My Experience, or Lack Thereof, With Pro-Bono Design Work

I was recently looking up what the term pro-bono meant. It essentially means “for the public good.” And looking around I found two very good articles on the topic. One from HOW design magazine titled Graphic Design for Good: The Dos & Dont’s of Pro Bono Design. And the other one from Fast Company titled Five Myths About Pro Bono Design. I am not going to summarize neither article because that is not my intention with this post.

The reason this topic became of interest to me is because when starting my design career, it’s something I did without realizing that I was doing it. Seeking out non-profits to do design work, made me feel I was doing something worthwhile. I eventually did work for 4 non-profits in the span of about three years. Two of those jobs I did with a friend of mine, and the other I did solo. All four projects were completed, but went nowhere. One of them was a logo concept for The Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples, and the other was a poster for the Hispanic Film Festival. The former was abandoned as a result of my contact person leaving the organization, and the latter as a result of inaction by the client. You can see both projects below:

And then I stopped.

I was frustrated. I was no longer looking to do work for non-profits. After I found my first paid-design job, I never returned to doing pro bono work. It wasn’t out of a sense of bitterness, but I just had not thought about it. It’s been 15 years since it crossed my mind. That’s why I recently found myself looking up the term, and I like it’s meaning. This time however, I’ll do things the right way. The first step of course is to select a non-profit, which I have already done. It will be FCJ Refugee Centre. Step two will be to reach out to them. I already know what I’d like to do for them, redesign their logo, and do their annual report. It will be worthwhile, and good.

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