Anabel Sinn earned a BFA in Communication Design from Parsons School Of Design in New York. She is the co-founder of Addtothenoise, a design studio in Los Angeles which specializes in branding, art direction and design. Over the course of her career, Anabel has worked as an Art Director at major record labels including Warner Brothers Records, Universal Music and Disney Music Group.
Now as the lead creative of Addtothenoise she has the opportunity to become an agent of change within her sphere of influence. As climate change continues to accelerate, she has changed how she approaches her creative production, striving to reduce its environmental impact and to promote sustainable practices in both her own studio and in her clients’ businesses.
Anabel is also passionate about the designing and manufacturing of handmade artisan products for the home-space — an interest that has introduced her to the concept of the circular economy. She looks forward to joining a network of creative professionals who are re-thinking what place sustainability holds in design.
She has lived and worked in South America, Europe and North America. When not working she travels and explores other cultures, languages and ways of life always on the lookout for new perspectives.
Anabel completed the MA program in Sustainable Design at MCAD in Fall 2020.
Her Thesis: Empowering New Generations to Transition to a Circular Economy. Engaging Youth Through Experiential Learning
Where are you currently living?
I’m splitting my time between L.A. and Vienna, Austria.
I have family in Austria (including my two sons now), we are in the process of fixing up a country home, and I would like to explore some opportunities while I am there.
What are you currently doing or working on? Are you still running Add To The Noise?
Yes, absolutely, and we are planning to explore the EU for different projects. One of the shifts and benefits from the pandemic was realizing we can be very nimble and work remotely from anywhere.
I am also working with Dr. Park, and a team at McGill University on a project called “What Connects Us – Ce Qui Nous Lie,” a community investment project to improve the quality of life of people living with Alzheimer’s and related disorders and their carers. We have been doing the branding to create awareness, working with different cultural institutions in Canada.
I was asked to be part of the team to brand the project (logo, website design, social media, digital communication systems, tone etc). Dr. Park wanted the logo for this project to be related to her other project “Sens.és Making”, which I also supported, so we started with that visual and expanded.
Are you applying what you learned in the program? If so, how?
Yes, sustainability planning and looking at systems with the researchers to see where change can happen and have an impact. Turning attention to strategizing the sustainability of the research work for the future, so others can build upon the successes. We are constantly looking at the people, the environment—its institutions, programs, services—as well as required related infrastructures that support them. Looking at partnerships, private and public, along with key collaborators to create resources.
What is the most exciting or inspiring thing you’re working on now?
Collaborating with Cultique.co They focus on cultural insights and analysis and as part of their coalition, we hope to bring a dedicated section for sustainability/circularity and regeneration. The company has a broad reach.
My role is branding and design, as well as contributing to case studies for their clients on topics as varied as cultural shifts in TV shows, Gen Z Tik Tok trends, and regenerative fashion.
With many businesses pledging the elimination of their carbon emissions, there is a growing need for guidance and conversation in the sustainability space. The easy way is to talk about sustainable subjects on social media. A more impactful way would be to make sustainability an important component of the conversations with key stakeholders.
What has been your proudest moment or project in sustainability or sustainable design?
Finding unexpected ways to apply sustainable design and its lens. My project with Dr. Park, thinking about maintaining and creating infrastructures that are needed to support the program for greater impact, so communities can thrive as a healthy ecosystem. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has several programs in place in partnership with the project, for example.
What did you learn in the program that you wish everyone would learn?
Biomimicry. Our relationship with nature has been reset, people now value nature more than before the pandemic. Lockdowns made people notice the benefit of the natural world on their well-being (physical and mental). Contact with nature, and learning from it, could help us bring nature back to the city and empower new generations to look at nature, and how it solves problems creatively.
What recommendations do you have for people considering a career in sustainable design?
Be creative using your skills. Creative problem-solving, looking at unexpected partnerships and collaborations. I love the Futurecraft sneaker, for example. A collaboration between two competing brands, Adidas and AllBirds joining forces to create a sneaker with “the lowest ever carbon footprint”.
What are your thoughts about digital sustainability?
I think about this constantly, and wonder how I contribute to the problem. How do we balance the value of technology with its carbon emissions? I recently read a report that said, “If the internet were a country, it would be the sixth-biggest polluter in the world.” Promotional emails alone are responsible for two million tons of CO2 emissions annually in the UK alone. That, in combination with Bitcoin, NFTs, video streaming, cloud gaming experiences, high-quality graphics and audio all available on the go, make this an important sustainability challenge.
If you had a magic wand and could completely solve one sustainability problem, what would it be?
Better governance to regenerate systems. I believe effective government within a democratic system is essential for sustainable development. Effective governance can ensure that development benefits people and the planet with processes, decisions, and outcomes that sustain natural resources, alleviate poverty, and improve quality of life. Brazil is a good example of a country that lacks good governance. As a result, there is a loss of biodiversity, and they are depleting natural resources that affect the entire planet.
Better governance can influence businesses to lead the way. The responsibility can not only be on the consumer. Good governance can create and enforce the processes that can restore and create resilient and equitable systems. Reverse damage and design systems that can coevolve with nature, e.i. agriculture, urban development, green cities, recycling, circularity, and many others.
Thank you, Anabel!