How Do We Communicate Sustainability?

Graphic design doesn’t exactly feel like a topic that should be posted about on a sustainability-focused blog. Nonetheless, here I am, an intern for the Office of Sustainability at the University of Kentucky, creating graphics, setting social media goals, and designing with the intent of creating a more sustainable campus. Most of my time at work is spent behind my computer screen trying to devise the best plan to excite others about sustainability. Basically, I create so that others can understand the importance of our mission.

My design process is story oriented; I want each design to have more to offer than solely aesthetic appeal. The story is always my starting point. When I began designing the logo for Campus Sustainability Month, I brainstormed the components of the story I wanted to tell. We needed a connection to the University, a unifying component, and a call to step-up and take action. With these components, I created my first draft. 

This design connects to the University’s color scheme and expresses unity with the number and overlap of hands. The call to action is a bit more up for interpretation. Raised hands can signify reaching for something better, like a more sustainable campus, or the classic raise-your-hand-to-volunteer, each of which fit the bill for this design. Even with all these components present, the design still needed something.

Now, I’ve added a globe to incorporate the global environmental aspects of sustainability and started perfecting the font design. Still, though, this design now feels much busier and lacks the simplicity a logo should possess. After one more round of revisions, I have a design that will become the final product.

Here, I have removed the globe, chosen a more appealing set of fonts, and added depth to the design. Now, this design is ready to alter and attach to all social media posts for Campus Sustainability Month, like the one below that promotes our Sustainability Trivia event!

This design process is the backbone of each piece I design for the Office of Sustainability. Although my work can seem relatively unrelated to sustainability, the act of taking a story and molding it into something that is appealing and consumable is one of the best ways to drive engagement. The more people we engage, the better outcomes we will have towards our overall goal of creating a more sustainable world. After all, holistic sustainability requires contributions from everyone… even the graphic designers.

Check out some of my work @ukysustainability on Instagram and UK Sustainability on Facebook!

Amber Dotson

Most discussed