Opening windows to a sustainable world

Take a class!

A decade ago, I was a burned out, overworked designer who felt like I’d lost my connection to the reason I became a designer. I felt crushed by the rat race and the pressure to use the thing I was most passionate about — design — to sell sell sell! I was facing a crisis of consciousness, and I believe my story is not unique.

I found my solution by reconnecting with my purpose. I knew that I wanted to somehow bring my environmental values into my practice, but I didn’t really know where to start! Perhaps this is resonating with you? If it is, you might benefit from taking our Fundamentals of Sustainable Design course — the same starting point that I began from, all those years ago – a course which, today, I have the pleasure of teaching.

The Fundamentals of Sustainable Design course is a survey of future-forward design strategies, divided into 3 units, each of which is available as a 5-week continuing education course, as well as for 3 graduate credits.

Unit one uses the framework of the Triple Bottom Line as a method for exploring the environmental, social, and business aspects of sustainability. Students are equipped with knowledge of the intersections of design with each of these metaphorical legs of the stool, then asked to apply them in their own lives and careers through project based learning.

Unit two digs deep into proven processes for applying sustainable principles to design. The course covers both the strategy and the tactics, so students leave equipped with a wealth of ideas and actions they can apply to their design practices right away.

Finally, in unit three, we look beyond sustainability. The material covers methods for triggering positive behavior change through messages, discovering the right balance between forcible regulation and encouraging choice, and seeking solutions to problems that reach into the realm of restoration, not simply conservation.

While the course covers a great deal of territory, we keep the focus on action and practice. Students have reported that the process of practicing with the ideas presented helps them understand application, not just theory. We want students to walk away equipped to activate their learning on the job right away.

For those who want to go deeper, the MA in Sustainable Design program builds upon these fundamentals 

If you want to bring your values into your design practice, but you’re not sure where to start, consider enrolling in SD 6500 Fundamentals of Sustainable Design through MCAD’s continuing education program. You can take it for no credit or for credit which counts toward your MA in Sustainable Design.

[Spring 2022 continuing education courses will be posted December 20 and open for registration January 4.]

Deann Garcia

Deann Garcia is a graphic designer by training but she’s always felt that term is a bit limiting for her taste. She’s a multifaceted designer with an obsession with cycling and a curiosity towards nature. Deann seeks to connect her love for the bike to her passion for a sustainable future, and use it to influence her work as an instructor in graphic design at Oregon State University. She’s also a descendant of pioneers and tries to live with that same independent spirit that inspired her ancestors: respect for resources, community-based self-sufficiency and simple living. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Oregon State University where she graduated with Cum Laude honors. Deann completed her MA in Sustainable Design at MCAD in 2015. Deann is based in Oregon.

Thesis Title: Sustainable Production and Design of Cycling Lifestyle Apparel for Women