Design Matters – Ed. 08 March 24

Letter from the Team…

Hi Everyone,

Hope you’re well! March 24 has been a busy month for us. So many incredible events, from Purpose Fest, to our seminar at The Future Leap festival of Sustainable Business Conference – Leading Change: Brand Activism, Communications and Business. That’s without even mentioning ChangeNOW in Paris.

It’s also been B-Corp Month! The theme this year is #ThisWayForward. It’s all about moving forward together as a community towards better business, and encouraging others to join the journey and use business as a force for good.

On that, the application deadline for our 2024 Design for Good grant is the 31st of March. We want to make sure everyone who is eligible and needs support has the chance to apply, if you know anyone that could benefit please share the application form here.

This month’s edition of Design Matters (yes, we’ve finally settled on a name for our newsletter) is heavily influenced by the work we’ve seen, the people we’ve met and the insights we’ve gained on our travels.

We hope you enjoy reading.

Ed, Issy and the Discourse Team

Our latest blog:

The Business for Good movement has been gaining momentum in our network and the broader South West region for years. We recently hosted an event at the Future Leap Festival of Sustainable Business Conference – Leading Change: Brand Activism, Communications and Business.

If you weren’t able to make the event, or are keen to hear more about Brand Activism check out our recent blog.

Read more here.

The DIY Designer

We’ve all heard the expression ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’. In last month’s feature we explored the wonderful world of typography, so it’s time to focus our attention on one of the most powerful tools in any designer’s tool kit. 

Imagery has the ability to communicate complex narratives, evoke deep emotional responses, and inspire action. Often more swiftly than text alone. In a digital landscape increasingly saturated with content, the use of imagery has never been more important where it comes to impact and engagement. It has the power to stop people mid-scroll, invite them into a conversation and help them to support your brand. 

We realise that not everyone has the luxury of commissioning original photography. On this basis there are some essential resources for your own image sourcing and design work below. In addition to the site below check out Pexels and Stills and Adobe Stock.

This platform offers high-quality, royalty-free photos provided by a community of photographers. Renowned for its extensive and diverse collection, Unsplash allows users to download images for personal and commercial use, fostering creativity and enhancing projects without the need for attribution, though it’s appreciated.

The Centre for Ageing Better has created an age-positive image library, the first free library showing positive and realistic images of over 50s. The photos show a more realistic depiction of ageing – to help challenge stereotypes of older people. The library contains over 3,000 images and is regularly updated, is available to use for free.

DALL-E is an AI program developed by OpenAI that generates digital images from textual descriptions. As powerful as it is, please use the platform thoughtfully, as AI image generators tend to reflect and amplify biases present in their training data. These biases may manifest in skewed representations and stereotypes.

“Saving our planet is now a communications challenge. We know what to do, we just need the will.” Sir David Attenborough

Work from the Studio

Keeping with the theme of activism and protest, we’ve recently had the pleasure of working with Sarah Corbett on the 2022/23 edition of her Craftivist Collective annual chronicle. Sarah has pioneered the concept of ‘gentle protest’, a thoughtful, inclusive approach to activism, where people create beautiful crafted works to create positive change in the world.

We worked with Sarah to ensure that the publication felt like a labour of love and celebrated her achievements from 2022/23. The application of various textures such as paper, fabric and tape created a tactile nature, evoking a sense of touch and thoughtful exploration, highlighting the collective’s commitment to hands-on methods of gentle protest and positive impact.

Q&A with Sarah Corbett: What can businesses learn from craftivism?

“What I’ve learnt from over a decade of running the Craftivist Collective: activism takes hard work to truly have a genuine impact and there is no guarantee of success. I encourage you to avoid using over-simplistic storytelling with heroes and villains that can be divisive and easier for people to discredit.

Our actions aren’t quick, easy and they don’t get millions of likes. They are slow, deeply engaging and often lead to people being on a committed long term journey to make real positive change. I encourage you to focus on quality and humble engagement for real transformation, not quantity or shallow transactions if you truly want to be positive changemakers.”

Think global...

Every year, natural resources are being depleted faster than our planet can renew them. Kelp Blue is strategically planting kelp forests worldwide to enhance ocean health and sequester CO2. They harvest cultivated kelp for various products, such as biostimulants for agriculture, resulting in significant increases in crop yield (up to 35% in grapes) and reduced reliance on chemical fertilisers.

With a HQ in Amsterdam, they have a diverse team of 80 individuals spanning the globe, with 95% of employees hired locally and 45% being female. Discover more about their initiatives, locations, and offerings on their website here.

Act Local...

Delib is a digital democracy company, created out of frustration at outdated general election practices that failed (and still do) to take into account the democratic decisions that actually affect citizens. Democracy doesn’t just stop after a general election. It’s everywhere, every day.

They identified that citizens either didn’t know how to access democratic tools, or have to jump through so many hoops to take part that it just wasn’t worth their time. This is where Delib comes in. They look at democratic processes that aren’t functioning properly, and design digital products that make them work for an internet age. Check out the platform they have developed Citizen Space for more information about how they are amplifying and empowering citizen engagement.

Solutions for the planet:

“Each person emits 9 Tonnes of Carbon into the atmosphere every year, planting 9 trees every year will balance the average UK citizen’s carbon emissions” – Michael Cunningham Woodland Wizard MD 9Trees CIC

Multi Award Winning 9Trees CIC is an ideal Biodiversity, Carbon & Wellbeing Partner!

Connect your team to nature & visit sites across the UK. Balance the carbon of your operations and family! 9Trees CIC works with any size of company from FTSE 100’s like CBRE, Multinationals like The Marriott Hotels and the Self employed. From 1 tree per client or team member to 4000 trees to celebrate ‘Premiers’ 4000’s store in the UK.

When you join as an individual or business partner you are creating new sustainable woodlands that support local biodiversity & positively affect wellbeing within your team.

The 9Trees woodlands are looked after for 50 years. Check out their website here, where you can sponsor trees, or donate today!

In our spare time...

In preparation for the FoSB event we’ve been listening to The Brand Activism podcast. This podcast explores the role of brands as a force for positive change in a world of climate crisis, careless consumerism and growing social inequality. Podcast host Christian Budtz speaks to brand innovators and thought-leaders who are at the forefront shaping new ideas, behaviours and business models for a sustainable future.

The podcast is free to listen to and available here.

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