Archive for the ‘link/resource’ Category

Bola Moyo = Better Life

June 3, 2007

Bola Moyo logo

A good friend I knew from the design program at Chico State, Cara Pattison, shocked me and our classmates by leaving the design field after finishing school. Yet, in a sense, she really hasn’t left design behind. Since graduating, she and her husband Dustin, have since started a non-profit called Bola Moyo (which means ‘better life’) to work with Africans in Balaka, Malawi at the grassroots level. They aim to:

…mobilize and support African communities in response to poverty, suffering, and inequality. Our vision is to see thousands of Africans empowered, living free from the oppression of poverty and disease, and realizing their potential to live productive and purposeful lives.

Cara was in the Pasadena area over the weekend, and we finally got to catch up yesterday after a few years going in our own directions. I heard stories and got to see pictures of the kids and staff they interact with, as well as the House of Many Stories Youth Centre where they have created a welcoming after school program for the kids in the Balaka area. These after-school programs started to provide a nurturing place to play and have expanded to give a needed education supplement in English and Math. Its all run by locals and Cara and Dustin are only there three months out of the year. They have many other plans in the works to continue making strides to help the youth’s chances of succeeding in further education and life in general.

Though she wouldn’t say so, I think Cara is a still very much a designer. Of course she handles their graphics for the organization – see the identity above and their website (which she whipped after simply sitting through a tutorial with dreamweaver), there is more going on. In the larger picture Cara with her husband are drawing from process-based clear thinking and problem solving innate in the practice of design to carry out the very mission of their organization. They are intentional about hearing the needs of their clients (people in the Malawi community) and brainstorming and developing solutions to meet the goal (addressing HIV/AIDS, better education, quality of life) in a holistic way for both the long and short term.

I’m finding designers, whether in a studio job or not, tend to use these innate skills in what they’re engaged with. Bola Moyo get me excited because Cara is using her skills along with those of her husband, her staff and many volunteers to benefit the marginalized who need it most.

Cara and Dustin – keep up the wonderful work. Thanks for sharing your journey!

To find out more and support Bola Moyo, see their website and follow their blog.


Social design

May 2, 2007

I think something is happening in the design field…but see what you think. If you have any feedback or knowledge, please comment. I’d love to dig deeper into this:

While there are designers who are constant in their commitment to use design for non-profit uses and the greater good (consider blogs like social design notes, houtlust, etc.) my little naive designer antennas are starting to pick up more and more about a broader social design through my faithful RSS feeds and the industry journal, Communication Arts.

This started last October when I posted briefly on Milton Glasier’s Designism. That was very exciting but I just haven’t heard much else, and no one I talk to seems to know much about it.

Then I open my recent Communication Arts to Carolyn McCarron Sienicki’s Inch by Inch article. She mentions several other designers and initiatives such as Christopher Liechty’s cross cultural design understandings, Stefan Sagmeister’s heartfelt design, and Natalia Ilyin emphasis on the human. These are all new to me, and I got quite excited as I kept reading:

It may sound like these designers and business leaders are quoting different theories, but they are not. They’re all talking about the same thing: using our creative thinking and design skills to help redirect the present course of the world—economically, socially and environmentally. Maybe it was Hurricane Katrina that finally did it. Maybe it was Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. Maybe it’s the never-ending casualties and ever-growing troops in Iraq. Whatever the trigger, there’s a collective feeling that we can no longer afford to go on working and living the way we have. In a world that grows smaller every day—where we are economically interdependent on each other, where cultural and social clashes create terrorism, where the changes in the environment are now too disturbing to ignore—the things we are creating no longer feel sustainable.

Hmm…I’m officially getting excited. I’m hearing Fuller’s theme verse this year ringing in my ears: “And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

Before you think I’m prooftexting this, consider this: the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design on Museum Row in New York City is opening their first exhibit dedicated to social design next Monday: Design for the other 90%. John Emermon’s Social Design Notes blog points to a recent article in the International Herald Tribune about this (check out the slide show, it’s truly inspiring). While Emerson seems to think this design exhibition is more an act of charity than representing a paradigm shift I’d hope to see, call me silly to say this glass looks half full. I’m excited leading design institutions (Communication Arts and the Cooper-Hewitt) are starting to notice trends of designers responding to injustice and poverty through the design process. Sounds like mission work to me.

Father Matthew Presents

March 2, 2007

Sorry for the silence of late, it’s been busy and *some other lame excuse here*.

