Design for Humanity: Parsons Students Aid Red Cross



Parsons students are putting their design skills to good use rebranding one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations, the Red Cross. An article in a recent issue of Fast Company featured the results of a semester-long course in which Parsons students created designs—including logos, websites, and awareness-raising products—to support the organization’s mission.

Led by Parsons faculty member Mathan Ratinam, the course challenged students to create designs and present them directly to Red Cross executives, a daunting but rewarding experience. The students impressed the executives with their insight into the organization’s needs. “I was literally blown away with the capacity of the designers to get it,” Pablo Suarez, associate director of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, told Fast Company.

The students’ designs included a new emergency-preparedness website for children, T-shirts and accessories to raise awareness of and funds for Red Cross initiatives, and a logo redesign.

An essential part of Parsons courses in humanitarian and service design is working on the ground with populations for whom designs are created. To gain an understanding of the challenges the Red Cross faces, the students volunteered at the chapter in New York City.

It’s unclear how many of the student designs will make their way into Red Cross campaigns, but the students’ work has left an indelible mark on the organization. “We’re stuck [in old ways of thinking],” Scott Graham, a northeast regional director for the American Red Cross, told Fast Company. “But with new partners, we can move the needle.”

Read Fast Company’s article about the collaboration here.



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