Monday, 30 April 2012

here's a list of purely environmental design firms i've found

I noticed there's a lot of Canadian firms and I think that's to do with how being environmentally friendly is portrayed there. I spent last summer in Toronto and the place was so clean you could eat of the off of the streets. every bin in their street have 3 separate compartments for recycling and they bin men don't take your rubbish away unless its sorted into the correct recycling criteria. there are several methods of public transport and there are even electronic bike stands where you can rent a bike for any amount of time from an hour to a month.

Do you think if other countries adopted strategies like these, people would be more environmentally aware and therefore prompt more design companies to become environmental?

OK the comment from Lynsey on my last post got me thinking.

Do you think clients should take into consideration how much paper they use getting us too design posters, flyer's,business cards etc.

Do you think they already do ?

how do you think that together with clients we can change this or counter balance it ? by planting trees like Lynsey said , switching to more screen based media ? or simply trying to always use some formed of recycled paper ?

An interesting read

even though it's for fashion design there's some transferable relations here :)


Thursday, 26 April 2012

While commenting on Appies post I thought of something:

If you designed 5 products that your clients chose un-environmental materials for, but then had also convinced 5 other clients to produce their products in environmental materials,

would that mean that you are moraly free from the guilt of having designed 5 things that were unenvironmental in the first place? Is it all just a blanceing act? Or is the point completely moot because at the end of the day those 5 unenviromental products are still out there partially because of you?Or could it be argued that if you hadn't done it another designer would have, and is that not selling out?


Just found this forum , think it has some very interesting views on sustainability within design;

(excerpt from forum)

During discussion with staff and graduates about this course I made the point that I felt that there is no such thing as 'environmental design'. In fact environmental design is design. My argument, very simplistically, was that design was about resolving problems with 'seamless compromise' (thanks Graham). This involves meeting the most satisfactory outcome for all parties involved as well as for economy, politics, society and the environment. Therefore design cannot be categorised into environmental and non-environmental design.

I had opposition from those who felt that not all projects considered their environmental impact and position. I argued that this was 'bad' design.
You may like to consider this idea in terms of good design and bad design, where bad design is design that does not take due care and consideration for the environment.

What are your thoughts about the relationship of industrial design to environmental design?

Do you agree with the view presented here? Why do you disagree?

My response:

I disagree that there is no such thing as environmental design, somthing is either good for the planet or isn't. However I do feel that not at least factoring the environment into these desicions is bad design. I also agree with what is said lower down in the forum about how you can choose to make things enviromental but whether your client is going to take this on board is another matter. Many are on a tight budget and thats fair enough everyone is, but is it not the clients responsibilty as much as the designers responsibility to think about sustainability.

If it was a very large job which at the end means thousands of these things, what ever product it may be, being released into the commercal world, is it not the responsibility of the client to choose an environmental solution. At the end of the day you are chooseing to make these things you are chooseing to send these things into the world, a world that is at current a very disposeable world, we aquire we consume and we discard its just the way accelerated consumerism is, and although you yourself may not have created this product; you have not sat and vacumformed them or printed them etc it is because of a desicion that you have made that they are in this world. You have told someone to make them, you have paid for them to be made in this way. So what they do to this world once they have been consumed and disgarded is also because of your choice.

I believe it is the companies responsibility to strive for their products, advertisements, books whatever to have the lowest possible effect on the environment. And I believe it is the designers in the world who must keep pushing to give their clients sustainable solutions that are on budget. I also believe that if governments were to make companies pay tax on every unenvironmental product they produce, thus making the environmental option cheaper and a more appealing choice, it would force companies to take steps in reduceing their carbon foot print. Another alternateive would be to completely ban certain methods of production and rely only on recyclable or biogradeable materials. Things will never be this clear cut there just isn't a sustainable replacement for certain things yet, but in the, meantime I do believe it is down to designerrs and the clients were employ designers to consider the environment as an intregal part to any design. 

What do you think?

Monday, 16 April 2012

Thought i'd throw this in from the FB group so monsieurs Longstaff and Dodds at least know we're 'experiencing technical difficulties at this time...' 

(Excerpt from online blog)

"Caroline Whitbeck in Ethics in Engineering Practice and Research argues that ethics is traditionally regarded as judging something that has already been done. But the bigger challenge and what ethics should be is about the way to act. And that is a problem of design: devising ethical courses of action.

Design itself is ethics. It is all about what is the right thing to do, and not just technically. Everything that is made is an argument about how we should live our lives. The world is filled with competing objects that are arguing amongst themselves for our attention. "Live my way! Live my way!" Deciding where and how to employ the art of design is an ethical issue.

Designers need to be both technically right and compellingly wise. Wisdom is about evaluating and choosing between competing principles. And to be wise is to be aware. And awareness is the passage to action."

[My view]

This designer interestingly puts forward the idea that it is not the final product or it's use that is the ethical issue, but the very act of design. 

Hypothetically, by doing a bad design for a company you morally object to (i.e. design you know is on a base level unsuccessful, lacks necessary aesthetic etc.) you are still being ethical because you are plotting a greater 'ethical route' that subverts the unethical and promotes the ethical via comparative successes/failures.

Also, if you were to say refuse said company, you would have no control over it's future or influence, and would thus be as responsible for it's future successes (due to inaction) as if you had created fantastic, successful work.

