10 things I have learnt

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Being green is defiantly the way forward. It makes complete sense to me that if we don't stop using up all the planets resources and lower our carbon footprint, that one day, we will no longer be able to recognise it as the planet it is today.

Although this is quite a radical thought from someone who started recycling only a year ago(!) I admit, I didn't really care, and kind of took the opinion of "well it´s too cold in England anyway, lets warm up the earth a bit". I feel quite ashamed now. Although it is only over the past few years that I have been bombarded with news bulletins and advertising highlighting these environmental issues. I want to do something about it.

Maybe the best place to start is in the house. Well, with A house.

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Beddington Zero Energy Development is the UK’s largest mixed use sustainable community. It was designed to create a thriving community in which ordinary people could enjoy a high quality of life, while living within their fair share of the Earth’s resources.

People move to BedZED with typical lifestyles, and over the years change their behaviour significantly. The holistic design works on three levels:

1.the design solves problems such as heating and water usage

2. the design and services offered help people make sustainable choices such as walking rather than driving

3. the community have created their own facilities and groups to improve quality of life and reduce their environmental impact.

Designed and built by Bill Dunster architects ZEDfactory, it is a mixture of tenure homes and workspaces. This scheme features the first large scale use of zero carbon thermal mass buildings as well as other Eco friendly schemes that sound very complicated!

One thing that interested me was that they all moved in people me a year ago, not particularly knowledgeable about recycling or being environmentally friendly. Where as now the key facts are:

Energy: 81% reduction in energy use for heating, 45% reduction in electricity use (compared to local av.).

Transport: 64% reduction in car mileage 2,318km/year (compared to national av.).

Water: 58% reduction in water use 72 litres/person/day (compared to local av.).

Waste: 60% waste recycled.

Food: 86% of residents buy organic food.

Community: residents know 20 neighbours by name on average

One resident said this about the community:

“We wake up every morning and think we’re on holiday. The heat pours through the windows into the light, airy rooms. We have the sitting room upstairs to make access to the garden across the bridge easy. It’s very flexible”

Now this may seem a bit like an advert, but it is still inspiring, and if there was hope for them, then there is hope for me yet.

TASK 7 - Advertising ethics

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Good ethics and decency is something left behind in many advertising campaigns. Some adverts are just silly and boring, which can be quite irritating when they are aired again and again. While some I find quite offensive. The use of shock tactic advertising, used largely by charities, I find quite wrong as they are aired to provoke guilt, which isnt the right way, as at the end of the day, they are selling a product too

But what about the advertising used to raise awareness about the dangers of certain products? For example, anti-smoking and alcohol campaigns? Below is an example of an NHS anti smoking advert. The use of guilt and especially children here I find quite offensive. Using the bond between a mother and daughter is not something that should be exploited, even if it is for a good cause.

This is reminiscent of an American campaign aired in 1967 called "Like father like son"

Just like us to copy those Americans!

The advert below "Smoking shortens your penis" is a much better use of airtime. It is witty, shows the dangers(!) of smoking, but doesn't necessarily make you feel like shooting yourself after.

The advert below, aimed at women for binge drinking I think is very clever, although it wouldn't stop me from having that extra drink, it does give an interesting perspective and heightens the negative effects of alcohol, without sending you into a guilt trip

The ASA and the public tend to give charities more leeway to use shocking images than commercial companies because of the good they are trying to achieve. They even have their own advertising code. A controversial campaign can prompt high numbers of complaints and so generate press interest and thus raise a charity's profile.

Barnardos seem to be the market leaders in shock tactic advertising. Imagine yourself sitting at the kitchen table, eating cornflakes and reading the daily newspaper and an advert like the ones below is staring at you in the face?

I think they speak for themselves.


The First things first manifesto was published in 1964 by Ken Garland. It was reacting against the rich and affluent culture of the 60´s and tried to re-radicalise design and lower consumer advertising.

The manifesto was renewed in 2000 by Adbusters generating much discussion about designers priorities. Should designers concern themselves with underlying political questions and not promote products perceived as harmful? Should design be value and conscience free? I will leave that for someone else to decide...

