THE POWER OF DESIGN
AIGA National Design Conference
Vancouver, British Columbia
October 23 - 26, 2003
Janine James, Founder / Creative Director
The Power of Design: culture, economy, environment
Designers are incredibly powerful. We have a hand in creating the
communications, experiences and artifacts that shape our world, and we
have growing influence on decisions that affect the quality of life for
millions of people. We make the mundane easier; we delight the spirit; we
make things function better; we can help others understand the
implications of choice by the way we see problems; and we can help all
people communicate among themselves better. These contributions will
always be important; today, in a world struggling against itself and its
environment, they are absolutely critical.
This year’s national design conference will focus on the role of designing
and designers in the 21st century. Speakers will discuss designing for our
culture, economy and environment in the beautiful city of Vancouver.
Pop culture icons
AIGA used the styro-foam cup as a
symbol of the kinds of problems of
sustainability that we face on a daily
The Moderns concept was to build on
this iconography for the event and
“upcycle” an icon from our everyday
consumer lives, the nutrition label,
asking everyone as we do check the
ingredients before specifying.
Ingeo™ fiber from Cargill Dow, a polylactic acid or polyester derived from
Ingeo is made from the same polymer as PLA, however, it differs in that it is a yarn
that can be made into a fabric. Ingeo was a desirable and interesting material
because it is made from a renewable resource and could either be biodegraded or
truly recycled (i.e. because Ingeo is a polyester, it can be chemically recycled or
depolymerized, unlike most other plastics, which can only be physically recycled,
and therefore downcycled instead of upcycled).
The bag has what the industry refers to as self handles, which means they are also
made from the Ingeo fiber.
The bags were sewn with a cotton, polyester blended thread.
SCREEN PRINTING INKS
Nazdar, 9600 series
The most prevalent screen printing ink used by the industry is Plastisol and uses a
PVC-resin system. Not environmentally desirable, because it contains a carcinogen
(residual polyvinyl chloride monomer). Also studies have shown that a flexible PVC
contains a plasticiser which has been criticized for the premiture development of
secondary sexual characteristics in young girls (pre-pubesent).
The Moderns contacted the thirteen largest US silkscreen ink manufacturers, found
at www.screenprinters.net, to see if any made a PVC free, screen printing ink. Most
companies contacted said they were either still in development or about to launch a
PVC-free ink. Nazdar (9600 Series Polyester Screen Ink) and Sericol (Textcharge
TC) were the only two companies who made PVC-free inks.
In the end the choice was to use Nazdar’s 9600 ink. Although it did have acute and
chronic toxicity issues associated with its use, we felt it a better (not optimum)
solution than the PVC, which itself contains a carcinogen (residual polyvinyl chloride
Metropolitan Fine Printers in Vancouver donated a lot of the cost to print and produce the
booklet. Their environmental practices are currently being audited more thoroughly, but
represent themselves as having some leading environmental protocols in place.
The booklet is printed on Save-A-Tree, super smooth, 96# cover, provided by Unisource, BC of
Canada at no cost. Save-A-Tree was chosen because it is made from 100% post-consumer
recycled content and was processed without the use of chlorine (PCF).
Booklet Cover Sheet
The booklet cover sheet is a polypropylene sheet, which can be recycled and is one of the most
environmentally benign types of plastics.
The inks specified were soy-based.
An aluminum chain was chosen for this application primarily because it can be recycled into a
new product at the end of its useful life.
Oct 1st: Wednesday: 1500 linear yards of material processed in 3 days
Oct 3rd: Friday: 3:00pm: Truck shipped 7 - 62” wide bolts, each weighing 150lbs
(1,050lbs of textile) from Burlington, North Carolina to Bedford, New Hampshire in 2
days with a guaranteed delivery by noon.
Oct 6th: Monday: 12:00pm: 1500 linear yards arrived at bag manufacturer
Oct 7th: Tuesday: 1500 linear yards were cut, screen printed and sewn into
Oct 13: Monday: bags were truck shipped to Canada (25 boxes, 1 pallet, 652lbs)
Oct 17: Friday: bags are expected to arrive in Canada
Standard lead times 4 weeks for printed bags
TM lead times: 9 days for bags, 4.5 days to ship to Canada
57" w x 900 yards of Ingeo
57" w x 603 yards of Ingeo
Shipping between Copland and Enviro-Tote
Produced and printed
Delivery to Canada
donated, no charge
Design stipend for TM
Actual budget used
For more information visit The Moderns at themoderns.com or contact
us at 212 387 8852.