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Sustainability and Graphic Design

Phil Hamlett’s article Sustainability and Graphic Design, stresses the importance of getting the business community involved in sustainability practices. Hamlett states that “like it or not—since the business community and the capitalist system in which it operates sets the pace for society at large, acceptance here is crucial for any meaningful impact” (Hamlett, 2005, p. 185). Although some companies such as Toyota, The Body Shop, Aveda, American Apparel, Nike, Hewlett-Packard, and Starbuck’s have already caught on and implemented sustainability initiatives, there are still many others have yet “to recognize the inherent value in such behavior” (Hamlett, 2005, p. 186). This is where the designers come in.

Hamlett suggests that it is the role of graphic designers to help with sustainability initiatives and use “design as a vehicle for social change” (Hamlett, 2005, 188). He gives many suggestions for designers as to how they should move forward in addressing these issues, but the most important point that he makes is communicating the message. The article states that “there is an increasing need to explain these issues to a world eager to understand them” (Hamlett, 2005, 186). It is crucial that designers not only supply consumers with information about sustainability but also provide it to businesses.

After reading Hamlett’s article, students in RIT’s Visual Communication course posted images showing examples of the ways that graphic designers have contributed to promoting sustainability issues. Below are some of these images. For more images regarding this article and others being reviewed in the Visual Communication course please visit the Visual Communication Illustrations Page.

Posted by Amarilis Ramos Gonzalez
Posted by Amarilis Ramos Gonzalez


Posted by Lauren Palmieri
Posted by Lauren Palmieri


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