Let’s face it: most talks around sustainability and green design are dull, preachy, and hand-wringingly apocalyptic when they aren’t all “Design Can Save The World!.” Which is why I was so happy to stumble onto Lunar Design’s Lunar Elements blog and especially their team’s The Designer’s Field Guide to Sustainability (pdf).
What’s great about the field guide is that it offers some basic, small steps that can be easily worked into designers’ existing process to make our products more sustainable. The Big Picture thinking that can be so paralyzing is bypassed. No whiny hand-wringing, just practical tactics. For instance, one piece of advice is to Reduce Material Variety. By only having one type of material (plastic, wood, metal, etc.), it makes the object easier to manufacture (and thus consumes less energy) and, makes the object, at the end of its life, easier to recycle.
The guide is a brief six pages and is itself a beautiful artifact. (Although don’t print it out!)
Here’s a very good, brief introduction to the field guide:
Well worth a watch and a read.