As designers, we constantly play the role of expert with every new project proposal. We are forced to understand our current market segments, our users, problems, overall design understanding and in the end come up with a variety of creative results. Times are changing, though. Fleeting are the days of irresponsible design in which designers did not have to be concerned with where their products ended up, how environmentally friendly the manufacturing processes were or living without the concept of ‘cradle to cradle’.
Having worked in corporate design, I personally know how difficult it is to make any drastic steps to change age-old processes. Every concept is broken down to the tenth degree and costs removed to be the most efficient solution to maximize profit. It is unfortunate and, at times, frustrating that our most eco-friendly solutions happen to also be the most expensive, deterring some of the giants in product development from even considering to be in their product lineup. To make a dent in cleaning the mess mankind has made, it is going to take the powerhouses of major corporations to lead the way.
Regardless, a product begins with the birth of an idea inside a designer. We should always be conscience of ideas and follow them through from start to finish. Where it can physically to take form to where it ultimately will end and reside. Two types of designers really frustrate me:
A. The reckless designers with no foresight where their project is headed, and
B. The ‘rubber knees.’ The ones I call because they buckle or refuse to work alongside other functions, such as engineering or marketing to make steps towards environmentally friendly solutions.
Some may call the reckless designers an, “inspiration” to creativity, but what separates us from fine artists is our ability to hold the reigns and systematically control our design decisions. We are the missing link between dreamers and engineering, a hybrid of creativity and logic. It is because of this I believe designers need to hold firmer ground in the push for eco-friendly solutions and businesses should be supporting from behind.
A friend once told me, “We are not being eco-friendly to save the world. We should be doing this to save ourselves.” It is easy to shut our eyes and believe the beautiful objects we make will never find their way to a landfill. That is the dreamer inside of us. I hope our logic will teach us the realities and future generations will instinctively implement the choices we struggle with today.