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DESIGN DECLARES
EMERGENCY

Design Declares is a growing group of designers, design studios, agencies and institutions here to declare a climate and ecological emergency. As part of the global declaration movement, we commit to harnessing the tools of our industry to reimagine, rebuild and heal our world.

THIS IS
BREAKDOWN

The science is settled. We are in an emergency of climate and nature. The world is past breaking point; the breakdown has begun.

THE ROLE OF DESIGN

As designers working within an industry that relies on production and powers global consumption, we must acknowledge that we have had a role in bringing us to where we are now, and that we have an important role in what comes next.

Because designers are makers. We make ideas real. We generate solutions. We build the world - dreaming up new futures and bringing them to life in ways that are beautiful, vital and impossible to resist. It’s not quite magic, but it feels like it.

TIME FOR CHANGE

Together with our clients, partners and colleagues across the supply chain, we are daring to reimagine the way we create every product, service, campaign and designed solution we put out into the world.

This means measuring and actively reducing the greenhouse gas emissions and resource use linked to our designs.

It means introducing principles of sustainability, circularity and - ultimately - regenerative design into our practice to recapture and repurpose resources and materials.

And it means acting systemically - seeing the bigger picture and working with others to sharpen design’s incredible capacity to influence and accelerate climate repair and justice.

ACT WITH URGENCY

We know all we need to make this a reality. The information, the guidance, the inspiration and solutions are there. What design needs now is action - meaningful steps that can begin to connect what we know to what we do.

This is the most important brief of our lives. Join us as we begin to design a climate-positive future.

8 ACTS OF
EMERGENCY

What does it take to Declare? It’s accepting we are in an emergency of climate and nature, and a commitment to do something about it. Here are eight places to start:

1. SOUND THE ALARM

Acknowledge and raise awareness of the climate and ecological crisis - including its roots in systems of oppression - in our organisations and our practice.

2. START THE JOURNEY

Invest in educating ourselves and our teams on methods of sustainable and regenerative design, and show leadership by making measurable change to our practice. The Design Declares Toolkit is a great place to start.

3. BRING CLIENTS WITH US

Meaningfully consider environmental and social impacts as part of every pitch, proposal and production process. Not every design output will be carbon neutral or fully climate friendly, but every project is an opportunity to make real progress.

4. MEASURE WHAT WE MAKE

Measure the environmental and social impact of our work and design projects, and hold ourselves to account for what we find out.

5. REDEFINE ‘GOOD’

Encourage, recognise and reward sustainable and regenerative design excellence in our industry through media and awards.

6. EDUCATE, ACCELERATE

Build and foster intra- and cross-discipline knowledge networks to share tools, resources and best practice to accelerate progress in our industry.

7. DESIGN FOR JUSTICE

Create with and for the people who are disproportionately affected both by climate change and by the transition to a lower-carbon world.

8. AMPLIFY VOICES FOR CHANGE

Enable systemic change by working alongside policymakers, campaigners, ecologists, scientists, activists and others to strengthen local and national movements for change.

We invite our colleagues from across the design industry to join us in declaring an emergency, and starting to take urgent action.

The acts of emergency above are the first (big) steps. As we all commit to this work, we must also commit to doing it in a way that is genuinely inclusive and equitable.

It doesn’t matter where on the journey you are. What matters is that you’re here, and you’re ready to do the work. Because there is no design on a dead planet.

*While this project has begun in the UK, we’re actively seeking partnerships to expand Design Declares around the world. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, please get in touch.

ABOUT ⌘

THIS IS BREAKDOWN

Climate breakdown has begun. And business as usual is not an option.

That’s why we started Design Declares.

Inspired by a global declaration movement sounding the alarm in industries everywhere, we’re an industry-recognised initiative representing the fears, hopes and commitment to action of a growing group of UK designers, design studios, agencies and institutions.

Together, we sit at the very beginning of the creative process. The tools we use and the choices we make can influence society’s behaviour, change economies and challenge everything that’s come before.

Because design, whether it’s a product, a piece of packaging or an exhibition space, has impact. It’s up to us whether that impact is harmful or healing.

We’re glad you’re here. Let’s get to work.

  • Design Declares is free
  • ‘Design’ to us means industrial, digital, graphic, communication and service design
  • Design Declares offers support to all its signatories through shared best practice, resources and insights, all found in the Toolkit
  • Our signatories use the clarity of the 8 Acts of Emergency as a way to start meaningful conversations and actions in collaboration with colleagues, collaborators and clients
  • We welcome declarations from companies with an office in the UK employing at least one full-time designer, and from practising freelance designers who are registered as self-employed in the UK. All signatories will be named and published on this site
  • As a collective voice, we will liaise with other industry organisations and networks, constructively engaging with government, clients and design media

Design Declares is open to individuals and institutions working in industrial, digital, graphic, communication and service design. To declare here, you must be a company with an office in the UK employing at least one full-time designer. We also welcome declarations from practising freelance designers who are registered as self-employed in the UK. All declarations will be named and published on this site.

I am Declaring Emergency

As a business

As an individual

As a public institution

As a team or department

THE ⌘
TOOLKIT

The Design Declares Toolkit is a live and evolving Notion site co-created with our community. It is filled with the latest resources and methods to help you on your journey to climate-positive design practice.

Every signatory to Design Declares will receive an access link to the Toolkit.

If you are unable to declare emergency quite yet, you can still access the Toolkit - just register below.

THE DESIGNERS
BEHIND ⌘

Inspired by the global emergency declaration movement demanding accountability and action across industries, Designers Declare is the initiative of a multidisciplinary group of UK design professionals and agencies who all believe in the power of design to change things.

While this project has begun in the UK, we’re actively seeking partnerships to expand Design Declares around the world. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, please get in touch.


With support from:
Design Council

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