Every year I take on a small number of projects at no or for drastically reduced costs. These are projects where the organization is doing good work, but doesn’t have much budget, or where a person is just bouncing back from something and maybe just needs a boost. Where the thing is worth doing, the project is lighting up my heart and mind, so I choose to do it.  That’s the important thing; it’s an active choice to make a difference.

There’s nothing too formal about this. No official application or screening process. Often it grows out of relationships I have, people I talk to, or volunteer work I am already doing. But it happens. I love helping and I love knowing that my work and experience is supporting more good works.

Since starting my own little business, I have had a lot to be grateful for. So many people have given me a shot as a fledgling designer. They have shared advice and insights, been generous with their time and wisdom and straight up given me stuff that I needed (whether I knew it at the time or not). I’m grateful to all the clients who have trusted me with their brands and for all the awesome and challenging projects I’ve gotten to work on and for the incredible partnerships that result.

Now I am making it official. The Gratitude Project is how I will pay it forward with purpose.

Amazing things happen when I work on Gratitude Projects. I get to work with incredible people. I’ve turned out some of my best work. I’ve gotten to practice skills I might have been afraid to try elsewhere. There’s an openness in that exchange that fuels creativity. It often leads to new projects and opportunities for me and for my client.