Sustainability in design, what is our affect on the world? And what have we done to it?

There are many perspectives and many potential solutions.

The throw away culture that we live in makes it harder and much more of a challenge to reach the customer/consumer. But as designers should we not embrace the challenge and work towards producing sustainable design and advertising campaigns? We look at one of the most successful adverts this year and they include creating a character out of a meerkat to launch a brand. The adverts are iconic, they are cleverly produced so that they are not only funny, but they get across the message to all sorts of customers.

The throw away culture has led us to purchase things that only last a short time, not something that will last for centuries that we would pass down through the generations. We believe that there are quality items that will last that long, but we settle for the mass produced rubbish that doesn’t last more than our own lifetime. Should we make a positive move towards spending more on the items we can pass down for example furniture and houses.

A lot of people like to do their bit to help the society and the world; they spend a little more on some items, things that are fair-trade for example, or handmade. But in the long run I feel that this is only a status symbol demonstrated through the market to add to the validity of their own existence. This plays on the want and the need for consumers to be an individual.

Farmers markets and home grown food is a return to natural systems rather than manufactured agriculture. Local farmers markets show us, where the produce came from, how it got here, and what kind of life it has led until now. Farmers markets enable us to understand more about the produce and the process in which it goes through before it gets to us. Is this the key to changing the way of our society in terms of sustainability? Do we re – build the nation in which we know and love? The only way for items and design to become more and more sustainable is to design it that way.

Design sustainability is slightly different, when a design is sustainable it means that it can be used again and again and again, it’s something that adapts with us and technology. For example the design of facebook and what it does already exists, but new software for computers is always updating. And new technology is always being produced; Facebook is sustainable within its environment and therefore will last.

When I design something, I no longer just think if the end result and the customer journey, but I also think about the sustainability and whether it will withstand the test of time. Can it and will it adapt to new technology and the changing world?