Inneract Project (IP) is an organization formed for the purposes of providing
under-resourced youth access to fields in design via professionally supported
education, collaboration and community-based initiatives, connecting design
with urban communities, schools and families.
provides middle school students access to design in an inspirational
college-like setting, at an age when aptitude and curiosity can be best
cultivated. At IP, it is very important to us to increase diversity in the
field of visual communications because we believe that finding the best
solutions to problems in the world around us requires the input of different
types of people from different age levels, experiences and backgrounds.
program is run entirely by a 12-person committee of volunteers, and our classes
are taught by local design professionals who volunteer their time to teach
their craft. Classes are held at Academy of Art University in San Francisco and
Ex’pression College for Digital Arts in Emeryville, California.
strategy includes three key elements:
is not taught in a traditional K-12 education. Some people come across design
through college classes, but many aren’t exposed to it at all aside from their
unconscious interactions with design in everyday life. Often, there is confusion about the difference
between the concepts of “design” and “art.”
Project’s free workshops educate kids, their parents and the broader community
about design, showing that design is a worthwhile and valuable profession to
pursue. They also educate participants on how to leverage design to solve
real-world problems. IP creates a classroom experience with hands-on projects,
teaching what it means to design something. Teachers work with students, and
students work together in small classes consisting of 10 to 15 kids. In
addition, parents are encouraged to work with their children outside of classes
through Learning Labs, studio tours, lectures and one-day workshops for both
children and parents focused on hands-on learning of a single design discipline
/ activity. IP also partners with community organizations to engage in
real-life design projects. This holistic approach creates a learning experience
that offers students relevant context. Parents, families and community figures
continue the dialogue with kids outside of the classroom, making design more
Project is run entirely by volunteers. Our education chair (one of the
12-person IP committee) works extensively with teacher volunteers (local design
professionals) to craft detailed lesson plans for each class session. Teachers
use these structured lesson plans and leverage their own professional knowledge
base to develop curriculum centered around problem solving using design
concepts. Past class concepts have included visual communication design,
architecture, fashion design and photography.
middle school students are taught to think critically, collaborate with other
students and come up with creative solutions to problems. They are exposed to
something resembling a college educational setting at a young age, which may
positively influence them to pursue college in the future. Working with
teachers who are real practitioners in the industry provides students with role
models and real-life insights into what a design professional does. Throughout
our program, students populate their own design portfolios with the work they
complete in the classroom. These portfolios are theirs to keep, and they may
take them to other educational programs and use them in the search for job
is a concern that spans all design disciplines. We cannot efficiently and
effectively solve problems in the world today without the input of diverse
subsets of people. Diversity sparks creativity, brings new ideas to the table,
and broadens our perspective. Inneract Project’s mission is to encourage
minorities and lower income children to learn about design and contribute their
experience and ideas to the field. Our program works with young people who are
primarily of African American, Hispanic and Asian decent, and come from middle
to low socioeconomic backgrounds.
IP, we believe this disparity is caused by a lack of exposure and access to
design. We are working to change this by encouraging minorities and lower
income children to join our program and pursue design careers. Our program is
specifically geared toward teaching those in underserved neighborhoods about
what design is and how the design process works. Even if students don’t become
designers after joining our program, they become aware of design’s relevance in
the world, which is a big first step.
Project teaches design to approximately 120 children per year. Our students are
taught to think critically, collaborate with other students and come up with
creative solutions to problems. Working with teachers who are real
practitioners in the industry provides students with role models and real life
examples of what a design professional does. Throughout our program, students
populate their own design portfolios with the work they complete in the
classroom. These portfolios are theirs to keep and take with them to other
educational programs and/or job opportunities. Even if these students do not go
on to pursue design careers, they all begin to think about college education at
an early age.
graduates of the Inneract Project program recently participated in an
illustration project for a book written by the SAGE Scholars Program at UC
Berkeley. The students produced over 30 graphics and illustrations for the
book, leveraging the design skills they developed in IP classes. The book was
subsequently published, and both students received credit for their work along
with payment for their services. Most importantly, the students built their
portfolio and gained experience contributing to and completing an actual design
project for a real client.
graduate of the Inneract Project program also recently received the Herb Alpert
Emerging Young Artists Award, which is a $40,000 scholarship to be used towards
four years of full-time college attendance.
Project engages the Bay Area community at large to think about design and the
impact it has on everything around us. Our hands-on projects focus on real
world problems and challenge participants to come up with innovative solutions
to issues they face in the community every day. Inneract Project aims to
reinforce that design is a worthwhile and rewarding profession. We are
continuing to gain momentum in raising design awareness by developing a video
series on the impact of design, partnering with parents, community
organizations, and local design professionals.
A movement to ignite, accelerate and amplify design-driven social change
Design for Good is a platform to build and sustain the implementation
of design thinking for social change.
Section: Tools and Resources -
pro bono, social issues
Looking for additional ways to design for good? This list of organizations and programs is a great place to start. There are many more opportunities out there—so if you know of a resource we should add here let us know!
Design for Good
Learn more about the jurors’ thoughts on this 2013 “Justified” selection.
Section: Why Design -
In designing a pair of distinct but related publications about the foreclosure crisis, the team was challenged to present varied content in a cohesive way—without seeming to resolve the
contradictions or conflicts within it.
Section: Why Design -
Competition, architecture, book design, editorial design, print design, Justified
A panel of design leaders discuss diversity challenges, insights for influencing corporate programs, and solutions for a more inclusive design profession.
Section: Inspiration -
culture, diversity, Diversity and Inclusion
Video: AIGA Medalist Cheryl Heller
Feel Every Note