August 3, 2010 Off

Design Can Change

By in Design, Review

Once in awhile, I start feeling just a tad selfish for going into advertising. I have friends who are going through hell to become doctors, occupational therapists, nurses, and friends who just do charity work and volunteer in their spare time. I on the other hand, love to write. So that’s what I do. I don’t know if it really pleases anyone else and I doubt it’s improving anyone’s quality of life. Sometimes I think I should be doing more with my talents and time.

If any of you designers are feeling the same way, you should know about a website called www.designcanchange.org. This website essentially brings designers of all kinds together to positively make a lasting change. The focus of the site is reducing climate-related natural disasters, which obviously is a good thing for everybody. By joining this site, designers can put their talents to good use. We can all take a closer look at the environmental impact we have in our day-to-day lives. The increase of greenhouse gas emissions, global warming and climate change are becoming more and more of a concern for all of us. Yet some of us don’t even really understand what all these terms mean. The site provides you with a simple explanation of what global warming is, what causes it, what the effect of global warming is, and how we can help change it.

Of course the way designers (and writers, and many others) contribute to these problems is our use of paper. According to the site, “Pulp and paper is the third largest industrial polluter to air, water, and land in both Canada and the US.” Yikes. Well the good news is that us ad folk can band together and give something back. Paper is involved in so many aspects of our jobs – advertising media, packaging, print-outs at work, stationary and more. If we learned how to communicate differently and alter the way that we do work, we could make a big difference together.

There is a DesignCanChange pledge for designers to read and sign. The goal is to start incorporating more sustainable practices in design work. They offer tips and suggestions to get designers started. These include touring your regular printing facility and learning about their environmental standards, speaking to your suppliers about becoming more “green”, working with local suppliers to minimize transport, enforcing recycling and many more.

There is even a place on the site where you can meet fellow pledge-taking designers in your community. (I went and searched for “green” designers in Toronto and was please to find there’s a whole slew of them.) It also makes you feel like your part of a bigger community and not some chump trying to make a difference all on his own.

So go ahead and take a look at the site. Whether it’s as a designer, environmentalist or just a human being that doesn’t want to see our ice caps melt in our lifetime. You’ll learn something new and be in a position to make a positive change.

About: Ian:
Hi, I'm Ian T. I'm a York grad and a copywriter for Eden Advertising. I'm the master of procrastinating. I like to use parentheses (sometimes). I love the LCBO because wine makes me happy. I don't blog, I capture moments in time.

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