Ways of evolving the graphic design practice.
Isaac Newton, the great physicist, developed an idea that stated: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction — Newton’s Third Law
Applying this law to human activity in the last 150 years, it is no surprise that humanity is facing the grand challenges foreseen for the next century.
Graphic designers are well placed to influence change (be it a minute), to the ways and means in which people interact with the Earth and it’s living systems. Graphic designers are in the business of solving problems:
The information regarding global warming is daunting, and can make each of us feel powerless to effect any change. Perhaps, the best place to start solving the problem is by understanding the situation, and factors that contribute to the solution. Then as individuals develop and action sustainable changes to one’s day-to-day life. Some call this process — think globally, act locally.
To make your start, plot the factors that operate within your work place. Following are factors that we have considered in the context of a graphic design studio:
Most of these points are obvious, yet worth highlighting and actioning in one form or another. In the coming weeks we will be developing these observations to assist you with making your work life carbon neutral.
We invite you to read on, comment and investigate other studio’s like Sydney’s, Digital Eskimo (these guys are very committed to being carbon neutral) and make your own plans.
Observation 1 — How one travels to work?
If you drive to work, tune out of the morning radio and have a look around you on your journey to work. Thousands of Australians traveling to work by car are typically stuck in traffic queues, usually on their own. This convenience has a price, all these cars need petrol and maintenance, somewhere to park, they spew out tons of carbon, are anti social and put an enormous strain of road infrastructure and tax payer funded budgets. Making changes to the way you travel to and from work, and to work related meetings helps reduce a studio’s carbon emissions, start traveling by:
When you travel without using a car, time is a consideration that you will have to build into your trip. Think of it as time to do a little reading, writing, meditating, observing, exercising, thinking or just zoning out.
Traveling in peak times can be a off putting; commuting can be people packed squeeze. Many Western cultures have this crazy situation where work, school and life all start at 9am and finish at 5pm.
Traveling at 9am, 6 to 7pm or there after usually means there are less people and you can get a seat. Ask your management about shifting your hours so you miss the travel peaks.
At the Studio we travel to work…
The studio is located to the south east of Melbourne’s CBD, it is served by the Sandringham Line train service and trams that run on Chapel Street, High Street and Commercial Road to city and surrounding suburbs.
Andrew in the spring, summer, autumn endeavours to ride his bike, he also commutes on the train. Shelley catches the tram, and or walks to and from the office. Owen our current intern, travels on tram and train. Toward works remotely from his home office.
Observation 2 — How one interacts with the space one is in
Modern studios are generally passive spaces, designers and support staff operate from a designated desk space that services a desktop. The act of developing and making design is centralised by the desk top computer and the capabilities it can wrangle for an individual user are dynamic, diverse and daunting.
Research, reference, image and information libraries, design rendering, image manipulation, typographic design, layout, approvals, client and project communications, artwork, proofing, and entertainment are delivered by most computers linked to the internet.
The most exercise a typical designer does in the day is represented by the commute to the office, the trips to the office laser printer, kitchen and bathroom, and the walk to the sandwich shop for lunch. A surgeon once mentioned to Andrew, that the average designer probably uses the equilavent of an apple in energy a day. Designers are prone to weight problems, with all that good food, socialising, long hours and inactivity! Oinky, oink.
The minimum any studio can do to be more sustainable is the following:
A wish list items
Studio Pip and Co. actively employs the above suggestions. However it is easy to achieve this because the studio is centrally located in a small office space. The office is well ventilated, has year round northern light, the ability to open and close to the elements quickly. The studio’s land lord is green focused too. The office houses three staff members and serves clients actively pursuing green practices.
Observation 3 — How one impacts with the people one works with… will be covered in our next postComments?