Guest Post: Giving Back through Good Design

Read Time: 3 minutes

Just in time for “Giving Day” (November 30) and the holiday season, guest contributor Tucker Trotter, owner and CEO of SEGD member firm Dimensional Innovations, reflects on the importance of experiential design and its power to positively impact communities. In Tucker’s opinion, giving back to communities—in our roles as designers—helps make the world better for all of us.

At Dimensional Innovations (DI), we have a set of guiding principles—the “DI 75”—that empower and enable every member of our team to be the best versions of themselves. As we take a moment to reflect on the past year and prepare for what’s ahead, I’m reminded of DI #25: “give back to your community—you have to give to get.” 

For many within SEGD, it is undeniable that these past 24 months have been some of the most trying and difficult times we have faced. Developing enriching experiences designed to bring people together, while we’re actively encouraged to stay apart, has probably caused much confusion, frustration and sadness. 

And while we still have challenges in front of us, it’s important to remember that the work we do has a profound impact on lives within the community. Creating remarkable and memorable experiences is the lifeblood that unites us because deliberate, thoughtfully-crafted design makes the world a better place. Sometimes that’s easy to forget, especially if we don’t see those effects first-hand, but the work we do makes all the difference. 

Take, for example, the exterior bookshelf graphics at the Kansas City Public Library. While our team completed this project over 15 years ago, it remains a source of inspiration and imagination for so many across the globe, even to this day. Or the incorporation of positive distractions in the design of the infusion room at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Providing a sense of calm and relief during incredibly intimidating procedures has changed the lives of multiple pediatric patients and made the hospital a little less scary.

I strongly believe that art and design have the power to change the world. It connects us in ways that little else does. Creating great experiences begets positivity and breaks down the barriers that divide us—especially during a time when we need unity the most. 

Now, consider the impact that you or your company have had. Think about how your design helped change someone’s livelihood or how an experience created lifelong memories. The positive reverberations of our work can often get lost in the shuffle, but experience design is more important than ever before. Be proud of the good you’ve done.

Remember, we have to give to our community to get. When we inspire new generations, when we dare people to dream, when we do good for the world, that’s when we “get.” We get a sense of pride knowing we’ve created something greater than ourselves. We get the satisfaction of knowing the profound impact we’ve had on a community. We get the motivation to do it all over again.

I’ll conclude with one last principle, DI #40: “care about those around you and have each other’s back.” With the holidays upon us, please keep in mind all the communities you’re part of. Whether here at SEGD, your company, your neighborhood, your family—remember to be kind and give back however you can. A rising tide lifts all boats, so when we strengthen those communities, we’re all better as a result. So here’s to you, the year ahead and all the great things we’ll do, together.