Where Are We At With Recycling?

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By: Dr. Andrew H. Dent

A quiet revolution is now occurring in the world of recycling that has been presaged for some time now but became significant at the start of this year. If we are lucky, it might produce a sea-change in the way we think about how we package our products.

Normally, both in the US and EU, various types of lower quality packaging and other waste was sold to China as a resource for different secondary uses, like the production of recycled products. In recent years, China has been taking about half the world’s paper and plastic recyclables, but as of January of this year, National Sword has banned 24 different types of solid waste. At current rates, the shipment of these types of resources to China are down a whopping 97%.

So, what does this mean? Well, it meddles with many of the recycling statistics which assumed that shipping waste to China, but it also affects many recycling businesses, with container ships of waste material essentially stranded without a place to unload, and most likely, vastly reduced revenues. Europe has not been spared either, as approximately 12% of its waste had also been making the same trip to Chinese ports.

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But what initially seemed like a disaster for the recycling industry might just prove to be a real turning point. With the ongoing concerns throughout the world regarding the amount of waste being deposited into our oceans, it may be the push we need to get everyone moving in the right direction when it comes packaging.

On April 11, 2018, the Plastic Industry Association and 11 other partner associations delivered a request for the House to advance an infrastructure investment package to address the US need for better recycling efforts and innovation. High on the list is a request for improvements to be made in facilities so that they can sort waste more efficiently and selectively. Additionally, money is getting spent by many of the big players to improve materials, infrastructure, and education with companies such as Amazon, International Paper, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and others spending big to create a more circular economy when it comes to packaging.

European Union regulators declared a new policy agenda in late January of this year starting with the goal that all plastic packaging on the market will be recyclable or reusable by 2030. They’ve also declared war on single-use plastics such as straws, bottles that do not degrade, coffee cups, lids and stirrers, cutlery and takeaway containers as Europeans produce 25 million tons of plastic waste annually, but less than 30% of it is recycled.

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Interestingly enough, Chinese companies are starting recycling facilities in America, seeing the potential for a greater amount of specialized recycling within the continental US. Ecomelida Inc., the United States subsidiary of China-based Zhangzhou Sanlida Environmental Technology Corp., intends to locate its first facility handling marketable paper and plastic scrap separated from beverage cartons, aseptic packaging and paper mill pulp byproducts in South Carolina. The recycled plastics extracted, largely polyethylene (PE), will be used in foam, cast plastic parts, and other products.

The actual recycling itself is getting more efficient too with chemical recycling of plastics creating virgin sources by companies such as Perpetual in the US and the DEMETO consortium in the EU. Additionally, improved sorting of paper-based products such as gable tops (the Tropicana type poly-coated paper cartons) is progressing as well. Waste Management, Tropicana Products, Dean Foods and select carton manufacturers have launched a program in which residents can discard these containers in regular recycling bins at no additional charge. Started in Florida, this program has been expanded to communities across the US.

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This combined effort that springs from concerns about our oceans as well as the bottom line for recyclers will precipitate a new approach to the treatment of our packaging and waste in general, forcing governments, brands, designers and even consumers to bring about a real change in the way we value these materials.


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Dr. Andrew H. Dent

Dr. Andrew Dent is Executive Vice President of Research at Material ConneXion, and Chief Material Scientist at SANDOW. He plays a key role in the expansion of Material ConneXion’s technical knowledge base. His research directs the implementation of consulting projects and the selection of innovative, sustainable and advanced materials to Material ConneXion’s library, which currently houses over 8,000 material samples.

Dr. Dent received his Ph.D. in materials science from the University of Cambridge in England. Prior to joining Material ConneXion, Dr. Dent held a number of research positions both in industry and academia. At Rolls Royce PLC, Dr. Dent specialized in turbine blades for the present generation of jet engines. He has completed postdoctoral research at Cambridge University and at the Center for Thermal Spray Research, SUNY, Stony Brook, NY. Other research projects, during this period, included work for the US Navy, DARPA, NASA, and the British Ministry of Defense.

