Branding ecosystems for collective change

“His fantastic eye for design, his ability to get inside the needs, aspirations and spirit of the project.”

A sustainable career move

One question I asked myself during the pandemic lockdowns – can graphic design be a catalyst for climate action? There is a silver lining that I witnessed from many working in the creative community during this period of reflection. We’ve been given a chance to reset. More questions surfaced, like can design influence a meaningful change to humanity? It can feel rather overwhelming. Where do you start? How do I find fulfilling design work, with a higher purpose but still make a sustainable income for my family. During my research I stumbled upon the US based Climate Designers community of creatives and I joined their UK chapter. Their mission:

“To provide the resources, knowledge, and community for designers to take climate action in the work they do. To inspire, motivate, and graduate climate designers by providing climate-focused resources for design educators.” 

This online platform has provided inspiration, support and resources to help me become a more climate conscious designer and through Garlic Agency, I’m hoping to spark change through creativity. I have worked pro bono for UK charity ClimateScience, who create fun and easy-to-understand, reliable climate change resources for education. More recently, I worked on a social media campaign with charity Rewriting Extinction, a global collaboration aiming to save as many species from extinction as humanly possible. You can read more about my design business and personal values on my about page.

Barriers and boundaries

Climate change and therefore climate action is intrinsically complex but one constant is that the majority of scientists agree it’s real. Climate change affects people disproportionately. Research by Oxfam shows that the world’s richest 10% of people cause 50% of emissions. Whilst developing countries with ineffective governments and widespread poverty face the most profound risks from the extreme environmental changes. So how can my design agency begin to overcome these seemingly insurmountable hurdles?

  1. Help clients move away from convenience and conventional thinking by promoting use of the circular economy model – Take less. Make less. Waste less.  
  2. Support charities and organisations working in the climate sector at discounted rates (or pro bono), to spread their campaign messages
  3. Cutting down trees to disseminate knowledge seems rather hypocritical! I will be scaling back printed materials for clients and for my own business. Any print that is absolutely necessary will be carefully considered and produced sustainably.
  4. Provide sustainable website solutions for clients with carbon neutral hosting.
  5. Continue to be an active member of the Climate Designers community. 
  6. Fund and be an active member of Only One charity founded by SeaLegacy.
  7. Dedicate my Instagram account to raising awareness and sharing resources about climate change, sustainability and environmental issues. 

Changing the tide

Designing with the environment in mind. Considering what impact the project will have on the planet. The Planet, People, Profit (PPP) methodology feels more inclusive and more widely accessible, compared to previous design approaches. We should learn from the global pandemic. We should be asking ourselves what we can do, and we should be listening to climate change experts to educate ourselves.

Now it’s time to take action!

Related projects​

“Just to add to the fan messages this is amazing. Truly brilliant! You’ve managed to translate some horrendous scribbles into something beautiful!”

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