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On the right, three (3) mobile screens showing a preview of the Muse app. On the left, a mobile screen layed over a photo of the ocean

Muse App by Emily Hyunh, Courtney Lamb and Brynn Staples

School: Capilano University in Vancouver, Canada

Judge’s Pick

Substantially researched with credible and highly knowledgeable sources, this collaboration is carefully curated and engaging. It creates an accessible entry point to information that is vital to our reconciliation journey. The treatment of place, space and superimposition of the past is well thought through, beautifully-executed and presented. Well, done!

—Jackie Kelly

Through interactive design, this project aims to help all Canadians better acknowledge the Indigenous land and stories around us, to engage in reconciliation on an individual level while fostering dialogue and connection. The app brings learning to life through augmented reality and location data, highlighting Indigenous arti-facts at the user’s location to create teaching moments outside of a traditional museum setting. The brand and interface uses friendly typefaces and a limited color palette inspired by Indigenous art to achieve an approachable and playful effect while remaining credible and informative.

Two (2) black and while posters, one graphic and one typographic, over a concrete surface

Objects of Dissent: Decoding Units of Protest by Blossom Liu

School: Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, United States

Instructor: Brad Bartlett

Judge’s Pick

The book provides an objective historical survey alongside critical analysis and an editorial perspective with visual design that is clear and striking. The sophisticated use of typography presents the different tonal approaches. In my mind, this should be essential reading for future applicants to the So(cial) Good Design Awards.

—Kevin Yuen Kit Lo

Objects of Dissent: Decoding Units of Protest is a compendium on cultural semiotics and their connections with the act of modern-day protest. The book surveys the objects, language, symbols and codes of resistance by breaking down the historical, regional and modern-day uses of each unit to reveal the intricacies of language juxtaposed with the intricacies of civil disobedience. Each segmental different story about the nature of symbols, language and protest.

Multiple posters, part of the Women's March rebrand

Women’s March Rebrand by Blossom Liu

School: Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, United States

Instructor: Brad Bartlett

Judge’s Pick

I love the use of this simple mark, which works as a saleable device and create a system that communicates with impact. A smart idea, elegantly applied. 

—Dominic Liu

In a hypothetical rebrand of an important cultural movement, this identity is designed to empower individuals to take a stand for important changes, high-lighting the notion of ‘strength in numbers. Assets created to support the identity include a custom typeface, printed collateral, web-based media, a printed publication and an interactive spatial installation for the Women’s March event. The project is designed to create a sense of inclusion, empowerment and action, encouraging people to take the spirit of the Women’s March beyond the day of the event into their everyday activities.

Two (2) people, a man and a woman, looking at four posters hanging on a wire over a stone wall

Across Borders Initiative by Mayúscula Brands in Barcelona, Spain

Judge’s Pick

If you’re a brand designer with an altruistic agenda, it can be tricky to marry your business and personal interests. Even if you work with mission-driven clients, there may be a limit to how far you can advocate for social change within the scope of a brief. That’s why the Across Borders project is so impactful. What started as a simple poster design challenge, which paired designers from different parts of the world in a cultural exchange, has since grown into an active community that involves live events, talks, workshops and exhibitions. By meeting designers where they are, Mayúscula Brands found a way into the community and then worked to expand the message of positive global impact that design-driven brands can have on the world. 

—Perrin Drumm

This multilingual, cross-cultural project on the resistance and value of miscegenation shows the strength of fusion and transformation of ideas through design, typography and communication. Mayúscula invited designers from Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, UK, Spain and Ukraine to design a poster on the theme ‘Design that breaks borders. Each poster was then overlaid with that of another designer, creating a dialogue between the messages of the two designers. Across Borders is a never-ending initiative that encompasses exhibitions, conferences and an online and pop-up store. Funds raised from the sale of prints and books were donated to Save the Children.

