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What Can You Do?

We’ve had several discussions about what, practically and tangibly, designers can do to contribute to improving the planet. You can buy this CD.

Building Letters is raising the money needed to build two orphanges for kids with AIDS in Africa.” More detail is available on the site.

Thanks to typographi.ca for the link

That is all.

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON Nov.06.2003 BY Sam
Patrick’s comment is:

Seems like a good thing, considering the huge AIDS problem in Africa. Aside from doing pro bono work for specific groups, it's hard finding ways for our community to actually raise money.

But with all the big name designers who have attached their names, you'd think they'd have done a little better job with the site. Aside from the typos on the home page, am I the only one creeped out by the shot of kids overlaid with a huge "Buy"? Sorry if this seems petty, but it's a gut reaction. This is a design forum after all.

On Nov.06.2003 at 12:40 PM
Su’s comment is:

Not petty at all. I might've agreed if the thing were just ugly--which it is--but the amount of effort put into that site is practically nil. It's a bunch of images that don't even have alt text assigned to them among lots of other crabs I could make.

It's not like they couldn't have found someone to donate the hour of coding it would've taken to put that together.

On Nov.06.2003 at 01:29 PM
Todd W.’s comment is:

Lemme get this straight. I give someone some money, they give me a product in return and somehow that will help a poor person somewhere else on the planet? I'm sorry, but I must object. The capitalist element involved in this scheme irreparably contaminates whatever good intentions originally conceived it. Haven't we learned anything from the wise and ancient design gods? The taint of money is absolute and opens up the slippery slope to philanthropic consumerism (TM). Unless you move to a Third World country and open a design shop serving the local tribe then you're doing nothing more than assuaging your rightly guilty conscience.

On Nov.06.2003 at 02:49 PM
Su’s comment is:

Um, so send them the money, refuse the CD and shut up?

On Nov.06.2003 at 03:09 PM
pk’s comment is:

if you're gonna get on that particular soapbox, back it up with examples, smart boy.

On Nov.06.2003 at 03:10 PM
Just Trying to be Constructive’s comment is:

Some days you just can't win.

On Nov.06.2003 at 03:12 PM
Armin’s comment is:

So this is what a sane environment is?

Ok, seriously� Todd I really have a hard time understanding why turn this CD into a bad thing, it seems kind of a stretch and just looking at the shitty side of it. While I wouldn't say it as bluntly as Su I do agree with his intended message — your money will go to a good cause, what you get in the transaction is quite inconsequential really.

On Nov.06.2003 at 04:01 PM
Su’s comment is:

Okay, that was cheap. So let's see if an actual point can be salvaged here.

When you donate to [charity], they almost invariably try to give you a tote bag* or mailing labels or some other such crap gift(often with levels, even) that most people, particularly the ones really concerned with giving** don't want. For the rest of the population, however, it is an incentive and it works. More donations get made. Sucks, don't it?

But seriously, the world is not full of altruists(nor do I believe it should be); give them a carrot, if that's what it takes. To be honest, one of the few times I've donated to a Cause, it was largely because their method amused me***.

I'm willing to venture that some of the work offered on the disc is basically outtakes: things the designer wouldn't be trying to sell anyway, so I fail to see the icky capitalism factor there. And let's face it: nobody's getting rich off fonts anyway, Matthew Carter notwithstanding. Try(hard) not to think of it as buying a disc, but of it being more like that tote bag(except there's some small chance you might actually use the disc): it's a gift. If you don't want it, say, "No, thank you." At least the fact there is some trade(barter, whatever) being entered into is admitted. Many "altruists" are simply lying by omission.

The poster printing was likely donated. CDs are dirt cheap, and even cheaper if you get generics. Talk to a few people, and you can probably get those donated, too. Slap a nice label(even cheaper than the discs) on them, and you have a drive with practically no overhead. How much do you think that Sally Struthers commercial cost?

Money is not inherently evil. Speaking of taints and absolutes makes you sound dogmatic, and that rarely helps anyone's argument.

*...with their *gasp* LOGO on it. Branding, get thee behind me.

**...people who know that many public charities just end up eating a large amount of donations, and who therefore track down less-known ones.

*** For the curious, it's The Nature Conservancy. Rather than campaign, protest, etc., they raise money and just outright buy the lands they want protected.

On Nov.06.2003 at 04:06 PM
Su’s comment is:

...While I wouldn't say it as bluntly as Su...

The thing that makes me giggle(or sad; I dunno) every time I see this phrase is that most people have no idea just how much I censor myself *grin*

On Nov.06.2003 at 04:09 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

The fonts are kind of ugly.

On Nov.06.2003 at 04:32 PM
Nigel’s comment is:

Bfrika which is on the disk is for sale at Holland Fonts for $30 per weight (4 weights) :


57Rodeo which is on the disk is for sale at Union Fonts for �15 (1 weight) :


Afrodisiac which is on the disk is for sale at T26 for $10 (dingbat ) :


Shoe Repairs which is on the disk is for sale at T26 for $59 (5 weights) :


No sure about the others, but this seems like a good deal and the money goes to a good cause.

I agree about the website being shite

On Nov.06.2003 at 05:24 PM
Todd’s comment is:

I was wondering what reaction my previous post would provoke, but I didn't think anyone would take it seriously. I thought there was enough of a hint of sarcasm in there as a tip off. What's really sad is that there are probably people who could write that post with a straight face.

Actually, I think it's a great idea. They've already raised enough money for one of the orphanages.

As for the Web site, pro bono and non-profit sites are really tough. There's a lot of "design by committee" thinking and too much consensus building required to get any focus or make hard decisions, I think.

On Nov.06.2003 at 09:55 PM
Sam’s comment is:

You caught on a particularly raw-nerved week, Todd. The (TM) should've been a tip-off.

On Nov.06.2003 at 11:15 PM
Armin’s comment is:

� would have been more understandable than TM.

On Nov.07.2003 at 08:14 AM
Todd W.’s comment is:

� would have been more understandable than TM.

My laziness has caught up with me again...

On Nov.07.2003 at 08:40 AM
marian’s comment is:

How about this?: www.designfortheworld.org

On Nov.09.2003 at 05:06 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Ah, sure, while we are at it; I found this one a long time ago, not even sure how or why I remembered it now: Action Pixel. Social change, yay!

On Nov.09.2003 at 05:34 PM
Tony’s comment is:

I can't believe people have been concentrating on the down side of this project.

So it's not the perfect way to change the world. Got a better idea? care to share it with us, or better still - act on it?

I know the guy behind the project, and believe me, he's doing the best he can here. If you think you can do a better job of the website (for one example), or the fonts (for a second), then send an email and offer to help with the next project.

On Nov.11.2003 at 05:11 PM