Design Saves Lives


Design is not brain surgery, but it certainly has the power to save lives. Just imagine a world without the design of traffic lights or street signs. Sounds pretty dangerous, right? Just as traffic signs help us navigate the road, the design of healthcare marketing helps us navigate the hospital systems from which we receive our care. I’ve been thinking lately about the meaning of my work as a designer. Each one of us contributes to the world with our own unique talents, and my career path is to communicate visually through my work. But as a humanitarian and activist, I ask myself, what difference am I really making?

Today, at Moxie Studios, my team and I help businesses and organizations make better connections with customers, through research-driven branding, marketing and design services. I recognize the value I bring to my clients and their customers. But if you’re reading this, you’re probably a human like me, and have questioned the meaning of your career. I’ve had some awesome, jazz-hand-worthy experiences – I designed apps for Volkswagen and DirecTV, websites for Kraft Foods, billboards for Van Cleef & Arpels, and ads for Nestle, Samsung and Paris Hilton. It’s been very exciting and diversified work, though not always the deeply meaningful, life-saving type of work (that will be reserved for my medical career in the next life).

Lucky for us humans, sometimes life gives us perspective. In 2018, I completed a year-long consulting assignment, designing the user experience and interface of University Hospitals’ website. I was tasked with creating the website’s look, feel, brand positioning and visual functionality, but the way I saw it, I had a much bigger responsibility. Like, HUGE. I was creating a design system that aids in helping hundreds of thousands of people in Northeast Ohio manage their health. (How’s that for putting the pressure on yourself? 😬) I learned about the teen cancer patients and designed campaigns to educate their families on the most cutting-edge treatments available in Northern Ohio. I listened to the mom who was frustrated with appointment scheduling, and I designed a system that made it easier to search and schedule her children’s specialists. I listened to the needs of UH stakeholders and content developers and IT specialists, who all made their own incredible contributions to this project. We all made a difference together, and I feel fortunate to have been the designer on such an important initiative.

My career is centered around finding solutions, be it to help John grow his small business or to help Jane find a path to better health. When you put yourself in other people’s shoes, it really is magic. What matters is the help you provide and the difference it makes – to your clients, to the customer, to the guy in the checkout line. Empathy is the catalyst for innovation and the meaning of my work – making a difference for others, even helping to save lives.

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