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A practical sustainable manifesto

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  • 1. SIGNER’SCTICALLYTAINABLEANIFESTO
  • 2. first off, do nothing consider the impact, then act appropriatelyIn doing nothing the environment and your morals will remain intact.1 In assessing the impact of a project the social, environmental and cost factors should be understood. Then taking into account the responses to these, it will begin to provide a scale of how appropriate design responses may be achieved. Lets take an advertising mail shot for example: It has commercial value not social value, its lifespan will be incredibly limited from front door to bin – it is essentially landfill fodder. An initial environmental response might be, small runs printed with vegetable based inks on recycled paper. This however is a platitude towards sustainable design, using technology as a cover. Using environmentally more friendly products has reduced the environmental impact of the project, however it is still having a negative impact. Simply by being put into production and then thrown away alot of energy is being expended in its life-cycle. Surely a more fitting solution is a digital one, all that will be destroyed when it is deleted will be data, there is nothing going to landfill here. It is also cutting out the environmental impact of the print production. However, this is not a complete solution as there are still factors that will have an impact and that need to be considered for example; is the power provided for the servers sustainable, and then the problem of how do you create an appropriate emailing list, directed at only those who wish to receive it?2 There is a tipping point in all this, where something printed is more useful, practical and considered. It is about knowing this point and the consequences of either side. Victor Papanek (2004 pp5-6) puts it well “Design as a problem solving activity can never, by definition, yield the one right answer: it will always produce an infinite number of answers, some “righter” and some “wronger”3.
  • 3. A3 A4 A5 A6 A7 design honestly things are there to be reused Truth to materials as described by Papanek in his section on method,4 is partially what is intended by this design If design is anything it is evolution.10 Objects, ideas, movements, working methods all evolve and taking a similar honestly, however honesty as a working method has a wider scope. Honesty can go further to one similar as to one view to Bruce Mau (1998), ‘you can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you.’ of Dieter Ram’s 10 principles of Good Design (Fig 1), “Honesty” is design that, “… should not attempt to manipulate People build on the landscape of ideas and processes that has gone before them. the consumer with promises that cannot be kept,”(Rams, 2010). The nature of graphic design is that it is a communicator of language and generally its transmission takes place Companies and brands often appear to take this definition on board. Muji (2011, appx a), howies (2011, appx b), within the public realm (Lakoff, 1980 p10). Thus design becomes a dialogue between the object, its audience and its Facebook (2009, appx c) and Ben & Jerry’s (2011, appx d) have all published company ethos statements, that set authors, and when a design puts forward a position is it unreasonable to expect its response/s to use some of the out goals for their company in terms of what users can trust they will provide. Facebook’s (2009)ideal states that, techniques or language of the question?11 This leads to the position that the design, ‘At some point becomes ‘part of ‘users trust us with their identity, their photos, their thoughts and conversation. We reciprocate with the utmost the language’ and the original author need not be acknowledged.’(Swanson, 2003 p153) honesty and transparency.’ And whilst sure that all this language has intention, it cannot help to be assumed that these become attempts,’ to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.’ (Rams, 2010)5 This does The assimilation from publication to mainstream design language has become more instantaneous due largely to not beget a practical solution to honesty, here it acts more as blurb and company spin, that companies/corporations/ the huge repository of information accessible via the Internet. Kevin Kelley in his book Out of Control describes three brands can hide behind,6 rather than actual accountability. states of copying, we are now at the third and final stage where, ‘Duplication is perfect, free, and ubiquitous. The copy can be instantly modified, reformed, reconnected, and even redistributed.’ (Reinfurt, 2003 pp168-169).12 This Dogme 95 (appx e) originally signed by directors Lars need not be litigious; instead it could lead to a very different type of visual practice, where as something is published von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg in Copenhagen in 1995, it becomes part of the visual culture of society.13 Then society morphs, germinates, reproduces, emerges, diverges (Utterson, 2005)7 sets out clear ways of working that or specialises the work, creating and recognising new projects along the way. And a rule emerges if you want to then define a production method. This means that as a keep your visual version sacrosanct you protect it from publication. consumer it is clear how certain effects were created; allowing a relationship of trust and believability between The allusion being made here is to the open source project. Who have a manifesto of sorts called the ‘four the audience and director. Design professionals trying to freedoms’, that is worth considering: establish a particular working method have since copied the Dogme 95 manifesto. These include the Socialist 1. The freedom to run the program, for any purpose Designers Manifesto (Vienne, 2003)8 and The Vow 2. The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs of Chastity (Morgan, 2002 pp114-116)9. The Vow is a 3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour document that first year students at Central St Martins are 4. The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community made to sign by Lead Tutor John Morgan, that promotes benefits. an honest interaction in design between student and (GNU, 2011) tutor, based on particular qualities, some slightly absurd, “Formats must not be ‘A’ sizes. Paper must be chlorine Here the freedoms are discussing programming but is it too dissimilar to think of a technical query, and its solution, free. It must be off-white.” It certainly becomes dogmatic, being different from a creative problem, and its solution. Is there a secret formula that is unable to be shared or is it but its purpose to stop “certain tendencies” is quite actually a simple process achieved generally through collaboration? transparent and provides a framework of accountability. As an example ISO 216, (2007) is the document that sets out (hopefully on A4) the international standard sizes of paper. This includes all the details of the A, B and C series sizes with explanations of how the sizes were formulated and their tolerances. This system gives a standard, that can be worked with or against but it provides a base point that allows for adaptation or use as is. It is constantly being reused. However I think it is worth mentioning as with the previous topic, honesty applies in delineating between what is your own adaptation and what is the work of someone else. And when another person’s work, image, money, program or idea is used credit is given where credit is due. Gunnar Swanson (2003 p151) sets the record straight that, ‘Plagiarism as a lie is probably the definition with the fewest problems. … There is no doubt that presenting someone Fig 1. Dieter Rams - Poster displaying 10 Principles of Good Design else’s work and claiming it as your own is lying.’
