15 Years of Partnerships: UNFPA

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Christian Delsol, Media Specialist, UNFPA March 18, 2016


christian del solDesignmatters and UNFPA (the United Nations Population Fund) first collaborated in 1999 at the occasion of the 15-year anniversary of its landmark conference on reproductive health and rights.  For the occasion, a team of ArtCenter students in various creative fields in communication design, film, animation and advertising, reviewed conference documents and agreements between member states to distill the top single messages for the production of a series of four memorable video PSAs (public service announcements).  The works were broadcast on Euronews to 16 different countries and presented at the UN Headquarters Visitor’s hall.

In 2010, in support of UNFPA’s participation at the global Women Deliver Conference, students from another Designmatters transdisciplinary class produced a comprehensive series of branded visual communication materials to distinguish UNFPA’s unique position and message on  women’s reproductive health issues.  The outputs included a series of dedicated posters with testimonials, key message posters, handouts with key message and promotional items.  One of the elements with a continuing shelf life was a PSA animation “The Wall/ Empower Women, Empower the Future Women’s” (created by Tom Borowski, Tess Donohoe, Linda Kim, Gem Padamada and Beril Toka) that is still being viewed and shared today thanks to its singular visual story telling narrative.

Colleagues and I continue to visit the Designmatters website, attend their New York lectures and receive their Instagram feed.  UNFPA has hosted 3 interns from the Designmatters Fellowship program at it’s UN headquarters in New York and our interest in working with the college continues.

Today there are over 1.8 billion young people in the world and they need to be heard.  The activism of young, talented designers from Designmatters is crucial in helping to shape messages that are credible in their form, tone and rhythm.


Past Collaborations

Safe Motherhood Initiative, students developed an integrated multi-media awareness campaign in support of the 2007 Safe Motherhood Initiative.


A Campaign Celebrating Population and Development ICPD+15, students were challenged to give voice to young people and women about their human rights by creating an awareness campaign for UNFPA celebrating the fifteen years’ mark of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD+ 15) , a groundbreaking global agreement that put people and human rights at the center of the development agenda.


Supporting the Programme of Action of the ICPD: A Campaign to Promote Young People’s Voices and Choices, students developed a campaign with a powerful call-to-action for achieving the goals set forth in the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population andDevelopment (ICPD), specifically the agenda guiding UNFPA’s mandate to advance the human rights of young people and ensure meaningful youth participation in decision-making processes.

we are youth_crop

PSA: When Mother Died, the Family Fell Apart

Created by Ji Eun Kan (Graphic Design), Kris Wong (Graphic Design), Emerson Velazquez (Graphic Design), Summer 2007
Campaign included environmental and print design, motion graphic PSAs. Premiered at the Women Deliver Conference, London, October 2007. Distributed in international viral campaign led by UNFPA.

When Mother Died, the Family Fell Apart from Designmatters at ArtCenter on Vimeo.

PSA: Always Second

Directed by Mandy Siu (Film); Creative Direction by Nico Ammann (Advertising), Summer 2004
Commissioned by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to address gender inequality. Distributed internationally on Euronews.

Always Second from Designmatters at ArtCenter on Vimeo.

Designmatters Fellows Placed with UNFPA

Sebastian Bettencourt – 2007

Mari Nakano – 2008

Sho Rust – 2013

Help us celebrate 15 Years of Designmatters by using the hashtag #DM15Yrs

Catch up on the entire campaign at  designmattersatartcenter.org/category/dm15 

For the latest Designmatters news follow us on Twitter & IG  @DesignmattersCA


#DM15yrs campaign designed by Vina Rostomyan