Sustainability in Design

Which is greener? A digital or printed work. I was of the understanding that digital was greener than paper, however after researching various sites, this supposition has been challenged.. According to an article in, the answer lies with who’s being asked; ‘Talk to a paper manufacturer and he will certainly support printed communications as much more sustainable. Ask the CEO of a web hosting company

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and she will make the case for digital work’.

In another article in, they also suggest print has been ‘cast in the role of a dark old devil in decline’ and ‘digital media has been cast as the bright young saviour on the rise’. They suggest print has incredible potential to be a far more sustainable medium than it is today and is already based on comparatively renewable materials.

As well as being the single largest stream of toxic waste created by man, accordingly to zdnet, making a computer typically requires mining and refining of minerals and metals as well as large scale use of plastics and hydrocarbon solvents. To function, electronic devices require a constant flow of electrons that come from the combustion of coal.

The list goes on and on… so, the question is what can we do to reduce our carbon footprint. The ultimate aim of practicing sustainable design would be to reduce waste, use as little resources as possible, and the resources that are used, should be unharmful to our environment and re-usable.

How do we turn over a new leaf and remodel our thinking to incorporate papers, inks, solvents, packaging, waste management or recycling in new and different ways?

Perhaps we can convert our electricity to green power, chose chlorine free paper sources from ethical companies and perhaps with effective communication and by exploring and offering eco-options we could contribute to a reducing environmental impacts. Australia using green printers






Pippi Longstocking

Pippi Longstocking, created by Sweden’s Astrid Lindgren is my favourite rascally character. I think the term rascal may dependant on from which perspective you are viewing a person.  As nuisance, or, I think in 9 year old Pippi’s story someone that courageously questions and subverts the dominant paradigm, such as authoritarian and condescending adults, including the law.

‘As recently as the mid-1990s, a Swedish social commentator argued that the ‘Pippi cult’ had had a highly detrimental effect on both school children and pre-school children in Sweden. ‘Pippi-worship has turned everything upside down, in schools, in family life and in terms of normal behaviour’, the commentator wrote in a leading Swedish daily.’

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Ree Treweek – The Blackheart Gang

African artist and illustrator Ree Treweek, is part of The Blackheart Gang and production company Shy the Sun, a group of artists and animators working as a team. Together they have created countless characters set within intriguing stories, illustrations, videos, including the famous ‘The Beatles Rock Band’, and a United Airlines animation.

For this exercise I have chosen the story, ‘The Tale of How’, telling the tale a giant octopus named Otto, the ocean tyrant that hungrily devours dodos that live in the trees on his head. Nobody hears their desperate cries for help until they are close to extinction. In comes the hero of the story, a little mouse who saves the day. Well, instead of choosing the obvious hero as my character, I would like to pick the dodos. In a desperate attempt to save the last of the birds, it was a dodo’s clever idea to use whatever resources were available and risk using Otto’s ink to write notes and send them floating on their way in the treacherous ocean. Treweek and her team have created an entire community of dodos that appear frequently throughout their work.  The story also originated from a series of dodo characters that Ree drew.

Perhaps the success of this narrative, as well as it being an extraordinary production, be attributed to the characters in this story offering a sense of hope and new possibilities to many in this world that appear powerless in the face of tyranny.

In response to discussing this in terms of the design elements including line, shape, colour, texture, tone, scale, contrast and pattern, not only are the dodo superbly and intricately illustrated, they are clad with flowers and use leaves to fly and as disguises from the enormous Otto. They also have teeth in the singing beaks. I recommend watching the video to see for yourself. It is truly fantastic.

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Gedomenas Pranckevicius

As you can see by these intriguing illustrations, Lithuanian conceptual artist and illustrator, Gedomenas Pranckevicius, creates surreal digital art beyond your wildest dreams.

His illustrations and character designs can be seen on album music covers, advertising and has been featured in a stunning visual production at the Adobe Max Creativity Conference. Adobe’s Creative Cloud have also included Gedomenas’s chimerical character ‘Batpig’ as part of a collaborative mosaic remix of the Creative Cloud logo.

His works include a variety of childrens’ books, with some illustrations exploring fantastic scenes of impossible architectural structures precariously placed amidst a world where vertical lakes reach the rooftops and people are whimsically perched atop in serene fields.  All the while giant fish lurk menacingly beneath in the murky depths.
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Local Street Art in the News

As a response to the question of Graffiti being acceptable and celebrated or a violation, beautiful or offensive, artistry or vandalism, I feel the answer is yes to all of the above. The following are three subjects that have received local media coverage cover the last couple of weeks.

Firstly, this week, a Byron Bay grandfather may face prosecution for spray painting over vulgar slogans on the infamous Wicked Vans, a cult culture travel van popular with backpackers. There has been ongoing opposition and outrage within the community against the violent, sexist and misogynistic slogans painted on these vans, however, after a French visitor, who was worried he’d lose his deposit for the rental van, lodged a complaint to the police, this spray-painting Grandfather may face charges.

Secondly, is the topic of pothole art.  For several years now a local ‘pothole’ painter who wishes to be known as ‘Roa Dart’ paints colourful circles, arrows and fish around potholes to warn motorists of the impending danger. After an official warning by police, Roa Dart then started filling holes with gravel and there are now copycat pothole artists continuing this ‘service?’. There is also an artist in England going by the name ‘Wanksy’, who paints penis’s over potholes. Some say humour, and other say offensive? Personally I am grateful for these artists as I have myself crashed a vehicle due to hitting a pothole in the rain.

Only a few words left, so, thirdly, our neighbouring town of Lismore has just received a fine art wall mural by Internationally acclaimed graffiti artist Guido Van Helten. I had originally intended to solely cover this graffiti artist’s  extraordinary work because it is so beautiful and worthy of a view.  So I conclude, it seems the for and against views on Street Art art remain a contentious issue.