With regard to Corinne Hitching’s letter on climate change, I agree with her argument – as designers, we are responsible for every element of a piece of packaging, or for the product itself.
We decide on the size, shape, materials, packaging and graphics, and at every stage there are many choices. More often than not, it’s a choice between taking a responsible, sustainable route, which will cost a little more, and the easy, on-budget route. If we can all work collaboratively and ensure that we are designing responsibly, costs will fall and sustainable design will become the norm.
As product designers, we have complex decisions to make at every stage of the design process. To ensure that each project is developed in the right way, at Matter we have created a ‘designline’, which we use to educate our clients. Because we’re designing products with a limited shelf life, we need to focus on designing for reuse, disassembly and recycling. But we’ve decided we don’t want to jump on the Green bandwagon and suddenly start shouting about our ethical design – it’s something we’ve always considered in our work and genuinely feel it’s our duty. So we’re working on ways to ensure that we have the competitive advantage when it comes to our clients, yet still maintain our objectives to design products responsibly.
I think the biggest issue for all designers is how we change public opinion when it comes to climate change. Can we persuade our clients to include responsible design in their briefs?
We have the know-how, so maybe we should push clients to give the public what they want: more than 82 per cent of UK consumers would choose to buy an eco-friendly product in favour of a non-eco friendly product, according to research commissioned by Co-operative Insurance.
Rachael Tapping, Design strategist, Matter, Bath BA1 5DY