The lovely folk at 3 Things, a youth initiative of Oxfam Australia interviewed me as part of their Design for Change program.

You can read the original article here.

Nicola  was the Music and Arts editor here at 3things before jetting off to travel and volunteer as a designer. She’s a Melbourne based designer that believes in not only doing good design, but doing good.  We had a chat to her about what she’s up to, and the motivation behind it all..

How are you using your skills and interests to change the world?

As a designer I’ve always been interested in stepping outside an industry which is mainly focused on consumerist messages and saturated by advertising. I made a pact to myself to never be in a situation where I was designing anti-wrinkle cream, dog food, bottled water or sneakers. I felt I could use my skills to be a lot more useful.

Taking this idea and trying to do something worthy with creativity has meant I have been able to work in a range of countries creating campaigns focused on doing good. The idea of ‘changing the world’ I find a naïve goal, but one you have to belief in to a certain extent when approaching new work. This ideal of change can only be created if you believe it.

I feel using my skills in visual language and the resources of design for good can help challenge the market driven industry and create something with a more positive impact.

What inspires you the most?

Passion. If you are passionate about something, you are more likely to take risks, drop everything and create with purpose.

I am also inspired with people who live for others, who don’t take a self centric look at life and realise the potential of giving something back.

In terms of design, I am inspired by the likes of David Berman, Jonathan Barnbrook, Steven Sagmeister and Marian Batjes.

Tell us a story about something you are passionate about and why..

My first project working in sustainable design was in Laos whilst I was still studying at the University of Wollongong. I remember being gob-smacked about the utter lack of design there. Amongst the developing nation the only posters I saw throughout most of the country were ads from China for skin whitening cream, Coca Cola and local Beer Lao adverts. It cemented the responsibility designers have of what messages they promote. It really was a wake up call.

If designers thought more about the impact of their messages in terms of implications and impact, would people still be happy to promote things that people really don’t need. Sustainable design practice really is key – to think about what messages you are putting out there and consider if there is something better and more beneficial you could be doing.

Give us a peek at something you’ve created that you’re proud of, and tell us why you chose it.

I’ve currently just completed a series of posters dealing with mental illness in young men. The concept was to represent a physical manifestation of mental illness that cannot always be seen and is therefore not discussed. Not until we start talking about mental illness will individual expression, social norms and public policy change to address this health issue.

I chose this work as it represents the idea that art and design does not literally solve problems and create change but makes us aware of their existence. It opens our eyes to see & our brain to imagine.

If you’re interested in checking out more of Nicola’s work, check out her website which is full of inspiration.

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