Design for Keeps

Posted by on Apr 22, 2008 in Blog, Uncategorized | No Comments

The AIGA Y Conference in San Diego concluded on March 29th.

This years conference examined how individuals, communities, nations and the world are developing new paradigms for a more healthy and sustainable culture.

Here’s a link to HOW Magazine writer Carmen’s blog about the conference.

This speaker’s overview really spoke to me. “Sue Redding, a designer and California College of the Arts professor, talked about the idea of “Style Obsolescence”–basically the modern philosophy where we buy new even if the old version isn’t worn out.

She traced this idea back to Henry Ford’s Model T car where new lines of cars were introduced each year to encourage people to keep purchasing, even if their current one is still working–the new one is just trendier or different. At the time, that concept was novel–Sue pointed out that people had to actually be taught how to throw things away.

But today that concept is so ingrained that everything is designed as disposable and not to last.

So, she says, we must rethink the way style works. One of which being the pragmatic but counter-cultural idea of stretching the use of things out as long as possible. This is something to be considered as a lifestyle change, whether in your own shopping habits or in every design project you undertake.”

Consider designing with items that can be reused. We decorated out studio tree with a very cool House Industries catalog. It looked great and cost us nothing. All our ink cartridges are refurbished and we send in our used cartridges to be refurbished. 90% of our computer equipment is refurbished or Craig’s List buys. Most of our furniture is reused…..there are several great resale shops for even the most modern of tastes. One of our favorites is Retro At Home here in Oakland, and of course Craig’s List and garage sales.