Anyway, I’m discovering Father Matthew’s videocasts. Pretty funny stuff. This one about lack of marketing in seminary is not only hilarious, but poignant:

(ht Church Marking Sucks)

productivity guru + passionate thoughts = church body

February 16, 2007

It’s very cool to see productivity guru Merlin Mann of 43 Folders is contributing to the conversation about blogging and the church. He posts about being asked to write and essay for Brian Bailey’s book The Blogging Church.

I avidly follow Merin’s blog and more recently video and pod casts with Mac-Break Weekly about GTD (Getting Things Done) and overall workflow. He’s found his niche in sharing his gifts and passions of productivity to the rest of us – and he’s good at it! He’s a clear voice in the noisy blogosphere that has done for my desk what Real Simple has done for my housework: streamline and simplify.

I haven’t seen the essay or even this book, but I’d be eager to get my hands on it. But really, its more exciting (at least to me) to see someone like Merlin Mann contributing his own passions and expertise about this technology in relation to the church and the resulting ‘passionate thoughts’. We need this type of input to flesh out what Church (yes, capital ‘C’) looks like today, especially online. By bringing these conversations to others in different spheres of life, like productivity, we embody the (missional) church body. That’s exciting!

November 9, 2006

Bible Ad

I think I’ve mentioned the Holulust blog before. It features amazing print, web and even video ads for various non-profits around the globe. I get excited when original and thought provoking ads for the church show up (which sadly, isn’t very often). This set is for, a great web presence for The United Church of Canada. It’s rich with content, or “stickyness”… I mean, gosh, who wouldn’t want to come back to see EZ Squirrel? (Click the link – it’s on the bottom right of their site – you know you want to!)

Remember to vote tomorrow!

November 6, 2006

Once again, Apple sets the bar and we all follow

November 5, 2006

I’m starting to develop this theory that Apple is taking over our creative and visual environment with their ads and products – simply because they’re so good there’s little else to do but copy them.
The Christian realm is jumping on the bandwagon too – see the parody’s of the Mac vs. PC ads below. Clever… (I saw these here on the YSMarko blog, written by Mark Oestreicher with Youth Specialties.)

These are great parody’s and good fun, well done. Perhaps I should end this post there, and take these just for what they are – fun. But I’m a bit frustrated … this is yet another reminder we’re using someone else’s vehicle/structure to get across our own message about what it means to follow Jesus. Hmm … just a thought.

Reflection > Tues week 6

November 1, 2006

Class deviated from lecture and my fingers and laptop got a break today. We broke up in groups to talk about different practices of Jesus, and my group focused on Jesus’ as a prophet (others were Jesus and family, peoplehood, time, etc.)

In joking around, John Stewart came up as being prophetic, followed by a round of laughter. A clip came to my mind of Jim Wallis on the Daily Show talking about his book, God’s Politics. I remembered that Wallis made the connection to Stewart’s humor as indicative in the tradition of Hebrew prophets, and he encouraged this in Stewart. I mentioned this thought in my group, and just found the segment on the Comedy Central site (only viewable with PC, Mac users can install flip4mac).

I also found an excerpt from Wallis’ blog about his interaction with Stewart, specifically the connection between prophet and humor.

Jon Stewart seemed actually touched by the inscription I wrote in his book, “The biblical prophets used humor and truth-telling to help make their point – often satirizing the political leaders of the day. You do both very well and may be in the tradition of those Hebrew prophets.” Sitting there after the segment, we talked more and again I felt his keen interest in this connection between spirituality and social change. While Stewart described himself as “secular,” I told him there was a moral edge to what he does and encouraged him to keep on. We both expressed a desire to stay in contact.

The full entry is the last one on this page, dated January 24th.


October 15, 2006

Mark Schutlz
“100 Percent Natural”
25.5″ X 18″

I finally got connected with some art people on campus (yay for arts concerns committee!), which lead to Pasadena Art Night, good beer and a gallery trip into LA today. I met up with a few girls at the Milo Gallery to check out collage artist, Mark Schultz: Fortified With Zebra. Pretty amazing painterly effects with scraps of anything and everything. He lives and works in Tacoma, Washington.

This gallery was just down the street from the LA County Art Museum, but I skipped it to save museum energy for Philadelphia next weekend. I’m headed out for a cousin’s wedding, and per usual my mom has squeezed all the sightseeing humanly possible into three days. Gotta rest up for a trip like this!

Flickr Blog

October 6, 2006

I just added the Flickr blog to my RSS feeder. Man, what great photos, like this one