For Good. Q&A with Eddy Royal of Curative.

Eddy Royal is the director of creative agency, Curative. Her approach, and her studio’s aim, is to use design to help navigate complex social issues. Design for good. Eddy’s mantra is inspirational and her beliefs are clear. Curative is an agency shining light on topics that are sometimes given over to the shadows and left alone. 

Thanks for being involved Eddy. You’ve a really strong stance when it comes to your design business. What was the turning point for you, that moment you decided you wanted to have a business that worked for positive social change?
To be honest, I’ve always been passionate about creating positive social change. Even at high school, I used every opportunity I could to challenge the way that people think about the world. When I went straight from school into advertising, I was a young wide-eyed learner, and I immersed myself fully in creating ideas, campaigns and messages that would motivate sales of all sorts of products. When I realised that these skills could be used to help people to better understand social issues, and how to take action I knew that was what I needed to do. But, it still took a while before I was confident and brave enough to establish a business focused on just that.

So, for a while I found other outlets; pro-bono projects and a not for profit organisation called yMedia to feed my appetite for the good stuff. And, through that I found Jade; the co-founder of Curative. It was our shared belief, and vision for what was needed that led us to start the agency. I’m now the sole owner and director, and Curative has grown and changed shape a lot since we started it back in 2012, but it was absolutely our shared passion and commitment that fuelled the fire to get it started. 

How has technology and the growth of social media influenced your business and how you operate yourself, and what you offer your clients?
Technology is absolutely an enabler, and websites and social media play a key role in any communication work that we’re involved with. However, for us technology is just a channel and a tool that people use. We’re more interested in people themselves; their habits, behaviours, motivators, beliefs and influencers. It’s their stories that help us to create powerful and meaningful work. Digital media is just one of the ways to reach them.

Technically, there have been lots of changes, new tools and channels, that have improved the way that we can produce digital content. In some ways it has made it quicker and often more affordable than more traditional advertising methods to produce content, and reach audiences. But it’s also meant that there is a lot more clutter that we need to cut through to make sure messages truly engage their intended audience. 

Have you ‘released’ any clients because they’ve not aligned with your business’s mantra?
We haven’t ‘released’ any clients; but we are very mindful about who we work with to start with. We call our clients the changemakers and the brave. They are the people and organisations committed to making the world a bit better, who are open to trying new things, and who truly value the perspectives and insights of their audiences

No doubt there are many causes you stand for, is there one in particular that is closest to your heart, one you’ll always fight for?
There are a lot of worthy causes and sadly far too much need for change. So, you’re right it’s definitely hard to pick one single cause. But, the thing that I’m most passionate about is equality; I’m constantly questioning and wondering how can we create a fair and just society? One that is inclusive and supportive no matter your age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or socio-economic circumstance. How can we remove fear and bias, and stop seeing people as ‘others’? How can we celebrate difference, learn from each-other and minimise the harm that humans inflict on one another? Imagine the possibilities.  

Do you feel other design and creative agencies should be offering their clients more than just design? Do you feel alone in doing design work for positive social change?
I don’t think that you can minimise the role of design and creativity; no matter what sector it’s being applied to. I also don’t believe that you need to be working exclusively on positive social change projects for your work to make impact or influence change. I think it’s important that as creative people we consider what we are making, who we’re making for and what it will mean to them. Within this we also need to be careful to ensure that what we’re doing is adding value to both planet and people, and not causing harm.

I definitely don’t feel alone in this work. Most people want to be doing good. I think we just need to reframe and stop thinking that doing good has to be something outside of your day job. Every decision we make can be a conscious decision, and a step towards a better future.

Who are your heroes? Whose work and actions do you admire?
I feel pretty lucky to say that many of my heroes are my friends. I’m fortunate to be part of a community of people who are all working in their own ways to create real and lasting change. And, my biggest heroes are the team at Curative. Everyone here uses their creative superpowers everyday to make positive change, and I’m constantly thrilled by their imagination, commitment, energy, optimism and courage.

As mentioned, you have a pretty amazing team! What is the most important thing you look for when taking on staff and when working with external influencers?
That’s easy. The magic ingredients are creativity, empathy, appetite for change, endless belief in possibility and a love of laughter, play and dancing. 

Thanks again for taking the time Eddy.


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