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WHEN DESIGN CONVEYS SUSTAINABILITY MESSAGES

Beyond being a simple object, a product is the result of a design or is contained in a designed packaging. At Cannes Lions, Graphic Design, Digital Design, Environmental Design, Packaging Design and 360 Brand Experience is rewarded under the Grand Prix Design. Here, design is rewarded as “an aid in communication and experience to inform brand ethos and product messages”. Let’s have a look at how design and artists use their talents to convey sustainability messages.

Design at Cannes
Over the two last years, Serviceplan Munich won consecutively the Grand Prix Design of Cannes Lions for designs of sustainability reports. In 2012 the Grand Prix Design was given to the Austria Solar 2011 annual report, which could be read under sunlight only. In 2013, the Prix was awarded to “The selfscan report” of Auchan.

Change packaging = change brand image?
In 2011, with Ecohols the designer Jörn Beyer has redefined the packaging of famous spirit brands: from glass bottles to cartons. Here, the designer points out a very important question: is the brand’s perception towards its consumers change, and in which manners? Decision to go for more sustainable packaging is a real challenge for brands; the customer’s experience is changed and consequently the brand’s perception. Who are ready to take such challenges? Maybe reconsideration of packaging as mere container is a possible solution?

Source: Ecohol

Source: Ecohols by Jorn

Rethinking the packaging as an entertaining media
Have you ever experienced lonely meals? Or maybe avoided them? A simple tête-à-tête between you and your sandwich or meal… The most courageous of us may use their smartphones or tablets with the risk of pouring any kind of sauce or beverage on it. Jonathan Safran Foer has launched the lonely meal saver, without any risk for our electronic devices! All Chipotle cups and bags are now filled in with drawings and original texts from famous authors: Toni Morrison, Malcolm Gladwell, Sarah Silverman, Michael Lewis, Bill Hader, Judd Apatow, George Saunders, Steven Pinker, Sheri Fink and Jonathan Safran Foer himself. The packaging itself becomes a nice story support that can be whether shared with family and friends or enjoyed alone. Besides, “Cultivating Thoughts” give us another perspective of what we thought was just a container or the packaging of a sustainable fast food; it is also a media for entertainment.

Source: Chipotle Cultivating Thought
Source: Chipotle Cultivating Thought

Trendy design = upcycling design!
Today’s designers seem to follow more and more the path of upcycling, using waste to create amazing things. Reuse waste material enables to reduce the use of new raw materials, and thus reduce the impacts on the environment and in some cases – such as mining activities – social impacts.  Here are some examples that have been presented on The Guardian.

Source: The Guardian

Source: The Guardian

Source: The Guardian

Source: The Guardian

Source: The Guardian

Source: The Guardian

What about other artists?
Beyond artist designers, other artists have used in many occasions their talents to convey sustainability messages by showing how our current world is and push us to step back and think about it. The work of the Chinese artist Yao Lu, exhibited in 2011 at Istanbul Modern, denounced the ongoing-overwhelming pollution. He used his mounds of garbage photographs and reworked them by computer to re-create Chinese painting aesthetics.

Facing the reality is also the best way to convey and raise awareness about what surround us. What better than photos to do so? Created in 2008, the Prix Pictet is the global award in photography and sustainability covering the themes of consumption, power, growth, earth and water. The purpose is to uncover and reveal the biggest social and environmental challenges of today. To have a look to winners and shortlisted photographs, you can visit http://www.prixpictet.com/.

Art is great to raise awareness about sustainability issues; from design to art exhibition, a way to communicate our today’s challenges to people.  Brands’ role might be to reconsider all these talents to rethink packaging, design and communication?