Do I need school to be...

a sustainable graphic designer? with Emma Fanning

August 12, 2021 Alex Villacís Season 1 Episode 3
Do I need school to be...
a sustainable graphic designer? with Emma Fanning
Show Notes Transcript

This week’s guest is Emma Fanning, a sustainable graphic designer, agency owner and educator from Canada. During this episode we talk about her love for nature, green graphic design, why she created her course and what the course experience is like and Emma shed’s some light on that terrifying study about how your internet consumption might be damaging the environment and much more.

Find more about Emma here:
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Facebook Group
Green Graphic Design Course

Emma’s book recommendation:
A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal
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Emma Fanning:

We have a lot of fun creating it. And so it was really like, probably at the same time everyone else was creating a course, because they had free time. We also have free time to create the course. But I think something that we did differently from a lot of other people is that we weren't trying to price it to have a 10k course launch.

Alex Villacis:

Hello friends, and welcome to do I need school school to be, a podcast about creative education. In this show me Alex is going to sit down with people in the creative field to ask them about how they learned their trade and how they see education going in the future. We're all different, and we all learn different ways. So naturally, we're all going to take different paths. If you want to know about how your favourite creatives or others in the creative field got to where they are today. Keep listening, and let's have some fun together. Welcome to Episode Three. And in this week's conversation, I got to talk to Emma Fanning, a sustainable graphic designer. I know, what does that mean? We live in a very complicated time, and we see the threat of climate change all around us and designers like Emma are real trailblazers, bringing sustainability to the field of graphic design. I'm a graphic designer too and honestly, until I got to learn from Emma, I didn't think much about the effect graphic design could have on the world from a climate perspective, of course. So in this conversation, we get deep into how she learned what she learned how she got into the topic, who were her teachers. And what's next for us. She also talks to us about her course, which I can only recommend and I hope to take myself soon. So maybe we can take it together. Well let me know. I hope you enjoy this conversation with Emma. And we're recording the hi Emma, how are you today?

Emma Fanning:

Hi, I'm doing great. How are you?

Alex Villacis:

I'm good. It's already 6.45 here in the Netherlands. What time is it in Canada?

Emma Fanning:

It is 945 in the morning.

Alex Villacis:

Isn't it beautiful that we can talk through the internet?

Emma Fanning:

Yeah, I love it so much. Honestly, I'm much prefer this like pandemic slash post pandemic way of doing things with like zoom. And like just being able to do video meetings, so much better.

Alex Villacis:

It has just made things a lot more accessible for people in the sense that if you have if you don't have childcare, you don't have to leave your house, you can have your child in your house with you. Or if a building is not accessible to you, you don't have to you don't have to enter the building. That way, it has just opened doors for a lot of things.

Emma Fanning:

Definitely. And like I don't have a vehicle. So I was always taking public transit everywhere, which is great and fine, but it takes us significantly, like longer amount of time to get to meetings when like you have a half an hour bus ride to get pretty much anywhere. So I find that I save so much more time now by just having video calls. And that's fantastic because I get to have more relaxation time.

Alex Villacis:

I wanted to ask about that actually, um, during the webinar, the last webinar they talk about you mentioned that you don't have a car, I don't have a car either. I don't drive. But in my case, because I never learned how to drive

Emma Fanning:

Same!

Alex Villacis:

Yey! I do not feel so alone lot anymore.

Emma Fanning:

No same. Partially, it was just like bad circumstances of like, I never really had anyone to teach me. But then also, like, in my city, having a car is really expensive. Like insurance is expensive. gas is expensive, like parking spots for the apartment building is expensive. And it just like, it would kind of just feel like throw it away like $10,000 when I can just take public transit and it works for most things. One day, I'd like to learn how to drive just to be able to have the skill but I don't know when I have more excess money to just spend on that, I guess.

Alex Villacis:

Yeah, in my case, it was more that I moved to Germany when I was 18. So public transportation was the norm for me and I've been living here for for in Europe for 11 years now live in the Netherlands and I don't really need a car. But I do want to learn because every time I move it's very annoying that I have to be asking somebody Hey, can you like drive me? Can you help me with your car? I wish I could just like go rent a car and do the move by myself.

Emma Fanning:

Yeah, totally.

Alex Villacis:

That's why I will learn how to drive but again, I have to wait until I have excess money to be like okay, I will spend money on getting my driver's permit and my driving hours and so on.

Emma Fanning:

Yeah, no and it can really it can really get expensive especially paying for like professional lessons. Yeah, the main like motivating factor for me would probably just be that like getting around the city here is fine, but if you want to go like up the island and do any kind of like cool hiking trails or like do fun things yeah, outdoors, then you really do need a vehicle if you want to go camping and you need a vehicle. So like, that's kind of the thing that we're missing out on but it's fine.

Alex Villacis:

And I also, I also think it bounces out like in the first because I know you live a very sustainable life, it balances out if you are just like when I absolutely need it. There's times. I personally really liked that about your course. From that the little ones I want to take the full one, I'm going to take the full one now that I think in August.

Emma Fanning:

yeah.

