Design for Tsunami Relief

Last month’s tsunami has evoked the greatest outpouring of charity since the attacks of September 11, and as global charity surges, I feel there is a need for graphic/information designers to contribute with the relief efforts as well. Pledges of money and auctions are by far the most observed forms of charity, but as a designer, I feel we have a chance to do something greater via our artistic abilities to communicate with masses of people.

The region is now occupied with rescuers from different cultures all over the world and speaking different languages. There is a need to develop some kind of formal system (similar to way finding signage) that could possibly help eliminate some of the confusion this has inadvertently brought about. There is so much needed that we can’t look past it. Maps are no longer true to their landscape; roads and signage will need to be rebuilt. Rescuer uniforms, manuals, supply packages, makeshift medical centers and camps all need good communication design to speed up the healing process.

Sometimes we get caught up with the aesthetic of design and opt for the glitzy when we could affect so many more by choosing the utilitarian. As a graduate student incorporating design across culture into my MFA thesis, I would like to ask anyone out there for appropriate contacts and organizations I could work with to make this a realization. I will be looking for grants as well. Anyone who is interested in helping out would greatly be appreciated and could send me an email at
Recognition will follow.


As nations adjacent to, or surrounded by water, boats play a major role in their economies; personal transportation, fishing, cargo transport, etc.

Because sailing, and boats in general, have been a life-long passion I’ve frequented for several years now.

Go to click of the “Forums” button and scroll down to the “Open Discussion” section and then “Post-Tsunami” button.

There you will find the beginnings of a worldwide network of both professional and amateur boat designers/builders who are organizing an effort to help replace the thousands of small and medium workboats.

Port facilities, fueling docks, roads, signage, operating manuals, etc. will all need help.

Every little bit helps.


Lew Morris