Graphic Designers and Emerging Sustainability Roles

Green Graphic & Packaging Design


The role of graphic designers is shifting. No longer seen solely as the producers of aesthetic “things”, graphic designers are being valued for their problem-solving skills and ability to help businesses strategize. At the same time, both designers and the clients they serve are increasingly expected to consider issues of sustainability and take responsibility for the impacts of the products and systems they create.  However, most graphic designers have had no formal training in sustainable design thinking and methodologies. As graphic designers face this paradigm shift, what sustainable design roles are emerging in the marketplace, and how do we prepare designers to make this transition?

Closing the Gap

These are the questions Amy Dritz, graphic designer and graduate student in MCAD’s Sustainable Design program, is seeking to answer with her thesis project. As part of this research, she is gathering information from practicing graphic designers through surveys and interviews to gather their unique perspectives on sustainability in design and business. The goal of this research project is to help graphic design educators and professional design leaders in identifying and closing the gap between current graphic design competencies and the future demands of business and sustainability.

If you are a designer in a graphics or communications-related field and have a desire to design more sustainably, please click here to take a survey to help with this research (survey now closed). (Please allow yourself 15-20 minutes to complete the survey – you may complete over multiple sessions.) The survey will be open now through the end of September 2014.

For questions or more information about this project, contact Amy Dritz, [email protected]

Survey link: (Survey Closed)

Image courtesy of Amy Dritz

Amy Dritz

Amy Dritz has been a professional graphic designer for over 12 years, having spent most of her career as an in-house graphic designer for Three Rivers Park District, an environmentally-focused regional park system in Minnesota. She currently is senior graphic designer for Metro Transit (Minneapolis) where she focuses on design and brand management of marketing and communications pieces. Amy believes she should practice what she promotes every day: environmental stewardship and a healthy lifestyle, and is constantly pushing her design work to be more sustainable.

In addition, she has advocated for sustainability in the field of graphic design through leadership within in AIGA, the professional association for design. She recently served a two-year term as Associate Director of Sustainable Design for AIGA Minnesota, and chaired the 2013 AIGA (Re)design Awards, an international competition recognizing the importance and excellence of sustainable and socially responsible graphic design. Amy is committed to sustainability as a social change movement and is interested in how designers might better engage with communities. She earned a BFA in Art and Graphic Design from Southwest Minnesota State University and she graduated from MCAD with a MA in Sustainable Design in 2014. Amy is based in Minnesota.