how to be a sustainable digital designer

How to Create More Sustainable Digital Design

Everything we do consumes energy, right down to the tools we use and the designs we build. If we’re not conscious of how to employ greener practices throughout the design process, we’re not helping the planet—which needs our help ASAP. So read on.

Use tools to help you build and optimize greener websites

While print designers are able to source greener materials, print with plant-based dyes, and use compostable packing materials, UI and graphic designers might not know where to start with digital sustainability. The Internet consumes about 1% of the world’s energy, so there’s plenty of room for improvement! Thanks to sites like Green The Web, you can find free apps and tools that help websites to consume less energy. For example, a browser add-on like Globemallow can run diagnostics on any website and provide feedback on how to update the site to make it more eco-friendly. Short Pixel or Tiny PNG are tools to help you compress your images and videos to use less bandwidth and load faster. As with lots of things about climate change, little steps that everyone makes will help contribute to a greener future.

Find ways to teach your users about your sustainability methods

Regardless of the design you’re creating, you’ll want to add information on your site or product’s sustainability for users. Maybe you add a top skinny banner that calls out how your site is powered by solar energy as Low Tech Mag does. Some businesses run full sustainability reports—make these available to read under your “About us” section while offering key highlights. Work with copywriters to make sustainability information clear and approachable so that readers understand the work and feel inspired to rethink their own sustainability efforts.

Look to work with sustainably-minded companies

While not every company has 100% figured out all of their sustainability efforts (and it looks different for each one, TBH), you can do your research before applying and ask about what they’re doing to help slow climate change. For example, Patagonia has always offered product repairs, which has helped curb their waste for decades. They’ve also structured their profits to be donated toward fighting climate change from now on. LEGO, too, has switched to creating LEGO bricks with regrowable materials. Working with sustainably-minded companies like these will help you see where you can make changes in your daily life and career. Then you’ll be able to learn more from them and inspire future clients to work toward similar sustainability goals.

Continue to evolve your designs with what's possible

Designers and companies are continually looking for more ways to be sustainable. Make it a priority (and even part of your ongoing learning) to discover greener methods you can adopt or encourage your clients to adopt. The cool thing about sustainability efforts is that they’re accessible and free for all to use.

Are you looking for your next gig in the design field? We have plenty of companies looking for top-notch talent like you.

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