality of the amazing work they’re doing. So as we celebrate the launch of the 2024 programme, we’d love to tell you more about where it all started, our Design for Good ethos and our overall vision for the grant.


The journey so far

Our work with charities and our passion for the people behind the scenes goes way back. Our founders have first hand experience in the sector, whether that’s volunteering through university or working in care part time while freelancing in the early days, we’ve seen how important these organisations are to our communities.

The power of great design to support positive social and environmental impact isn’t just something we believe – it’s something we’ve witnessed time and time again. Since launching the agency, we’ve been fortunate enough to partner with many inspiring people and organisations in the third sector, and our Design for Good grant has given us the chance to explore collaborations that may not otherwise have happened. To give you a sense for some of the previous grant projects check out some of the work below.

Hartcliffe City Farm

The challenge with HCF was to create unified branding that represented the joint partnership between its two founding organisations – Heart of BS13 and Windmill Hill City Farm. We presented a coherent, unified message, highlighting the diverse nature of the venture. The farm’s unified face meant that there was an increase in confidence when putting in funding bids and business cases, and provided reassurance internally knowing that the new brand had a bright future ahead.

“The creative team listened well, got under the skin of our aims, understood quickly what we were trying to achieve and translated that into a brand that really fits the bill.”

Steve Sayers – CEO @ Windmill Hill City Farm

Frank Water

The team at Frank Water needed impactful marketing material to support their annual Big Give campaigns. There is a short time frame in which to capture people’s attention and it was essential that the graphics in both the run up and during the live campaign engaged new supporters and attract donations using social media. The work contributed to raising these funds and the success of the campaign speaking for itself… Frank Water have hit their fundraising target year on year now for three years, once raising £21k in just one day!

“The artwork produced by the team at The Discourse really elevated our appeal and helped our comms stand out from the crowd.”

Claire Allen – Communications Manager @ Frank Water

Many Minds

Many Minds is a Bristol-based charity that facilitates creative spaces, performances, and workshops for people who are experiencing mental ill health. Through the grant, we worked with them to create an accessible, visually engaging website that serves as a welcoming introduction to who they are as an organisation.
We aimed to inspire visitors to want to work or collaborate with Many Minds, ignite interest in attending their shows and workshops, and make the website shareable to spread the word organically.


Lovewell empowers women who had been involved in the exploitation and sex industry through providing training to make luxury beauty products, helping them overcome barriers to employment.

The team needed clarity on their messaging and positioning, specifically with their products. We created a light brand voice guidelines to provide guidance on how they should communicate and position themselves, both the organisation and the products, in mind of their target audience.


Why we do this

We realised a long time ago that as designers, there’s only so much we can do to change the world. However, by partnering with and providing creative support for those individuals and organisations on the front line of positive social and environmental change, we can make a real difference. The grant is one of the main vehicles we use to activate this ethos, and the team at VOSCUR and Quartet | Pro Help have been instrumental to helping us deliver the grant effectively.

Over the last couple of years we’ve also been working to embed the ‘for good’ mindset within every other aspect of the business. Joining the B Corp movement in 2023 gave us the opportunity to interrogate what it means to be a ‘good’ business, and while we’ve always believed that our mission to use design as a force for good was the right way to approach our work, our B Corp certification has enabled us to validate our policies, processes and impact based on the stringent criteria set by B Lab.

For us, B Corp Certification is a commitment to accountability, transparency and continuous improvement. Attaining our certification is a fantastic endorsement of what we’ve achieved, but the real driver for us becoming a B Corp is looking forward – it sets the future direction of The Discourse as a progressive and ethical design agency, and represents our ongoing efforts to leverage our business as a positive force in every aspect.

You can find out more about our B-Corp journey here.


Where we’re going

There’s so much good work going on in the third sector, that truly deserves to be seen and heard. We are therefore on a mission to accelerate and amplify the world’s changemakers, to help make your impact bigger, deeper, louder and more sustainable. Charities and non-profits are so often working tirelessly to improve the world for other people, when you’re so focused on doing this it’s easy to overlook your own needs as an organisation. We realise that creating a brand and building a digital presence is often a luxury for smaller organisations – but it shouldn’t be ignored as it has the power to create a platform that will help you to grow and reach the people who need your help.

That’s exactly what great design can do. It helps our heroes in the third sector to build confidence internally, raise their profile externally and continue to be the incredible change-makers they are. We’ve witnessed amazing results through the effective application of brand, website and content, through building emotional connections with supporters, empowering teams and creating improved accessibility for their users.

Funding is also an area where design can have a real world impact. You don’t need us to tell you that securing grant funding for charities is challenging and often competitive. One of our clients received direct feedback that their old website was affecting their ability to win grant bids as it did not reflect well on their organisation or communicate their purpose, mission or impact effectively. Sadly, and despite the incredible work that you are doing in your communities, your brand and website is often the first impression that funders and people who don’t know will get.

If you’re based in the third sector then you likely have the ideas and passion to make a huge positive impact – designers, writers, developers and illustrators have the creative skills to help you communicate that vision to the world. Together, we can help the great work you do reach the people who need it the most.


We need your help!

As Helen Keller is quoted as saying, ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’. 

We need everyone’s support to spread the word so please share this article and the application form with any friends or colleagues in your network that you think could benefit. We want to make sure that everyone who needs support has the opportunity to apply. 

The application period runs from the 1st February until the 31st of March 2024, please follow the link below to apply now and we look forward to hearing from you.

Apply now: 

If for any reason you don’t fit the eligibility criteria, then please contact us as we’d love to have a conversation about what else we can do to support you.

Sign up to our newsletter

Thanks for taking the time to read our blogs, to receive expert advice on branding, websites and content marketing directly into your inbox each month just fill out your details below.

To receive expert advice on branding, websites and content marketing each month just fill out your details below.

*By submitting this form I am consenting to receive marketing content from The Discourse. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.