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The Ick Heard Round the 'Green' Design World

At May 2012 Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in New York, CEOs from various natural and organic cosmetic and personal care companies said one big issue with eco-friendly packaging is it's not attractive. Apparently these CEOs are not the only ones who think green products need a face lift. GreenBlue's CEO, Lance Hosey, also agrees that sustainable products (across the green gamut, not just packaging) needs some style.

As any good designer knows, people are attracted to beautiful things. Steve Jobs knew this notion well, and believed in it strongly. He created products that were not only highly functional, but highly attractive, too. The second benefit that attraction ensures is a sense of pride. Think about rundown neighborhoods littered with trash and graffiti; there is no pride in it. However, neighborhoods that are well-kept and free of litter and graffiti evoke pride and locals are more likely to keep it that way. The same applies to the aesthetics of consumer products. Hosey said, "If sustainable design is intended to act like nature, it should knock your socks off." But that's not happening is it?

"The more attractive something is, the more functional we estimate it to be," he continued. "We need to shift the focus from the making of things to the shaping of things." So the question Hosey posed is, "How do we design products so people want to keep them and not discard them as soon as they are tired of them or something newer comes along?"

Does that mean to just make green products pretty (including green packaging) and all is well in the sustainable world? According to Andrea Newell of TriplePundit.com, Hosey said designers need to create with a hybrid of beauty and green. "Aesthetic attraction is not a superficial concern—it’s an environmental imperative. Beauty could save the planet," Hosey said in The Shape of Green.

Food for thought.

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