Since joining Material Connexion, Dr. Dent has helped hundreds of clients—from Whirlpool and Adidas to BMW and Procter & Gamble—develop or improve their products through the use of innovative materials. A leading expert on sustainable materials, his insight has played an important part in creating a new generation of more sustainable products.

He is a frequent speaker on sustainable and innovative material strategies, having given two TED talks at TEDx Grand Rapids and TEDNYC, and is the co-author of the Material Innovation book series. Dr. Dent has also contributed to numerous publications on the subject of material science, including Business Week, Fast Company and the Financial Times.

This article originally appeared in Dieline.

Coca-Cola Packaging To Sing a Different Tune

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This summer, Coca-Cola will again try to teach the world to sing — this time with a little help from its bottles and cans. In a new phase of its “Share a Coke” campaign, the cola giant will put song lyrics pulled from more than 70 popular songs on packaging. Lyrics cover a range of music, from rock ‘n’ roll classics like Queen’s “We are the Champions” to patriotic songs such as “Proud to Be An American” by Lee Greenwood. Coke will also include lyrics from some of its iconic campaigns, such as I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke.

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The campaign, called “Share a Coke and a Song,” will be supported by music-themed spots, social media and a summer-long experiential tour. The campaign will encompass Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coca-Cola Life, advancing a new one-brand strategy that unites multiple varieties together in the same marketing.

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Agencies on the campaign include Wieden+Kennedy, Portland for creative; Universal McCann for media;Arc Worldwide for shopper marketing; Cornerstone for music; Fast Horse for PR and FortyFour and Irban Group for e-commerce. Coke plans to extend its campaign to mobile by encouraging consumers to use the Shazam app to scan specially marked 20-ounce bottles and in-store signage. That will allow users to record a 15-second digital lip-sync video that can be shared on social media using the hashtag #ShareaCoke, according to the brand.

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This post was originally viewed on gdusa.

Ten Things You Should Do Now To Get More Clients

I get tired of fielding questions around how to get more clients, so I’ve decided to write an article on things you need to do right now before going online and asking, “Help. How do I get more clients?”

Before you go hire a business coach or sales person, enroll in an online course, follow a get rich quick scheme, do this first. Warning, this is a long list of things to do. No easy answers, no quick fixes, but the bare minimum of what you need to do before looking for more help. Remember, people hire who they know, who they like and who they trust. So time to get known.

1. Build a website. State what you do clearly, then back it up with great examples. Show me. Don’t tell me. Make sure the site is responsive, avoid anything that will slow down or impair the ability for someone to navigate your site. This includes: Cinemagraphs, parallax effects, tricky animation or unconventional interfaces. A simple hamburger menu with the following will work: work, about, contact. Use a legible and neutral typeface. Limit the number of colors you use. Have a simple logo. If you don’t have one, just typeset your name in Helvetica Bold using upper/lower case. Make your site SEO friendly. Name the images on your site with descriptive names. “Untitled” or “Final_final_03” doesn’t count as being descriptive. Instead, try “Los-Angles-Design-Branding-Anime-Expo”. Basically, help Google classify the images so that if someone is searching for you, they can find you.

2. Update your LinkedIn profile. Start with having a professionally shot photo. Keep it simple (white, grey or black backdrop). It’s worth the investment since you’ll be able to use this elsewhere. Ask yourself, would I hire me based on this photo? Would I dive deeper into this persons’ profile? Do they appear professional, credible and friendly? Is this someone I can trust with my money? Is this someone I can see myself being around for a long period of time?

Write a captivating headline instead of a job title. Focus on a user/customer benefit vs describing what you do. What do you do for them? An example could be “I help small brands look like big brands.”

Update your education, work history, awards and accolades. Get a few, well written, but sincere testimonials.

