1. The problem: designing rubbish

Are we designing for the rubbish bin?

As graphic designers, we try to make design as communicative as possible. We communicate the costumer’s values and needs of presenting their products to appeal to their target groups.

But as we do this are we aware of where the stuff we are making may end up? A lot of products graphic designers make may end up as waste.  Most packaging is meant to be thrown away when the product is eaten or taken out of the pack. Brochures and magazines may be kept for some weeks and flyers and newspapers are only meant to last for a day.

How can we, as graphic designers contribute to a more sustainable life for our designs?  We know that some paper is chlorine-free, and some plastics can be recycled. But how do we use this knowledge to design more sustainable? And how can the designed products help the environment and at the same time be a useful communicative product for our clients and the consumers?

These were some of the questions we asked ourselves when setting up a one week workshop in Axe sud, http://www.axesud.fr/ in Toulouse, France.

My collegue, Yann Bougaran and I brought 60 Norwegian graphic design students from Westerdals School of Communication in Oslo, Norway to meet 40 graphic design students from Axe Sud in Toulouse, France and together work on this environmental task: How can graphic designers be more aware of the possibilities to be environmentally responsible when making packaging products. Can we use our creativity to think differently about the materials we use, how much materials we use and the afterlife of the products we make, knowing that everything we create has a past, present and future?

First, an extract of the presentation that started the project.

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