The world is changing rapidly. And with it, so are businesses, objectives, and general consciousness. We can either get ahead of this curve or fall behind and play catch up consistently. The time to act is now.
And as we’ve stated in our previous blog posts, it takes a combined effort to create that ripple effect, and in turn, achieve lasting change.
As artists and designers, we have a responsibility. A responsibility that doesn’t stop at beautiful experiences or aesthetically inclined design. No, our commitment is far more pertinent, our reach far more impressive, and the repercussions of our actions resonate further than any industry to date.
You see, as artists, we speak to thousands, if not, millions through our work.
There is a reason there is that famous saying: A picture speaks a thousand words.
Likewise, our art, creation, and experiences break the ice and lead to thought-provoking conversations. Again, however, the onus is on us regarding the type of conversations our work will yield. It could be promotional, it could be contrasting, and it could be emotive. And while some of us wield our art in more conventional ways, conversations can start even by the kitchen sink’s design.
Of the conversations that our work can start, very few of those conversations are as relevant as social consciousness, especially in design.
Social consciousness is the shared consciousness of individuals within a society. So, in this case, it is the shared consciousness of all of us within the design industry. It is the understanding that we are all part of a greater community, and in knowing this, our actions reflect thought, not just to ourselves, but towards those around us in consideration of needs and wants.
Of course, achieving social consciousness isn’t easy.
It takes practice, and it requires a complete shift in outlook, where the concern of a larger public replaces the individual concern. In essence, it takes the I and turns it into us.
According to the University of Brighton, conscience can be described as internalised values: a person’s intuitive ‘moral compass.’ While rational, philosophical, or religious arguments are often justifications, conscience itself is primarily emotional: we associate feelings of pleasure and pride with right action and guilt and shame with wrong. These emotions help motivate choices and behaviour, playing an important role in maintaining and transforming social norms. In many ways, the norms of society are the sum of our collective values and priorities – as society shapes us, we shape society.
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1. Pay more attention to your community
By paying attention to the needs within your community, you will find social causes that require your attention. It can be anything, from feeding programmes to housing initiatives. Finding a cause that you believe in will benefit the greater public, and you become part of greater awareness. Even campaigns like Breast Cancer Awareness or Black Lives Matter prove that these initiatives can create a ripple effect globally with the right support.
2. Begin on a small scale
It is human nature to want to be part of global movements. However, to develop social consciousness correctly, it is advisable to begin on a smaller scale. Charity begins at home, or so the famous saying goes. Similarly, find causes closer to your heart and within your reach to begin your social conscious development.
3. Find examples of good practice
Find like-minded individuals as acquaintances and friends. We find role models in unexpected avenues. It could be the local monk with his vow of silence that reminds us to talk less and do more or even a kid who takes a moment from his play to give water to a thirsty dog. Taking a moment of our time to consider those less fortunate than we are ingrains a sense of social consciousness deeply.
4. Maintain a positive attitude
Often, errors aren’t problems at all. It is the attitude towards an error that is a problem. Easier said than done, it is pertinent to maintain a positive attitude regardless of the situation at hand. And as humans, we can be prone to anger, irritation, and disappointment. However, surrounding ourselves with positive people and positive experiences can make a world of difference.
5. Rethink your purchases
The effect can resonate across the industry by placing the same values and beliefs into our purchases, whether the buying is for public or private use, business or personal. We should support businesses and people who share our views, uphold our beliefs, and commit to our values. In the end, purchasing power makes more of a difference to a business, country, or people than protesting for hours on end.
Social consciousness in design has started. It is here, it is now, and it is up to us to keep up with the times by aligning our brands and our beliefs in hopes of a better tomorrow.
We are but a bunch of inclusive people – and simply being a bunch means that we are more than just one person. We are a group, a community, a collective – and every small bit of change that we make will lead to a greater difference later.
Join us, join the conversation, and embrace the new tomorrow.
Get in touch with us here and let us discuss how we can be a boon to society.