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Design For Good’s journey to achieving Sustainable Design

What essentially is design for good? With the new paradigm shift for design as a whole, we have seen an increasing trend in sustainable design. It’s no longer just about the cost (economic impact) and quality but also, the societal and environmental impact the whole design process will bring. We have always believed in sustainable design - design that can bring about a positive impact. This was also one of the reasons why we started Design For Good.

Design For Good (DFG) has been around since 2017, and after 3 years, it is time we relook at our past journey and the new possibilities we may have. While we anchor towards a greater change, let’s not forget the past, the people and the projects that have shaped us to who we are today. There is Krafters, our humble beginning where we worked with the villagers in Smile Village, Cambodia to come up with sustainable design products that they could make for their livelihood. As we progressed, there were also youth individuals, namely Xscape and Sondering Slate, who hopped on board to drive their respective social change through design and sales. These milestones have definitely played a big part and guided us in our new envision.

As we grew from our experiences with the different communities, we started adopting the Asset-Based Community Development (A-B-C-D) model in the way we do our work. With that in mind, we developed the fundamentals of 3Ps; process, people & product and our 3 Ps can be categorized into the following:

It is no longer about the profit or end results, it is now about the journey we take to and these 3 Ps serve as our backbone and reminder to push DFG to strive for constant quality and impactful result in the works we do.

While we firmly believe in the fundamentals of the 3 Ps, there is an underlying driver to our fundamentals which is the A-B-C-D approach (Not to be confused with the A-B-C-D model).

(A)ssess: The ability to analyse the social and environmental impacts of products and production and to evaluate organizational capacity to address them.

Over the years, DFG have noticed a rise in environmental issues, yet, as more attention and actions are brought to it, we wondered: is it all just a hype? Socially, the communities we’re working with; how can we empower them further with their assets and strengths to live a more purposeful and independent life? Similarly, as we assess the impact we aim to bring to the environment and the communities, we let down our ‘giver’s mindset’ and took a look at ourselves; what is our true purpose & capacity and what about our products’ resource & ecological footprints? As we factored in our own strengths and weaknesses, we had a clearer idea of our end goal in being a sustainable design brand.

(B)ridge: The ability to connect ready parties and to bring the right functions and the right people together to redesign products.

People play a critical role in any brand. Without good and effective people, a brand can only do so much. In DFG, we have multiple stakeholders and each and every individual is valued dearly. From our creative designers, to our hardworking and skillful producers and last but definitely not the least to our loyal customers. They make up our product performance which is ultimately measured in ways for example, quantitatively by the number of products sold or qualitatively by the improvement in standard of living of the villagers through working with DFG. Every individual has an important role to play in the whole branding and together, we can redesign to be a suitable design brand.

(C)reate: The ability to generate projects that enable exploration and learning about product sustainability and about changes needed to the design process.

‘It’s the execution that matters, never the idea.’ quoted from Casey Neistat. So, coming up to our third official year of running, DFG has created a number of ‘pilot’ projects as mentioned above. These projects have given us better insights and directions for the new rebrand. We are evolving as we walked on the road of being a sustainable brand.

(D)iffuse: The ability to deploy tools that build literacy, integrate learned design principles and build accountability across the design funnel.

The final step, to become a more sustainable brand, we are constantly looking into how we can broaden our outreach and increase our revenue. While it is encouraged to have a specialisation, we believe in branching out and taking up multiple projects so that we can maximise both our impact and profit.

These 3 years have been an enriching and fulfilling one for DFG. Together with the new year, we would like to welcome new changes. Armed with the mindset of the A-B-C-D model (Asset Based Community Development), fundamentals of our 3 Ps (Process, People, Product) and the A-B-C-D approach (Assess, Bridge, Create, Diffuse), DFG is ready to take on bigger and greater projects and we look forward to sharing our oncoming exciting journey with you!


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