Sustainable design is not a passing fad. It is now integral to the future of the industry, particularly among the emerging talents as this year’s graduate shows will certainly reveal. It is the more established players, particularly in branding, that need to get up to speed.
How you define sustainability depends on where you sit in the scheme of things. The debate is still hot, but it has gone way beyond the concept of recycling, favoured by designers in the early 1990s. Packaging is a given for ecological scrutiny, as is print. But social innovation, through co-design, materials and processes, comes into the argument now and design has a leadership role to play.
The sustainability movement gains momentum every day, with initiatives such as the Audi Design Foundation’s Sustain Our Nation on the design agenda. It is still spearheaded by a handful of activists, highlighted in this supplement, but their ranks are swelling. There are opportunities for all of us to get off the sidelines and play our part.