save the world, 1% at a time

The 1 % user manual

There are over 1.6 million non-profit organizations in the US alone and many of them deliver critical social service to those in need. Non-profit organizations “tend to see design as a cosmetic and/or luxury,” says Jeremy Mende of MendeDesign. “Likewise architecture firms often take on pro bono work, but it is usually not part of a thoughtful corporate strategy.

The 1%, created by Public Architecture, a nonprofit organization based in San Fransisco, that “puts the resources of architecture in the service of public interest,”. It is a program that connects nonprofit organisations in need of design assistance with architects willing to pledge 1 percent of their billable hours to pro bono work.  The book has been set and designed by MendeDesign.

MendeDesign’s goal with the manual was to educate nonprofits about the positive impact that design can have on an organization’s effectiveness an larger brand awareness, and to remind architects that their expertise can enhance the nonprofit sector whole emphasizing the benefits of having a deliberate and codified approach to pro bono work within a design studio.

“Most of the funding and resource problems come from a lack of expertise in telling their stories, and further, knowing that consultants tend to seek out in order to do this in a compelling manner”, Mende explains.

MendeDesign designed two separate user manuals, one for architects and one for non-profit organizations to encourage the reader to interact with. The shared binding serves as a metaphor for the mutually beneficial relationship that the manual is working to forge between architects and nonprofit organizations. Each book begins with a serial of questions, making an emotional appeal to the respective audience group. The simple fill-in-the-blank format immediately captures the reader’s attention with it’s interactive nature and proved to be one of the big successes of the piece.

If companies used 1% every day of their 8 working hours they would contribute 4.8 minutes a day to charity organizations. This is a small step in 1% of time to make progress.

Source: (Shea, Andrew, Designing for Social Change, Princeton Architectural Press, 2012)

Image1: (The One Percent, 1% User Guide, available at http:/// accessed 01.11.2012)
Image2: (The One Percent, 1% User Guide, available at http:/// accessed 01.11.2012)