Design Ignites Change brings the best ideas to life through its inaugural Implementation Awards program
Design Ignites Change, a collaboration between Adobe Youth Voices and Worldstudio, is excited to announce the inaugural 2009 Implementation Award winners: PieLab’s Pecans! and Kansas City Art Institute’s A Book by its Cover: Reading Stereotypes and Freewall: Making Space for Diversity. The biannual award program recognizes exceptional proposals for design intended to make the world a better place, and grants their creators the financial support to realize those visions.
The grand prize award goes to Pecans!, a budding pecan product enterprise – led by low-income youth – in Hale County, Alabama. Here, recent design school graduates, contributing their energy and talents to PieLab, a community design center in downtown Greensboro, mentor 16-24 year-old high school dropouts participating in the Department of Labor’s YouthBuild Program. The $12,000 award serves as the capital to get the business off the ground, in turn providing the youth a chance to expand their skill sets: everything from perfecting the best pecan brittle recipe, to developing a brand identity and market strategy, all while completing their high school diplomas or GEDs. “We are ecstatic,” says Robin Moody from Pielab, “we have been looking for a way to help fund this idea and are now so grateful to have the ability to carry it out. We worked hard on really fleshing out the application and are so glad to see the work paid off. It’s exciting to partner with Worldstudio on a project that has a positive impact on local youth.”
A second place prize of $2,400 was awarded to A Book by its Cover: Reading Stereotypes, a project that aims to uproot racism by fostering positive, meaningful connections between Arab and non-Arab students. Set between two schools: the Islamic School of Greater Kansas City and Garfield Elementary, also in Kansas City, this pen-pal-like book exchange project, conceived by Ramzy Masri, a student at the Kansas City Art Institute, begins by opening up a conversation about prejudice that evolves into a rich exchange involving students’ experiences, and culminates in a surprise reveal around identity.
Simple yet compelling, Freewall: Making Space for Diversity, wins the third place prize, for offering a proactive answer to bullying. This project created by Logan Smith, a student at Kansas City Art Institute, creatively repurposes empty wall space at Center Alternative School into a personal expression of the student body. Each student is invited to design a warm-colored sticker around the theme of something he or she loves, and to post it to a 5’X5’ cool-colored patchwork display. The eye-catching collaboration will transform and grow to feature 288 unique designs when complete. The award of $250 will be used to cover the cost of supplies.
Tyler Galloway, a faculty member at Kansas City Art Institute who was integral to the school’s Design Ignites Change effort says, “It’s going to be an amazing learning experience to step beyond the classroom with these projects that are context-specific and require face-to-fact contact and audience response. It’s great validation for the work. They are examples of design that goes beyond the artifact itself.”
The jury also identified six promising proposals for honorable mention: Frugal Food: Eating on SNAP; Save Money, Save the Planet: Tag Along; Anchor: Campus Crime Prevention; Design for Eco and Social Sustainability; Sanitation Solution; How Much Do You Know About Plastic?; and Break the Jam! Save Money, Save Time. With the idea that these projects would benefit greatly from a little more time in the incubator, jurors, Michele Ronsen and Mark Westlund have generously offered to help these teams refine their proposals and resubmit for the next round of awards in June.
The Design Ignites Change Implementation Award is granted twice a year to student initiatives that exhibit a powerful and provocative solution to a pressing social problem. Reviewed by an independent committee of creative professionals, business, civic and non-profit leaders, the submissions are evaluated on concept, viability, potential of impact, as well as a detailed plan for timely execution. Here are thoughts from several of this year’s jurors on participating in the process:
“I was excited to see how many diverse topics the students tackled. Some of their proposals lacked realistic business strategies for implementation, but that fearlessness is precisely what’s so refreshing about how students approach solutions. I look forward to following the winning projects as they come to life in their communities in the coming year.”
- Gaby Brink, Founder, Creative Director, Tomorrow Partners / Co-chair, AIGA Center for Sustainable Design
“It’s incredibly exciting to be a part of a jury that is truly encouraging others to think about how to make the world a better place as well as rewarding and recognizing their meaningful efforts. The winners should be incredibly proud of their ideas and implementation plans.”
- Michele Ronsen, VP, Creative Director, Wells Fargo
“I personally draw a lot inspiration from our youth. Their innocence and freshness of ideas and awareness of doing the right thing for their communities is extremely inspiring to me. I am grateful that I was able to participate in this program. It made me stop and think about how, eventually, ideas from one and all matter. It isn’t about one big solution for everything and everyone – but small ones that are meaningful, simple and can be executed that make all the difference.”
Mala Sharma, Director of Consumer and Hosted Solutions, Adobe
“I was inspired that there are so many good ideas out there, and so many brilliant minds in the coming generation that are working on solutions to environmental, social and economic justice.”
- Mark Westlund, Public Information Program Manager, Department of the Environment, City and County of San Francisco
About Design Ignites Change
Design Ignites Change, a collaboration between Adobe Youth Voices and Worldstudio, engages high school and college students in multidisciplinary design and architecture projects that address pressing social issues. Participants are encouraged to apply design thinking—the combination of unleashed creativity and executable actions—to problems that exist in their own communities.
About Adobe Youth Voices
Adobe Youth Voices is Adobe Foundation’s global signature philanthropy program designed to provide youth in underserved communities with critical 21st century skills they need to become active and engaged members of their communities and the world at large.
Additional program partners include: AIGA, the professional association for design; Designers Accord; Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and Williams & House. Media partners include: Core 77, Design Observer, Graphic Design USA and Taxi Design Network.