On the occasion of World Graphic Design Day 2009, Canada’s design professionals adopted a working definition of sustainable communication design and incorporated sustainability values and principles as key tenets of the Canadian graphic design practice.
Defining Sustainable Practice
Unanimously endorsed at the annual general meeting of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC) held from 24-25 April 2009 in Winnipeg, the working definition states:
Sustainable communication design is the application of sustainability principles to communication design practice. Practitioners consider the full life cycle of products and services, and commit to strategies, processes and materials that value environmental, cultural, social and economic responsibility.
The definition is supported by a statement of values and principles to guide the GDC and its members’ actions:
1. Encourage the evolution of the GDC and the graphic design practice by:
- acknowledging that we are part of an interdependent world;
- accepting responsibility for the consequences our actions have on our natural environment;
- developing and building sustainable strategies and practices;
- participating with the international design community in developing global best practices
- working to create products and services that are re-usable and/or provide long term value; and
- by purchasing recycled, local and non-toxic materials wherever possible.
2. Demonstrate our commitment to improve the natural environment by:
- sharing these principles through our Icograda network;
- collaborating with other design organizations worldwide to promote and develop best practices for sustainable communications design;
- integrating environmental criteria into all design processes and organizational decision making;
- employing accountable and transparent processes and procedures;
- reviewing our environmental impacts regularly and continually working to reduce them;
- adopting practices that use materials in continuous cycles;
- seeking suppliers who use sustainable practices;
- acting as community and industry advocates for environmentally responsible design practices; and
- by developing and providing products and services that improve the quality of life of all beings and support the health and well-being of the planet.
3. Raise and foster awareness of sustainable communication design practice by:
- promoting the intrinsic and greater value of sustainable communication design;
- encouraging clients to integrate sustainable principles into their communication projects;
- providing education and information resources to our members and the community at large to inform environmentally responsible design decisions; and
- by championing sustainable communication solutions for our communities.
Valerie Elliott CGD, Chair of the GDC’s National Sustainability Committee said, “Our goal was not to develop a definition by consensus but rather to share dialogue and engage in a dialogue. To this end, we have crafted this working definition as a starting point for discussions with worldwide graphic design organizations.”
“The GDC recognizes its role in changing the future of design and creating a better world,” adds Jim Hudson CGD, GDC President. “Each of our practices can make changes that will benefit not only our clients but our communities.” The definition, values and principles unanimously endorsed by the GDC National Council provide the framework for the GDC to build solid policy, hold ourselves accountable as an organization, and lead the way in our profession and industry.
- The definition of sustainable design and sustainable design values and principles for GDC members to follow.
- Check out how Sustainability Committee member Jennifer Nichols has “changed” the creative brief so you can include sustainability principles in your work.
- Highlighting the work of GDC members who embrace principles of sustainable design. Learn more about their projects and processes!
- Steven Cretney’s, CGD, approach to sustainable design starts by selecting clients and projects that help lead a transition to a sustainable future.
- Downloadable Best Practices Guide.
- Canadian Juror Appointed
- Looking at inks and sustainable printing techniques
- MBA Sustainability Curriculum
- In 2001, when iD2 launched its formal environmental policy the company’s logo changed from red to green. Today, they’ve just gone carbon neutral, so perhaps its time to turn their green company logo to... beige?
- The GDC National Sustainability Committee is working towards educating and inspiring GDC members by providing samples of sustainable communication design. Share your best practices in design by featuring one of your projects in a case study.
- Online resources about sustainability, such as, certifications, case studies, research, blogs, etc.
- Resource books on sustainability as it relates to design, business and even children’s stories.