Design for Social Good


After a conversation with my nurse friend over the weekend, I was suddenly reflecting on the significance of my role as a designer. We talked about the differences between our daily routines in the workplace and I concluded that running out of coffee beans in the studio is not comparable to the tribulations of a nurse.

I’m certainly not saving lives daily, but can the work I do have a positive impact on the world? It is easy to get swept up in the flurry and pace of designing that I sometimes neglect to question what it is I am putting out into the world. Am I benefiting the greater good? Or are my designs another fist in the visual onslaught that is the advertising world.

Fortunately, just a few days later I managed to find some relief to my internal moral dilemma as I received a brief to create the invitation for Truly Deeply’s annual charity art exhibition, Art with Heart. As a new member of the Truly Deeply team, this is my first time being involved in the event, which has been held annually since 2002. Every year, artwork donated by local artists is sold on the night of the event in a blind auction to raise money for a charity.

This year we will be raising funds for Tomorrow Man, a cause that seeks to lift the current mental health state of Australian boys and men. A great cause considering suicide is the largest killer of men aged 15-44 in Australia. Art with Heart started as a way for Truly Deeply to leverage the creative talent of the studio and the broader community for the benefit of society. Now in its 16th year, Art with Heart has raised more than $316, 545.13 for a variety of charities that have a local impact.

While designing the invitation for this year’s event, I realised I was essentially creating something that would influence peoples desire to come and participate in this cause. Using my creativity and witnessing the collaboration of our community’s creative talent to potentially change the lives of hundreds of boys and men around Australia gave me a deeper understanding of design’s potential beyond the narrow definitions of advertising and profit.

I was reminded of design’s significance as a platform for social change and that designers have a strong influence on the success of social conscious initiatives. As an industry, we leverage the process of applying strategic and creative thinking to solve our client’s problems everyday, which gives us the unique ability to see solutions to problems that others may not even know exist. The design profession is not just about aesthetics, but also about challenging the status quo, opening new perspectives and offering solutions to pressing social issues. We may not be routinely resuscitating ill patients, however through a socially aware approach to designing, we can innovate concepts and solutions to meet the challenges of today and the future.

If you’re interested in the value of connecting purpose and profit, check out our other blog post, which talks about social enterprise branding for success.

If you’re an artist and want to make a submission to the Art with Heart cause, please contact


Written by Hannah Guilford
– Junior Designer at Truly Deeply

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