  • 4. design forward a designer’s practically sustainable manifestoLakoff (1980 p22) states that, ‘The future will be better’. This is a deeply embedded value within our society, around Reduce: Design nothing until you can go beyond neutral and have a positive affect.which we construct metaphors. Thus as a species we appear to be inherently optimistic, troubles will smooth and Reuse: Adapt, improve and use existing systems or projects.things will change for the better, “No matter what happens to the environment, we’ll continue … making things, and Re-examine: ‘Own up to your own contribution, for better or worse,’ (Heller, 2003 p49)trying to fix the mistakes.” (Viemester, 2003 p144). However maybe we lack a design forward attitude, where weseek to have a positive effect with our work rather than merely minimising the damage we do.I refer again to Shawn Wolfe, ‘We are all leading compromised lives. … I’m probably helping to make extinct somespecies of beetle in the Amazon basin somewhere as I speak without even lifting a finger. The best we can hope foris to stay mindful of it and own up to our contribution, for better or worse.’ (Heller, 2003 p49)‘Leave it better than when you found it,’ (Boy Scouts, 2011) is an oft-quoted sustainable idiom however it still holdssome meaning. Papanek (2004 p 68) promotes a system of tithing, time and skills rather than money. Whilst thissystem seems attractive and an easy way to hold yourself accountable, balancing your own commercial interestswith social ones, giving only 10% seems a meagre balance. Does it not become more important to approach everyproject with the angle of having a positive impact, even if small?
  • 5. Set in Arial a system font on Mac and PC. This document has been printed once using a laser jet printer on foursheets of A3 double sided 120gsm acid free paper, stapled twice in a saddle stitched signature of 4. The books thatappear in the bibliography have been borrowed from UAL libraries.14 Whilst reading these books key passages wereindicated using 2 pads of post-it notes and I included my thoughts on these – they were then copied to MicrosoftOneNote 2010, the post it notes were recycled. The main body of the text was compiled in Microsoft Word 2004.This was then formatted in Adobe InDesign CS4.The notes I made during the course of this essay, the actual essay and how I produced the document andinstructions for its publication are free to download from slideshare (). I am at present unaware of a standard format Barthes, Roland (2000) Mythologies 3rd ed. London: Vintagefor sharing such information so included are industry standard pdfs. If however you would prefer the information inanother more useful format, please contact me – andybolton84@hotmail.co.uk Heller, Stephen (2003) Brand Name Dropper: Steven Heller Interviews Shawn Wolfe. In: Heller, Stephen & Veronique Vienne ed. (2003) Citizen Designer 1st ed. New York: Alworth PressFinally I hope this manifesto does not promote waste, in its encouragement to dispose of preconceived concepts. Heller, Stephen & Veronique Vienne ed. (2003) Citizen Designer 1st ed. New York: Alworth Press Lakoff, George & Mark Johnson (1980) Metaphors We Live By 1st ed, London, University of Chicago Press1 - Here I follow Papanek’s Design for the Real World’s introduction ‘In an environment that is screwed up … the best and simplest thing that [designers]… coulddo for humanity would be to stop working entirely.’ (Papanek, 2004 pxii) Morgan, John (2001) The Vow of Chastity: First-Year Students at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design In: Bierut, Michael; Drenttell,2 - Spam as an entity has made use of the ease and cheapness of the digital communication it however lacks the responsibility of directing it to those who William & Heller, Steven ed. (2002) Looking Closer: 4: Critical Writings on Graphic Design New York: Alworth Pressactually want to see the information. And as a social nuisance it fills the channel of digital communication with noise, meaning that other messages within thismedium are ignored. Papanek, Victor J (1995) The Green Imperative: ecology and ethics in design and architecture 2nd ed. London, Thames & Hudson3 - Shawn Wolfe puts it quite bluntly saying that, ‘While you’re going to the bother, make sure whatever you’re doing is worth doing and not just wasted effort oradded clutter.’ (Heller, 2003 p53)4 - ‘An honest use of materials, never making the material seem that which it is not, is good method.’ (Papanek, 2004 p8) Papanek, Victor J (2004) Design for the Real World: human ecology and social change rev ed. London, Thames & Hudson5 - Although as Jon Entine notes ‘Ben & Jerry’s sells idealism to market their ice cream,’ (Schwaltz, 2003 p11)6 - See howies’ rocking chair test (howies, 2011) Appendix B Ricoeur, Paul (1978) The Rule of Metaphor: multi-disciplinary studies of the creation of meaning in language 1st ed. London: Routledge &7 - See Appendix E Kegan Paul Ltd.8 - See Appendix F9 - See Appendix G Schwartz, Judith (2003) Socially Responsible Advertising: Altruism or Exploitation In: Heller, Stephen & Veronique Vienne ed. (2003) Citizen10 - ‘“When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to Designer 1st ed. New York: Alworth Pressworry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when the others make it after you.”Picasso as quoted by Gertrude Stein’ (Papanek, 2004 p151)11 - Detournment and Culture Jamming are examples of graphic design using a particular language to comment/answer itself Utterson, Andrew (2005) Technology and Culture: the film reader London: Routledge12 - ‘The first stage of copying is perfection. …The second stage is freeness,’ (Reinfurt, 2003 p168-169)13 - Gunnar Swanson (2003 p157) points out that this is practically the case with US copyright law as, ‘Works are owned by society and copyright is awarded to Vienne, Veronique (2003) Veronique Vienne Inteviews Fabriizio Gilardino: Socialist Designers Manifesto. In: Heller, Stephen & Veroniquethe authors to encourage the creativity that will benefit society at large.’ Vienne ed. (2003) Citizen Designer 1st ed. New York: Alworth Press14 - this is inline with Papanek’s (2003 p16) ideal of a rent-based society, that owns little and rents transient objects Viemester, Tucker (2003) Beautility: Good Design has Utility. In: Heller, Stephen & Veronique Vienne ed. (2003) Citizen Designer 1st ed. New York: Alworth Press
  • 6. Ben & Jerry’s (2011) [online image] Ben & Jerry’s Mission http://www.benjerry.com/activism/mission-statement/[Accessed May 1st 2011]Boy Scouts (2009) History of Cub Scouting http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/CubScouts/Parents/About/history.aspx [Accessed May 1st 2011]Facebook (2009) [online image] Facebook Design Principles http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=118951047792 [Accessed May 1st 2011]GNU (2011) The Free Software Definition http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html [Accessed May 1st 2011]howies (2011) [online image] our beliefs http://www.howies.co.uk/content.php?xSecId=20 [Accessed May 1st 2011]ISO (2007) ISO 216, 2007: Writing paper and certain classes of printed matter, Trimmed sizes, A and Bseries, and indication of machine direction http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=36631 [Accessed May 1st 2011]Mau, Bruce (1998) Incomplete Manifesto for Growth http://www.brucemaudesign.com/4817/112450/work/incomplete-manifesto-for-growth [Accessed May 1st 2011]Morgan, John (2001) [online image] The Vow of Chastity, Dogme: A brief written by John Morgan for students at St.Martins http://www.morganstudio.co.uk/2001/01/the_vow_of_chas.html [Accessed May 1st 2011]Muji (2011) [online image] The Philosophy: What is MUJI http://www.muji.us/about-muji/ [Accessed May 1st 2011]Rams, Dieter (2010) Ten Principles for Good Design http://www.vitsoe.com/en/gb/about/dieterrams/gooddesign[Accessed May 1st 2011]Rams, Dieter (1993) [online Image] http://www.bibliothequedesign.com/uploads/projects/vit_ger_1_2_2.jpg[Accessed May 1st 2011]
  • 7. Appendix A: Muji (2011), The Philosophy Appendix B: howies (2011), our beliefs Appendix C: Facebook (2009), Facebook Design Principles Appendix D: Ben & Jerry’s (2011), Ben & Jerry’s Mission
  • 8. Appendix F: Socialist Designer’s Manifesto, (Vienne, 2003)Appendix E: Dogme 95: Vow of Chastity (Utterson, 2005) Appendix G: Vow of Chastity, (Morgan, 2001)
  • 9. A DESPRACSUST MA