Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Can graphic design save the world?

I have come across an article on Computer Arts written by John Hudson. It's about our role as designers and how we should contribute to keeping a sustainable environment. One of the things i find most interesting about the article is the facts that are presented about the wastage produced by designers and printers, the numbers are staggering. If we are producing such wastage, it is only right that we justify it by trying to be as sustainable as possible, especially in the planets current condition.

Secondly, as designers we make and design ‘stuff’. We place things into the world, and it takes energy and resources to get them there, and sometimes the decisions we make in the creative process can have a direct impact on the society we live in. For example, £1 in every £3 of UK council tax is spent on the disposal of household waste, packaging, direct mail and designed ‘stuff’, with some councils spending more on waste management than on educational budgets. The print industry is still one of the world’s largest polluters, yet we mindlessly throw away 4.7 million tons of fresh, unused paper every year in the UK due to poor decision-making. Living on a planet with finite resources means we have to work smarter in the future.

Something else I came across in the article is Responsible Designer developed by Jon Hudson. It is an app that directs and informs designers on how to have a more sustainable and eco friendly practice. I tried to download it, but it's not available to iphone yet.. gutted!

The smartphone app offers a well-researched resource of responsible printing, inks, papers and processes. It also has an extensive reading list and links section, and showcases studios that have a responsible ethos, along with inspiring examples of their work. The app extends the learning environment outside of the studio and places key information into the hands of the students, which helps to inform their creative choices and processes.


 A studio based document has also been developed in the form of an A3 layout pad to help with the same issue, which is aimed more towards students as a learning aid.


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