The general idea is that your motives behind a piece matter more than the purpose of the piece. 

Sunday, 15 April 2012


Hey guys, i haven't actually posted on the blog for a while because i don't have interwebs access at home :(

But i DO have a some stuff from half term that i forgot to post before going, and i'll have the follow up stuff ready sometime tomorrow methinks.


Ethics in Design > Personal Ethics

I'm going to attack this debate from both sides, firstly, anti-commercial design or "selling out"
So how do personal ethics affect the designer?

Well, an obvious case is being offered a job or brief by a client who's activities go against your moral principles. An anti-war campaigner, for instance, would not accept the task of creating US Army recruitment posters. Similarly, somebody with strong views on economical issues would not accept a job to oversee advertisements for Shell.

But these are extremes, and the chances of a designer recieving such a job that is so strongly against their beliefs is hardly a recurring issue.

On a much more common basis, however, there is a real risk that by creating corporate, business or commercial graphics, a designer risks backing the much harder to define 'issue' of majority discourse; i.e., by not changing anything and feeding into the circle, they increase the likelihood that our current capitalist and greed orientated culture will continue to grow.

THIS LINK to an article i'm posting is a designer reasoning why this isn't a bad thing; he uses an installation designer as an example, showing one of her works that sells for a frankly obscene amount of cash and how this is selling out because fine artists have artistic integrity.

The important part is where he says that "Designers acknowledge that what they are making is commercial."

                              Thus, if all we are making is commercial... WE are commercial?

I would like to think that designers are still artists and creatives in their own right, not vending machines or corporate tools, and so i take issue with this observation. Although i agree that we cannot change culture for the better entirely, we have to start somewhere, and i will be exploring the theory that design is that place.

Later on he does say that " In my book it’s just another reason to look inside for affirmation of the value of your work", which i think is  where we are on the same page; i think your work should be important to you and enjoyable, not motivated entirely by money.

The devil's advocate would say these jobs are necessary to fund designers, hence why i will no doubt die poor...

Anyway, how do you guys feel about all this? Are commercial graphics abhorrent to you, a necessity, or just a fact of life?

Or, do you like the idea of feeding into the capitalist model?

Thoughts, opinions, stick 'em below!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

A brief history of theories and political documents, on environmentalism:
    1962 Silent Spring, by writer and biologist Rachel Carson, makes strong social impact in the US.
    1963 US Congress passes the Clean Air Act, stemming from the 1955 Air Pollution Control Act.
    1968 While on the Apollo Mission, Bill Andera inked the first photograph of the Earths now Known as Earth Risse.
    1969 Friends of the Earth is founded by former Sierra Club director David Brower.
    1969 The US Congress passes the National Environmental Policy Act.
    1970  20 million people attend the first Earth Day in San Prances. US.
    1970 General Majors promises what he calls "pollution form" within ten years.
    1971 Greenpeace is founded in Vancouver, Canada. Greenpeace International forms in 1979.
    1972 The UN Conference on the Human Environment is held, establishing the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
    1972 Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess coins the phrase, deep ecology.
    1973 The Chipko Movement starts in India when Himalayan villagers protest the cutting down of trees.
    1976 In Brazil, rubber rapper Francisco Chico Mendez, leads the first standoff over logging in the Amazon.
    1976 The National Anatomy of Silences relapses a report that CFC paces ore the cause of a damaged ozone Layer.
    1977 Kenyan grass roots organization, Green Belt Movement, is founded by Waangari Matthai.
    1978 The US Congress passes the National Energy Act, Endangered American Wilderness Act and Antarctic Conservation Act.
    1979 The Earth First! Movement is Founded by Dave Foreman, Howie Wolke and Mike Roselle.
    1979 In Gaia Theory, James Lovelock argues that the whole surface of the Earth, including all forms of life, corrects itself.
    1980 The Global 2000 Report, by President Carter's advisors, rallies for international environmental support.
    1982 The UN passes the World Charter for Nature, with 111 in favour and 1 against (US)
    1982 The Research Found on for Silence. Technology and Ecology is Founded in New Dethi, India.
    1987 Our Common Future report defines sustainability as: "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
    1988 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is established.
    1989 Eight countries sign the Amazon Declaration.
    1992 The Earth Summit is held to discuss environmental concerns.
    1994 The IPCC issue a report warning of serious long tem harmful effects from greenhouse gas build up.
    1994 The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) is adopted and considered to be a significant step forward.
    1996 The International Standards Organisation in Geneva. Switzerland announces the ISO14001 standard.
    2002 Architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart argue for a new post-Industrial Revolution design paradigm in Cradle to Cradle.
    2002 The World Summit on Sustainable Development (also called Rio + 10) is held in South Africa.
    2005 The Kyoto Protocol is ratified, after Russia's agreement, but still without the US.
    2005 The Energy Policy Act is passed and offers tax credits for fuel and energy efficient products.
    2005 John Thackara's In the Bubbic, proposes a world with less technology and suggests service design.
    2006 The Asia-Pacific partnership on Clean Development and Climate is formed.
    2006 The Stern Report is published, claiming that it is in the world's best economic interests to address climate change.
    2007 British Parliament passes the Climate Change Bill, the first legal government commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions.