SD Standard

How can a designer have a positive impact on the planet? What should designers consider? Should designers be accountable for the emissions they contribute to producing from the products they design? Or should we be held accountable for the human rights we promote? Or fail to support?

The SD Standard is a project I’ve been working on with other colleagues, mostly Valerie Elliott, and Tuuli Sauren. It is a rating system where a designer can self-assess her or his design, and one’s own practices as a designer in terms of social, cultural, environmental and economic impact. This system is focused on communication design projects, such as editorial, graphic, illustration, and web design. While the current system can also be applied to product and environmental design projects, it needs further testing in those categories.

To make this a practical set of tools, our core team is developing focused metrics per design category. A book, for example, carries different environmental factors than a website. While it makes environmental sense to design a durable chair, it makes little sense to design durable packaging for cookies. The current SD Standard encompasses about 60 metrics, which are being fine-tuned and focused, based on the nature of a given project.

You can learn more about this project on the SD Standard website.

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