Originally, I started to write this entry about a Sustainable Brand Identity. But as I put pen to paper and fingers to keyboard, I realized that my opening paragraph deserved a bit more attention. It's about the importance of a sustainable concept behind the design. Think of it this way – sustainability can be applied to both the tangible and the intangible – the execution of the idea AND the idea itself. It should be the basis of anything that you develop to promote your business – your brand identity, an ad campaign, the packaging for your expanding line of products, your website, your overall marketing plan or approach – anything. This kind of thinking plays a major role in the way your business or brand will function and flourish over long periods of time, across a full range of products, and through successive stages of it's growth. In other words – how sustainable it is.
Historically, design has been a huge part of a cyclical process: influencing consumers to rush out and get the "new thing" thereby setting new trends, which in turn influences the design of new emerging things. And so on and so on. This occurs in all areas of design – graphic, interior, fashion, products, furniture, etc. Now don't get me wrong, trends will always play a role in design, but in an over-crowded and ever-changing marketplace, we cannot afford for it to be the primary guiding principal. For instance, using a really trendy font for your logotype may be effective in the market now, but what happens one or two or three years from now when the trends change? Imagine what it would add to your overhead if you had to change everything that had your logotype on it: stationery, marketing materials, signage, products, your website – to adapt to the latest style.
The more applicable the design is over time and across all media, the more cost-effective and less wasteful production and marketing efforts will be in terms of energy use, material, and finally disposal (post consumer). Ultimately, we see that these two branches of sustainability in design – the tangible and the intangible – work in unison, supporting the environment and nourishing your business. The bottom line for your business and the bottom line for the planet are one and the same. What helps one helps the other.