Design Challenge

Global initiative to mobilize the world’s design communities
to focus on the COVID-19 battle

Launched on July 2020


In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was declared around the world,and as a result of the impact, all businesses except for those considered essential had to close indefinitely, and most office workers began working from home in the United States.

In a collaborative effort to face the COVID-19 crisis, the COVID-19Design Challenge - global initiative started in March 2020, by the WorldDesign Organization (WDO), IBM Design, and Design for America (DFA). The goal was to mobilize designers globally to contribute their skills to the challenges of the coronavirus spread, turn anxieties into action, and use design thinking skills to help us all get through the pandemic.

My role: Co-creator & Visual Design Lead

As a co-creator, I shared my design skills, employed Enterprise Design Thinking, conducted rapid research, defined personas and generated ideas. Our results and insights were brought to the broader global team, bringing the team and ideas together.

I led the design of sketched personas, posters, presentation decks, and built the COVID-19 Design Challenge website with the website core team.

Volunteered for the challenge to help vulnerable populations and educators impacted by COVID-19

Part 1:
Human-Centered Collaboration

TheCOVID-19 Design Challenge had 3 regions, the Americas, Europe and Africa, andAsia Pacific, and each region covered 7 different topics of “How might we?” for the remote Enterprise Design Thinking Workshop. The topics were those with the greatest urgency and potential impact. One team per region worked on each of the seven topics for a total of 21 remote collaborative teams.
Americas Team 1
“How might we design communication that clearly and simply informs and personally motivates targeted personas to socially distance and practice effective hygiene while preventing them from seeing confusing, incorrect and potentially dangerous information about COVID-19?”
Americas Team 6
“How might we help educators (K-12 & University) pivot and re-invent learning from in-class to remote while maintaining and even exceeding outcomes and engagement?”
We used Mural to have a remote workshop in the form of an online meeting. We made persona, did research, made suggestions with ideas, and finished prototypes.
Americas Team 6 Persona

Poster design for the United Nations
“Global Call Out to Creatives”
to help stop the spread of COVID-19

I chose to create a poster design with the Americas Team 1’s solution. The purpose of these posters was not just limited to submission but allowed people to share them themselves. I wanted the posters to encourage the ‘social distancing’ campaign. And at the same time, I wanted people to share the posters with family and friends and through social media. The posters were selected for global distribution by the United Nations and posted on various social media platforms.
Posters design with Felix Portnoy and Irina Lebenskaya
The purpose of these posters is not just limited to submission but allow people to share by themselves. I used a Dorothy character from The Wizard of Oz, a familiar character to the Americans. I wanted the posters to encourage the ‘social distancing’ campaign, and at the same time, I wanted people to share the posters with family and friends and through social media.

Part 2:
COVID-19 Design Challenge Website

After the initial stages of the COVID-19 Design Challenge were finished, the leadership team began to think of a way to share the result of the project. I finished serving my role after the human-centered collaboration, but I wanted to get to the end of the challenge together. I worked directly with the leadership team: the Director of Global Design Leadership at IBM, Karel Vredenburg, the President of World Design Organization, Srini R. Srinivasan, and the Executive from Design for America, Rebecca Breuer, to design the digital showcase website for connecting teams to potential partners and accelerate implementation to fight the COVID-19 crisis.
Website team: Karel Vrendenburg, Lara Hanlon, Rob Rausch, Glory Dang, Robins Varghese, Cyndi Chen

Product Impact and Results

255 designers from 17 different time zones and 33 countries involved in the COVID-19 Design Challenge.


Website visits


Website page views
COVID-19 Design Challenge site was posted on homepage.
My interview about the COVID-19 Design Challenge and my advice for designers in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, was published in the K-Design Awards 20/21 book in South Korea. 5,000 books were distributed in Asia.
COVID-19 Design Challenge is ongoing. Prototypes are created with incredible ideas with the effort of a lot of people. It is currently recruiting team members who can make the prototypes into products. You can check out the COVID-19 Design Challenge website for all the details.
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