Nonprofits are great to work for. There are few opportunities in the corporate realm to produce great work that is both personally and professionally satisfying. As an art nerd, I've found that producing work for a nonprofit offers this most excellent blend. A nonprofit without much cash to spend is often more willing to take design chances, and pro-bono work can be a fantastic way to build your portfolio and get your work noticed. A nonprofit with a healthy budget can provide you consistent, gratifying work for years.
I recently attended the Animal Rights 2010 Conference and was reminded of how rad animal rights organizations can be with their designs. A few favorites below!
Alley Cat Allies
In the interest of full disclosure I have to say: I work here. Of COURSE I like our publications. As an organization that advocates for the humane treatment of stray and feral cats it's important to come off as looking professional, organized, and consistent. I love our colors (bold! poppy! contrasting!) and our clean design.
We've also got t-shirts and other products to raise awareness for our cause.
These examples aren't of great design per se, but I think they capture the climate of Animal Rights design in general. It's an odd blend of old conventions: ribbon magnets, bumper stickers, familiar themes; and new perspectives: snappy, sassier phrases and images.
So, they're not a nonprofit but they do extol the virtues of "cruelty free culture." It's for a decidedly younger generation, loaded with curse words! clever and catchy phrases! and trendy design!
Calico Dragon Bags
These bags are similarly tough and trendy. Their subject areas are broader: vegetarianism, anti-fur, ant-animal exploitation, and so on. They all communicate a similar theme, though—I'm young, I'm cool, and I care.
Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe
This company not only sells well designed products, but they also have a host of vegan foods, cosmetics, and other stuff. My favorite category is their jewelry. They're made of recycled material, and communicate cruelty-free ideals with simple design.
Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary was selling art created BY animals. Issues of animal exploitation aside, having art created by a nonhuman is certainly something that would appeal to those who communicate about animal issues. This isn't design, really, but it does reinforce a desire to express the animal's perspective.
The painting I bought, created by Joey.
Thanks to some marketing savvy leaders in the animal rights world, key concepts are being communicated with bold, trend-embracing design. Appropriate for a movement known for its revolutionary concepts.