Graphic Design, and How It Makes a Difference

Being a Graphic Design major, I am constantly thinking about what I’ll be doing with my degree in the future: Will I be a freelancer and be my own boss? Will I work for another company and help them sell their products? Will I go back to my high school job at Dairy Queen and make prettier Blizzards than before? There isn’t a day where I haven’t thought about where life will lead me, but there’s one thing I haven’t thought about until recently: How can my work affect others?


Until last week, I had been worried about if I can find a job and how much I’ll make, but I never thought about what kind of difference my work will make. Justin Kemerling, a graphic designer who works for social justice initiatives, talked to us about how he used his designing skills to send messages for topics that he cares about, much like the Pipeline Fighters campaign he worked on. He utilizes graphics to make points and move people on certain situations to raise awareness, and utilizes them effectively. In his blog post, he says “When design is utilized to further the cause of social justice, to promote equity and opportunity, amazing things can happen.

Justin’s presentation and his mission in general really made me rethink the way I look at my future. Instead of thinking about how I’ll go about making a living for myself and how much I can make, I want to start thinking like how Justin thinks: How can I make a difference? What kind of impact with my work have on others? I already put my heart and soul into everything I work on, so why not do that for a movement or topic that I care about and have a significant amount of interest in?

If people can be convinced to buy a product based on a certain commercial or because of the aesthetics of an advertisement that they’ve looked at, they can certainly be drawn towards a social justice movement based on its design. I hope that one day I can be a part of a movement that I care about, and help raise awareness of the movement through my work. It’s nice to find a way to make a living for yourself with your degree, but it’s even better to help make a difference with it too.


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