3. Get on Behance. Have 3-5 in-depth case studies of outstanding work. Make sure they’re labeled and tagged appropriately to make sure others can find you. Keep the photography or mock-ups simple to make your work shine. Where appropriate, document the creative process. Put the time and energy into designing every component so that it looks as attractive (and expensive) as possible. Look at your work through the lens of a prospective client. Would this excite them? Could they envision working with you through the work that you presented? Is the thinking clear? Are you focused on craftsmanship and detail? Is your typography excellent?

Not sure about the impact of Behance on your sales leads? Watch this video with Farm Design Founder Aaron Atchison.

4. Ask for referrals. Reach out to current and past clients and ask them for a referral. Tell them that you’re growing your business and have additional capacity to take on more work, that you’d appreciate any referrals or recommendations to anyone that could use your services. If they know someone, offer to contact them directly vs. leaving it in their hands to follow through. People are busy after all and you don’t want to add any additional work on their plate.

Why would you say this? One, it’s fun to share exciting news. Two, they won’t worry about sharing you since you are growing your team. Some clients actually do worry that you won’t be available any more, or that you’ll become more expensive as a result. You can address by saying that, “Yes, our rates are going up, but I appreciate your business and loyalty. I will do my best to work within your budget moving forward and will give you preferential pricing.” Lastly, people don’t always think to refer you. It’s just not top of mind. So if you want something, you have to be willing to ask for it.

5. It’s old fashioned, but have a business card and use as a tool to engage with others. Keep it simple and tasteful. Make sure you say what you do and that your contact info is legible. Other than that, avoid using additional photography, illustration of artwork on your card. It’s a name card and not a billboard. Use 1-2 typefaces (max). When you are at social functions and have an opportunity to meet a prospective client, don’t give them your card. Instead, ask for theirs. Say, “I’d love to follow up with you after this event. Do you have a card?” When they give your their card, hand them yours.

It’s more important to get their contact info than to give them yours. This way, you can follow up vs. waiting by the phone or inbox for them to reach out. The next business day, follow up by connecting with them on LinkedIn. Add a short note reminding them of who you are. Keep it short and simple. Close the note by inviting further dialogue if there’s interest. You could close with something like, “If you would like to continue our dialogue about rebranding your company, I would love to help. Please let me know.”

6. Join communities and organizations. Be active in both social groups (Facebook and LinkedIn) and trade organizations. Chances are, there’s a professional organization within a few miles of where you are located (AIGARGD (In Canada), Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Meet up groups, etc…). Build relationship with people without trying to sell. Find out more about who they are, goals and challenges. The people that you form a genuine relationship will become your best resource for leads, people and resources. This is a long term activity that will not appear to be helpful or productive in the short term. If it’s online, post relevant articles. If it’s in person, volunteer to help. You can do simple things like set-up or clean up an event. You can help find speakers or be one yourself. Whatever you do, make an investment in the community to which you belong.

Here are some others you can join: Futur NetworkFutur Feedback/CritFutur Pro Members($75/mo.).

7. Invest in a good interchangeable lens camera (ILC or DSLR) and start taking pictures. Take photos of everything you do, places you go and things you see. Why buy a camera? One, your eye will become much more aware of composition, color and lighting. Two, you’ll learn a new skill. Three, you’ll be motivated to visit new places and do exciting things. Four, you’ll start to learn the value of having beautiful photography and how powerful a single image can be. Five, your social media posts will look much more interesting. I’ve had good results with the Panasonic Lumix cameras Gh4, Canon 5d Mk III (or even their entry level Rebel line), Sony A7s and Sony A 6500.

8. Read these 10 books:

9. Subscribe/listen to these 10 podcasts:

10. Watch these 10 videos:

Congratulations, if you’ve made it this far. If you’re thinking to yourself, yeah, I’m doing all of this and I have a ton of leads but am having trouble closing prospects. Or, if you struggle with overcoming objections or pricing work, you might want to consider the new Business Bootcamp we just launched. Click here for the details.

