A good friend of mine shared the Design Justice Network Principles with me and they really resonated with how I try to design.
I've been really struggling with what is happening in our country and how we as a nation believe that we do not have to be held to the same standards of human rights as the rest of the world. It hurts my heart.
I know there have been so many action items posted on social media and I'm not going to add another action item to your list, instead I'm going to ask that we live our lives in a way that reflect our beliefs.
Design Justice states first-
We use design to sustain, heal, and empower our communities, as well as to seek liberation from exploitative and oppressive systems.
We have a lot of power in the the decisions we make and we can use our money to support our community. Every time we buy something we are sending our money and energy to the maker/seller of that product.
I freely admit that there are times I would love to spend my money in a way that sustains, heals and empowers my community, but I've got a tight budget. Sometimes I save up for the thing I want and in some cases I buy what I need even if it is at a big box store. Yet, I do try to buy local and buy handmade. My local shop owners know me because I visit them often. They also know when I'm on a budget because they don't see me! There is something delightful about knowing the people in my community and using my money to support them.
This last weekend I was in Charlotte, North Carolina visiting a client and making some final tweaks to the design plan. We went to a local wood shop and learned about their story and their history and how they came to build furniture. We were able to customize the furniture we needed and I left that shop feeling great about, not just the design, but how my clients and I made a decision to support the community. FYI if you are in Charlotte I highly suggest Brown Dog Wood Co. We also went to a few antique shops and picked up some wonderful unique pieces for their home.
Full confession we went to Lowe's to buy patio furniture. Partly for convenience and partly because of budget constraints.
It's about balance. When you can shop local to support your community, shop vintage to support the environment and shop handmade to support makers. Yet, if there is something you need, sometimes you just need to go to target.
I lied, I am going to add something to your to do list. In the next week stop in that little shop in your neighborhood that you've never been in. Who knows what you will find.