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5 careers for the environmentally-conscious creative professional | #SustainabilityMonth

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As a creative professional, you’re probably on the lookout for a career path that is both high-paying and able to bring you some joy. The good news is that you’re not alone in this. Tons of other creative pros are in the same situation as you, and if you feel like you would like to truly deliver some positive change in your next role, rest assured that there’s plenty out there to satisfy your needs.

In fact, we’ve identified five major career paths that you can consider if you’re interested in turning your creative skills at the service of a greener planet entirely. Keep in mind, some of the below may sound dreadfully familiar – but that’s okay. What is creativity if not subverting the expected?

How to approach a green creative career

Look up some sustainable job titles in the creative industry and you’ll soon realise that you may be adopting the wrong approach. The truth is there isn’t a whole lot of genuinely original, creative-focused sustainable job titles out there. This means that, when it comes to embracing a green creative career, creative professionals should look at the bigger picture rather than the day-to-day.

You may well be a sustainability advisor at any given company, but it will take you a lot of time and experience before you’re able to take on such responsibilities. Consultants have years of industry experience under their belts. If you’re a midweight or just starting out, it may not be the best choice for you. It may even be that you’re not interested in being a consultant at all – maybe you’re more hands-on, so to speak.

So what should you look out for when seeking a creative career in sustainability? Certainly company culture and values. The place where you work as a creative tells you much more about the kind of work that you’re going to do than the job title or the job description themselves. If you work at an agency that loves to help charities and give back to the environment, then you’re certain to work on some quite exciting stuff all the time, and something that carries some purpose.

That said, there are some job titles that work incredibly well in the realm of sustainability and creativity. Here are a few.

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Image credit: Imagination

Landscape Designer

You can’t get closer to the environment than by being a landscape designer or architect. Landscapers are in charge of creating, planning and maintaining environments. This means designing and conceiving parks, gardens and other large areas, and often working with trees, furniture and architecture to visualise your dearest sustainability dreams.

The caveat is that you will need some specialist training to do that. You can’t expect every graphic designer to be good at designing spaces and open environments, after all; you may need to specialise in architecture, interior and exterior design, and perhaps even environmental law to understand how you can work with all the elements at your disposal.

Green Tech Consultant

Have you ever heard of green technology? It relates to the field using technology and science to create environmentally friendly services and products, to help organisations become more sustainable. A green tech consultant is the ultimate expert in terms of green tech and usually works with companies to bridge the gap between their governance and green tech itself.

It’s not necessarily a full-on creative job in itself, though it can be. Green tech consultants can expect to manage client accounts, develop strategies and carry out market research to ensure their green tech recommendations are always up to date, useful and substantiated.

Industrial Designer

At the intersection between art and business are industrial designers. This career combines everything that has to do with art and engineering to create products that people will use every day. And as more and more guidelines for sustainable design are released every year, industrial designers are expected to work in ever more creative ways to reinvent the use of materials, aesthetics and product life cycle.

Typically a degree in industrial design or architecture will help you become a skilled industrial designer, but since it is one of the most practical professions in this list, it must be noted that a portfolio of work can do wonders and it can sometimes be even more important than a degree to show prospective clients and employers what you can do.

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Image credit: Frost Creative Limted

Web Designer

As talks about the digital footprint become increasingly important in the sustainability conversation, you can expect the role of web designers to be reinvented almost completely. Intuitively, websites which are better optimised and faster to load will generally require less energy, and hence leave a much smaller digital footprint on the environment. The best web designers and developers out there will be able to understand these very delicate dynamics to create beautiful websites which are still functional, and keep the health of the planet at their core in the process.

Not only that; companies are looking for environmentally-conscious web designers everywhere around the world, even in the realm of big tech. Interested in working for Microsoft? They are hiring for web developers all the time, and they have a huge interest in sustainability! You will need some very specialist knowledge to become a web designer, but if it’s something that tickles your interest, why not?

Graphic Designer

Yes, you read that right: being a graphic designer is the single easiest thing you can do if you want to stay close to the environment. And if you’ve read the paragraph above about being a web designer, those principles will apply to you here as well; as design improves and the creative industry works to create more sustainable projects, graphic designers will be at the forefront of making this happen.

New ways of approaching sustainability in graphic design are being born every day. Recently, we even saw a creative company on social networks that recreated some of the world’s most famous logos (H&M, Nike and others) to show how they would look if they were more sustainable. Small things like using outlines instead of filled shapes, and a certain kind of typography, will mean huge changes in terms of how that design is rendered on screen – and again, the digital footprint it will leave behind. 

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Image credit: Amoveo

… And much more!

But it doesn’t stop here. As you may have figured out by now, any creative career can be adapted to the needs of an environmentally-conscious creative professional. The simple fact that, as creative pros, we use creativity to fuel our projects means that we can often work with our clients to create work that is aligned to our values. That may not be always possible, but when it is, you should always take the chance.

And the good news is that the need for environmentally-conscious creative professionals isn’t declining – if anything, it’s on the rise. Clients and brands are realising that sustainability is in high demand among consumers, and the only way to meet that demand is by creating and advertising products that make this world a better place.

So whether you are a designer, a writer, a filmmaker, an animator, a photographer or anything else entirely, there is always the chance for you to harness your creative skills to deliver green, sustainable and responsible work. Sometimes you may have to think a bit more creatively to do that; but that shouldn’t be a problem, should it?


Header image: Marisa Wasser
 

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