Brittney Au

Graphic Design

“As designers, it’s important to create designs that can change perceptions and raise awareness for a cause.”

Why Art Center? Why Designmatters?

Art Center was always one of my top picks for college. It’s not a “normal” college in the sense that they celebrate student’s passions and give us so many more opportunities than other schools provide – like Designmatters. With Designmatters, I was able to combine the two things that I love; design and helping others. I have worked with causes and organizations since I was in high school and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to continue my social impact work during college, but Designmatters provided a platform for that. Through Designmatters, I was able to work with different organizations and I have had many great experiences making a difference through design.

Describe your design aesthetic. What makes your work unique?

I think my aesthetic is really simple in a way where it communicates quickly. I don’t like to overcomplicate things. I like to include underlying messages, meanings and symbolism through my work, depending on the subject matter. Everything has to have a purpose.

What does social impact design mean to you? And why is it important to your overall design work?

For me, social impact design is important because it connects people to issues through visual communication. As designers, it’s important to create designs that can change perceptions and raise awareness for a cause.

Which Designmatters TDS courses have you participated in? And what was the biggest takeaway from those studio classes?

I participated in the Homeboy Industries, Arthritis Foundation and Nike Girl Effect studio courses. From those classes, I have learned that design really has the power to change. Organizations need help getting their messages across to people who either have misconceptions about the cause or just simply do not know about it. It’s amazing to see everything come together within 14 weeks and the feeling you get after a final is done is just incredible, knowing that you really made a difference by doing something you love. I’ve also realized the value of field research and knowing exactly whom you’re designing for. These are real people with real problems and they expect you to listen and really understand them before you start designing.

Besides your Art Center class work, have you been involved with any Social impact projects?

I worked with Invisible Children back when I was in high school and I started my own off campus club. I designed t-shirts and sold them to raise money and awareness for the cause and was able to host two charity events with live performances and singers to raise more funds. It was my first experience of designing for a cause and I knew that it was something I wanted to continue doing in the future.

If you wanted to inspire a new Art Center student to become involved with Designmatters, what are the top 3 reasons you would give him or her?

1.) Designmatters classes give your designs a purpose. It’s not just creating something to look aesthetically pleasing; it’s creating something that can potentially reach thousands of people and help millions. 2.) It’s so gratifying to know that something you’ve created is helping someone else in need or raising awareness for a cause no one knew about. That feeling is irreplaceable. 3.) Giving back to your community through something you already love to do is extremely gratifying.

What other issues are you passionate about and would you like see Designmatters’ classes address? What organizations do you think would provide a unique TDS experience?

Homelessness, sex trafficking, environmental conservation, wildlife and endangered species conservation are all important subjects that could be addressed by Art Center students. I really think any organization that is working to eradicate homelessness would provide an interesting design problem for a Designmatters TDS. It’s very relevent to our local community. There are so many homeless people living in the park near South Campus or even when you exit the freeway to go to school. It breaks my heart and I would really like Art Center students to provide a voice for homeless people through design.