Professional Fellowship awarded; finalists recognized

Inaugural “Design Ignites Change | AIGA Professional Fellowship” awarded

NEW YORK—September 10, 2013. Stephen Kennedy of Urban Launchpad, a social venture dedicated to seeding and scaling urban data experiments, was selected as the 2013 Design Ignites Change | AIGA Fellow for the project “Designing Dhaka‘s Bus Infostructure,” an ambitious information- and service-design initiative to help citizens receive and interpret real-time bus information in the midst of Dhaka’s chaotic street scene.

As the recipient of the Fellowship, Kennedy will receive seed funding as well as professional guidance and mentoring on how to turn the concept into reality, valued at a combined amount of $10,000. The Fellowship will allow Kennedy and his colleagues at Urban Launchpad to expand the project from a printed bus map to a comprehensive transit information system including bus stop signage, directional signage, real-time displays and decals for buses.

The mentor selected for Kennedy’s project is David Gibson, principal of Two Twelve Associates and a recognized leader in environmental design and wayfinding. He is also the author of The Wayfinding Handbook: Information Design for Public Places published by Princeton Architectural Press.

The jury, which consisted of social impact experts Scott Ballum from Echoing Green; Kimberly Dowdell from Levien & Company; Robert Fabricant from frog and Jay Geneske from the Rockefeller Foundation, faced a difficult task in selecting just a single project from among more than 50 outstanding applications. After two rounds of deliberations, 12 finalists were selected in architecture, graphic design, information design, environmental design and product design, with the inaugural Fellowship awarded to Kennedy.

Among the innovative projects selected as finalists were an online guide to educate students and professionals on how they can create culturally responsible graphic design, an app platform that intends to create “spontaneous micro patrons” to support the art they encounter outside of museum walls, an awareness campaign to improve the environmental health of a Baltimore watershed, and an eco tourism field station in Guyana where scientists, students and sport fishing guides can stay and work.

Creative professionals with ideas to ignite positive change were invited to apply for the fellowship, a new effort by Design Ignites Change and AIGA, the professional association for design, intended to help them learn to transfer their skills from client work to social entrepreneurship and nonprofit partnerships. As such, guidance from experienced advisers was as important as the initial round of funding.

“This professional fellowship is an opportunity that no entrepreneurial or socially-minded designer should pass up. Beyond the monetary value of the seed funding is the even more impactful value of the hands-on mentoring that the recipient will receive to help implement the project concept and turn it into reality,” said AIGA Executive Director Richard Grefé.

“Our hope is that we’ll be able to expand this Fellowship program so that we can begin to support even more impactful design projects in the future,” added Mark Randall, principal of Worldstudio and co-founder of Design Ignites Change. “There’s a growing opportunity for social design and we’re trying to enable those designers who want to design for social good.”

Lend your support to the projects that made it to the final round by learning more about each initiative, spreading the word and donating time, energy or funds where you can.

About Design Ignites Change

Design Ignites Change, a collaboration between the Adobe Foundation and Worldstudio, believes that creativity holds enormous power to spark positive social change. We support creative professionals, as well as high school and college students, who use design thinking—the combination of unleashed creativity and executable actions—to improve the lives of individuals and communities. We currently do this through awards, scholarships, mentoring, fiscal sponsorship and workshops.

About AIGA

AIGA, the professional association for design, advances design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force. As the largest community of design advocates, we bring together practitioners, enthusiasts and patrons to amplify the voice of design and create the vision for a collective future. We define global standards and ethical practices, guide design education, inspire designers and the public, enhance professional development, and make powerful tools and resources accessible to all.

For further information, please contact:
Jennifer Bender, director of communications and marketing
AIGA | the professional association for design