When I first began teaching ‘Design for Sustainability,’ I proposed the following equation: form + function + sustainability = comprehensive design. It was a formula for discussing a ‘new’ kind of design, and a means of distinguishing it from the ‘same old same old.’ This new math of comprehensive design added sustainability, and in total, made design more powerful.
In the same spirit, I find myself drawn to a renaming of the professionals themselves. I’ve been reading the book Biomimicry in Industrial Design by Carlos Alberto Montana Hoyos. In this book, his graduate thesis published in 2009, he refers to ‘bio-industrial design.’ Aha, I thought. The profession of design needs to be reminded of its purpose, which is, to make sustainable development possible. A name change might signal that purpose. A name that inspires a way of thinking and making. A name that aspires to a nurturing relationship between the earth and its human inhabitants. A name that calls attention to the necessity for such a partnership now. Maybe design curricula and the degrees that are awarded lead the way.
So here it is. No longer simply Industrial or Product Designer, but Bio-Industrial Designer. Bio-Product Designer. Bio-Graphic Designer. Bio-Transportation Designer. There is power in language, just as there is power in bio-design.