in others’ dreams
As designers, we innately come up with ideas all the time. And, if we get designer's block, we look for ideas and bounce them off each other. It's natural. It's what makes us tick. It's what makes us become better designers.
One of my favorite sites to look for ideas is Kickstarter.com. If you’re late to the party, it’s a site in which people can seek funding for their creative projects. I’ve known about it for a few years, but it wasn’t until my sister started and funded her own project on the site a while back that I started paying real attention to the projects needing funding.
Creatives can seek patronage for music, film, art, technology, design, food and publishing projects, to name a few — and people all over the world can support them. Fundraisers inspire support by offering unique rewards, like one-of-a-kind books, postcards and parties. It’s all-or-nothing, too: They have to reach their goal before time runs out — and thus saving themselves from developing a project with insufficient funding as well as saving their backers from funding a project that isn’t likely to happen.
What’s really cool, though, is that “crowdfunding” really works. It’s not instant — there is much self-advertising involved, and it usually begins with friends, family and fans. Slightly less than half of all projects reach or pass their funding goal.
There are other sites like Kickstarter out there, all devoted to different genres of fundraising, such as CauseVox (for non-profit projects), RocketHub (for science projects), Spacehive (for public works), Lucky Ant (for local businesses), Give Forward (for health expenses) and tons more.
I’ve really enjoyed looking through other people’s ideas. It’s amazing to see that dreams can come true because other people believe in those dreams too, want them to come true, are willing to help make them happen by contributing a little. It’s a way for people passionate about the same things to connect with each other and make things happen. It’s a way for people to say thank you for supporting them. It’s a way to inspire change. If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is.
A few of my favorites:
- The Olympic City: Another photography project, Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit plan to explore the current lives of past Olympic sites and publish a book on their findings, if funded.
- Postcards from Nowhere: Photographers Andrew Kenny and Jake Jones teamed up to visit all 50 states, vowing to send postcards to backers — one from each. It was successfully funded!
- Designing Obama: 1,312 people backed Scott Thomas’s project to design a book about the art and design of the 2008 Obama campaign.
- Walk [Your City]: Local designer Matt Tomasulo (who also did the Wear You Live campaign) encouraged city-dwellers to initiate a pedestrian wayfinding project in their city, like he did in Raleigh.
- Lens Filter Coasters: Sadly, this one was cancelled. But I thought putting your drinks on these lens filter coasters by Joey Malone would be pretty cool.