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Merry band of creatives

September 22 2014

Tim Smith

This month Skidmore unveiled the MerryMen Project, a new program that promotes a philosophy of designing for good. The goal of this effort is to support Detroit-based non-profits and small businesses by providing pro bono strategy and design services.

While Skidmore has provided pro bono services to the non-profit community since long before I took the reigns, the MerryMen Project brings a more concentrated effort to a few organizations. Our hope with the new program is to make a more meaningful difference, both for the non-profit and the overall community.

This year, we decided to focus on education and literacy, with the Reading Works as our key projects. We’ve seen first hand the impact Design Thinking can have on driving results for a business, and we wanted to make a similar impact for these organizations.

Our goal was to equip DPS and Reading Works with the tools they need to bring more children into the classroom and convince more adults to invest in their reading skills. Both efforts involved a significant development of a brand strategy, as well as new logos, key messaging, taglines and tactics.
Ultimately, these efforts are aimed at helping Detroit realize the imagined future we all want. The vision is a city with low unemployment, thriving downtowns AND neighborhoods. Places for people to enjoy that are well lit and cared for.

As I talk with others in the creative space, I find that this is a mission shared by many. I know that Detroiters are a generous and creative bunch, and I’m curious to hear how other businesses have donated their time and expertise to help charitable organizations. Share what you’ve been doing in the comments below!