I have recently finished reading Sustainable By Design: Explorations In Theory and Practice, by Stuart Walker and I was greatly inspired.

A review from Prof. Jack Ingram said "Definitely to be on the booklist of any product design course" and I couldn’t agree with this statement more. I studied Product Design and took an ‘Environmentally Sensitive Design’ module at university, but despite learning about good EcoDesign practice such as Life Cycle Analysis this book has since helped me to take a holistic approach towards sustainable design. This book delves into the mindset and philosophy that should drive sustainable design and not just token gestures in product innovation like 100% recyclable eco efficiency labels, although every little helps. Walker takes you on a journey from the enlightenment period to modern day consumerism and shows how our perception of time, place and aesthetic norms affect our ecosphere. His analysis is deep, insightful and regularly refers to case studies and his own experimentation.

This is not a practical step-by-step guide on how to be good designer, but it provides real food for thought into how we should all approach industrial design and manufacture. Although I agree with many of his arguments, my criticism is with his writing style - it’s a rather dense read. It’s not that there are many pages or that the formatting is dull, quite the opposite, but his language is very academic and not exactly everyday parlance. This makes it slightly less accessible and less ‘plain english' for my taste. My other observation is that some of the page numbers, after pg 100, fall off the edge of page, otherwise the presentation, type and imagery is clean, legible and attractive.

Overall this is a inspiring book for design students, academics and professionals. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough and will endeavour to educate myself further on sustainable theory and practice.

4.5 / 5

Image from Amazon