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Why it Matters: Green Design

Each Friday, we point TreeHugger’s green spotlight on a designer practicing sustainability and incorporating green into their designs. Either through materials selection and use, manufacturing practices or finishing techniques (or a combination of the three…or any number of other, smaller — but no less important — considerations), they’re creating beautiful, useful, functional artifacts that leave a smaller footprint on the earth. But doesn’t it just create more stuff that we may or may not need? Isn’t an opiate for people who want to be greener but don’t want to actually do anything? Why is spotlighting (and encouraging) sustainable design important? Read on…

Just about everything we use, consume or see every day has been designed; designers have their hands on all of these things, far before we ever see them on the shelves (or on your computer screen, as with each Friday here at the TreeHugger blog). While there’s a lot — a lot — of “design-for-design’s-sake” out there, we want to encourage designers to take these formally disposable products, keep them beautiful and increase their relative sustainability. While it’s true (for the most part) that we can’t buy our way to sustainability, TreeHugger feels its important not only to showcase as many of the really striking, really modern examples of design as we can, but to use our green voice to encourage designers not yet on board to follow suit. If we can help convince the world (and the designers) that green can look good and is worth doing, there is no product that can’t be made greener by this philosophy. The computer you’re reading this on, the keyboard tray you’re resting your hands on, the light you’re reading by — all exemplified in Herman Miller’s new Be Collection [www.thebecollection.com], pictured above — all can be more beautiful, more functional, and more sustainable.

So, we don’t think you should go out and buy everything that you read about on this site, or at TreeHugger, for that matter. But you should know that it exists, that sustainable, fantastically-designed, thoughtful versions of just about everything you consume on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis can be yours. Come back this week for more musings on product design, plus some advice about where to learn more and (finally) where to buy it when you’re ready. Stay tuned!