Hello everyone welcome to my latest class. I’m Jen Lezan and I’ll be the one guiding you through this creative course. I’m a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and educator based out of the midwest and I run Bella + Sophia Creative studio. If you want to learn more about me, check out my youtube channel: The Freelance Life to get a behind the scenes view of the work I do as a freelancer and the work that goes into making classes like this one. If you want to see more of my work you can visit me online at http://www.bellasophiacreative.com I am a huge advocate for sharing knowledge and education in an accessible ways and I have found that places like Arbington and Youtube allow for that and allow me to connect to a diverse group of people looking to learn and grow.
This month, I wanted to do more than just teach a course, I wanted to inspire each of you to find ways to use your skills, talents and creativity to do some good in this world - even if it is just in sharing art work that supports a cause. Design is often used to solve problems, create beauty, guide direct and inform - it’s only natural that it is and can be used as a tool for social change.
At their core, designers are essentially problem solvers and and we are in a time in history that showcases the desperate need for change in communities of color and a deep for creative solutions to some very big problems. I see it in my own community as a Latina, I see it in the Black, Brown, Indigenous and Asian communities and I also see it playing out on the world stage. There have been tragedies nationwide, there is a deep rooted dark history in the US and while people don’t like to talk politics, those very politics inform all we do and all we experience and often target marginalized Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian and other communities of color. Personally, I utilize my design and art as a form of activism as well as a tool to inform and educate. I believe we all can and I believe it is incredibly important to uplift the voices of the most marginalized — specifically the Black Community. As I worked on this class, the video of Adam Toledo - a young 13 year old boy who was gunned down in a community not too far away from where I grew up on the West Side of Chicago, was released. During this same week protests were erupting once again in Minneapolis due to the shooting of Duante Wright, meanwhile I was watching the court proceedings in the Chauvin Trial. For months prior during this entire past year (and yes I know for much longer than that) the Asian community was targeted due to the terrible rhetoric that was pushed relating to the Corona Virus outbreak. All last summer, I watched on TV and also participated personally through my creative work and as a protestor in some rallies and protests for Black Lives Matter. Our country just reached 1.8 Trillion dollars in student debt. Amazon workers are still fighting to unionize, many essential and fast food workers are still fighting for a $15 minimum wage. And we STILL DON’T HAVE UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE. I know not all of you may share in my concerns, but I know many do and many wonder, well what can I do? Well, you can create, you can support and you can be an ally if you are not directly impacted. If you are directly impacted, you can channel your energy and emotions into your design work and continue to educate the public, fight for change and design for good.
What the class is about + Skills You Will Learn
Now that I have your attention, in this class - we are going to learn about design for good and go beyond just theory and ideas and find ways to apply it in our every day practice and in our communities. I am going to share some examples from the world of design as well as 3 case study projects I’ve personally worked on through my own community service work and activism. I will then walk you through creating your own cause related project that you can use on social media or as a print asset to take with you to your next protest or rally.
This class is meant to help you explore the concept of designing for social impact on a deeper level. It is by no means comprehensive, but it is a start. And one step is the beginning to creating a movement. Please notes, this course goes through subjects matter ike social justice and progressive change and may not be for everyone, but I urge you - if you are a designer and the things I mentioned in my intro made you uncomfortable - to take this class and expand on your world view. Sometimes, approaching the things we are scared of or frustrated by or unaware of head on, can allow us to grow and evolve in a beautiful way.
In this class, we are going to learn the ideas theories and practical application of design for good. Then, we are going to put those ideas to work by creating our own design for social good project. We will also be working in the Affinity Designer software and I will help get you comfortable in the program if it is your first time working in it. If you don’t have access to the software or any design software, you can still take this course and apply it to a more traditional project using art supplies like pencils, paper, paint and poster board - keeping in mind the ideas that we go over.
ACCESSIBILITY NOTE - If you are someone in BIPOC community or someone struggling financially and can not access this course, but want to take this class - Please email: Bellasophiacreative (at) gmail.com with the subject line - Design for Good Class Access - and I will email you a free class link no questions asked!
Stock Photos and Videos Courtesy of Pexels.com - Additional protest photography and videos by me. Unity Rally Photos by: Lisa Curran Debt Collective Protest photos courtesy of The Debt Collective + me.
Music: Alone by Emmit Fenn + Subway Dreams by Dan Henig
For our class project, I want you to be inspired to take the lead. I will be walking through how to create a protest poster in Affinity Designer, but you can create a visual that you would like - it could even be something for social media - visuals that can be shared on Facebook or Instagram.
Make sure you share your final project in the class project gallery - I would love to see what you
If you don’t have access to any of these tools, you can utilize traditional art supplies like paper, pencil, pens, markers, paint and poster boards.
create what you are inspired by.