[Allyson Van Houten] In 2009 David Berman released Do Good Design, a call to action that alerts designers to the role they play in persuading global audiences. Since then the book has sold out the first edition, has been translated into four different languages, with the rights to several more on the way, and has been used in many classrooms as a tool for teaching sustainability. Today we’re pleased to announce the release of the second edition is now available and was produced using Mohawk papers. We asked David to answer a few questions about what he learned along the way and how choosing sustainable paper was important for this edition.
Your book is ready for a reprint in what feels like a pretty short amount of time. Congratulations! Why was it important for you to produce a printed edition of your book?
The future of civilization is our common design project. And as we now live in a time where everyone is a designer, we need to find a way to reach everyone with the message of where and how they fit in a sustainably designed future. Of course e-book distribution is rising, which is wonderful for strengthening universal access. Meanwhile, responsibly crafted paper continues to have many merits. Print provides expression, access, permanence, reach and focus not always available in electronic media.
Why did you choose to use Mohawk papers for the reprint?
We needed papers for this book with great surface qualities, high post-consumer waste content, FSC certification so we turned to our neighbours just across the St. Lawrence at Mohawk, not just for their expertise, but for their history and commitment to sustainable design. They were the first American commercial paper manufacturer to match 100% of their electricity with wind power renewable energy credits.
Tell us a little bit about why you chose Mohawk Options and Mohawk Everyday Digital.
We really wanted the feel of a hardcover book, but in a light and convenient airplane read. So for the interior, we sought out the vellum texture in a 100% post-consumer stock with strong opacity. We found all of that, without compromise, in Mohawk Options. For the cover we were seeking great performance for the embossment, the heavy red ink coverage, and the folding of the flaps that were added to this edition. Mohawk Everyday Digital was an excellent choice. We like the name too! Every day design and designers doing extraordinary things!
What are some lessons you learned in the process of printing the first edition in 2009 that you applied during the creation of the new edition?
Our largest lessons were technical. Many of the photos I took in my travels for the book were taken under far-from-optimal conditions, and everyone helped us add tonal range to photos that started with very little. The production manager at Mohawk, Pam McGuire, worked with our printer to get the best production quality from the images.
We also used vegetable-based inks, and optimized the page imposition to minimize waste (using suctioning for all trim, and recycling of all waste paper and plates). Our bleeds did not cause additional paper use, due to the shaving required by the finishing process.
Were there any challenges with your publisher in changing the paper for this edition?
We’re really proud to be working with the dedicated team at Peachpit and Pearson. We all recognized that the original edition of the book suffered from the mix of paper, photo quality, and ink. And so Peachpit really stepped up to make sure that this edition is exemplary of the balance that’s possible when words, images, sustainable stocks, and responsible printing techniques combine.
What are some ways your book is being used? Classroom text, etc. Do you have any ideas on other ways your books is being used?
Many design schools are using the book for core curricula and reading lists, as sustainability becomes how we roll as a profession. We’re also creating a Wiki a classroom guide. Most satisfying is when I get an email from an instructor who says that the book inspired a project: that having students read the book inspired them to take a certain action in their community to make a difference. That’s absolutely the best. It’s especially exciting when people realize that the book is not just for designers: that all professionals can benefit from what becomes possible.
How many languages was the original edition printed in, will there be new languages available for the new edition?
The original edition was published in English, Simplified Chinese, Indonesian, Korean, and braille. The rights of the Russian edition have been sold, and there are specific groups making plans for French, Spanish, and Malay editions… it’s all very exciting that a simple message could find such reach: “Don’t just do good design, do good!”
How did your work as the Sustainability Chair for Icograda affect the content of your book, if at all?
I’m working diligently with the jury of the Icograda global sustainability standard as we develop the mandatory and rated items we’ll be using for what will become the equivalent of LEED certification for communication design projects. So as we were working on the book, I was thinking “How many points would this project earn?”. I’m looking forward to when every designer will have that measurement standard in the back of their minds while they plan and create.
Same question for your involvement in AIGA.
It was Ric Grefe who first suggested, on a street corner in Seattle, that Do Good Design be published as an AIGA Press title. And it was Ric who invited me to help edit the AIGA Rules of Professional Conduct to embrace social responsibility … which ultimately led to those thoughts becoming a template for over half a million design students in China! It’s another example of how it doesn’t take many people to ripple substantial change.
For Felt & Wire readers only, Peachpit is offering 35% off the latest edition of Do Good Design! Just visit Peachpit online and enter DGDEarth at checkout.
David Berman is a high-level advisor with the United Nations on how design can be used to help fulfill the Millennium Development Goals. He is a strategic consultant with 30 years of experience in graphic, interface, and universal design. He has traveled to 50 countries as an expert speaker, serves as the Ethics Chair for graphic design in Canada, Chair for Accessible Technology at Carleton University, and as Sustainability Chair of Icograda, the world body for graphic design. Clients include IBM, the International Space Station, the Sierra Club, and Canada’s largest federal government departments.