About Us

The Story

Truly great ideas that offer meaningful solutions to life’s complexities come from those who are most directly impacted by them, not necessarily from those whose official job title it is to ‘fix’ the problems. TrickleUp Design is so named because we believe that the best ideas and the designs that can come from them ‘trickle up’; they spring forth from the people, who through their daily lives see ways to improve the world around them. Our mission is to find the nuggets of truth and insight offered by real people and listen, think, build and grow these ideas into realizable solutions that can be put out into the world.

We specialize in developing innovative concepts for products and services that are socially and environmentally sustainable. We believe in using design as a tool for creating positive change in the world and put that belief into practice with each project we take on. Through engaged research, brainstorming, prototyping and communicating, we help our clients offer cutting edge solutions. A big part of this is re-imagining and revolutionizing the business models that allow these innovations to be financially sustaining.

When we are not working with clients, TrickleUp is also passionate about developing new socially innovative products and services, in-house. Often we identify opportunities in the market that compel us to delve deeper and create new concepts. We bring these ideas through the same in-depth process that we take our client’s work, and those with the most promise after thorough research and prototyping, propel us to bring them into the world as tangible, and hopefully, game-changing solutions.

TrickleUp is connected with the local design and social innovation communities while having its sights on global clients and projects. We welcome your projects, the more challenging the better. TrickleUp Design will help you identify your goals, envision innovative solutions and put an actionable plan together that will bring these concepts to market. We look forward to designing change with you!

The Team

Sarah Tranum is the founder and director of TrickleUp Design. She is a social innovation designer and strategist. Her goal is to use design and strategy as tools for creating positive social change, whether it’s in her own neighbourhood or on the other side of the globe.  Sarah received a master’s degree in design from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her undergraduate degree from Cornell University, where she majored in Policy Analysis & Management. She worked as a microfinance practitioner in the U.S. and Canada assisting new and existing businesses in business planning and obtaining access to capital. Sarah completed the Institute without Boundaries program in Toronto, where she worked with a multidisciplinary team of designers to rethink the future of global housing design.  She has lived and worked on both sides of the border and now calls Toronto, home. Sarah founded TrickleUp Design, in order to the work she wants to do — create innovative products and services that have a positive impact in the world.

In addition to being a practicing designer, she is an Assistant Professor of Social Innovation in the Faculty of Design at the Ontario College of Art & Design University (OCAD U) . Sarah works with students from across the various design disciplines at OCAD U, including Industrial Design, Graphic Design, Environmental Design, Advertising, Illustration, and Material Art & Design (fibre arts, jewellery design, and ceramics). Social innovation design is imbued within each of her courses as Sarah encourages her students to think through the entire life cycle of their designs and consider the social, environmental and financial impacts of their work.

TrickelUp also brings together a multidisciplinary team of freelance designers and thinkers. From industrial designers, graphic designers, environmental designers, and multimedia designers to illustrators, artists, MBAs, engineers, programmers and writers. Depending on the project, the team will consist of the ideal balance of skills and talent to get the most innovative results.