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Until recently, creating design objects and protecting our natural environment have often been opposing objectives. As we enter an age of heightened environmental awareness, this conflict of interest is beginning to change. Suddenly, finally, sustainability has become good for business. What a relief! This shift in priorities has opened wide an opportunity to change the way we think about design and change the impact we have on the environment. It's exciting to be a part of a design movement embracing this transformation.

There are 4 key approaches to sustainability that work together to produce sustainable design solutions.


Identify Strategies and Tools.
A sustainable checklist is a tool I developed to target viable project strategies. Referring to a checklist, the extent of sustainability is easily assessed and expanded.

Sample checklist questions:

Are design elements re-positionable, easily updated, or easily maintained to minimize replacements? Flexibility and adaption over time is taken into account.

Have energy efficient lighting choices, such as installing a DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface Interface Protocol, or "dimmer") been made?

Checklist strategies are accompanied by lists of recommended material and method options. Gradually, it is becoming easier to manage the sometimes daunting task of changing the way we reach design solutions.

Research and Document.
A green reference library offers a collection of documented research, material samples, and books that support sustainable strategies.


Exchange Knowledge.
The collective conscience of people from a wide range of disciplines contributes to the understanding of sustainable design and its evolution. Building upon what is known and what we have learned, we are developing partnerships with ecologically progressive partners. Mutually beneficial relationships with fabricators, vendors, manufacturers, and printers enables each to learn from the other. Together, we are finding ever more sustainable solutions.


Lead The Way.
We have an opportunity to evolve our practice, starting with the initial stages of the projects we work on. Fortified with an understanding of new, innovative processes and an understanding of the "green" benefits of some traditional processes, designers can effectively guide projects in a more sustainable direction. Continually asking ourselves, and those we partner with, if there are better alternatives is the first step. With answers, a more sustainable plan becomes apparent. Designers now have an opportunity to put such a plan into action.

© 2009 Naomi Pearson - Sustainable Graphic Design Strategy and Consulting