TASK 6 - Packaging - The Good the Bad and the Ugly

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There is good packaging and there is bad packaging...shampoo, for example has always been packaged poorly. Even the high end stuff you buy from salons is too plastic and over branded. I am fully aware that it would be a difficult feat to package a thick, gooey liquid in anything but a plastic bottle, but it looks to me like no one has actually ever tried! Is this because it is not thought of an indulgence like cosmetics and fragrances? Below are some examples of shampoo packaging... oh dear!!

Now ive heard of green packaging... but this is ridiculous!

Now onto cosmetics, some designers are doing some really interesting packaging. For example Pupa cosmetics, an Italian based company. I would imagine people may buy this just for their packaging. When comparing this to other cosmetic companies such as Dior and Mabeline, there is just no contest on whose are more visually exiting.

This design is based on the popular Russian doll, and quite cleverly by opening one leads to another. Below is another example of their make up.


Green packaging must be the future, as everyone should be aware of their carbon footprint. The food industry are the leaders of biodegradeable packaging, although they could do something to make them look a bit more exiting!

The food container below is made with renewable resources, and costs £36.70. Most supermarkets and lunch shops such as Pret-A-Manger use this kind of packaging for their sandwitches, salads etc..

To see similar food packaging, there is a company called London Bio Packaging that produces them.


So heres an interesting thought, conscientious dog owners pick up there dog poo (which is 100% biodegrable)... only to pop it into a plastic bag which isnt!

So Olive have come up with biodegradeable poop bags made from GMO-free corn starch and vegetable oil, are certified 100% biodegradable and compost in as little as 40 days. A much better way to package up poo!

TASK 5 - Social Design

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"Waste is a design flaw." Kate Krebs, National Recycling Coalition, 2008.

The socially responsible apporach to design work is something that many designers are following. In a world where climate change is a serious problem, and natural fuels are running out, everyone needs to relook at their carbon footprint.

Greengaged, held at the UK Design Council, set out to examine the ecological crisis, explore the role of design and debate the consequential responsibility of designers.

It was claimed that as designers we are very good at producing waste, but we are all very bad at using it. Rob Holdway, Founder of Giraffe Innovation and Presenter of Channel 4's "Dumped" series, expressed his thoughts on the role of education to teach designers to contextualize their work, and further highlighted the individual responsibility that we, as designers, have to be more aware of what our clients and their briefs are asking of us. In a consumer culture, the ephemerality of design needs to be transformed and celebrated, by only designing consumer products from biodegradable materials.

So what designers have strong ethics and a responsible approach to their design work?

A Better World by Design brings a global community of innovators, to reach across disciplines and unite under a common goal. Presenters share engaging stories, workshops teach creative skills, and discussions reframe perspectives. A Better World by Design is an immersive experience that deepens our understanding of the power of design, technology, and enterprise to reshape our communities and sustain our environment.

The Designers Accord is a global coalition of designers, educators, and business leaders working together to create positive environmental and social impact. Their focus is on creating positive impact in the creative community by connecting a broad network throughout the creative community, inspiring and motivating our members to share best practices, bold ideas, and compelling case studies, and enabling new initiatives to grow from the foundation built by the Designers Accord.

They are working on many exiting projects, one of many is Fashion Futures

Slow is Beautiful from Alex Johnson on Vimeo.

Another project that I thought was about trying to get poeple to stop using plastic water bottles by changing the way people drank water

The most recent development for KOR includes artist series bottles, where graphics reinforce the cause-motivated colors: These bottles will sell for $5 more and that entire fee will go directly to the cause, another detail RKS hopes the consumer will proudly tell those around them.

At the moment IDEO are hosting a competition inviting people to show a vision of a future shaped by climate change

Our Invitation To You from IDEO on Vimeo.

Sam and Dave Save the World from IDEO on Vimeo.

In “Sam and Dave Save the World,” the IDEO Chicago team elected to explore climate change through the constraints of a typical American city. Conceptually, they felt that if a city were a place to escape to (or from), or a place within which one could live without limits, then it would not be a workable city. So they decided to portray a city with limits, as a contained space, by way of a “single house” (as illustrated by the Foam core prototypes in the piece).

You’ll see two side-by-side stories about two neighbors who respond very differently to climate change. Sam reacts; Dave responds. Sam adapts; Dave searches for solutions. The split-screen storytelling technique is effective for calling out these distinctions.

TasK 3 V2 - Digital Design Festival

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I want to the SAP Weekend: Digital Design Festival at the V&A, which had many talks, workshops and exhibitions, all centered around digital design. It was amazing!

