AAD529 Sustainability in Design

In the current world we live in, sustainability is becoming more and more important with companies finding new ways to reduce carbon footprints and recyclable products. One of the most talked about examples is plastic waste and how it is affecting the environment and polluting the seas and oceans. Sustainability in design has a huge influence on how to tackle these issues from creating adverts to eco friendly packaging.

Although it is a growing problem, the awareness of such issues are becoming more well known throughout the world with thanks to the adverts created by the design industry. Everywhere we go we see the power of advertisements, whether it be on your smart phone, television, bus stops, newspapers or billboards to name a few. Using the words ‘made from recycled packaging’ (or something of that effect) has an impact in todays age on how we perceive products. A lot of people will likely buy a product if it makes them feel good (Reflective design). What I mean by this is if the consumer buys a product made from recycled goods or has recyclable packaging they feel they are helping the environment hence making them feel good.

We have the means today to do most of the design work (or all of it in some cases) digitally which is a big step in reducing unnecessary wastage of materials. Although using recycled paper is a great solution, it still needs to be produced and transported which defeats the purpose of sustainability. With transport becoming more eco-friendly and factories producing less emissions it is becoming a more viable way of helping the environment, dealing with local businesses and companies benefits this idea.

Packaging needs to be designed carefully as to not use large amounts of ink unnecessarily, using more sustainable inks on recycled paper or plastic will help in using less resources. A lot of the products we see today use a simplistic approach to design in packaging and identities, whether this is intentional to cut down on material usage or to keep up with the current trend is up for debate. Minimalistic design makes the product feel new and modern and as consumerism has a bigger part in our lives having the latest high end products makes us feel we need these ‘new’ items.

The future will be determined by what gets done today so I believe designers play a huge role in climate change and reducing carbon emissions, not just directly but indirectly through awareness in adverts or package design. Designers can use the influence of major companies, like Coca Cola, Apple or Microsoft to educate the consumers on the issues at hand. In turn this will hopefully create a trend where people will be more aware of the impacts of recycled goods. It is about working together to come up with solutions and the design industry is based off solutions so it is a great place to start for any company looking to reduce their carbon foot print.