Reimagining the UK design industry to boost sustainability and community innovation

Posted on: 27/09/2022
Designers Declare Article Image - Architect with model house sat at a office desk indoors

The Design Innovation Network is all about responsible design and helping innovators to connect with designers. Abi Hird, Design Innovation Network Lead at Innovate UK KTN spoke with Jo Barnard, Founder of forward-thinking design consultancy Morrama, about the new Design Declares initiative. This article features the highlights of their conversation.

What is Design Declares?

Design Declares is a climate emergency declaration campaign to encourage communication, digital, industrial, and service designers to take action on the climate and ecological crisis. It aims to connect and build a community of designers, studios, agencies, and institutions that will reimagine, rebuild and heal our world. The goal is to work towards understanding, measuring and acting on the climate impact and encouraging accountability across the design community.

Why is the climate emergency important?

In May 2019, the UK Government declared a Climate Emergency, becoming the first national government to do so. As attention to sustainable design increases, raising awareness of the climate emergency and accelerating the progress towards building a net zero economy and environmentally focused infrastructure will ensure we have a prosperous, optimistic future.

"As designers working within an industry driven by consumption and reliant on production, we have to acknowledge that we have a role to play in changing this system. This is the most important brief of our lives. Join us as we begin to design a climate-positive future."

Jo Barnard, Founder and Creative Director, Morrama

How can people benefit from Design Declares?

The main thing we hope Design Declares offers is clarity. Clarity, on what our role as designers is in climate change, shedding light on the impact we have through the projects we work on, and guidance on how we can create meaningful change. Although the Toolkit has been compiled by designers, we have made it accessible for students, clients, startups and any business that relies on design in some way to ensure all stakeholders can understand, collaborate and address the sustainability challenges we face with environmental solutions.

How can design help businesses innovate responsibly?

It’s said that 80% of all product-related environmental impacts are determined during the design phase of a product. The UK design industry has a huge opportunity to design products and services that are both people and planet centred. Businesses and designers must come together to create ways to future proof our work, our communities and our planet.

Design Declares provides a toolkit that supports designers in making changes through offering guidance, accessible tools, and frameworks for change that help us build work on delivering positive change.

Next steps

Join the Design Hive to speak to a community of designers and Innovators about sustainable, planet centred, regenerative design and ethical innovation. Also, make sure to get in touch with the Design Declares team to discuss the campaign further.

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