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Design Saves Lives – Stoves for Africa edition

Inyenyeri is an inspiring for-profit, social-good company that provides clean cook stoves and fuel in Rwanda. Their business model addresses issues of health, global warming, poverty and the education and independence of women and girls.They provide extremely efficient cookstoves, with free delivery, repairs, training and replacements, at no cost to Rwandans. They can do this because fuel pellets for these stoves are their product. Made from compressed wood, the pellets burn clean, replacing wood and charcoal that burn dirty, cause disease locally and global warming globally, and require hours of labor to collect. The cost is low, but for families without the ability to buy the fuel, they can continue to collect wood to trade it in for equal weight in pellets. Women and girls have always collected the wood and done the cooking; with this innovative stove and fuel system, Inyenyeri gives them back their time for education or jobs, while keeping them healthy.

“Good design makes a complex message accessible and compelling—and that’s what Arin did for us. Our company works in a little known sector, with multiple overlapping business models, revenue streams, and value propositions. Arin helped us cut away all the distractions and distill our story in a way that resonates in a lasting way.”

Tom Price, Director of Inyenyeri

poster and banner design for nonprofit, environmental justice

Versions of the banners (not final) printed out for review on the studio wall.

Like many social good companies, Inyenyeri has a marketing challenge to create visibility and education about what they do. The passion they have for their product and its potential to both help the planet and keep families healthy translates into lots and lots of words and a variety of ways to get their story across. That’s where good design comes in.

invitation design for social justice

Digital invitation


Inyenyeri hosted an event during the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, serving yummy Rwandan food made on their cookstoves while educating the community. They came to us to create an invitation, a brochure, and environmental graphics, including large-scale banners and standing tabletop information cards. With so many points to share (environment, public health, impact on women and girls, African politics, unique business model) they had lost track of who the audience was for the event, and asked us to essentially create sales materials. But sales was not the point of this event – connecting community and engaging potential funders was. Lots and lots of words were not going to help folks understand the many cool things about the brand. During the design process, we drove the conversation to develop three themes, minimize text with the use of icons, subtracted, simplified and went for the heart.

banner design for social good cookstove company based in Rwanda

The final version

Inyeneri posters by Arin Fishkin Graphic Design

Fewer words, more impact

Connecting a social good company with its audience means streamlining a complicated story into few words with big impact and using clear, engaging images to convey concepts whenever possible. An effective designer is a translator, converting your big ideas into images that connect. In this case, that connection impacts households and the health and lives of women living in sub-Saharan Africa.

Great business ideas succeed when supported by strategic design. Sales happen when your audience hears and loves the story you tell. Good design is key. Have a brand or business with a big story? Let us help you translate it to connect with your audience, drive sales and even save lives.

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