Alex Villacis:

but what I like is that you don't propose to do everything perfect 100% of the times, it's just do your best to do the best you can most of the times, and it's great to take public transportation all the time. But also sometimes you want to drive you have earned it, it balances out.

Emma Fanning:

Yeah, exactly. And like you know, it especially I think it's a relevant topic since it's like plastic free July, but like very few people can go actually plastic free, especially if you live a like low meat, or vegetarian vegan lifestyle. All of those substitutes usually come in plastic. So is it worse, to purchase the meat in styrofoam that I guess it's still kind of plastic and eat that versus like purchasing a more sustainable option that's better for the planet, but comes in plastic, you know, these are all really hard choices that like people have to deal with. And I think that setting an expectation for, like 100% are nothing like you've failed, if you don't go 100% plastic free, I think can be really like demoralising, and like turning people away from wanting to make better choices. Like we're not plastic free. You know, we're not perfect, in any way, shape, or form. But like, we do our best. And like, I think that's the most important thing. And I think like not putting such hard limits on things to help like ease into like transitions for big life changes. Because as much as it sounds like a great idea to just be like, I'm gonna go plastic free, or I'm going to cut out all sugar or whatever it is making a big life change like that is really hard. And you have to do it in little steps and like reward yourself for like all of the small achievements along the way, and not feel like beat up about like, the little things that you forgot, or you know, you didn't bring your reusable bags to the grocery store. That happens to us even now. It's just you know, it, it's better to like, have a positive attitude about the small things then like feel bad about like the bigger scope of things in my opinion.

Alex Villacis:

That's lovely. Well, I think we gave the audience a little bit of an intro into the topic. But let's, let's go into the more formal setting. Please tell the audience who you are and what you do what you're currently working on.

Emma Fanning:

Perfect. Hi, my name is Emma Fanning. And I run little fox design studio, which is a sustainable graphic design studio that focuses primarily on branding and identity design packaging design in a sustainable way, including sourcing and the actual design of the product, or packaging, as well as websites and usually setting up Shopify or Squarespace for our e commerce clients to give them an online presence. And we also have a course that is dedicated to teaching other designers how to be more sustainable in their work, because it's one of our goals that we hopefully one day won't ever have to call ourselves sustainable designers. And that it will just be a default for all designers to consider sustainability and that the niche will no longer be required. So we really want to be able to create accessible educational content for other designers to make the process of making your design work more green in an accessible way, like we were just talking about through small steps and being proud of little changes, instead of just going like zero to 100. And feeling that if you don't do everything perfectly 100% of the time with your design business, then it's an abject failure for what you're trying to do. So those are sort of the main projects that we're working on. We have really amazing clients right now, particularly in the like alternative meat and sustainable food space, which is super exciting to work on.

Future Guest 1:

That sounds amazing. And how did you get here? How did you decide that you wanted to become a green graphic designer, but maybe we can go a little bit further back? Say, how did you get into a creative profession?

Emma Fanning:

Yeah, so I actually, when I was a kid, I loved nature. And I spent a lot of time outside of my mom specifically at the ocean. I had this like I still have the book but it's like a little like ID book of everything that you can find in the tide pools here. And I like brought that book with me always down to the ocean at low tide and I was like carefully turning over rocks with my mom and like ideen what we could find and then carefully putting the rock back so we weren't like disturbing anything. And doing that so frequently like the book is like seaweed stained It smells like saltwater. And that really just like was so important to me. And it's still so important to me now that like love of nature. And so I always really cared about the environment, even in grade school and stuff like I was involved in the recycling projects and planting tree project. and stuff. And I really loved museums like natural history museum specifically. There's an amazing one where I live that's like the Royal British Columbia Museum of Natural History. And I just spent so many hours there as a child, and I love the exhibits, I love the way the diagramas were set up. I, like had this goal of like working in a natural history museum. And so I spent most of my like high school and university time actually like volunteering and working in museums. At the time, I thought that I really wanted to be like an archivist. So like, behind the scenes, like don't talk to anyone, like very sort of like isolation is because it's very shy, and I didn't like, I didn't think I didn't see myself in more of like an active role. During the time as well, though, I was actually, while I was working in the museums, I was sort of like, doing like hobbies as a as a teen, where I was like, taking the anime that I was watching and like songs that I liked, and like editing them together. And then like posting the videos on YouTube, which is like a really geeky hobby. And I loved it, though. And I spent like, hours and hours and years doing that. And I actually managed to build a following of like, 10,000 subscribers, which is like a base level. Yeah. And so like, I had a lot of like, people that really were enjoying the creativity that I was doing. And that was sort of how I originally got into the field of like typography and colour palettes and like, being able to create like creative pieces. So when I was working in the museum's tangentially, I was always placed in the role of graphic designer, because I would like do the posters on like Photoshop, because no one else knew how. And like, that was like, Oh my god, Wow, you're so good at this, you're now the designer, like it didn't matter what I was, like hired for. I was just like, you're the designer now go work with marketing. And so like, this sort of was like showing me different sides to what I was doing. At the time, I was like, No, I'm going to become like an archivist, or curator or maybe even an exhibition designer, but I'm definitely not going to be a graphic designer. Um, but then as I got more work experience, especially in places like a dinosaur museum that I was working at, that was very small, so you had to take on many hats. I got more experience with branding and design. And I started taking out a few like freelance clients here and there. So it was like, through the process of like, editing anime videos, as a teen that I became a designer, because I have absolutely like no training in it. My degree is in English literature. So like, that was sort of like, how I stumbled into the design field, kind of accidentally, because I was just editing videos, cuz I thought it's fun. And yeah, that was sort of how I got like, basic design skills. The environmental stuff really came along more so in 2016, when I had been working in the field a little bit in design, but just your average, like startup, like Freelancer work, nothing special, the clients weren't environmentally friendly in any way, I was just sort of, you know, taking on whatever clients I could get. And there started to be more and more news headlines about the climate crisis. And that was sort of like, I guess, like a, a reawakening of caring about the environment in a prominent way in my life. Because I was really scared, I didn't know, I didn't know how to read the headlines, I just knew it was bad. And it was something that really sort of weighed heavily on me as an anxious person. And so I was trying to find ways to do more in my life, through going, you know, low plastic and trying to reduce my carbon footprint when possible, and sort of just doing lifestyle changes, very slowly. I found that rewarding. And then it wasn't enough, I wanted to do something in my design work, but I wasn't sure what I wasn't sure if my clients would care if I would lose all my clients. And it was just sort of like through a process of trial and error that I managed to carve out this like sustainable design niche and learn more about like, kind of from the ground up, because there wasn't a lot of resources at the time, how to be a sustainable designer. And it was really just born out of wanting to do more and feeling that it was really important that everything that I was doing from work to personal life was at least trying to do the best that I could do.

