Ever since lockdowns were announced across India, a staggering number of charities and fundraisers have stepped in for relief work. Helping them with a visual boost and clear messaging is a new online platform called Design Fights COVID. The platform matches creatives with causes to raise awareness for fundraisers.
On this platform, artists and graphic designers pick an NGO or non-profit and create a poster or graphic that amplifies the organisation’s fundraiser. Over 100 artists have contributed pro bono new works since the platform’s launch on April 9.
The initiative is the brainchild of Art & Found, an online art showcase and sales platform. The founder Aditya Mehta, based out of Mumbai, said, “We wanted to unite the creative community for the fight against COVID-19. The idea is simple – every artwork is created to help fund a verified NGO.”
Currently, Design Fights COVID has listed 10 organisations, such as Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, Goonj and The Feline Foundation with the aim of catering to all affected by both the pandemic and lockdowns. The platform has called for more organisations to get listed and benefit from its free visual aids.
The creatives, which can be viewed on Design Fights Covid’s website, are varied in their themes and treatment. Communication designer Kurul Tyagi has made a poster that incorporates truck art motifs with the slogan, “Stay Home OK Please”. The poster is tailormade for Ola Foundation – Drive the Driver, which aims to support drivers of cabs, autos and kaali-peelis through a target of Rs 50 crore. Some contributors have chosen more than one fundraiser, such as designer Piyush Punj who has made a “Corona Warrior” series for three organisations using mascots of essential services – a delivery person, a police official and a doctor.
Across these creatives, it’s common to find humour, wit and pop culture references. A poster for Goonj uses classical dance mudras to emphasize the importance of handwashing. Another poster, titled “Dhanyavad” by Mangesh Bhayde takes on the clapping and vessel-clanging spectacle of March 22. The poster is for Pune-based Kashtakari Panchayat Trust, which is currently raising funds to support the waste-pickers of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.
Many of the fundraisers and organisations have shared the creatives on their social media accounts. Design Fights COVID does not have sales of creatives for proceeds, and only uses them to generate more awareness. “Design is a catalyst to convey a powerful message emotionally. There were a few ideas but finally, it came down to simply helping NGOs who are working tirelessly but don’t have access to the power of design,” Mehta said.
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