How Simplifying Messages help better Communicate the Value of Design: Insights from SoGood Winner Forge Media + Design

Forge Media + Design was one of the winners of the RGD's 2018 So(cial) Good Design Awards in the Sustainability, Ecology & Climate category. Stüssy Tschudin RGD shares his perspective on designing for social good and communicating the value of design.


What were the unexpected benefits of entering the SoGood Design Awards?

The Recycling Matters poster sparked a bit of interest within the design community, including those interested in purchasing a copy for use in their own offices.


How did winning the SoGood Design Award add value to or change your work/practice?

It is always nice to be recognized by our peers by winning an award. However, winning in a category that doesn’t just recognize good design, but also acknowledges the good you are doing with your work is doubly rewarding.


Explain your winning project briefly and given a chance, how differently would you do it today?


Our Recycling Matters poster is an infographic approach to identify what can and can't be recycled and how, for those living in Toronto. The content within this poster is very complex and while our poster gave a very detailed outline of recycling, we would consider simplifying things further to make the use and application of it even more broadly understood.


2018 SoGood Award Winner: Recycling Matters Poster by Forge Media + Design


What does design for social good mean to you?

Designers are often looked at as people who make things “pretty”. However, just as we put a lot of effort into research and strategy, it is also important to consider the social impact our projects may have. The SoGood Awards is a great opportunity to showcase some of our work that not only communicates effectively, but also has a meaningful, positive impact on society.


In your opinion, what is the best way for designers to communicate the value of design to non-designers?

Avoid using jargon and focusing on “design details” (not to say we shouldn’t focus internally on these details). When talking to non-designers (i.e. clients), educate them on why what we do is important and relevant, in terms that will be understood and apply to their industry.


What responsibilities do designers have to make a positive impact on our world and communities?

Designers are often at the crucial intersection of how content and messages are relayed to the audience (rest of the world). Therefore, we have a direct impact on which messages are received in what fashion. We have to make conscious choices about the products/messages we are asked to help promote and take a stand by not working in areas or with messages we cannot support.


Show us a project you are working on or recently completed that you are excited about/proud of and be considering entering into the Awards this year. 


Music Is Life is a research-based documentary that explores the connection between musical engagement and relational caring within a community living with dementia. Our goal was to develop a social campaign to spread awareness of the film leading up to the virtual launch date. We created a series of short video posts using motion graphics, voice-overs and clips from those featured in the documentary


Why do you think it’s important to celebrate the work of designers in the area of social good?


Often work done for social good may be on the lower budget side. Therefore, it is a great opportunity for designers to be recognized for a job well done. The (self) promotional benefits may encourage more designers to get involved in projects that DO good (and aren't just about being paid well).


Born and raised in Switzerland, Stüssy Tschudin RGD was a Swiss banker by day and graffiti artist by night. His passion for the creative ultimately led him back to school and toward a career as a graphic designer. In 2005, Stüssy co-founded Forge Media + Design, a truly multi-disciplinary design firm, that, through the convergence of design thinking and innovative execution, helps their clients reach and inform their audiences. He is a conceptual and visual thinker and brings creative and strategic insight to every project he oversees at Forge. His unwavering commitment to design and communications excellence led to Stüssy being elected to the Board of Directors of the RGD. Stüssy served as President of the RGD from 2014 to 2018.