The Change We Need


Our Creative Director Mirella Arapian recently spoke with The Brand Identity about the graphic design industry’s role in the fight against climate change. Here’s a snippet:

TBI:     What could the design industry do more of or be better at in the fight against climate change?

MA:   As an industry of persuaders it’s up to us to make the choices that minimise the impacts of climate change more desirable and easier for people to buy into. The current visual landscape of climate change heavily relies on clichés and specialised, inconsistent visuals (such as icons) to convey complex messaging that people find too overwhelming to process – this leads to unimaginative approaches that people don’t engage with.

Along with the ad industry, our industry is responsible for the marketing, messaging, branding, and campaigns driven by buzzwords such as free-range, organic, local, grass-fed, ethical, sustainable, humane, biodegradable, etc (words that are used to sell products that are almost always anything but those things), to make people feel good or better about what they buy, thus driving demand and revenue for companies that encourage endless consumption.

Designers excel at problem-solving through innate curiosity and critical thought, and this urgently needs to extend beyond our design capabilities to questioning the practices and ethics of the clients and companies we work with. To fight against climate change we must stop engaging in projects that involve single-use plastics, destruction of habitat, promotion of animal agriculture, and an adverse impact on people or the planet. We also must take individual responsibility for our own choices and how we live, work, and consume.

We can use our platforms to raise awareness, educate people, share ideas, promote initiatives, donate money, call out greenwashing, and join movements. Creativity is needed to convince people to be part of the bigger, harder things the world needs to do in the fight against climate change, and as designers, we are uniquely positioned to achieve that because design has the power to change the world.
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