The changing role of the industrial designer with the growing sustainability imperative

DS 59: Proceedings of E&PDE 2009, the 11th Engineering and Product Design Education Conference - Creating a Better World, Brighton, UK, 10.-11.09.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Clarke, A, Ion, W, McMahon, C and Hogarth, P
Author: Loy, Jennifer Elizabeth
Series: E&PDE
Page(s): 426-430


How does the role of the industrial designer change in response to the sustainability imperative? In practical terms, how does sustainability affect what the designer does and the outcomes that can be expected? What new skills and approaches should educators be teaching to help their graduates meet the new challenges involved? This paper is based on the outcomes of a study that suggests a changing role for the designer, in the face of differences in approach and innovations in production, to initiate sustainable practice. Within this context it provides an industrial designer's response to the issues and specific problems raised by a project set by the hardwood timber industry in south east Queensland, Australia. The research is located primarily in the construction and manufacturing industries in south east Queensland and northern New South Wales but also in the development of design practice in response to the global sustainability imperative that was a significant driver for the project. The work provides design educators with an indication of how designers can assess the brief they are set and influence the outcomes of their projects to provide their clients with the financial benefits of long term, triple bottom line based thinking, and the rest of us with environmentally and socially responsible products.

Keywords: Sustainability, role of the designer, manufacturing, forestry, practical example


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