Finally, find a mentor and offer to work for free (for a period of time). Apply your skillset to help someone you admire. Reach out to them and offer to help them with something specific that taps into your strengths. Getting access to someone that you really look up to can change the way you think, but it can also open doors for future opportunities. You never know where this will lead.

This article originally appeared on Futur’s Website. You can hear more from Furtur’s Chris Do at the VMA Design Conference on June 15th in San Francisco. Join us.

Data and Design: How to Tell Stories that Get Heard

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By: Theresa Christine

The way we consume information is changing at a rapid pace. As a kid, you went to the library and flipped through encyclopedias for a research paper. Then the internet put even more information within grasp. Now, videos from around the world are right in the palm of your hand, literally.

But because we are bombarded with information daily, it often means we tune things out. So how can designers clear out the mess and actually reach people with their work?

Jessica Bellamy knows this struggle all too well. After fighting to have her work heard, the Adobe Creative Resident and Designer sought a more effective way to share information.

“As a college student who was constantly writing long papers on topics that intersected with race, I understood that no matter how well-written my papers were they were still going to go unread,” she said. “I wanted to find new avenues to have meaningful and transformative conversations about race, so I started making some of my papers into infographics.”

Jessica developed a way to harness information to tell visual and personalized stories, especially when it comes to ethnomathematics—the relationships between culture and data. It’s not merely about using charts or graphs, though. “People appreciate a visual narrative rather than just a data visualization; however, from a design perspective, beauty should never be the only goal,” she stated. “Aesthetics should never be placed above function. Data can be made less intimidating by incorporating allegorical illustrations that speak to the issue.”

While some creatives may shy away from numbers, she insists it’s an integral part of design. Graphic designers use the golden ratio when creating layouts, and architecture and product design couldn’t exist without data.

Jessica also highlighted the crucial role math plays in the industry. “Its role is to be accurate and well-researched,” she explained. “It also must be accountable to the negative or positive effect of the design narrative.”

Naturally, as an infographic designer, Jessica loves complex problem solving and system design. This led her to create the infographic wheel, a tool which would allow people to create more effective infographics—what she called her most exciting and challenging project to date.

“To create the infographic wheel I had to do weeks of research and experimentation,” she said. She read through several books and referred to multiple web portfolios, compiling a master list of ways to create this type of visual experience. “Once I had a list of 113 infographic layouts I started categorizing them based on use. I also began to identify the types of data that typically were associated with each of those layouts.”

The result? A wheel which features a refined list of 36 essential, familiar layouts to use when creating an infographic.

Social change drives her work, which helps topics like race become a part of the conversation—a conversation which engages people, one they’ll actually pay attention to. Jessica even started her own video series, Designing from the Margins, about the intersections between men and women of color and design. “I’m hoping to find as many Creative ways to both inspire conversations around race as well as instill pride in Black people,” she said. “The content that I’ve created acts as a mechanism for reconciliation and healing, which is a result that I’ve not always had the opportunity to work towards with design.”

It might be a slow process, but it’s important to continue breaking down the barriers and highlighting the work of people of color. “When we start to recognize the many contributions of Black and Brown people,” Jessica mentioned, “we begin to dismantle our internal bias that limits whose faces we show in our designs, whose perspective is explored in our work, and whose voice is heard through our projects.”

This work is invaluable, especially when it’s no secret the design industry isn’t exactly the most welcoming for people of color or women. Jessica’s advice to them? “Collect mentors, eat as much media as you can, and get past your self-doubts by finding your ‘why,’” she advised. “You are limitless.”

Jessica Bellamy who will be speaking on June 15 at the VMA Design Conference in San Francisco as part of San Francisco Design Week.


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Theresa Christine

Theresa entered the world of design through The Dieline. With a background in writing and journalism, she has a passion for discovery and cultivating human connections. Her work for The Dieline is a constant journey to deeply understand all facets of the design process and to investigate what makes designers tick. Theresa’s writing has taken her snorkeling in between the tectonic plates in Iceland, horseback riding through a rural Brazilian town, and riding an octopus art car at Burning Man with Susan Sarandon as part of a funeral procession for Timothy Leary (long story). When not writing, she is planning her next trip or taking too many pictures of her cat.

