As designers its difficult to eliminate the pollution our products cause. This problem is also amplified by the higher production volume of each design, generating greater waste and consequently increased pollution. As a design becomes more commercially successful it becomes potentially more contaminating.
But a principle of proportionality, or ‘Offset’ system could reduce the negative impact successful designs have on the environment.
By this I mean that the higher the sales forecasts, the more environmentally friendly design solutions a product should have.
That way the more shoes of a design are produced, the less impact that design will have on the environment.
By prioritizing environmentally friendly design on the highest volume styles, you also promote environmental awareness and responsible decision making to a larger audience.
Not only is the ‘Offset’ system a great internal challenge, but externally it can demonstrate to the consumer how a designer and brand have greater awareness and a willingness to create a better world.
After 103 years on the market the Converse Chuck Taylor is probably the best selling single shoe design of all time and with a canvas upper its one of the least environmentally impacting athletic footwear designs.
But today Converse sells over 200,000 pairs of Chuck Taylor’s per day around the world – Source ABC News and how many find their way into landfills each day?
As the best selling shoe in the world, shouldn’t the Chuck Taylor also be known as the most environmentally friendly footwear design? And wouldn’t this be a really interesting design direction for the Chuck Taylor?
Because the Chuck Taylor is highly representational of the positive nature and expressions of human culture, the ‘Offset’ product philosophy would be a great fit for it.
Imagine an environmentally friendly Chuck Taylor, combining popularity, cultural relevance with social responsibility. A design evolution that would create the most profound Chuck Taylor product identity yet; as a perfect shoe.
The Chuck Taylor would become more than the most loved shoe, that best fits in with consumer culture all over the world, but it also the shoe which creates the least negative impact to their environment!
And what if all companies followed this model of the ‘Offset’ system, incorporating the most environmentally friendly design solutions on their best selling product, while educating consumers to earn their trust and loyalty.
Could “The Environmental Design Offset Theory” catalyze the development of a more environmentally friendly culture, for both brands and consumers?