Visible was founded by The Beauty Shop, a Portland-based design agency, in response to the 2016 presidential election.
The day after the election, we posted a message to Instagram and our website homepage:
While we were expecting a handful of friends and colleagues to respond, over 300 people reached out to help. We didn't have roles for 300 volunteer creative professionals to fill. So we started researching resources to point them to.
What we found was a design problem: a glaring lack of resources and processes to facilitate pro-bono work for those of us in the creative industry.
The more we investigated, the more questions we had. Why was making a poster still considered the primary way for designers to engage in activism in 2016? Why are our efforts to “design for good” largely contained within the borders of our own industry? And, why do we continue to focus on “design for good,” when we know that our most powerful work is created when we collaborate with strategists, copywriters, photographers, UX designers, SEO experts, filmmakers, illustrators, programmers, and project managers?
We wondered, why, in an industry defined by its dedication to communication and problem-solving, do we have so few solutions to the problem of how to effectively provide “design for good”?
In response to these questions, we founded Visible.
Two years later, we’re still working to create new solutions and resources, challenge our creative community to do better, and shift our industry’s standards.
Visible was founded upon an ethos of resistance. Now that disaster is something that happens on a daily basis, we have an increased responsibility to do more than just react. So, we’re moving forward behind the collaborative energy of alliance, and a mission to redefine volunteer work as a critical component of professional practice and agency culture.