The Design Observer Group


Posted 06.22.11


The Editors

Sappi Ideas That Matter


Back in the last century (1999 to be precise), the paper company Sappi launched a program to distribute grants for social design and innovation. Since then, Ideas That Matter has funded $11 million in efforts to improve the health, education and prosperity of the world’s citizens. Designers, in partnership with nonprofits, receive grants from $5,000 to $50,000 for pro-bono projects that involve some use of printed media. Recipients have ranged from recent design school graduates to eminent practitioners, including Michael Osborne, Scott Stowell, Emily Pilloton, Bobby Martin Jr., Robynne Raye and Winterhouse’s William Drenttel and Jessica Helfand.

It’s hard to sum up the generous breadth of Ideas That Matter projects in the past 11 years, but a trio of 2010 awardees gives a sense of the program’s reach and diversity.

Proposals for 2011 Sappi Ideas That Matter grants are due July 15. For more information, go here.


LET LOVE REIGN


Photo: Catalina Kulczar-Marin for Let Love Reign
The New York photographer Catalina Kulczar-Marin, working with The Human Rights Campaign, an organization seeking equal rights for the LGBT community nationwide, received a grant of $10,797 to fund Let Love Reign, a publicity campaign and portrait exhibition in Charlotte, North Carolina, featuring photos of same-sex couples. According to the grant proposal: “Through Let Love Reign's powerful imagery, and the call to action on the website to the Human Right's Campaign's Million for Marriage petition, there will be an increased awareness of the issue and more pressure on Congress to legalize same-gender marriage.”


BIG!NYC


Poster design: Libby Clarke for Big!NYC
For her summer 2010 School of Visual Arts course Designer As Citizen, Lara McCormick received a $6,000 grant that enabled students to refine the signage, brochures and wayfinding system for Build It Green! NYC, described as “New York City’s only nonprofit retail outlet for salvaged and surplus building materials.” The project’s value lay not only in rationalizing the offerings of BIG!NYC but also in teaching young designers strategies for working with nonprofits.


ON THE GROUND


Brochure design: Imaginary Office for Ocean Conservancy
Imaginary Office, a graphic design studio led by Chicago-based Esther Chak and New York–based Mary Jo Valentino, partnered with Ocean Conservancy to propose a five-piece toolkit providing information and resources in the wake of the BP Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A $25,000 grant funded the production of “On the Ground,” a clear-headed assessment of the damage and a guidebook for environmental and regional economic recovery. Three booklets address the Gulf ecosystem, threats that both preceded and pertain to the oil spill, and the Ocean Conservancy’s plan for restoration. A list of resources is provided to assist local citizens, and a “jargon translator” clarifies some of the murk associated with this devastating episode.