Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Designer’s Accord is just that, an accord for designers. Its purpose is to bring designers together on the issue of sustainability and through education and action lessen the impact of the design world on the earth.

The Designer’s Accord was developed in 2007 by Valerie Casey. Valerie is a designer for IDEO. In the winter of 2007 the idea of the Designer’s Accord came to her while she was on a flight. She realized that she as a designer was contributing in a large way to waste and pollution in the world. So she began to write. The initial document was called the Kyoto Treaty and it basically outlined the same things as the Designer’s Accord with some small variations.

The Designer’s Accord has three levels of conscription; supporter, adopter and endorser. Supporters are individuals within the design community such as students, freelance designers and artists. They are expected to adopt the guide lines to their practices as well as evangelize the movement. Adopters are the main constituent. They consist of organized groups within the design community. This includes Design firms, corporations and educational institutions. Endorsers are organizations that can add awareness and provide infrastructure for education and outreach.

Supporters, adopters and endorsers all have to agree to guidelines that are specific to their type of adoption but they are all roughly the same. The guidelines include a commitment to publicly declare their adherence to the accord. Dialogue with clientel about sustainable design. Educate their colleagues, teams etc. about sustainable design. Figure out their “footprint” and commit to reducing it annually. And finally contribute to communal knowledge of sustainable and social design.

The Designer’s Accord is an important step toward the kind of awareness that is necessary in today consumer culture. It has the potential to create a revolution in design but can only do so if individuals decided to make a difference. As artists we are a volatile bunch and as a critical link in the production chain we are influential. The responsibility is ours.

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