Want to do good? Follow these three design principles

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 24 August 2023
Louise Sergent at UnLtd's Big Chat.

A focus on empathy, designing with (not for) and embracing difference are three key design principles for advertisers, marketers and creatives to be able to do good in their work, according to Louise Sergent, MD of Today.

Sergent shared these principles at UnLtd's recent Big Chat: Creativity For Good event, held at Meta's Sydney office and featuring some of the latest ideas and campaigns that are making the world a better place, saying that since joining the social innovation agency after having worked at the likes of BMF and Clemenger BBDO, she had to adjust her mindset around creativity.

"I went from working with really enormous commercial budgets to working with much smaller budgets, and having to use creativity and real resourcefulness to find ways to reach as many people and make the biggest impact as possible," she said.

"What do we have the power to change and how can we create more good in the world through the work that we do?"

She said that the starting point is empathy, because we must anchor our thinking around the perspectives of people whose needs we’re trying to meet.

"This means putting aside our own experiences, our own opinions, otherwise we're going to bring biased judgment to a setting," said Sergent. 

"We have to stop and listen and reflect on why we think something is the way it is. 

"As experts in our field, we can be quite wrapped up in our own experience. We may have studied for years, we may have earned a title, we may have earned a promotion and so it can be quite difficult to accept other people into our process, especially if they're coming from a different setting than us."

Sergent said that designing 'with' someone, and bringing the audience into the creation process as a collaborator, instead of designing 'for' a passive consumer, means you have to give up the possibility of owning the right answer all the time.

"Instead, we say we have to go through a process with others to help them reach the answer that works right for them, that's going to solve the problem the best way for their setting," said Sergent.

"The third design principle [to do good] is to bring difference together. When we bring together different perspectives and experiences, we're able to get a much better understanding of the whole scope of the problem that we're dealing with and also the whole breadth of possibilities in terms of how we can solve that problem.

"We also find that new ideas really thrive in this environment, because you need stimulus and provocation to generate new ideas and find new ways to solve problems. It also has a really incredible side effect of really building empathy."

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

comments powered by Disqus