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[liberationtech] Design Can Change

Yosem Companys companys at
Sat Jan 24 21:48:47 PST 2009

Why do you only talk about graphic design?
Sustainability is a colossal topic. We felt that it was more important to
address one area of importance instead of spreading our research over too
broad a spectrum.
      This site is a response to the fact that sustainability resources for
graphic designers are limited, especially in comparison to resources
available for related fields such as product design and architecture.
Additionally, we are graphic designers, so it made sense to stick with what
we concentrate on.

Where is the data on this site from?
All of the content highlighted on Design Can Change is the result of an
exhaustive research process conducted at smashLAB from fall 2006 to early
2007. Wherever possible, we have cited the source material.
      We must, however, stress that we are designers and not sustainability
experts. Our data is a compilation of findings that is at best incomplete,
and much of it changes daily. We believe that embracing sustainability is a
journey. We are learning, much like you, and this site represents that. It
is a resource, but by no means a definitive set of standards.

How do you ensure pledge compliance?
We do not. Design Can Change is not an institution or governing body and
does not monitor its pledges. It remains the responsibility of the
individual to audit their own activities and ensure that they do their best
to meet the goals they have agreed to.
      Perhaps some will abuse this, but in our experience, most designers
have a sincere desire to do good. We trust that the vast majority of those
who take the pledge do so in good conscience.

Why is so much missing from this site?
As we conducted our research, we found that many of our sources were so
data-heavy that it was difficult to extract the most salient points. In
preparing Design Can Change, we sought to deliver a concise presentation
that was carefully edited. We felt this would make the site stronger, as it
allows visitors to quickly access relevant information.
      It should also be noted that materials exist that delve in to these
topics in much greater detail. We encourage you to visit the Resources
section that lists sites, books and articles that we have found useful.
      We also welcome your suggestions for additions to the site. Please
email them to: info at

Can I help with this effort?
The first thing we ask of those who would like to be involved in the
campaign is to assist with awareness. We need to build critical mass, and
the best way to do so is through our network.
      Place one of the Design Can Change logos (available in the Downloads
section) on your site, and link to this site. If you have a blog, post about
Design Can Change and your efforts to become sustainable. You can also send
an email to the designers you know and ask them to take the pledge. A PDF
that answers their questions is available here.
      If you would like take a larger part in the effort, please email us at
info at and we will try to find a role that suits your
schedule and abilities. At this time, much of this is still unwritten, as
we're all a little new to this sort of effort.

Why did you make this site? Who's behind it?
We are a studio in Vancouver called smashLAB. Over the past couple of years,
we have tried to become more sustainable, but found it a cumbersome process.
As we started to do more research, we felt it would be good to share our
findings with others in the community. Additionally, when we started to
consider our collective influence as designers, we thought it made sense to
work together to lobby for better options.
      The site was generated entirely pro-bono and it has no method of
revenue generation. We simply felt that it was our responsibility as
professionals to create this resource. We hope that you share this sentiment
and participate in the effort.
      If you'd like to learn more about us, please visit our website: or read our blog:
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