Graphic Design Citizen
Learn how to use graphic design to support a healthy world, through presentations and workshops by Emrys Damon Miller, Director of Rocketday Arts.
We face many challenges today. Our ecosystems are damaged by unsustainable resource extraction, pollution, and short-sighted development. Our physical health deteriorates as we sit for hours before glowing screens, craving sugary, fatty, processed foods. Our mental health struggles as we scroll through an endless feed of distractions and sensationalism. We still navigate racism, sexism, homophobia, and economic class issues. And when faced with war on other continents, or the impending doom of climate change, there’s a sense of powerlessness — and that any actions we individuals can take are too small, and therefore futile.
Most design studios make their primary money through work that supports the global consumer economy — an economy that encourages many of the problems above, rather than solving them. Graphic design is part of the commercial marketing industry. Talented designers create marketing campaigns promoting the idea that a newer car, celebrity-endorsed lipstick, granite kitchen counters, a cell phone upgrade, or luxurious vacations will deliver what we want and need in life. But this has created an unhealthy culture of irresponsible excess.
Many individual designers and companies describe mixed feelings about whether their core client work is truly good for the world, and so, separate from their client work, they donate 5–10% of their efforts to charity, “giving back”. Emrys Damon Miller challenges this flawed model.
Emrys runs the Rocketday Arts studio, which aims to work exclusively on projects that help make the world a healthier place, while being financially profitable.
In this presentation or workshop, Emrys shares the many successes and challenges of Rocketday over its first 20 years, as well as the obstacles they continue to face. He speaks candidly about financial struggles, the marriage of business and personal life, and how to bring a utopic vision to the forefront of a design studio’s service. Participants learn from Rocketday’s successes and failures, and see how they too can align their company’s focus and culture to their own vision of a healthier world.
Available as a 1 hour classroom visit;
a 6 minute PechaKucha, a 20 minute or 45 minute presentation;
or as a 2-hour interactive workshop with groups of 3–25 people.