‘You Can Make A Difference’ – Green Week at LCC

‘You Can Make A Difference’ was the theme of a week-long event packed with pop-up workshops, installations and talks centred  around sustainability at London College of Communication.

I tagged along with the D&AD Education Group on ‘Activism‘ Day – the final day of Green Week –  and was truly inspired by the projects and installations on display. The event, organised by Tara Hanrahan (thinkdostudio), Sarah Temple (LCC Faculty of Design) and Sarah Bagner (Supermarket Sarah), aimed to encourage students to improve sustainability in their creative practice.

I spent the morning with D&AD Education Group who gave an inspiring talk on the history of the prestigious D&AD Awards and introduced students to their inspirational new White Pencil Award brief, in association with Peace One Day (if you want to make a serious change through design, get involved with the White Pencil Award brief here). Nat Hunter of the creative agency Airside spoke about her unconventional route into the design industry and the D&AD Low Carbon Annual project (find out more about the D&AD Low Carbon Annual in this article from Creative Review).

I took along a few copies of Design for Sustainable Change, one of which was given away as a prize in the D&AD brief-in workshop – well done to Zainab for your ideas and contribution to the workshop! My afternoon was spent wandering around the various workshops, talking to students and learning about some very inspiring projects (see below!). From wind-powered knitting machines and toys made from discarded materials to powerful storytelling graphics, the methods used to communicate positive sustainable action seemed endless!

One of the key points of discussion in Design for Sustainable Change is how design practice is changing and is increasingly being used to address our biggest societal challenges; for me, ‘Activism’ day, and Green Week as a whole, highlighted just how powerful designers and design practice can be in communicating positive changes in the world.

If you didn’t get a chance to visit LCC’s inspirational Green Week,  here’s a selection of some of the wonderfully creative ‘green’ things I saw. Thanks to the organisers, LCC and D&AD for a fab day!



“A design activist will activate people to ‘become the change’ by using the power of the design process to engage, raise awareness, amplify exist­ing capacity and generate transform­ative actions”
Alastair Fuad-Luke (http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2008/october/design-in-the-front-line)

‘Face shields’
Jody Boehnert, graphic designer and founder of EcoLabs, exhibited eight Face Shields and four panels from Time2Act from Climate Camp 2007 at Heathrow Airport.

“The shields featured large-scale pictures of real people whose lives had been affected by climate change. These images were put on cardboard boxes, and handles were attached to the backside. Inside the cardboard boxes was not only stuffing to protect protester from police batons, but pop up tents.” Jody Boenhert

(Design on the Front Line is an informative and inspiring article about climate change and design activism from Creative Review.)

Graphic reproduction of the rise in global temperature – Simon Collingwood

A final year student from BA Graphic and Media Design produced this striking piece of information design showing the rise in global temperature based on NASA figures (‘read’ the work from top left to bottom right).


The Human Bookmaking Machine!

Students and visitors were invited to make their own books out of recycled materials, turning college waste into beautiful and useful design.

Wooden building blocks – Gregor Garber

3D technician Gregor Garber created these impressive building block kits, made entirely out discarded materials found at the college.

LCC Green Takeaway

The LCC ‘Green Takeaway’ stall made use of discarded ceramic cups and paper coffee cups by turning them into mini plant pots – I’m a big fan of the graphics used on the posters and plant name tags :)

LCC Knitting Society

LCC’s newly established knitting society used unravelled wool from old jumpers to knit new garments on ‘Activism’ day. Mohamed Mohamed, recent graduate from BA Graphic and Media Design: Design for Information, also displayed his Self Destructing Calendar. Each knitted ‘day’ can be unravelled allowing the yarn to be reused – genius!

I also met product designer Merel Karhof who told me about her incredible wind knitting factory which she designed during her course at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

“With the power of the wind, a knitting machine knits from the outside towards the inside of a building. The knitted material is harvested from time to time and rounded-off in individually packaged scarves. Each scarf has its own label which tells you in how much time it has been knitted and on which date.”



Pop-up furniture illustrating workshop

Various illustrators from the college were invited to upcycle disused furniture found in the LCC building. The finished pieces will soon be put up for auction on Supermarket Sarah, founded by Sarah Bagner.

Fabric sorting mountains in Panipat, India (photographed by Tim Mitchell)

An installation including a striking image by photographer Tim Mitchell, mounds of colour sorted clothes and the film ‘Unravel’ by Meghna Gupta, told the story of a fabric sorting factory in Panipat, India, where fibres of discarded clothes from all over the world are broken down and reworked into new fabrics. The caption in the image reads:

“The first job in Panipat is to sort the contents of the bales into a dozen principle ‘colour families’. By refining the sort further into over a hundred and fifty colours, recyclers can produce shoddy wool yarns without over-dyeing, and thus avoid one of the most polluting stages of textile production”

You can see Tim Mitchell’s original image here .

D&AD Portfolio Surgery

D&AD organised a ‘portfolio surgery’ where LCC students were given the opportunity to get advice and tips from 10 creative industry professionals.


You can find out more about Green Week on the LCC blog. Be sure to check out LCC’s tumblr to see more Green Week images!