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Design + Diversity
Episode 6: Dawn Hancock
: Tim and Antionette talk to Dawn Hancock owner of Firebelly Design in Chicago, Il. From issues surrounding pay inequalities from the boss perspective to women empowerment, this is one podcast you want to hear.
Dawn is a troublemaker, a bleeding heart, a designer by trade and a do-gooder by choice. Two things she likes: ideas and people. She’s been known to put them together in a room, just to see what happens.
She started Firebelly in 1999 with a simple mission: Good Design for Good Reason
. Since then, she’s been diligent about hiring passionate people, seeking out fearless allies and taking on projects with the potential to change the world (or at least the local community).
While she’s kept the design studio intentionally small, Dawn has kept on hustling to expand Firebelly’s reach and impact. Over the years, she’s founded a community-based nonprofit, a socially conscious start-up incubator and a 10-day design bootcamp, all operating out of Firebelly’s Humboldt Park studio. Along with her friends at Public Media Institute, she co-founded Typeforce, an annual show and celebration for Chicago’s art and design community.
And of course there’s the Grant for Good, started in 2003 to provide a full year of free design to a deserving nonprofit. Along the way, Dawn has rallied some of Chicago’s most talented and generous companies to join the cause. The grant now includes photo, video and printing services, space planning, research and marketing, as well as brand strategy and design.
While she was Community Outreach Chair for AIGA Chicago, she created a mentorship program to encourage more active collaboration across the local design community. She’s spoken at CreativeMornings, the AIGA National Design Conference, the School of Visual Arts and the Type Director’s Club in New York, numerous conferences and programs around the world, been a guest on the Design Matters podcast, and she’s written honestly about the triumphs and tribulations of designing for the greater good in various publications. Named one of Fast Company’s 11 Most Generous Designers, Dawn has never stopped focusing on people and their potential to create a better world together, one good idea at a time.
Dawn holds a BFA in Visual Communication from Northern Illinois University.
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