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A Designers Role

The Sustainability and Graphic Design article by Phil Hamlett really spoke to me this week because the issue of sustainability has been a reappearing topic at my job where I do marketing for the auxiliary services on The College at Brockport campus. Campus wide we have green initiatives in place, but the challenge has become “how do we communicate this?” Our student population isn’t largely known for being sustainability driven, making this task of communication even harder. They are willing to carry out small practices (although still significant in purpose), but so many even question what items can and cannot be recycled. So how do we make that simple task at hand easier to understand?

To make forays into this territory, we involved sustainability driven students to help us create informative recycling bins that would better illustrate whether an item was trash, a paper product, or glass, plastic, aluminum. By separating these items apart into three categories, as opposed to just having a recycle bin next to a trash container, students already have an easier way to visually break it down. The messaging above the receptacles (a section of it shown in my image), gives images of the exact containers found on campus that students might question, and serves as a guideline to push recycling behavior. We also worked in a little school pride using the universities colors at the bottom with the “Green is Gold” statement. In the past we’ve noticed this type of messaging builds moral because engaged students feel more connected to the College, resulting in a higher chance they will do things to support the pride we have as a Brockport community. Design can be extremely vital when communicating messages of value, such as sustainability.



Joel Skelton

This is brilliant. I love this sustainability strategy. While I like the strategy of using the school colors, I think they play another role, as well. Gold is historically a most coveted material (California Gold Rush) and is awarded to the most prestigious athletes (gold medals). I think the “gold” message translates into the kind of thinking that the viewer wants that gold medal; by being green, one would be awarded that coveted medal. That’s my take on it, anyway.


Kelly, I love your comments on graphic design and efforts of recycling. I know I was confused, as were my colleagues, when RIT moved to single stream recycling. It was odd and we were used to separating everything. It seemed wrong to dump it all together. And then Enid mentioned single-stream recycling being a challenge here and I though — yes! I can see why!!


I Love your idea to incentive students to recycle and integrate them to the sustainability world. personally, I consider myself totally green. I love the colors on the picture and I can feel the connection.


This is a great example of sustainability design. I like how the image explains what specific objects can be recycled.

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