Adventure Bug packaging, shown front and back. Some brand illustrations of energetic people with cricket antennas are seen in the background

Adventure Bug Brand & Packaging System by Danielle Adams

School: Capilano University in Vancouver, Canada

Instructor: Dominique Walker

The hypothetical brand and packaging system for cricket-protein camp meals provides a healthy, environmentally-friendly meat alternative for fun-loving adventure seekers who place a high value on the environmental impact of their food choices. To overcome consumers’ distaste for eating bugs, the design strategy embraces the ‘wildness’ of the product. Each package features a dynamic bug-person illustration set against colorful mountains that connect across multiple packages to communicate the idea of ongoing adventure. The copy walks the line between fun and functional, emphasizing the bug ingredient through humor while also highlighting the nutrition benefits.

A smiley face drawn on a flat surface with Coolpaste, and two (2) toothbrushes on the right. on the top right corner, there is a logo that reads "Product 100% Eco-Friendly"

Coolpaste Packaging by Allan Gomes

School: Federal University Of Minas Gerais, Brazil/ York University in Toronto, Canada

Cool paste aims to solve the problem of heavy packaging, starting with the most designer Allan Gomes Student RGD common everyday product—the toothpaste. Colgate toothpaste was used for the purpose of the project. After an in-depth study to maintain the integrity of the product, the paper box was eliminated entirely, the branding was simplified to reduce the chemical inks and Cool paste was presented as a product that would hang instead of being stacked. The body of the tube was made using barrier-coated, grease-resistant paperboard which reduced plastic waste by 70%, making Cool paste a recyclable and biodegradable item.

Two (2) Ethical Sellout books standing on a flat surface and leaning against each other

Ethical Sellout: A Designer’s Guide To Giving A F/ck by Kelly Small RGD

Ethical Sellout: A Designer’s Guide to Giving a F/ck contains over one hundred designer/author Kelly Small brief, easily-digestible actions for ethical practice in the design industry. The book also includes a diagram of the 10 core areas of ethical practice and allows readers to determine the kind of ethical practice that best suits their work-life. The extensive research undertaken for the book was awarded a Governor-general’s Academic Gold Medal.

Three (3) mobile devices previewing the Give App

Give App by Peter Elima 

School: University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada

Instructor: Bryan Kulba

This app helps make the act of giving more accessible and encourages people to donate and volunteer. Give allows users to find charities and causes that align to their values. Storytelling, transparency and ease of use are central. Give also allows charities to upload a short video telling their stories to mobilize support from the users. The app will be tested to determine its role in improving the experience of donating and volunteering.

Six (6) variations of In Dogs We Trust packaging

In Dogs We Trust Brand by Samantha Mok

School: Centennial College in Toronto, Canada

This hypothetical e-commerce retail brand creates hand-crafted treats and designer Samantha Mok Student RGD hard goods for dogs. The packaging for each product was designed with unique code names and color schemes and is made from recycled, fully-biodegradable material. All of the mailer packages are designed to have multi-use applications. The simple, minimal design of the visual identity greatly contrasts with what customers are used to seeing in the dog treat aisles.d

Three (3) mobile devices showcasing examples of the social media strategy for the Mentell campaign

Mentell Campaign by Joseph Thoong

School: Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, Canada

Instructor: Nancy Pagé

Mentell was the name Joseph chose for a fictional organization that addresses mental health issues among men. This hypothetical campaign is intended to improve awareness of support services to encourage ease of access when needed. The insight that men often choose action-oriented solutions overcommunication when it comes to mental health informed the design direction for this campaign. Through posters, billboards, bus shelter ads and social media, Joseph used a direct, no-nonsense approach to educate the public on available resources and encourage communication.

Overfishing Awareness Campaign flat brochure

Overfishing Awareness Campaign by Hillary Chen 

School: York/Sheridan joint program in Toronto, Canada

This project was created to raise awareness of the drastic harm overfishing causes to the ecosystem and its potential impact on humans. It also provides an effective solution by clearly outlining how people can change their habits to alleviate the problem. The information brochure and IPad app lead the reader through a visual narrative to create a memorable, educational experience. The fonts and color palette are inspired from the typography found on boats and in coastal towns.

