Design For Haiti

Until recently the words ‘designer’ and ‘fundraising’ were rarely uttered in the same sentence. But the events of Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake, followed by the Japan Tsunami changed all that. What followed was a call to arms by the creative industry – grass-root efforts to raise money for relief funds.  An increasingly art savvy public brimming with eager collectors has resulted in a surge in individual “charity art appeals”. Online poster projects are an example of this.

The Hurricane Poster Project sold posters from around the world to raise money for the Red Cross. Its organisers followed this with The Haiti Poster Project with all profits going to Doctors Without Borders. And the HOPE (Helping Other People Everywhere) Campaign collaborated with street artist Shepard Fairey for the iconic Hope for Darfur posters. Designers for Japan, The Poster Cause Project, and a Beacon of Rebirth Poster Project, are just some of the others out there. But how has this change in fundraising affected the money coming into charities?  The next few posts will be posing this question to designers and some of the charities they help raise money for. Up first is Design For Haiti an online space for designers who felt the need to contribute their creative effort but felt no platform existed for them to do so. Created by American designer Aaron Perry-Zucker, Design for Haiti is an evolution of his previous project Design for Obama.

“Like Design for Obama it was very simple and a bit last minute – it was just about bringing people together who felt they wanted to put their energy towards helping and contributing somehow,” says  Aaron Perry-Zucker. Aaron is a partner in American design studio Big New Ideas. Along with filmmaker Spike Lee, he is co-author of Design for Obama. Posters for Change: A Grassroots Anthology. 

“With Obama it was very palpable that there was not a lot of space for people to get behind this and for the creative community to show their support. So there was no clear simple fundraising objective – there has been money raised for various charities but it’s all been through side projects. It was more about giving people the space to show their support,” he says. The public can download any of the posters for free. “I would not say that it needed to exist. It did not need to exist,” says Perry-Zucker. According to him, “it is our job as artists and designers to use our talents to call for advocacy and understanding. “Information graphics that increase understanding of the plight of Haitians affected by the earthquake.”

[pictured above] Poster at Design For Haiti. This is an edited version of a commissioned feature, please see