A few months ago, a friend introduced me to ideasonideas, the blog produced by smashLAB. Liking what I was reading, I took a closer look at this interactive agency and found Design Can Change. Here’s the challenge as outlined by smashLAB:
smashLAB started to consider the amount of waste designers are responsible for. The paper and pulp industry is the third largest polluter, and according to the AIGA, their members alone specify or purchase $9.1 billion in printing and paper annually. In seeking ways to help mitigate their impact, smashLAB found few resources directly related to graphic design. There had been discussion, essays, and conferences dedicated to sustainability, but not much in the way of a clearing house for sustainable graphic design information.
Targeted at encouraging sustainable practices within the design community, Design Can Change proves yet again that if an individual or an entity cares enough, words can be turned into action and community building.
Taking a Stand
Regardless of whether you believe in the sustainability message of Design Can Change, I believe smashLAB makes the case with this site that it doesn’t take a horde to get things started. We’re becoming comfortable with the idea that individuals can effect change that attracts other like-minded people on a large scale—without all the people being in the same place.
In the 60s, people of a certain mind gathered in San Francisco. Now, thanks to technology, we needn’t hitchhike to any one location to become a part of a community. When you believe in something—a movement, a philosophy, a goal—the tools exist to help spread information and ideas. smashLAB believed in the idea of sustainability so much so it dedicated agency resources to research the issue and produce the site. What are you willing to dedicate to support what you believe?
Challenging the Status Quo
Telling your peers that their status quo, their everyday rituals, don’t match your goals can do one of two things: 1) alienate the very audience you’re trying to reach; or 2) capture their attention. Design Can Change takes the risk of challenging accepted behavior. The result? I believe those who commit are really committed because breaking from status quo demands it. How brave are you feeling?