Toward a (Sustainable) Design Evolution?

Claiming the Afterthought

We need to evolve. Compelling communication is essential for realizing sustainability-focused change. Too often, it’s taken for granted, including by those working on these issues. Compelling ideas are worth little if they can’t be conveyed effectively. I’ve recently received materials from local organizations whose work I respect that have overlooked some basic (sustainable) design tenets. Case in point: an oversized publication by a prominent regional conservation entity that lacked any indication of the sustainable paper and printing elements incorporated into its production. Such oversights send a strong, however implicit, message that such details don’t matter. My initial impulse for starting Foresight was to realize change by interjecting sustainability into various types of design. Since then, I’ve only become more convinced of both this need, as well as the complexity of factors involved. Smart, engaging design requires committed, insightful clients, as well as enlightened creatives. A chasm exists between the design and sustainability worlds I inhabit. Bridging it remains a compelling challenge, and could make a significant difference.

Peter NicholsonInnovationist

2 comments on “Toward a (Sustainable) Design Evolution?

  1. Making day to day personal choices around sustainability remains challenging. Studies indicate that most people say that they are eco-conscious or some such language. However, the same people won’t pay an extra nickel to get something that is sustainable or organic. It is easy to toss your coffee cup into the trash can on the street corner than to hold on to it until you find recycling. Then there is the difficulty of being conscious of almost every choice, but getting on an airplane a couple times a year, making all the other efforts moot. Clearly, those responsible for the publication that Peter mentions have this same sort of cognitive dissonance.

    • Scott: Thanks for your post. I’m still shocked at the apparent…I’m not sure what to call it…every time I look over and see this publication sitting on my table. If any organization should know about protecting the environment, it is this one! Did they print it green and then just not include any indication of that? Were those working on this publication just that ignorant of issues that I’m so used to taking for granted with any print project? Such a prominent publication for such a prominent organization in such a prominent city…well, it’s frustrating and depressing. We should know and do better!