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A Culture of Green




“Sustainable design is smart design” is Dion Zuess’s mantra. As Creative Director at her studio, ecoLingo, Zuess applies this catchphrase to all aspects of her work, whether she is using design ecology or systems methodology in a project for a client, expert-sourcing for a non-profit or Fortune 500 company, writing or teaching sustainable design to students. An eco-designer for over a decade, Zuess knows firsthand how greening one’s workflow and business in an authentic way creates new opportunities. The studio is a certified green business dedicated to sustainable design. Zuess is also an adjunct faculty member of MCAD’s Sustainable Design Program. Her knowledge and experience draw clients from across the country who are not only looking for meaningful design, but who are also seeking guidance to ensure that their project matches or exceeds their environmental goals and values. Zuess works with like-minded clients such as EFFECT Partners and Billboard Music Award/ Grammy nominee Jack Johnson, who inspires his fans with his environmental commitment, especially while on tour.

“Savvy designers, entrepreneurs and business owners know that sustainable design practices lead to clever, world-changing design solutions. Smart design thinking helps to conserve resources and habitats, encourages cultural diversity and, as a bonus, saves energy and money. Going beyond basic eco efforts to ensure that your workplace or supply chain is as environmentally sound as possible is a smart business investment for your business and the planet... Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of sustainable design is that it provides opportunities to make a difference and to effect social change.”

Over the years, Zuess has seen her role expand from designer to educator to change-agent. Recently she was asked to be a contributing author/associate editor for the book Sustainable Graphic Design: Tools, Systems and Strategies for Innovative Print Design. In addition to writing about paper and inks, Zuess was invited by editor Wendy Jedlicka to contribute a chapter on green business practices. From there, her “Working Smarter” chapter, became the basis of a new course offering in MCAD’s groundbreaking Sustainable Design Program. Since then, Zuess has developed other courses, including “Citizen Design,” which explores ways that designers can play a vital role in social, political or cultural change. During the course, students explore their role and responsibility within the context of sustainability, and conceptualize a project or campaign that raises awareness and inspires change. The classes are online which, she notes, reduces their eco footprint dramatically.
To learn more about MCAD’s Sustainable Design program visit:

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