Sustainability in Design

Waste and pollution should scare us all; it is the barrel of the cannon our world is looking down. Sustainable design aims to prevent, or reduce, an impact on our world within design.

Although the prospect of living within a world over cumbered with waste is troubling, a lot of businesses don’t consider sustainability. In the documentary “Food = Waste” it is sited that the world of sustainable design is filled with “dreamers”. This is true to an extent, businesses can’t be expected to be as passionate as to spend what they consider a waste of money on something eco friendly. This is where the hard work comes in, where the designers’ must work out a way to make sustainable design the cheaper alternative.


For a real world example, the 2013 document “United Nations Capital Master Plan, Sustainable Design Initiatives” outlines all the ways in which their campus accomplishes sustainability in a cost effective nature. One of the key strategies in tackling energy efficiency is an improved building envelope, with a high performance double glazed curtain wall, which improves heating and cooling regulation within the building. This allows costs of air conditioning to be reduced, and the impact on the environment simultaneously.

Within design, sustainability can be achieved through a variety of measures. The Australian Graphic Design website, Sonja Meyer, is actively involved in achieving cost effective design within every aspect of promotion “All graphic design includes a sustainable graphic design strategy. This means that ecologically, socially and economically conscious options are put forth based on your project requirements and budget.” When creating a design the following should be considered: attempt to work with the client and determine the necessary aspects of the design, consider the message of the project, Intend to have the piece designed for extended use or reuse wherever possible. For example, a promotional flyer designed in December could include a yearly fridge calendar on the back to be used all year-round, when designing for print, avoid page bleeds if possible. Printing with bleed creates off cuts that need to go through a de-inking process during recycling, avoid creating a design that uses a lot of ink coverage and design in black and white when possible, and Consider using ‘low-ink’ fonts for large areas of body text. These considerations are both cost effective and waste reducing.

Sustainability requires hard work, and a lot of consideration. Not dreamers.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s