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What Makes for Great Design?

Ingenious Thinking Makes for Design Success
 
A global design challenge that links college design students, design advisors, and professionals received entries from 27 countries around the world, from South Africa to the U.S. The INDEX & AIGA challenge, "Designing Water's Future," asked design scholars to dream up solutions to address the global water crisis using everything from print design to web applications, physical devices to data presentation tools, and print campaigns to environmental design. Select designs from the finals will be presented to the United Nations in Copenhagen.
 
Broad, systemic thinking helped a team from the California Institute of the Arts make its way into the finals.  Rethink Your Green is a campaign which informs Los Angeles homeowners of the impact of traditional grass lawns on the water crisis, builds awareness by educating the public about the strained state of Los Angeles' water supply, presents sustainable alternatives to the conventional lawn, and provides resources for home owners who are choosing to replace their traditional lawns.
 
"The best projects, particularly the ones that came to the top, do three key things," said Challenge co-moderator Brian Collins.  "One, they get people to reconsider their understanding of water and how they use it in their daily lives.  Two, they help people change their behavior.  Three, the ideas can be easily socialized. These projects make people's changed behaviors visible-hopefully inspiring others to take action, too. The best solutions will be contagious solutions."
 
Inventive Design is Always an Agent of Change
 
While environmental issues such as the pending global water crisis are often viewed as problems for scientists to solve, this challenge proves that designers can be integral partners in solutions. "I've always believed that the design holds much, much larger potential than just merely generating beautiful stuff.  I think design truly can make a difference, and this is exactly what this competition is about," said Lise Vesje Klint, director of programming for INDEX. 
 
"There's an opportunity here to educate creative youth, to work together in order to solve a complex problem, and to recognize that these issues are their issues," added Richard Grefé, executive director of AIGA. "We can equip them, we can nurture them, and we can launch them, but they are going to have to come up with the solutions that will really be implemented at the human level."

By Rita Henry
Get Graphic Design Jobs, Contributing Editor

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