Thanks to support from CAF Venturesome, Hubbub is delighted to announce the launch of Design By Nature seeking to unleash the vast talent of student designers to create more impactful solutions to the biggest environmental challenges facing the UK.

Design By Nature will challenge UK design students to use their creativity to make day-to-day sustainable living second nature.  We will be running a series of live briefs and sharing key insights from campaign research we have gathered over the years. This information will be open-sourced and shared on the Design By Nature website. Work submitted will be judged by the Hubbub team with some winners being supported and put into practice, and others celebrated on social media, in a zine and in exhibitions.

Design By Nature has been developed building on the following five insights:

1) Great design works

Brilliant design has always been at the heart of everything that Hubbub has sought to create.  Before launching the charity, we explored why environmental messages were struggling to resonate with a mainstream audience.  One of our conclusions was that the information simply wasn’t being communicated in an attractive or compelling manner. 

Over five years we have seen how impactful great design can be.  Our playful, colourful recycling bins have almost tripled recycling rates in Leeds and are now having similar results in other cities.  The boats we make from 99% recycled plastic brilliantly tell the story of the circular economy but more importantly, they are durable, highly practical and look great.  The ‘Ballot Bin’ cigarette voting ashtray successfully reduces cigarette littering by up to 46%, reducing a significant form of plastic pollution from entering our waterways.  A vast array of street installations has successfully managed to quickly communicate complex issues such as microplastics to passers-by.

2) The UK has an exceptional talent pool of young designers

Hubbub stumbled upon this realisation by mistake.  One of our first intern roles was an exceptional young designer looking for her first job.  She taught us the importance of ensuring that designers are involved from the very outset of the project so that their thinking and knowledge helps shape the intervention.

We now have a team of five internal designers.  Thanks to their involvement the ‘Give a Grow’ pack created for the GLA was designed to the highest sustainable standards and was massively popular with the 10,000 Londoners who received them.  Design thinking has also helped to transform recycling efforts from High Streets to motorway service stations.

3) Universities and colleges are seeking ‘real-life’ challenges

The design colleges we speak to are constantly looking for practical challenges to give students.  They also have young people seeking to make a positive contribution to wider society and are increasingly questioning the value of design that creates over-consumption.   Hubbub can provide them with a safe and supportive place where they can experiment and test new ideas.

4) The need for more sustainable design solutions is acute

Wherever Hubbub turns we understand that new forms of design and different solutions are required to address the scale of the environmental challenge we face.  Design needs to make it easy, compelling and affordable for people to do the right thing.  Young designers understand this and can provide a fresh approach to stubborn problems.

5) Design by Nature will have a significant impact

Hubbub constantly asks itself how can we deliver maximum impact with our limited resources?  We believe that Design by Nature will benefit the sustainability movement in a number of ways.  Most importantly it will help develop a new group of talented designers who better understand sustainability.  It will take a fresh look at key environmental challenges.  It could develop into a service available for companies and organisations seeking more sustainable solutions and by doing this will generate a further revenue stream helping Hubbub to further invest in design and bringing ideas with potential to have a significant environmental impact to life.