All images via www.pokodesign.com
We love this join-the-dots co-creative design for a New Year's greeting card by our very own TreeHugger Barcelona correspondent Petz Scholtus. When not reporting for these very pages Petz is a product designer with a passion for communicating environmental issues through her work. She has created the We Need More Trees card to celebrate our imminent entry into 2011, which has been declared by the UN as the International Year of Forests. We had a quick chat with Petz to find out what motivated her to send us a creative reminder about the forests.TreeHugger: Can you tell us about the idea behind your wonderful New Year greeting card:
Petz Scholtus: When I found out that 2011 will be the International Year of the Forests I thought I should help spread the work that We Need More Trees. At the same time I had been working on a series of 'Souvenirs for Locals', eco-friendly products which also have a deeper message about culture, traditions, and lost information.
It wasn't difficult to combine both concepts and create the graphics for We Need More Trees. Greeting cards are fairly easy to produce and it's the right season for it. There are more products, such as t-shirts and pillow covers, on the way.
TH: Is consumer co-creation and interaction a big part of your work and why do you think it's important?
PS: The reason I use the 'follow the dot' technique is so the consumer/user can get involved in making a unique product, one he or she can personalise. There is also an element of 'slow design' in it, as the user has to make time to follow the dots.
By stitching the pattern on the card, they have time to reflect on the New Year and the fact that we should protect and sustain our precious forests.
TH: Digital or Physical? You usually send your Christmas cards via email, why did you decide to make paper ones this year?
PS: In the past I have alternated digital New Year's wishes, like this one in 2007 or this one in 2009, with sending real things in the mail. Although the latter probably has a bigger footprint than a digital version, nothing beats the element of surprise and affection that comes with a hand-made greeting card via snail mail, especially, when the world around us is becoming more and more digitalised.
I believe that personal contact is important, and that we should make time for each other. Sending real postcards, rather than mass emails, hopefully brings people closer together and makes us appreciate the little things in life.
That is not to say that I don't feel guilty about trees being chopped down to make Christmas stuff, but the cards are made of 100% recycled paper and are fully recyclable as they are printed with vegetable ink.
I believe that any products we create have a negative impact on the environment somewhere, but the trick is to minimise that impact as much as as possible without compromising the design.
TH: How easy is is to sell your work on Etsy and what difference does that make as an independent designer?
PS: I have only been a seller on Etsy for a few weeks, so I don't know how successful it is, but I like being part of a community of independent designers that I know are in the same position as me. Tech-wise it is very easy and doesn't require a financial investment to set up a shop, which is great.
On the other hand, there is a lot of direct competition from other sellers, something you might not have if you set up your own online shop. But since for now my focus is on designing and making things, I am very glad to have an easy, quick and affordable way of selling my designs.
TH: What other design projects are you currently working on and what are the principal eco challenges you are facing?
PS: I guess like most independent designers, I am always working on quite a few products at the same time, but until they are on the market, I can't show them to you, sorry!
The challenges are plenty; from making sure the products are recyclable in current recycling systems at the end of their lives, to finding ethical but affordable production places, to justifying the need for another product, and to controlling every step of the life cycle of a product.
We Need More Trees greeting cards are available to buy on Etsy.
More on Petz Scholtus:
TreeHugger Barcelona Correspondent Petz Scholtus
Cute Animal Bulletin Boards Deliver a Serious Reminder About Mass Extinction
2007 According to Petz Scholtus: Lets Act Faster!
TreeHugger Goes From 2D to 3D With Their First Eco-Product - The StuffBump