Designing for Sustainability

Designing for Sustainability

In the journal article, ‘Designing for Sustainability: A Philosophy for Intentional Design’ from volume 22 of the journal, Design Issues, Stegall describes the field of design as a “major focal point for sustainability” (p56). His opinion is that, although society is designing products that are environmentally friendly, they are not helping to solve the current sustainability crisis. Sustainability can only be achieved if our society “adopts a sustainable behaviour” (p57) alongside sustainable products. He believes that all designers should embrace the idea of intentional design, which he defines as “consciously designing products that encourage positive, constructive ways of life” (p58).

In order establish and achieve intentional design, Stegall believes that a unified ecological design philosophy must be implemented. He breaks this unified philosophy down into four main philosophies – a philosophy of resources, form and function, purpose, and spirit.

The current spirit in design is where designers create products for the sole purposes of advancing in science and economic gain, with complete disregard for its effects on the environment and society. Stegall quotes another author, David Orr, who writes that “Ecological sustainability is driven by the sense of wonder, the sheer delight in being alive in a beautiful, mysterious, bountiful world” (p59). We need to establish a new philosophy of spirit, where we look to the natural world for inspiration, and ideas, in order to develop new goals for society and the way live.

The most important design philosophy, as Stegall calls it, is the philosophy of purpose. The philosophy of purpose expresses reasons why products should be used – it presents values and attitudes that designers want to promote and thus should encourage the idea of sustainable lifestyles. Stegall also mentions David Orr’s idea of “ecological literacy” (p59). Ecological literacy comprises of certain personal qualities such as “caring, knowing...

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