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What Makes Design "Sustainable?"


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A lecture on sustainable design given to students at Stonehill College, Easton MA by Dani Nordin of the zen kitchen.

Published in: Design, Business, Technology
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What Makes Design "Sustainable?"

  1. 1. What makes design “sustainable?”
  2. 2. Sustainable Design <ul><li>Builds sustainable practices into the design process from the beginning </li></ul><ul><li>Starts with the end-life of a piece and works backward </li></ul><ul><li>Finds ways to minimize materials (ink, paper, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Looks at the entire supply chain, not just whether something’s recycled </li></ul><ul><li>Finds ways to reuse materials when appropriate </li></ul>
  3. 3. Building sustainability into the design process <ul><li>For sustainable design to truly work, it has to become an intrinsic part of the design process. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How are we using and sourcing materials? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How will we produce this piece? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How will it be distributed? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does it have to be a printed piece? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there ways we can incorporate reused materials? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can the piece be recycled or reused once its useful life is over? </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Getting client buy-in <ul><li>Clients with social or “green” missions often directly request it and look for designers who have that expertise </li></ul><ul><li>If you make sustainability part of your process from the start, clients often buy into it automatically </li></ul><ul><li>Often, “going green” can save the client money on paper, printing costs, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Speak to the business benefits, not the “kumbayah” stuff </li></ul>
  5. 5. Use-Case: Digital vs. Paper brochures <ul><li>5-trees Brochure: </li></ul><ul><li>This client needed a paper brochure for a targeted mailing to executive clients. </li></ul><ul><li>Green Elements: </li></ul><ul><li>We worked closely with the printer to create a piece that was visually compelling, but still sustainable. Changing the size of the flat at printing time to better utilize the press sheet saved the client $300+ in printing costs and prevented the equivalent of 3-5 reams of paper from being wasted. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Use-Case: Digital vs. Paper brochures <ul><li>Botsford EcoTech Web Brochure: </li></ul><ul><li>After rebranding to Botsford EcoTech and incorporating more web-based services into her business model, we clarified the client’s messaging and moved the company’s brochure into a digital format, with a supplemental postcard that can be distributed at events. </li></ul><ul><li>Green Elements: </li></ul><ul><li>As the client’s business revolves around legislation that’s consistently evolving, the original print run of brochures became out of date virtually months after printing. </li></ul>By moving the brochure to the web, updates to the brochure are easy to make on the fly. Hosting the file on her website also makes it easy for the client to send information to prospects while traveling.
  7. 7. Digital vs. Paper: when does it make sense? <ul><li>Paper: </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller runs of large amounts of information, such as an annual report or CSR report (also provide a digital option) </li></ul><ul><li>If you’re taking it to an environment where going online is not possible (tradeshows, conferences) </li></ul><ul><li>When you need to create a textural or sensory effect </li></ul><ul><li>Digital: </li></ul><ul><li>When information changes frequently </li></ul><ul><li>When you need or want instant distribution </li></ul><ul><li>Shorter, more frequent amounts of information (articles, white papers, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Information that works well in an online format (portfolios, images, etc.) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Use-Case: Designing for the Press Sheet <ul><li>DiMella Shaffer sell sheets: </li></ul><ul><li>As preparation for an upcoming conference, the client needed materials that demonstrated the depth of the firm’s expertise dynamically and succinctly. </li></ul><ul><li>Green Elements: </li></ul><ul><li>By playing with negative space and bold photography, we created a flexible, templated system that could be easily printed in-house as needed (saving paper and printing costs), and could also be inserted easily into proposals for the firm’s high-profile projects. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Use-Case: Designing for the Press Sheet <ul><li>Modern Woman’s Toolkit: </li></ul><ul><li>This professional coach needed a stationery system that spoke clearly to the women she wanted to reach and worked with the way that she did business. </li></ul><ul><li>Green Elements: </li></ul><ul><li>Rather than creating letterhead (which the client rarely uses), we created a notecard that the client could use for followup with clients and colleagues. This not only fit in better with the way she did business, it allowed us to put everything on one press sheet, saving the client money in the long run. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Use-Case: Designing for the Press Sheet <ul><li>Kitchen on Common: </li></ul><ul><li>This Belmont restaurant, focused on seasonal food from local farmers, had a menu that changed as ingredients became available, sometimes as little as 2 weeks between printings. </li></ul><ul><li>Green Elements: </li></ul><ul><li>Working with a simple tri-fold concept, menu shells were printed in bulk, and a template was produced so the client could update and print them as needed. A rubber stamp denotes lunch or dinner and adds a homespun touch. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Designing for the Press Sheet <ul><li>Tips: </li></ul><ul><li>Get the printer involved early in the process </li></ul><ul><li>Try to run jobs with similar/same specifications together </li></ul><ul><li>Take into account how the project will be used and who will be using it </li></ul><ul><li>Can the project have multiple uses? </li></ul><ul><li>Look at the size of the paper used for the job - often you can change the size of the project to make better use of the press sheet </li></ul><ul><li>See if you can put pieces together on the same sheet - often you can fit studio promotional projects in the trim space (note: use the same print colors) </li></ul><ul><li>Use short-run digital for small jobs like business cards - less paper waste and chemicals used. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Use-Case: Going Virtual <ul><li>Verdant Computing: </li></ul><ul><li>This online retailer finds and sells the most eco-friendly computer products he can find, putting each through a rigorous evaluation before agreeing to sell them. </li></ul><ul><li>Green Elements: </li></ul><ul><li>To reduce the carbon footprint of his stock, the client has arranged drop-shipping agreements with individual vendors, dramatically reducing the energy and carbon output of his distribution system. He also saves the energy and cost of maintaining facilities, and works from home. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Use-Case: Going Virtual <ul><li>Joanna Scaparotti: </li></ul><ul><li>This coach, based on the North Shore, works with wellness professionals to help them create a practice that nourishes and enhances their life. </li></ul><ul><li>Green Elements: </li></ul><ul><li>Rather than creating a static website, we worked to create a dynamic and user-friendly website with built-in collaboration tools that she can use to conduct almost all of her business over the web. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Going Virtual; greening the supply chain <ul><li>Going Virtual: </li></ul><ul><li>As more business is done online, it becomes easier to do everything on the web </li></ul><ul><li>Design promotional pieces to be delivered virtually or printed - you’ll save money and gain flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>Greening the Supply Chain: </li></ul><ul><li>Look at the entire supply chain for a printed piece; where does the paper, ink, etc. come from? Where is it being printed? Try to shorten the distance whenever possible. </li></ul><ul><li>Look into die cuts, embossing, etc. on large jobs as an alternative to heavy coverage </li></ul><ul><li>Ask your printer about make-readies (sheets of paper they use to make test runs); often they can be used for a project. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Thanks! Any questions?