Week 9

Action plan from presentation / industry advice

Sustainable architecture

Sustainable architecture must have all or some of these characteristics:


Biobased Creations – house made from 100 different natural/waste materials:

Sustainable Graphic Designers

Bruce Mau Design

Article: Meet Bruce Mau. He wants to redesign the world

When thinking about Eco-Collective, I believe it’s looking at transforming the system, the industry and the way packaging is created, as opposed to just creating more sustainable materials. Obviously they will help, but like May demonstrates below with Coca-Cola – the scale of pollution with large companies is too large and something much bigger needs to be put in place to improve our future and reduce waste.

BMD Design have also signed up to the below which I think is really interesting:

Clean Creatives

A database of companies which use fossil fuels: http://nofossilfuelmoney.org/company-list/

Certification surrounding working with a business that does not link with companies participating in fossil fuels is a sign of quality and trust. I like how it is also referred to as a ‘badge’ which companies can display on products if they wish.

Richard Buckminster Fuller

“Buckminster Fuller spent his life working across multiple fields, such as architecture, design, geometry, engineering, science, cartography and education, in his pursuit to make the world work for 100% of humanity.” Source

– Systems thinking approach; the idea of the world being an interconnected system with interconnected problems, and therefore the solution is collective action.

“Back in the mid-60s, way before the sustainable design movement took root, he was talking about “energy, fossil fuels, food, and pollution.” He was one of the first systems-thinkers, serving as one of the intellectual godfathers of today’s integrated approach to sustainable design.“ Source

To the younger generation, the most stimulating thing about Fuller is probably his exhilarating contention that we have arrived at the threshold of “an entirely new philosophical era of man on earth.” For the first time in history, he argues, man has the ability to play a conscious, active role in his own evolution, and therefore to make himself a complete success in his environment. According to Fuller, this dazzling prospect was opened to us by Einstein’s concept of energy as the basis of the universe. “Einstein shattered the Newtonian cosmos,” he said recently. “In the famous first law of dynamics, Newton had said that a body persisted in a state of rest or constant motion except as it was affected by other bodies; he was assuming that the normal condition of all things was inertia. Einstein realized that all bodies were constantly being affected by other bodies, though, and this meant that their normal condition was not inertia at all but continuous motion and continuous change. The replacement of the Newtonian static norm by the Einsteinian dynamic norm really opened the way to modern science and technology, and it’s still the biggest thing that is happening at this moment in history.” Source

“After World War II, Fuller became frustrated with how architects and designers used technology in their craft — he felt they used only the necessary amount to make their work easier, instead of allowing the possibilities of the technology to dominate the decisions.” Source

Henry Beck

Famously known for designing the London underground map as we know it today, Beck was an engineer for UERL (Underground Electric Railways Company of London) but set about creating a project to ‘tidy up’ the design of the map. There have been countless revisions to the map since 1908, but Beck’s design is still fundamentally the basis of todays map – with credit to Harold Hutchison for some minor amendments (as detailed in this article here).

The first London underground map in 1908


Henry Beck’s first design in 1931


The London underground map as we know it today


So why is this project important? Well I wanted to talk about this as an example of successful design as this is what makes sustainable design important.

Beck’s logical approach to designing the map formed no small part of its success. He considered and prioritised the perspectives and needs of the tube’s consumer: the people who travelled on it. Beck believed the tube’s users were less concerned with geographical accuracy, and instead wanted to know how they could find their way out of one station to another so that they could plan their routes with ease. Rather than attempting to create a system that accurately demonstrated distance, Beck instead designed a map that outlined the underground system itself. By considering how each station and rail lines correspond to one another, Beck was able to apply a Modernist grid system by removing confusing rail lines and replacing them with symbols and colours that were easy to understand. 

LondonxLondon (Source)

Beck knew that in order to redesign this underground system, customers needed relevant information and not necessarily with geographical accuracy – it wasn’t relevant for this. Customers of the tube just wanted to see which line had the stop they needed. By considering this, Beck eliminated any information that was not relevant and customers were able to (and still are) navigate with ease.


So what can I learn from current industry experts or revolutionary designers? I have now identified from research all the way up to now that design must consider the whole process in order for the product/service to be truly sustainable. Richard Buckminster Fuller is a key historical figure in graphic design who succeeded with this approach – consider redesigning a system in order to provide an effective solution. We can also learn a lot from Henry Beck, who redesigned the London Underground map as well, as he prioritised the customers of London tube and put himself in their shoes. He knew that geographical details weren’t necessary or relevant to the customer and therefore was able to transform and build the London map as we know it today. Beck thought about the service that customers want, which ultimately led him to create a really successful project.