Graphic Designers Team Up to Measure and Reduce Impacts

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Just as the environmental impacts of products are primarily determined at the design stage, so are the environmental impacts of graphic design.

With an eye toward better measuring the impacts of graphic design as its happening, instead of after projects are created and printed, industry members Re-nourish, the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada and other partners have started the Sustainable Design Auditing Project (SDAP).

The SDAP is a public project with the goal of creating open-source metrics for measuring the environmental, social and economic impacts of the graphic design supply chain.

More specifically, it's aimed at providing ways for companies, designers and their clients with ways to look at the impacts of their work during the design phase, and compare different choices.

Environmental impacts would include energy, water, greenhouse gas emissions, toxicity and more. Social impacts would touch on employment, health, safety and community development. And economic impacts covers productivity, local investment and profitability.

The project is currently signing up interested parties, and will be led by a steering committee made up of representatives from the private sector, working designers, academia and environmental non-profits and non-governmental organizations. The SDAP will include a public input and review process, and also take into account other metrics systems developed by other industries.

Roundtable discussion - CC license by Flickr user  thinkpublic