Sustainability in visual imagery

Communicating and highlighting the benefits and advantages of purchasing products with the lowest environmental impact is particularly noticeable in visual imagery which we face on a daily basis. The purpose of this paper is to explore and analyze such images and investigate how they can shape consumers’ perception of sustainability in the context of furniture design. Over the course of the past decade, furniture as one of the most important elements of every interior, has witnessed a remarkable development and improvement in its design, often leading towards more environmentally friendly models. Research in a form of photographs, advertisements and illustrations has been collected through a visit to a sustainable furniture showroom, from current publications, including newspapers, magazines and books followed by internet websites in order to explore recent eco-friendly furniture designs and to investigate how sustainable they are in reality. In order to further explore this subject, a comprehensive literature review has been conducted and included in the study, to assess, analyze and understand various key concepts in the field of furniture design as it pertains to visual imagery and sustainability. Certain case studies – in the form of examples of existing concepts, from various parts of the globe are also included to broaden the understanding on the subject on hand, and reaffirm the claims made in the paper. A small selection of images has been chosen for further investigation and its analysis will be based on three methods of reading images –compositional interpretation, and semiology. Perception of sustainability and the methods used in visual portrayal of sustainable furnishings to alter opinions as the main focus of this paper have been explored in separate chapters to give a detailed insight into the subject matter. Related findings of other researchers, as explored in the literature review as well as through case studies, will be included as valuable support for this paper. The intended practical output of this study is an advice booklet available to public to help make best environmentally sound choices when buying furniture. A challenge of recommending seemingly unsustainable materials will be undertaken as an attempt to change public perception. Chapter 1 – Contemporary Concerns over Sustainability: Key Concepts It is commonly known that the quality of the environment has enormous influence on our behavior and physical and physiological wellbeing. We need the natural life-giving resources that only the biosphere can provide: clean air and water, soil in which to grow our crops, resources to maintain our industrial lifestyle that in turn generates wealth to support the development of technology. Unfortunately rapid technological progress and the excessive use of the planet’s resources over the course of the past centuries have resulted in extremely high levels of consumption and environmental damage which now threatens the long-term continuation of our existence. Although it is believed that the reasons for our depleted and polluted planet are fairly complex, it is undeniable that designers and design industry in general are co-responsible with others for this alarming situation. It is therefore inevitable that design responds to the environment and