 

Double or Nothing Movement Champions Women Design Leaders

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As demands for female empowerment and gender equity rise to the fore in the broader society, AIGA has launched “Double or Nothing,” a movement that seeks to double the number of women leaders in design. Time to coincide with Women’s History Month, The initiative launches with a website that will continually expand and evolve with resources such as a corporate pledge for gender equity, practical toolkits, career advice and insights, and inspiring stories about female designers. The sponsors assert that this is more than an awareness campaign but, rather, a movement to create tangible impact and forge partnerships between women who want to lead and those committed to helping them do so.

Spearheaded by AIGA’s Women Lead Initiative and a coalition that includes Blue State Digital, Decker Design, IBM, Lippincott, Pentagram, and Quartz, Double or Nothing intends to catalyze massive change by confronting the biases that exist within the design industry. Female leadership reportedly ranges from only 4% to 11% depending upon business sector and particular survey, despite graphic design being a primarily female profession (53.5% of designers are women, according to a recent study by AIGA and Google). The AIGA Women Lead Initiative was founded in 2014 by Su Mathews Hale and Deborah Adler to address persistent biases and inequities in the design industry.

“Once in the workplace, particularly after five to 10 years, there is a lack of mentorship, celebration of female work, support for mothers, and equal pay,” said Lynda Decker of Decker Design and Co-Chair Women Lead Committee of the AIGA. “At this state of their career, women often do not feel empowered to negotiate pay and the position they deserve or are reluctant to ask for guidance. We want that to end.”

Pentagram, a lead partner, developed the Double or Nothing creative strategy including the name, brand identity, voice and website design. “We’re working to empower women to have a stronger path toward getting what they want and deserve,” said Emily Oberman, who led the team at Pentagram. “To that end, we’re looking for companies to make a public pledge of commitment and to be held accountable for meeting goals. You can bet that savvy designers will be drawn to those companies working to ensure inclusivity and balance.”

“This is not just a campaign — it’s a movement to promote continuous and much-needed progress,” adds  Heather Stern of Lippincott and Co-Chair Women Lead Committee, AIGA. “‘Double or Nothing’ alludes to the ‘duos’ required to achieve our goal:  pay and promotion, men and women, design and business, aspiring leaders and those who want to support them.”

Blue State Digital, also a lead partner, built the website and lent its proprietary tools to serve as a foundation for communications and engagement. “The awareness and momentum are there — it’s time for our community to design a solution to achieve parity,” said Laura Kunkel, Creative Director at Blue State Digital.

As part of the Double or Nothing initiative, AIGA national partner IBM will help develop a series of tangible commitments and best practices for companies to adopt in order to accelerate progress for female designers. “IBM has a commitment to diversity and equality in all of our practices and we’re thrilled to be a launch partner with AIGA in this important initiative,” said Doug Powell, Distinguished Designer at IBM and former AIGA national president. IBM was recently recognized as 2018 Catalyst Award winner for its efforts in supporting women in the workplace.

To expand reach and influence, AIGA is also partnering with Quartz’s How We’ll Win project, a year-long exploration of the fight for gender equality. How We’ll Win highlights strategies for supporting inclusivity, women in power, and the next generation of leaders, including insights from some of the world’s most powerful and influential women across every industry.

Concluded AIGA executive director Julie Anixter, “Our pledge is to continue to champion women’s leadership, as well as women and men who support diversity and inclusion. Double of Nothing is a great example of not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.”

Last year, the group introduced the Gender Equity Toolkit, an interactive game for surfacing implicit bias in the workplace conceived in collaboration with Disrupt Design, and the Mathews Hale Women Lead Award, a scholarship that helps support talented, high potential female designers starting out in their careers.

This post originally appeared in GDUSA. Hear from women leaders in design at the VMA Design Conference during AIGA’s SF Design Week on June 14 in San Francisco.