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"Green design is just a fashion"

Postby designobot » November 2nd, 2009, 10:44 pm


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Shigeru Ban – Green design doesn’t mean anything to me

“Green design is just a fashion. It doesn’t mean anything to me. I’ve been working with materials like paper since 1986, long before this fashionable movement arose. I’m just interested in using materials without wasting it. Nothing has changed. The shape is different but the idea behind a project is always the same – taking advantage of the material itself. Shigeru Ban

Just thought it was interesting.

Re: "Green design is just a fashion"

Postby nicanor » November 2nd, 2009, 11:53 pm


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There's two paths to green design. Those that do it to do it, and those that do it and tell everyone how great the product is because of it (marketing). The 2nd is misleading a lot of the general public to believing that because they're choose product B, they will save the planet and don't have to do much anything else to do so.

Just because a product is recyclable doesn't make the product 100x better IMO. Why stop there, why didn't they choose recycled materials to begin with. It's kind of like the WalMart family donating $10,000 to charity then spending $250,000 in marketing telling people they donate money to charity...

Re: "Green design is just a fashion"

Postby Highfrontier » November 3rd, 2009, 5:10 am


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the title 'green' design (and variants) is a horrible, demotivating, pacifying and inert description for an activity that's about gamechanging humanity.. we should stop using it.

Re: "Green design is just a fashion"

Postby Travisimo » November 3rd, 2009, 8:51 am

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I agree, when everyone and their uncle is using "green" to describe themselves it just becomes just another meaningless word

Re: "Green design is just a fashion"

Postby Eddison » November 3rd, 2009, 11:43 am


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So what do you guys suggest then? Should "it" be monitored by a third party, kind of like UL Listing?

Re: "Green design is just a fashion"

Postby nicanor » November 3rd, 2009, 12:01 pm


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For starters, there should be a universal scale/grading system for the products (including packaging) so it'll be easier for the general public to compare product A to B. I heard WalMart was going to do this with some of their products a few years ago but haven't seen anything from it since.

Re: "Green design is just a fashion"

Postby NURB » November 3rd, 2009, 12:02 pm

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Well, we do need a little more bureaucracy in the country (USA), right?

In construction there are LEED standards set by the USGBC (US Green Building Council), which is quickly becoming standard in commercial and residential construction. There's also RoHS standards in plastics, and other materials. I suppose a "governing body" could decide what's Green and what's not.

Of course the most Green thing you could do, is live with what you have and make it work forever. But then most of us would be out of work.
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Those who define design as knowing how to use Illustrator will be condemned to using Illustrator their entire career. - @monteiro

Re: "Green design is just a fashion"

Postby kmnet » November 3rd, 2009, 1:23 pm


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I have to somehow agree with Shigeru Ban, green design has been used too loosely. Being green is not enough, it has to be Sustainable Design where the entire life cycle of a product is taken into consideration, else it is just a marketing gimmick.

Good resource on sustainable design: http://www.espdesign.org

Re: "Green design is just a fashion"

Postby Cameron » November 3rd, 2009, 1:33 pm

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This is why I prefer Nike's 'Considered' terminology. Consider context, and do your best to create as little entropy as possible, because you can't get around it.
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Re: "Green design is just a fashion"

Postby Eddison » November 3rd, 2009, 1:41 pm


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NURB wrote:Well, we do need a little more bureaucracy in the country (USA), right?

In construction there are LEED standards set by the USGBC (US Green Building Council), which is quickly becoming standard in commercial and residential construction. There's also RoHS standards in plastics, and other materials. I suppose a "governing body" could decide what's Green and what's not.

Of course the most Green thing you could do, is live with what you have and make it work forever. But then most of us would be out of work.


Sometimes I think UL is run by the mob.

I think what we're trying to work toward is having the material that goes into our products "work forever" and not necessarily the actual product. Our jobs are safe, pheww! .....I still need to learn Mandarin though, lol.

Re: "Green design is just a fashion"

Postby NURB » November 3rd, 2009, 2:05 pm

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Eddison wrote:Sometimes I think UL is run by the mob.


Oh, I completely agree with you there. I could off for hours on stupid UL listings.
Chris Haar

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Those who define design as knowing how to use Illustrator will be condemned to using Illustrator their entire career. - @monteiro

Re: "Green design is just a fashion"

Postby darrenalex » November 4th, 2009, 2:56 am


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I am alex. My point of view, I think that green is not working in professional market(corporates). It is good for personal or some specific groups or company. I do not think that green color is that much good. Most of the organizations are going for the professional colors.

Re: "Green design is just a fashion"

Postby product tank » November 4th, 2009, 2:29 pm

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Having watched this thread slowly build for a few days, I'm quite glad that Core haven't moved it into the 'designers accord and green design' discussion area as I think this sort of topic should become a general design discussion. We shouldn't have to label it as green design or any other specialised design area - sustainable, eco friendly, enviro conscious etc, it should become the norm in terms of what we as designers do. We don't call the environmentally poor design work produced in the 80's & 90's and in many cases what is produced today as doing 'un-green' design. 'What do you do?', 'I'm an un-green designer' that would be too negative, so I'm inclined to agree with the title - green design is just a fashion.

I think the problem has been, that whilst many of us want to do good, previously, we haven't had the tools to work out how green we are being. For example if I manage to save size and weight in a product, that must be an environmental saving, because I can ship more, saving fuel etc, but to reduce size and weight I have to use different materials, which require much more energy to process, how can I tell if the savings I've made are really a benefit over the material sacrifice. Does it balance out, or have I in fact actually made a negative environmental impact?

kmnet wrote:Good resource on sustainable design: http://www.espdesign.org


This site looks really useful and I will be investigating further - the stuff coming out from solid works mentioned on the site sounds really exciting too.

Re: "Green design is just a fashion"

Postby rkuchinsky » November 4th, 2009, 6:08 pm

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I'm quite glad that Core haven't moved it into the 'designers accord and green design' discussion area as I think this sort of topic should become a general design discussion. We shouldn't have to label it as green design or any other specialised design area - sustainable, eco friendly, enviro conscious etc, it should become the norm in terms of what we as designers do


it's been moved ;)

The whole point of having categories is that it helps people focus. Not a comment that every design should not be green, but if you look at everything in broad strokes it all "General Design" or "Projects". That doesn't help anyone.

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Re: "Green design is just a fashion"

Postby Highfrontier » November 5th, 2009, 3:19 pm


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for sure, titles help focus. Unfortunately, that's now more bad focus than good focus.. when a title has reached a stage where it makes people wince when they hear it, their focus is more often on avoiding or even worse, attacking the principles.

'sustainable' seems better all round for the time being (although, it has connotations of stagnation).. let's just forget 'green', I don't think I've used it in any professional context since about 1997 anyway.

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