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sustainable responsible design

Lana: Part-Time Advertising Graphic-Art Positions Melbourne, Part-Time Creative Packaging-Designer Jobs Australia, Digital Finished-Artist Employment Brisbane, Freelance Senior Design Photo-Retouching Jobs Australia, Freelance Creative DTP Jobs
Lana returns this week to discuss more about sustainable responsible design.
My design lecturer used to instruct us that if we wanted to be great at design, we needed to be able to bake cake out of sh*t. Clearly, that has now hit the fan. If we as a design community add knowledge of sustainable principles to our visual problem solving super powers, we’ll be serving up gourmet nourishment for many more moons to come. Last time, we discussed why ‘sustainability’ needs to be on our radar. Why, we’re just sitting in front of computers, studiously refining client work – we’re not out there polluting, aren’t we? This week we glimpse at the ‘how to’ of tackling sustainability. I say ‘glimpse’, because there is so much more information available for anyone who needs it.

Graphic Designers and Consumers unite!

The Society for Responsible Design in Sydney believes that designers and consumers are more powerful than we thought.

“Design is a process of creation and problem solving that goes far beyond final styling or graphics. As such, great opportunity exists to intervene or change current process and end products to add greater value in many criteria and enhance the concept of sustainability.

Designers as well as consumers today face the challenge of considering the lifelong impact of the buildings, products and processes they use and those they bring into being. Responsibility extends well beyond the time a product is used. Designers have to view the entire history of a product from materials extraction, through manufacture, transportation, sales, use, and post-use. They need to consider the materials used, are they recycled, can they be recycled, will they decompose, be reused, are they toxic in manufacture, use or afterlife? Is the product useful, does it fulfil a real need, is it robust and durable, easy to repair, use the least amount of materials for the most performance? Does it generate pollution, is it energy efficient, is the least amount of packaging used to transport and display the product? Is the styling going to date too quickly, can the product be upgraded easily as technology improves, at the end of a useful life can components be salvaged for use in newer version? Consumers are also becoming more environmentally aware of the real cost of current wasteful and toxic production and are demanding greener solutions.

Sustainable Responsible Design is a new direction that requires complete revision of thought and of action. The many questions raised however will only stimulate the number and sophistication of long term solutions through innovative design and problem solving processes. Those not involved directly with design still have a huge opportunity for input. Starting with demanding better products and services to actually making a difference in and around their own home, office or locality. Knowledge of the issues is the first step.” (source)

Closer to home, the Australian Graphic Design Association (AGDA) has created a Code of Ethics regarding sustainability:

“What use is a Code of Ethics to a graphic designer or related professional? Isn’t it just another boring slab of legalese, more pompous than pertinent? We hope not! Our Code of Ethics is here to establish what constitutes ‘fair play’. It is intended to provide protection for both designers and clients from unethical business practices and the havoc that can be caused by unwitting ignorance.”

The code not only looks after the sustainability of client/designer relationships and fair pricing of work, but also the role of the designer in the bigger picture, including their responsibility to the environment.

Graphic designers who take note of sustainability now and incorporate sustainable practices into their problem solving repertoire, will not only stay ahead of the pack, but also add immense value to their client’s work, while minimizing the impact on the earth. Whether you’re a designer interested only in the success of your own ventures, or someone concerned with the well-being of the larger community, you do not want to miss this opportunity.

As David Brower, Sierra Club Foundation Founder, put it: “There is no business to be done on a dead planet”. (Source)