Dawn Hancock > Design Lecture Tonight!

Dawn Hancock lecture
Monday Sep 21 6:00 Boh90.

Dawn Hancock . . .
does design with high moral purpose.

Dawn is a talented, exciting and wonderfully idealistic designer who
devotes an unusually high percentage of her company’s resources to work
for the public good. Dawn started Firebelly in 1999, at the height of the dotcom era, a time when all the big agencies were buying up the boutique firms. Leaving
behind inflated budgets, corporate greed and style-over-substance, she
cashed-in her 401k and started creating “Good Design For Good Reason”.

see her work


6 thoughts on “Dawn Hancock > Design Lecture Tonight!

  1. I have been to a hand full of UMD art lectures over the last few years and this one was my favorite. It was interesting to hear about Dawn’s past and how it got her to where she is today. It sounds like a crazy turn of events. I loved the fact that Dawn and her Firebelly coworkers not only work with many for profit companies they also work with nonprofits. Working with nonprofit organizations as well as incorporating creative design and marketing is exactly what I want to do after I graduate. Dawn’s lecture made me realize that it is possible to combine the three and make meaningful work. Meaningful work, not only for myself, but for others trying to make a difference in their community. Reason to Give is a wonderful idea for a foundation, the promotional video was really emotional. Camp Firebelly sounds like an amazing experience. Ten days, ten interns, and an unlimited amount of hands on experience. I’m definitely considering applying.


  2. Dawn Hancock’s presentation was really interesting. She shared with us her business called Firebelly Design. She introduced herself and what her business entails. Firebelly is a design organization in Chicago. Her mother, who sewed, influenced Hancock to work with her hands, influenced her as a child. Her family’s old ‘76 Pacer that Hancock noticed to be very unique also inspired her. After college, she worked for a design firm and web design – she wasn’t passionate about what she was doing for these organizations. During the evenings, she was volunteering for a non-profit company that she later decided to work for. She quit those organizations when her father passed away because she realized that life was too short to be doing something that she didn’t enjoy. Hancock and a friend named Chris, branched off and tried starting their own design business. He was a musician and wanted to make CD covers and such, so Hancock left and started Firebelly in 2001. She loves what she does and whom she works with. They work as a team and do the projects together – group effort. They only work for companies that fit or work well with what they do in design. Firebelly even has their own foundation or camp that educates 10 interns interested in design. Two of those interns will be receiving a scholarship to help further their education in design. Hancock was even inspired by a program called Reason to Give. She attended this conference in 2007 and from there was inspired to work with people that live in the area of Chicago. Proceeds are given to families in need of clothing, kitchen items, food and/or school supplies. Firebelly doesn’t take any percentage of the proceeds and help give these families hope. Hancock’s dream or goal for the future is to have a Firebelly design school that is open all year around. To find out more about Dawn Hancock or Firebelly, go to Dawn@firebellydesign.com.


  3. I was sooo excited when I saw that Dawn Hancock was coming to UMD. I discovered Firebelly Design early last year, and realized that this sort of firm is exactly what I’m aiming for after college. Having built this place up as this perfect dream job in my mind, Dawn sharing her past and how she got there was incredibly encouraging.
    I think their way of working on projects is genius-rather than competing against the other designers in the firm, they collaborate to create amazing results. I love that they are so careful about who they bring into the firm. With collaborative projects like this, you really do need people who work well together, and put out meticulous, high quality work.
    That they are selective about their clients, including non-profits, is incredible. They stand true to their mission.
    As designers, we *do* have a say in what people notice. To turn down some of the places they’ve had the opportunity to work for speaks so highly of who they are as a design team. I believe with her whole-heartedly that you *do* need to put meaning into your work. If it isn’t speaking to you, and you aren’t happy-move on.

    I also had the unexpected chance to eat breakfast with her the next morning (Joellyn was there! 🙂 ). It was a huge reminder that she and the people she works with are in fact just people, despite all of the amazing things they do.

    Super inspiring. Thank you for bringing her here. 🙂


  4. Dawn Hancock was a very entertaining speaker to listen to. It was inspiring how she started her own business, Firebelly Design, and how passionate she is about both design and the clients she works for. She seemed very genuine about her work, what she does and her reasons for doing it. Dawn started Firebelly independently over the past ten years it has become a well-established design business in Chicago. I find it admirable how when, as Dawn said, she wanted something she’d just go ahead and do it. One thing that Dawn wanted do was start up a program called Reason to Give where Firebelly helps out needy families in the Chicago area. It’s amazing at how much Dawn and her team does for other people. Many of the clients they work with are with non-profit organizations and every year they do a grant where they work for free for one client for an entire year. Firebelly also has a design camp every year for designers and other artists still in school who would like the opportunity to get some real world experience working with a client before they graduate. I find it so inspiring that someone like Dawn, whose started a business completely on her own, can be so passionate about her work and so giving to others. She was one probably one of the best lectures I’ve seen at UMD.


  5. This was by far one of the most interesting lectures that I have assist. I guess one of the main points was because Dawn is a graphic designer and I got a lots of information that I could start thinking about for my carrier. One of the things that I got really interested was on the camp that firebelly puts up for a group of students that are from various states. Her mother who allowed her to play and build with her hands and creates things; she was the person who influences her. I thing lecture was one of the most important and I’m sure that I will use a lots of the information given.


  6. Dawn Hancock’s lecture was one that I really enjoyed. As the slideshow of her work played, there wasn’t a single thing that I didn’t like. i loved the fact that her design firm, Firebelly, doesn’t do any formal advertising and relies on social networking to build relationships and increase her success. I also think it is a really great idea that they work in groups on projects and use critiques as a tool to make their work stronger and more powerful. There are very few people that are amazing at everything, so this way of working in groups puts everyone’s specialty together to form the spectacular work that they are creating. I also like that Firebelly gives back to the community with their 1-year grants, which makes it possible for non-profit groups to receive professional design campaigns free of charge. Dawn said, “Designers have a responsibility to be passionate about the work they do everyday.” When work goes to a good cause, it’s not that hard to be excited about helping someone out. My last thought is on the Firebelly Design Camp/Intensive. I am hoping to crank out some good work this year so I can apply!


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