- Is this the best method to communicate the message?
- What is the impact of making this piece?
- How can we lessen the impact if we print the piece?
After this initial discussion, it is important to openly communicate ideas and decisions with the design team and client. It is imperative for the graphic designer to be educated about sustainability and to discuss project goals at length before embarking on any design endeavor. Educating oneself is just as important as educating one's client. As the project continues to develop, the graphic designer should work collaboratively with the client and vendors to create a solution that follows these five sustainable principles:
- Respect and care for the community.
- Improve the quality of life.
- Conserve Earth's vitality and diversity.
- Minimize the depletion of nonrenewable resources.
- Change personal attitudes and practices to keep with the planet's carrying capacity.
Each of these principles, in turn, encourage the designer to make the following, more conscious, design decisions:
- Design for re-use/longevity.
- Design cyclically, not linearly.
- Choose recycled/nontoxic materials.
- Minimize waste (e.g., use entire press sheet).
- Minimize ink coverage.
- Choose local vendors that use renewable energy and employ socially equitable and environmentally friendly business practices.
- Educate consumers about the lifecycle issues through messaging/marketing.
- Encourage others to design sustainably.
Because designers are both makers and consumers, our power to incite change is compelling. If we help to change the way our world is designed, it will allow for a better quality of life and a continuing viable economic future.