Design for Democracy: Building Community Power

In 2018, AIGA design leaders are working to yield the vote by building deeper civic engagement—not just encouraging registration. The mission is to foster a greater understanding of the political issues at stake, in anticipation of the midterm elections. The “Building Community Power 2018” project will have two components, and both will aim to always provide clear communications on the why, where, when and what to vote on:

1. A chapter-based curated component: AIGA will match a pilot group of AIGA chapters with some of Nonprofit VOTE’s recommended “civic anchor” partners, to enable design leaders to devise citizen engagement strategies, demonstrating design’s potential integration in community organizing and civic literacy, while nurturing their communities’ sense of belonging and ownership of the civic process.

2. A member-based open-source component: AIGA will support Nonprofit VOTE’s National Vote Registration Day (NVRD, Sept 25, 2018), by inviting its members to submit strategically impactful and accessible digital communications that target first-time voters, youth and new immigrants. The open source database of digital assets will support and empower NPV to distribute shareable and actionable content to its 3,000+ partners across the country.

Partnering with Nonprofit VOTE

Founded in 2005, Nonprofit VOTE (NV) partners with America’s nonprofits to help the people they serve to participate and vote. NV is the largest source of nonpartisan resources to help nonprofits integrate voter engagement into their ongoing activities and services. Nonprofit VOTE has a mediated relation to citizens via the vast state-based nonprofit network they’ve built over the years. NV aggregates communication tools to empower their nonprofit partners be part of the Get out the Vote effort. With new access to AIGA’s excellence in strategic thinking and visual craft, Nonprofit VOTE can more effectively orchestrate its National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), by leveraging

AIGA’s creative energy — as already tested in 2016’s presidential election. Through this partnership AIGA can potentially gain a greater influence with civic advocacy groups in demonstrating designers’ system thinking and ability to educate nonprofits on the transformative power of design. By facilitating a new kind of communications for Nonprofit VOTE and its partners, AIGA members will affect democracy by strategically impacting Nonprofit VOTE’s communication style, reach, channels, offerings and messaging while leveraging the rich geographic, political and cultural diversity of AIGA chapters.

About AIGA Design for Democracy

AIGA makes designers better citizens. Design for Democracy is one of AIGA’s key strategic initiatives, started in 1998, with the mission to apply design tools and thinking to increase civic participation by making interactions between the U.S. government and its citizens more understandable, efficient, and trustworthy. The premise: good design makes your choices clear.
Now more than ever designers seek opportunities to leverage their skills — beyond simply designing artifacts like posters or promotional material — to support the democratic process. Whether individually or collectively, the AIGA community of design leaders strive to create meaningful social impact and increase civic engagement. The upcoming midterm elections are the perfect context to build greater community participation.

By aigasantabarbara
Published March 25, 2018
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