I’ve talked about pro bono design before. It helps inexperienced designers build a portfolio, and is one way for experienced designers to do great work for causes they love.
Javier Mateos of Mexico-based studio Xplaye is one designer helping both himself and others with a successful pro bono effort. Two years ago, Xplaye started a series of tribute exhibitions that involved taking a famous music band and translating some of their songs into illustrations.
Last year, the studio created a tribute to Grammy Award winning Café Tacuba, one of the most popular bands in Mexico. The project wasn’t intended to make a profit. The aim was to raise funds to help children with spina bifida.
“Through social media the Café Tacuba musicians heard about what we were doing,” said Javier Mateos. “They were so happy that they decided to autograph all the illustrations to auction them and increase the donations for the association that helped the kids.”
Approximately $10,000 USD was raised, and five companies approached the spina bifida association to offer materials and supplies.
“This project grew our design bureau in a wonderful way. As a result we are now invited to many conferences, we’re asked to give interviews, and we gained respect from our colleagues in Mexico. It was an amazing and successful experience!”
— JAVIER MATEOS, XPLAYE
This is just one example of how you can grow your business at the same time as helping those in need.
In my next book I’ll share case studies where pro bono design has led directly to paying clients.
Pro bono resources:
Five myths about pro bono design, on Co.Design
Pro bono project listings, on the AIGA website
How to improve your portfolio with pro bono design, in the archives
For the music lovers, here’s a video of Café Tacuba performing unplugged with Gustavo Santaolalla.