MAS Context Dialogues | Dawn Hancock



This post is part of MAS Context Dialogues, a series of conversations with Chicago-based designers hosted by Stephen Killion.



Since starting Firebelly Design in 1999, Dawn Hancock has been an advocate of socially responsible design. This is reflective in both her professional work and her company’s commitment to the community.

In past interviews and lectures she has often times referred to her studio as a family, rather than simply co-workers. This simple truth, connected with the fact that she has had a great number of long-term clients, speaks to the friendly, almost inviting nature, of her work.

Out of their Humboldt Park studio, Firebelly completes a variety of projects including but not limited to brand strategy and design for coffee roasters like Dollop and Halfwit, but also more robust design solutions for local communities and organizations including the city of Berwyn, the Divvy Bike Share program in Chicago, and Harris Theater.

Outside of the studio’s more client driven work, Dawn has made a point to give back by creating non-profit based efforts that include the yearly Typeforce exhibit, the Firebelly Foundation, Camp Firebelly, and non-profit focused Reason to Give.

It goes without saying that she is a true practitioner of a “practice what your preach” methodology to running a studio and, frankly, many could learn from this approach to crafting an office.

Dawn holds a BFA in Visual Communication from Northern Illinois University and was named one of The 11 Most Generous Designers by Fast Company.

Besides this conversation with Stephen, you can also watch Dawn’s talk from the MAS Context Spring Talks 2014 series.











Divvy (with IDEO) © Firebelly








Berwyn © Firebelly





Harris Theater © Firebelly





Rebuilding Exchange © Firebelly







Vocalo © Firebelly









You are Beautiful © Firebelly


Intro Song
“Strella, Sing a Singsong to the Moon” by Studio Noir is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.


Dawn Hancock is the founder of Firebelly Design, a studio that does “work for people we think are making a difference in the world”. With the mantra “Good Design for Good Reason.™” the studio is a pioneer in socially responsible design, and continues to live the principles of sustainable innovation and social responsibility. In 2004, Firebelly Design started the annual Grant for Good program, which “awards a year’s worth of full-scale marketing, design and business planning services to one deserving nonprofit organization.” Dawn also runs Firebelly Foundation, Reason to Give, Camp Firebelly, and Firebelly University. | | @firebellydesign@dawnhancock

Formally trained as an architect, Stephen Killion uses his parallel understanding in both the architectural and graphic design discipline to advance an ongoing curiosity in how users inhabit, interact and understand the built environment through design. In addition to his award winning multidisciplinary design background, he has showcased and highlighted notable projects by acting as a contributing writer/editor for Mark Magazine, Architizer and Design Bureau.

Tags: , , , , , , ,