How Can We Design to Help and Not Harm?

By July 6, 2020
Inclusive Vision Studio Rainwater

I love design. I’m grateful that I get paid to do the thing I’m most passionate about.

Design has empowered our clients to share their stories and make a greater impact in the world. It has allowed us to be part of critical conversations and helped us move the needle for causes that matter. It has brought us joy and laughter.

And we are vitally aware that design is powerful and that we must use it responsibly.


Marketing, branding, and design can obscure bad behavior and unpleasant truths. They can be used to sell harmful products. They can uphold and spread dangerous ideas.

Design can be elitist and exclusionary as often as it improves accessibility and provides clarity.

And we are all taking stock of the many systems in our society that have been designed to maintain inequality and protect white supremacy.

At Studio Rainwater, we are no exception as we examine our privileges, our purpose, our vision, and our mission.

We have been asking ourselves: How can we ensure that we are using design to help and not harm?


I founded Studio Rainwater because I wanted to use design in a way that aligned with my values and beliefs. I have been incredibly fortunate to grow with a team that feels supported and excited about our work, even when that work gets hard.

As a woman-led, diverse agency in a field where leadership is primarily white and male, we bring a different perspective. We strive to practice design with empathy, inclusivity, and sustainability top of mind.

We have learned so much and we are still learning. We want to be a part of the change we so desperately need in the world.

For us, that change starts with how we do our work.


I’m incredibly proud of the progress we have made and excited about the future we are building together, in partnership with our clients.

Here are some of the ways we are putting our values into action:


Our Studio


  • We are committed to becoming even more diverse as we grow and prioritizing mentorship and support for our team.
  • Our internship positions are always paid in order to offer a learning opportunity without regard for financial background.
  • Work-life balance is a priority, especially in these challenging times. We manage our projects and schedules so that we never have to require overtime.
  • We have carefully developed our process so that it’s collaborative, team-oriented, and always respectful.


Our Design Practice


  • We are working to meet and maintain a rigorous set of guidelines for how our process can be equitable and incorporate accessibility at every step of the way.
  • We consider sustainability in all of our print and website recommendations and aim to always present options that incorporate beautiful design with a limited environmental footprint.
  • We maintain high ethical standards to ensure that we are using software, fonts, photography, illustration and any assets produced by other teams according to their legal licensing agreements.
  • We never use mood boards featuring the work of other designers. We believe this leads to copyright infringement and limits our creativity by only thinking about what is and not what could be.


Our Community


  • We will strive to be involved in our local design community and beyond to provide mentorship and support with the goal of increasing female and minority representation in design leadership throughout our industry.
  • We will make recurring donations, provide incentives for team members who volunteer, and look for more ways to promote youth and teen-focused organizations that teach and empower creativity.
  • We dedicate a percentage of our time to pro bono design consulting for local nonprofits. We do not provide pro bono services to organizations that can afford to pay. We will encourage organizations to work with designers that represent the groups they hope to impact if at all possible. Contact us to learn more about our pro bono services.


This work is not finished and it never will be. We will continue to discuss and evolve our process as we grow. We’re up for the challenge.