We are big fans of DesignMind, frog design's bi-monthly newsletter (it's more of a magazine, really), and the issue published today--The Green Issue--is one we've been looking forward to. Very readable, very consumable (sorry), there's a bit of something for everyone in here. Too many references to Prius and Method, of course, but perhaps that just goes to show you that we don't have enough examples to point to. (Though Paul Hawken, mentioned in the issue, would probably argue with that.)
Valerie Casey's Call to arms: The Designer's Dilemma is the stand-out for this crowd, laying it on the line for designers and the design industry. Here's a couple tastes:
Designers are just one of many groups clamoring to contribute within this space. NGOs, commercial businesses, technologists, academics, and governments are all forging ahead with their individual visions, sharing the public's attention. Together, the many voices of this movement form a harmony, deeper and more complex than any solo the designer alone can offer.
Yet this is a new and uncomfortable space for many designers to occupy, indoctrinated as we are with the importance of differentiation and exclusivity. To date, we have succeeded in our difference, not our similarities. We are accustomed, in many ways, to known boundaries. This is not to say that designers are not continuously pushing those boundaries and rewriting our own histories and futures, but rather that our design thinking tools and methods (narrative, motion, form, virtuality) have remained relatively constant. Even as our industry has evolved to integrate robust strategic and analytical perspectives, our jurisdiction has remained clear. Even as we engage in transformational thinking, build new business and brand models, and tackle human-interaction challenges in emerging economies, we are still designers. The horizon line moves with us.
Our clients expect our ability to translate research and ideation into concrete products and services. And they know we'll be able to differentiate them--at least for a while--from their competitors. But now we are not dealing with competitors, we are elbow-to-elbow with people who share our ethic, and to engage in the traditional competitive stance would be counterproductive. In a world where everything is connected and we all share common goals, how do we satisfy our deep instinct to create a unique position for ourselves?
frog has initiated a Kyoto Treaty of design--a call to arms for the creative community around environmental stewardship. Our initial thoughts and conversations have led to these basic tenets, but these are just a start. We ask each member of the the design community to commit to these principles and join with us in building upon them.
* Helping craft a larger social equity protocol for the design community
* Publicly ratifying that agreement, and committing to its compliance
* Contributing to the communal knowledge base for sustainable design
* Advancing the intellectual understanding of environmental issues from a design perspective
* Offering green analysis to clients, or partnering with others to conduct this analysis
* Providing material alternatives for sustainable product development
* Investigating manufacturing processes and rewarding green innovation
* Minimizing environmental impact from prototyping or model-making activity
* Publicly reporting the carbon footprint of our firms
* Becoming educated about the environmental impact of our work
Read this essay, and the entire issue, at frogdesign.com/design-mind