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Working with sustainable materials

The last stop on Milton Glaser's "Road to Hell" is "Designing an ad for a product whose frequent use could result in the user's death." What if the ad itself is toxic? In designing the tote bags for the conference, AIGA discovered that the color of ink we were planning to use was unsuitable because it contained cobalt, which is hazardous to the environment. What criteria do you use to determine whether a material is safe to produce, safe to use and can be disposed of safely? And where do you draw the line between design and environmental or science?

Add your Response


Conference Attendee, Seattle, 17-Dec-03
EPA Battles Co. Over River Pollution By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS Associated Press Writer SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - It's not often that the United States serves as a dumping ground for a foreign factory, but that is happening in the remote northeast corner of...


Stephanie J., Seattle, 18-Nov-03
Kind of like being there: I've been reading the well-recommended book "Cradle to Cradle" since returning from the conference. If you didn't attend, you can capture the essence of the messages presented at the conference from this book. Shifting gears:...


Nick Comack, FedEx Ground, Pittsburgh, PA, 11-Nov-03
David has a good point. Question: Which is more damaging to the environment - building industries to recycle our waste? Which in themselves cause pollution. Or not? Yes, we should do what is "right" but we must look beyond the horizon to see the consequenses...


Janine James, The Moderns, New York, NY, 07-Nov-03
At The Moderns we try not to view sustainability as an entity unto itself. For us, it is part of a much larger holistic approach that we call “Good Design = Good Business.” The first and most important step in this process is constructing a paradigm to operate...


Eva Anderson, Anderson Pop Design, Providence, 03-Nov-03
I was the editor/designer of ECO newsletter - a quarterly insert in Communication Arts - for 10 years, and an advocate of eco-design for the past 16. Although we're not publishing currently, with luck, we'll get an archive of past ECO newsletters online in...


Eva Anderson, Anderson Pop Design, Providence, 03-Nov-03
DAVID: for toxicity of printing inks, check out the May/Jun 1999 issue of ECO in Communication Arts magazine. See my next response for research resources.


Eva Anderson, Anderson Pop Design, Providence, 03-Nov-03
KATRINA: Thanks for the coltan info. The good news is that some companies are considering their impact, and working towards better solutions. Not all will get it right, but it's a good beginning, and they will benchmark further efforts. For example: Dell...


Eva Anderson, Anderson Pop Design, Providence, 03-Nov-03
CHRISTOPHER: You're right. Many of the computer and monitor components are extremely toxic, and should NEVER be tossed in the landfill. Rhode Island has special computer recycling days, but our studio prefers to donate our "down-cycled" computers + peripherals...


Eva Anderson, Anderson Pop Design, Providence, RI, 03-Nov-03
TABITHA: Vendors will sell what they think the market will bear. As a profession, we should be leaders in minimal impact design. In this material existence, the human species strays towards peacock-ish and hedonistic behavior. Getting us to not print 12 color...


Tabitha Holmquist, Seattle, WA, USA, 03-Nov-03
I have yet to see a vendor come in to pitch their services and talk about sustainability of their materials. I think its time we started talking to our vendors, printers, & manufacturers and letting them know that we care about how our artifacts are impacting...


christopher richard, alexandria, virginia, 03-Nov-03
There was some mention of the tremendous waste that goes into making laptop computers, in terms of unreclaimable water. Its not very glamorous, but since our computers tend to be upgradable, we should take advantage of that to its fullest extent instead of...


Katrina Perekrestenko, Richland, WA, 02-Nov-03
I also feel there is a big void in the research about the materials we are using. For example, no one at the conference talked about the impact our G4's have. One of the main minerals used to make computers, cell phones, etc. is coltan. The majority of the...


Deborah Szabo, LGL Design, NY, NY, 30-Oct-03
Don't we all have ethics, really now! Can it be a difficult moment to deceide if one wants to provide to a client and/or support the success i.e. marketing of, that produces and/or sells harmful product/services to the public. We suppose some do not have...


David, One Lane Studios, Sausalito, CA, 30-Oct-03
This is an area ripe for research and information sharing. Who knows what colors are toxic, for example. How did AIGA learn of cobalt, etc. Anyone got any good resources to share on this?

 
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