RDA 2009: Lunar’s “Designer’s Field Guide To Sustainability”

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For this year’s Regional Design Annual, Print asked each designer a fewquestions about their work that appeared in the magazine. San Francisco-based designer Trevor Hacker, a designer at Lunar, talks about the “Designer’s Field Guide to Sustainability” and what it’s like to be a designer in the Bay Area.

Brochure and poster for “The Designer’s Field Guide to Sustainability.” DESIGN FIRM: Lunar, San Francisco; ART DIRECTOR: Becky Brown; DESIGNER: Trevor Hacker; WRITERS: Travis Lee, Scott Herbst, Alberto Villareal.

What’s your favorite thing about being a designer in San Francisco?

The atmosphere here is exciting because San Francisco is filled with designers; there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the craft here. It’s great to be in that arena, but also challenging because there’s a lot of great work being done here. Also, being fresh out of school, its nice to be affiliated with friends and faculty at California College of the Arts. I am still constantly inspired by the projects and lectures I see there.

What was the biggest challenge making this piece?

The most challenging part about designing this piece was to make the material feel friendly and engaging. I think there is a lot of design out there that borrows the look of sustainability but doesn’t provide much beyond that. My goal was to highlight the information by using an iconic approach, and break the ice to create discussion and awareness about these issues. It’s challenging because not only does sustainability affect our industry directly, but it feels so overwhelming to engage the viewer in the facts. We wanted the The Designer’s Field Guide to Sustainability to be a quick and digestible way for designers to start infusing these ideas into their everyday practices.

What’s the story behind the concept for this piece?

The team that created The Designer’s Field Guide to Sustainability is called LUNAR Elements. We used that term, elements, as a springboard for the design process. We organized the 15 icons/steps into four different sections:

1. Where does it end up?

2. What is it trying to accomplish?

3. How is it used?

4. How is it brought to life?

We then structured the design around the idea that each of the 15 elements created LUNAR’s own periodic table.

If you could do one thing differently, what would it be?

I think I would re-design the cover of the booklet. Its the first thing that the viewer sees, so it has the opportunity to be just as impactful as the poster side.

How do you get most of your work?

We believe that making our current clients happy is this strongest way to get new work.

How has the economy changed your design business?

The general feeling in the air in San Francisco is to stay as busy as possible and proceed with caution.

Do you think San Francisco has a regional style?

I can never pinpoint what it is about Bay Area design, but when I see it all in context in the Print Regional edition, there is a similar thread that ties us together. You can only see it when you compare to the Midwest, or the East Coast, etc.