Multiple mobile screens showing different previews of the Quakeable app Quakeable

Quakeable App by Courtney Lamb

School: Capilano University in Vancouver, Canada

Instructors: Leanne Crawford and Mark Stokoe

Quakeable simplifies the process of creating an emergency plan to help people stay safe and connected during an earthquake. A simple onboarding system breaks down the process of creating a plan, setting up home and work addresses, earthquake preparation kits and connections with family and friends. Once the onboarding process is complete, the app notifies users of relevant updates and alerts and provides prompts to ensure information remains up-to-date. The user-friendly format delivers essential information in an easily-digestible format to support safe decision-making and appropriate action in the event of an earthquake.

Multiple Second Chance Los Angeles rebranded business cards scattered on a black surface

Second Chances Los Angeles Rebrand by Blossom Liu

School: Art Center College Of Design in Pasadena, United States

Instructor: Stephen Serrato

The rebrand for Second Chances plays to the vibrant visual language derived from the colorful scenes of South Los Angeles, focusing on creating a strong identity that is relatable for youth who attend, creating a sense of unity and pride. The branding emphasizes STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) as a tool to bring awareness of career opportunities to youth in the area. The printed collateral and other visual elements of the identity are designed to elevate the importance of providing resources to the youth of LA and inspire bright futures.

Multiple scattered posters, part of The Cries Of Those Who Vanish publication

The Cries Of Those Who Vanish Publication by Underline Studio in Toronto, Canada

To honor the strength, courage and conviction of four people who have been working in Latin America to protect the land rights of marginalized people, Underline Studio published The Cries of Those Who Vanish in collaboration with photographer Luis Mora. The publication is divided into four posters, each honoring an activist. Underline sold copies at an opening of an exhibition by Luis Mora at Contact Gallery in Toronto and online. The proceeds collected from the publication were donated to the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras, anon-profit that defends communities against logging, dams and mining projects.

Open printed book spread of The Transmasculine Survival Guide to HRT, showing an infographic regarding the physical changes on testosterone therapy

The Transmasculine Survival Guide to HRT by Fisher Michael Ferguson 

School: York/Sheridan Joint Program in Toronto, Canada

Project Supervisor: Adam Rallo RGD

This guide was developed to provide a personal and accessible source of information for trans-masculine patients pursuing hormone replacement therapying Ontario. After extensive research and personal journaling, the guide was art directed to be a friendly, approachable and portable journal that uses simple language to make important information about HRT available to all. To carry forward the goal of accessibility, a companion app is planned for individuals who prefer a private digital resource. Designer Fisher Michael Ferguson Prov. RGD project supervisor Adam Rallo RGD.

Multiple black and white photographic frames, which spray painted "X" in a bright yellowish neon green colour.

Xchange Campaign by Noah Kawamura

School: Capilano University in Vancouver, Canada

Mentors: Gae Wakabayashi, Zoë Evamy

This campaign was created to increase youth voter turnout and incite a lasting political dialogue among youth. The campaign turns the issues that youth care about into ballots by using graffitied Xs that reframe voting as boldly taking a stand on an issue. The Xs connote passionate, free-thinking and rebellious youth. Keeping in mind the audience, the campaign assets were applied across a variety of media, with a special focus on social media. The X Change campaign challenges those who see it to act.

Large UN Buffer print on an indoor wall.

UN Buffer by Alexandros Kosmidis in London, United Kingdom

Without challenging the presence of the UN force as essential for the safeguarding of peace on the island, this project aims to communicate message of peace, diversity and inclusion; the end of Turkish occupation and the reunification of Cyprus. The visual language of the project was directly sourced from images from the UN Buffer Zone—barriers, barbed wire and abandoned areas with a range of warning signs. The graphics mix the colour palette of the Cypriot flag and the United Nations blue. The fronts of the postcards feature images, text and repurposed items found in the landscape of the dividing zone, subverting these images to represent unity instead of division and exclusion.