We all know that sustainability is good for you and the environment and let’s all go save the whales. However, the simple notion of something positive is far from enough to successfully implement a sustainable product, let alone its communication. The Designboost event and current work with a range of sustainable products for different clients has sparked the following paragraphs.
Once again, information is king
Sustainability is a notion that is political, market-driven and individually responsible all at the same time. But more importantly, sustainability is based on knowledge.
Products that are sustainable illuminate knowledge. Knowledge pours out of the packaging, it radiates in the hands of the user. That’s because it takes profound knowledge to make a truly sustainable product. And in order to communicate the product, the user is required to know about sustainability too. Or rather, the product can choose to teach the user what sustainability really is, how complex is it really is, and how it makes a difference.
Thus, the sustainable product becomes a vessel for teaching the user something new about her world, and that piece of information is forever stored with the user.
Marketeers sometimes call this “the learning brand”. Scholars call it “education”. Designers simply call it “design” ;). It is a very powerful method of communication with your audience – maybe the strongest way of communication at all. But there is also a risk involved – if your product does not deliver on the promised aspects of sustainability, it will fail – and your product will become a lie.
If you succeed, your work is king.