One of the many facets of Making Creative Matter® at Rule29 is our effort to look for opportunities to help influence and work with the design leaders of the future. For the last several years Rule29 has been able to collaborate with the graduate students at Kent State University’s School of Visual Communication Design and their professor Ken Visocky O’Grady.
Having collaborated on projects in the past that tackle big problems in developing parts of the world, like Sub-Saharan Africa, through the power of research and design thinking this most recent project was no different. The article written by the wonderful Bryn Mooth for PRINT magazine talks about how the Kent State students tackle disease prevention, a global health problem, that can be solved with one simple action: hand-washing. A variety of research driven steps to help understand how to create icons and graphics that can be relatively cultural agnostic for a largely illiterate populace was the challenge. The resulting efforts were so well received by Lifewater International, who implemented the project, that the Kent State students are finishing the work for other initiatives in Lifewater’s global teaching curriculum.
And how did this impact the students throughout this process? Visocky O’Grady comments, “Partnering with Rule29 and Lifewater has given our MFA candidates an opportunity to engage their design research and design thinking skills in meaningful service learning projects. Lessons learned through this important partnership not only touch the communities served, but launch future research trajectories and career paths for the students involved, extending the impact far beyond what happens in the classroom.”