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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 boots our 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, living and designing with nature requires many skills, not one. When the book was published, the critic mixed, the professional community was outraged, because they combined several fields as biology with architecture, agriculture with forestry, and so on. It applies in the same way when finding solutions to complex challenges for a designer.

Permaculture is a design system for creating a 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 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 practical tool. By placing ecology in the foreground of the composition, it provides specific ways of minimising energy and materials use, reducing pollution, preserving habitat, and fostering community, health, and beauty. It provides a new way of thinking about design principles.

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 in a local scale

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

Twelve design principles from nature

  1. Observe and interact. Join forces with nature, learn processes first-handed by taking passive and active observation of patterns and shapes. It makes the design of a project most effective.
  2. Catch and store energy. Besides the obvious save for a rainy day, the realisation 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 organised 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 have 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 model, look at the overall picture. However, 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? Start as a generalist and end as a specialist.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate. Maximising the relationship for optimised results can be translated to expertly 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 essential family between the parts. The part will retain their strong point to provide contemporary pieces of the communication while the viewer is 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 reconsider. There are many advantages to narrow, smarter thinking that recognises 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. Variety is built into life 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 to resilience. Nature is abstract, meditative, always in flux. Continuously re-balancing, restoring itself as new circumstances occurs in the environment. Likewise, core values are recognised and represented in an integrated piece of designed communication. They accommodate external or superficial changes, and the fundamental principles remain intact. As 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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