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In the mid-seventies, two Aussies introduced a new green term to environmentalism, living in the arid Australian (Tasmania) climate. They published in 1978 their first book “Permaculture One” and a year later “Permaculture Two.”  Bill Mollison grew up in Tasmania, and as he writes in the book’s introduction to Permaculture:  “everything we needed we made our own boots our personal metal works: we caught fish, grew food, made bread. I didn’t know anyone who lived there had only one job, or even anything that you could define as a job, Everybody worked at several things.” What he describes is important,  first of all, living and designing with nature require many skills, not one. When the book was published, the critic was mixed, the professional community was outraged, because they combined several fields as biology with architecture, agriculture with forestry and so on. This applies in the same way when finding solutions to complex challenges for a designer.

Permaculture is a design system for creating the sustainable human environment.

The core of  Permaculture is design. The design is a connection of things. (Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison. ) The basic ethics that drive permaculture are borrowed from three broads maxims could be re-worded to communication. The ecologic design is an integrative, ecologically responsible design discipline. It helps connect scattered efforts in green architecture, sustainable agriculture, engineering, and other fields. Ecological design is both a profoundly hopeful vision and a pragmatic tool. By placing ecology in the foreground of design, it provides specific ways of minimizing energy and materials use, reducing pollution, preserving habitat, and fostering community, health, and beauty. It provides a new way of thinking about design principles.

  1. Take care of the Earth (natural resources )
  2. Take care of people (yourself, community)
  3. Equal share (limit consumption/reproduction)


  1. Be conscious of your impact (don’t waste materials, etc.)
  2. Be supportive, fair business practice, locally when it’s possible)
  3. Share resources, volunteer, be involved on a local scale

The three core ethics of a natural system were supported with a set of universal principles developed by David Holmgren. These principles can as well be used as design tools for value-driven communication. The principles are guidelines, and all of them might not be used in a single project. However, for optimal design integrate as many possible.

  1. Observe and interact. Join forces with nature, learn processes first-handed by taking passive and active observation of patterns and shapes. This makes a design of a project most effective.
  2. Catch and store energy. Besides the obvious save for a rainy day, the realization that everything is energy even capital it’s just another form and could also be interpreted an opening for the future.
  3. Obtain a yield. Time is valuable, do not give yourself away for the sake of working. Make a decent løprofit to support the family and community, and future of your work.
  4. Use and value renewable resources. Work with this in mind. Reuse and recycle what you can in your workspace, use green products and services.
  5. Self –going and accept feedback. Get yourself organized and get structures in place to avoid overflow. In work, company growth or in keeping yourself on duty. Accept feedback from your colleagues and your clients, even if you do not a response to every suggestion, being open-minded to what others contribute and increase a positive flow between you and then and enhance the working environment.
  6. No-waste communications. Remember that people’s time and mind share are precious. Design communication to be valuable information, not pollute visually or create junk.
  7. Design from patterns to details. When beginning a design, look at the overall picture. However, first ask yourself what do I want to accomplish? What types of visuals could support that message? How might it be interpreted from another perspective? What sort of environment will it be received in? start as a generalist and end as a specialist.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate. Maximizing the relationship for optimized results can be translated to effectively designed communication by relating the parts to the whole.  Provide visual cues, transitions that link ideas through graphics and word interplay, and families (colour, fonts, graphical styles) to differ key family between the parts. The part will retain their strong point to provide contemporary pieces of the communication while the viewer is taken into consideration by presenting the components as part of the overall visually fluent language.
  9. Smaller and slower solutions – “More is better” is an idea that needs to be rethought. There are many advantages to narrow, smarter thinking that recognizes niche possibilities. Macro-level perspectives can’t see in these terms.
  10. Cherish diversity. Nature never relies on just one solution. Complexity and diversity are essential to flexibility. Diversity is built into nature to provide options, and complexity offers many ways to get there.
  11. Understand the value of edges. In nature, edges to differ the changes between processes or cycles. Nature draws lines from grassland to mountains the same apply in design. Edges can set the tone of voice between ideas or thoughts. Remember edge thinking is innovative, new ideas don’t come from the centre but the edges that surround it.
  12. Follow nature’s lead of resilience. Nature is abstract, meditative, always in flux. Continuously re-balancing, restoring itself as new circumstances occurs in the environment. Likewise, core values are recognized and represented in an integrated piece of designed communication. They accommodate external or superficial changes, and the fundamental principles remain intact. Like a whole system, the flexibility, bounce and elastic centre from which it can expand are the contexts of nature, all parts functioning in support of the whole.



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