Many foundations publish an annual report, touting their achievements of the year with glossy photos. In 2014, the Ford Foundation tried something different. Under the guidance of new president Darren Walker, the Foundation convened the inaugural Ford Forum. The goal of the Forum was to consider the health of the entire global market system, and find ways to improve prosperity everywhere. A diverse panel of experts were asked: “Where markets lead, will justice follow?”
The Ford Foundation has always grappled with a perceived dichotomy between capitalism and social justice. It has lived at the very heart of corporate America since 1936 - the Ford family, are the literal gods of capitalism in Aldous Huxley’s satire Brave New World. But despite its establishment origins, the Ford Foundation has always seen the flaws in the system, and endeavored to promote compassion among suits. In a typical move, hugely influential but little known, the Foundation helped launch the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Grameen Bank.
We were proud to help the Ford Foundation facilitate this next great debate across the divide of human rights and the market. Our team worked closely with communications leadership to develop a clear content strategy, which in turn informed the structure and design of the new Ford Forum site. The information architecture allows the substance of the report to shine through - a conversation by experts convened by the Ford Foundation. We were challenged to create a visual language that would reflect the complexities of the topics covered. Our answer was to commission illustrations by acclaimed illustrator Edel Rodriguez, extending the Ford Foundation brand bringing the conversation to life.