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The Best Independent Designers To Support

Looking for a gift you can feel good about giving? These designers are selling their work and donating the profits to advocacy organizations.

The Best Independent Designers To Support

If you’re a fan of independent design and also want to support social causes, you’ll want to check out this list. We’ve compiled seven products and prints made and sold by designers, often in a limited editions, where the full profits go to a nonprofit or advocacy organization.

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Since the election, we’ve seen a lot of these projects pop up on social media, in newsletters and through friends, with many of our favorite artists and designers behind them. During the holiday season, they’re a great way to give something beautiful and thoughtful to your friends or family–and support the causes you care about. It’s also an excellent opportunity to give your Trump-supporting relative a lovely gift that also—surprise!—supports Planned Parenthood. (For a triple win, make the donation in Mike Pence’s name.)

Pins and Patches To Remind You The Fight Isn’t Over
Sagmeister & Walsh first launched this project as an e-commerce site back in September in the lead-up to the election. The idea was for well-known designers and illustrators—most of whom are friends of the partners of the New York-based design studio, Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh—to create patches, enamel pins, tote bags, and other stylish merchandise that would help convince skeptical voters to get on board with Hillary Clinton—if only to prevent an irascible demagogue from being elected president of the United States. He was any way, as we know, but the designers are continuing their project; this week they added 70 new items to the store from artists like Mike Perry (the brain behind the Broad City opening credits) Jing Wei, John Slade, and Timothy Goodman. All of the proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, ACLU, International Refugee Assistance Project, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Trevor Project (with the first batch of products, they raised $25,000 for Amnesty International in a matter of months). These are very cute, very gift-able products, and the price is right: items range from $20 for T-shirts to $3 bumper stickers.

Prints For Reproductive Rights
Graphic designer Deva Pardue—whose design credits range from branding for the New York-based women’s club The Wing to opening titles for The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt—has just launched the new project called For All Woman Kind. The proceeds from these awesome prints—all museum-quality Epson prints on enhanced matte cover stock paper—go to either Center for Reproductive Rights or to Emily’s List, the nonprofit working to elect progressive pro-choice women to office. With messages like “The Matriarchy Is Coming” and “Femme & Fierce,” you really can’t lose. Get them for friends, sisters, nieces, and cousins. Each print is 12″ x 18,” and prices range from $40-$45.

An Pro-Choice Tee Made For The A-List
In what might seem like an unusual pairing, the artist and activist Marilyn Minter (who currently has a retrospective up at the Brooklyn Museum) and the pop star Miley Cyrus joined forces earlier this year to shoot some steamy portraits and sell them for $5,500 a piece to raise funds for Planned Parenthood. The limited-edition photos, it seems, have all been snatched up, but the outtakes of that shoot went to Marc Jacobs, who put them on a T-shirt priced at a more reasonable $50. Get it here.

A Magazine Where Fine Art Meets Advocacy
Here’s another way to donate to Planned Parenthood as part of your holiday shopping. Methods is a magazine from designers Erin Knutson and Ria Roberts about reproductive rights. For their latest issue, the pair asked friends and fellow designers to design the kind of birth control ads they would want to see. The magazine is a work of art—the visuals are awesome, and they also interviewed Minter and Planned Parenthood New York City director of development Abigail DeAtley. Every penny of the $20 price tag goes to PPNYC. Put in an order here.

One For The Cat-Lovers
We know you have a friend who is obsessed with cats. For those who are both philanthropic and feline-inclined, here is a great gift option: All Black Cats Are Not Alike, an illustrated book by writer Amy Goldwasser (who, full disclosure, has edited for Co.Design) and illustrator Peter Arkle, along with a matched donation to a nonprofit organization. Goldwasser and Arkle are running a campaign now to give away 25 books to the first people who donate at least $80 to the Southern Poverty Law Center, The Lower Eastside Girls Club of NY, American Civil Liberties Union, or The Trevor Project. If you email them the receipt (studiogoldsparkle@gmail.com), they will send a signed copy of the book with a temporary black cat tattoo, gift-wrapped in Peter Arkle-designed wrapping paper (Arkle’s illustrations appear in the New Yorker and the New York Times, among other place), along with a tote bag and a card. Find more information about the book here.

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[Photo: via Bráulio Amado]

Choose-Your-Own Advocacy Org (And Receive a Poster)
The graphic designer Braulio Amado—formerly of the stellar Bloomberg Businessweek design team, now at Wieden+Kennedy—took a different approach to the typical proceeds-for-donation model. Amado’s side hustle is as an incredibly prolific poster designer (check out the sizable collection here). After the election, he created this lovely double-sided poster, but instead of donating the profits to a nonprofit of his choice, he put out a note on Twitter asking people to donate $30 wherever they want. Send him your receipt as proof and your address, and he’ll send you an Amado original. These prints are well-worth the money, and this way you can put in a donation in your gift-receiver’s name while still having a little something to wrap up and give in person.

Prints For A Better World
For even more poster options, visit Do Better shop, the brainchild of designer and illustrator Ryan Putnam. Formerly an employee at Dropbox, Putnam now has his own studio called Rype Arts, creates a line of pottery, and runs an online shop. After the election, he created four illustrated posters addressing civil liberties and anti-racism, sexism, and bigotry. Each poster has a specific organization where the proceeds will be donated, from the American Civil Liberties Union to the LGBTQ community, the NoDAPL effort against the Dakota Pipeline, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. You can find all of the prints at the Do Better shop, ranging from $10-$20.

About the author

Meg Miller is an associate editor at Co.Design covering art, technology, and design.

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