Some of the work these guys are doing is way over my head, there use of open source programming to create digital images is out of this world. One of the talks that really interested me was by Memo Akten, whose company "The Mega Super Awesome Visuals Company" is doing some outstanding work.
He creates programs with OpenFrameworks and Processing which use human interaction and music to make this beautiful animations, that are really quite surreal!

Depeche Mode - Fragile Tension from DJ Rigel on Vimeo.

The OpenFrameworks Lab was interesting too, with loads of hackers sitting around brainstorming about how to come up with the next best thing... like this...

Big Screams from prisonerjohn on Vimeo.

Where you control a character on screen using your phone! Scream as loud as you can to push everyone else off and be the last one standing!

The final workshop I went to a Recode Decode workshop with Karson Schmit, the creator of the Decode digital identity, which was a short workshop using open souse code. I found it rather complicated! A lot more reading and coding experience is needed to get to his level... I did manage to write a little programme (with his help!) to create an image of random coloured circles... very impressive I thought :-)

TASK 4 - Corporate Social Responsibility

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Corporate Social Responsibility - A form of corporate self-regulation, integrated into a business model. A business needs to take into account its economic, social and environmental impacts in the way it operates, maximising benefits and minimising downsides. It seems nowadays most companies are jumping on the CSR bandwaggon, mainly to get greater trust from the public, and therefor increasing revenues.

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is one of the UK's leading retailers of clothing, food, home products and financial services. Ten million people shop each week in over 375 M&S stores in the UK.n addition, Marks & Spencer has 155 stores managed under franchise in 28 territories, mostly in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Far East, as well as stores in the Republic of Ireland, Hong Kong and a US supermarket group, Kings Super Markets. The company is structured in business units covering food and general merchandise. The general merchandise unit is further divided into womens clothing, menswear, lingerie, beauty and home.

Each business unit develops its own CSR strategy based around the brand value of trust. The issues tackled in the strategies are identified from a combination of customer research, understanding within the business and by talking with other key stakeholders, government etc.

For each issue an action plan is developed which balances customer and stakeholder expectations and other commercial pressures. For example, for food, 16 issues have been identified ranging from pesticides to labour standards.

The issues are grouped into three general areas:
people, its own employees, and those employed in its supply chain; products, with an emphasis on producing high quality, value for money goods that have positive environmental and social benefits; and community, this category recognises the companys role in helping to create and maintain places within which to work and live. For each of the three areas M&S has a programme of work.

The founders of M&S believed that building good relationships with employees, suppliers and wider society was the best guarantee of long-term success. This remains the backbone of its approach to CSR. Since those early days M&S has built up a reputation as a trustworthy company. Trust is one of its core values and its approach to CSR focuses on maintaining and enhancing trust. In the past, before CSR was a defined concept, much of M&Ss work on environmental and social issues was through philanthropic gifts to charity work. However more recently there has been a move away from this traditional philanthropic giving as the company wanted to be more involved in the impact of its funding, with more of a focus on customers, staff and those producing its goods. This was a key driver for the launch of several CSR initiatives on health, employability and the environment in the last 5 years.


Starbucks Coffee is widely known for its social responsibility and fairtrade coffee. From the way they buy there coffee, to minimising the environmental impact, they seems to do a lot.

Starbucks bought 385 million pounds of coffee in 2008. Seventy-seven percent of that – 295 million pounds – was responsibly grown and ethically traded. By 2015, their goal is to buy 100 percent of our coffee this way. Last year, their ethical sourcing principles for coffee impacted more than one million farmers and workers.

In 2008, they expanded their on-the-ground presence in Africa, hiring a director of agronomy to oversee the new Farmer Support Center in Rwanda. They also remain committed to opening a Farmer Support Center in Ethiopia in the future.

In addition to their work with Conservation International and Starbucks ethical coffee buying guidelines, here are some other ways Starbucks is working with coffee-growing communities:

· Supporting farmers with small-scale farms and who grow Fair Trade coffee

· Paying the prices that high quality coffee commands

· Buying Certified Organic coffee

· Helping conserve wildlife and biodiversity in Africa's coffee regions through theAfrican Wildlife Foundation (AWF)

· Investing in a better future for farmers through loan programs

· Involving our partners and customers in our work with coffee farmers in Costa Ricawith Earthwatch Expeditions