The design blog Core 77 recently brought our attention to the French non-profit Human International Design Organisation (HIDO) and the winner of their first T-Shirt design competition. The winning entry by Martin BLASTI Blaszczak, from Poland, can be seen above. The competition asked for 'a funky and fresh design that reflects our aim and conveys our message effectively by incorporating our logo HIDO and slogan "Humanitarian Design for people in need".' HIDO say that they chose Martin's design "because it represents what we are trying to achieve, namely new design concepts to help those in need. Although we can use the Internet for almost anything, we cannot [use it to] solve the problems for those in need. We will have to gather our creativity to make it work." We applaud HIDO for the international scope of their humanitarian design work, but we would also like to urge them to not divorce humanitarian issues from environmental issues. Unfortunately we cannot find any reference to the importance of eco-design on HIDO's site. The T-shirt is a great way to raise funds for HIDO's projects, but it is ironic that they chose a design illustrating the problem of water shortage and are printing it on cotton t-shirts. A report about cotton's water usage on the WWF site says, "Some estimates indicate that it [cotton] is the largest user of water among all agricultural commodities. Estimates indicate that cotton represents more than half of the irrigated agricultural land in the world. Cotton production and processing are also a major source of pollution of fresh water (Soth 1999)." They clarify this by telling us "7,000 to 29,000 litres of water are required for each kilogram of cotton produced (Soth 1999)." While HIDO can't have direct effects on the quantity of water used on cotton crops they could choose to print their t-shirt design on organic cotton which would at least go some way to helping deal with the water pollution problem and the associated health risks for cotton farmers. They could also choose a fibre which needs less water, like hemp.
To find out more about HIDO and their work you can visit their website. They have just launched a new competition for a poster design to help create awareness in developing countries to end violence against girls and women. They are running this competition in cooperation with the Kenyan non-profit Regional Network on Child Protection (RENOCP). It's great that HIDO are addessing this extremely important issue and we very much hope the winning posters will be printed on paper with recycled content, using eco-friendly inks. Via Core 77 ::HIDO