Future Guest 1:

I think you're the epitome of self taught.

Emma Fanning:

Possibly

Alex Villacis:

Because because it ranges from how to design how to like do typography, like is a type of colour palettes. Probably editing, like learning that Photoshop is maybe not the best place to make a poster. Yeah. And then learning, oh, maybe I shouldn't make a logo in Photoshop, maybe illustrator makes more sense, but just experimenting and learning and finding resources to teach yourself. And then going on this journey of sustainability, also teaching yourself and finding out maybe this thing that appears sustainable, and I really like the post disposes you make that you make, making those great those little critics being like, this looks sustainable, just because it looks sustainable doesn't mean that it is, but also the journey that you had to take for yourself. And I'm guessing it wasn't only in designing was also like, in natural studies and chemistry in a whole lot of different avenues. Right?

Emma Fanning:

Yeah, pretty much, almost none of it was coming directly from design. until I started, like reading papers specifically on recycling and like, the formulation of inks, and like, forestry, that relates to the how paper was made, and like learning about the sort of, like supply chain of, of design or physical print design, but a lot of it was just general learning about what climate crisis is, um, you know, what is the current science look like? What about forestry? What about, um, you know, I'm totally blanking now. But like, just generally learning about like different environmental aspects, like, basically, whatever I felt that I didn't understand clearly, I read more about that. So I didn't understand, like, Canada's economy sort of has a reputation for being built on oil and gas, and the Alberta tar sands. And I didn't understand that. So I read more about it. And then that led me to learn about fracking. And then that led me to learn more about Indigenous Studies for environmentalism. And so I just sort of like traced the path of what I was most interested in learning about and what I felt that I didn't understand. And I still do that to this day.

Future Guest 1:

Yeah, it's, it's following your curiosities, being like, Okay, do I know this? Do I know this? I don't, this has a lot of little topics that I need to understand. I will learn about those. And I love that I think it's a very interesting journey. And who did you find? Do you have any teachers? Because he didn't, I'm guessing you didn't learn for a particular person. But is there anybody that impacted you on your journey, like someone's whose voice you still here in the back of your head when you're doing something?

Emma Fanning:

Yeah, so a lot of what I was doing at the dinosaur museum, and then later at an aquarium in San Francisco, was working with the CEO at the same CEO from both places, and he was super brilliant. And artists himself, he was running very high level projects. And he had sort of like, taken me under his wing. And so a lot of what I was doing was like back and forth was him to do all kinds of things from like brochures, to videos to like, coffee table books to like displays in the airport, like, so. Like, I was really like flung into design at a very like, early age, when I'd really didn't know what I was doing. I could barely use Illustrator. And then all of a sudden, I was having to do these, like very high level projects. And it was through like a back and forth with him that he helped me also learn some of the basics of design, maybe not intentionally, but he was always like, you need to outline everything, like you need to make sure that you've got like a like, good, like type hierarchies. And so like, I frequently think about his voice in the back of my head for like, make sure everything on the left is aligned. Which is great. And he really sort of like helped rapidly develop my creativity and my skill set just by having such fast paced projects that he was like, helping me with. And I think that actually was sort of like, responsible for like my rapid skill growth over the couple of years that I was working with him.

Future Guest 1:

That's real ly cool. So you you win the mentorship route.

Emma Fanning:

Yeah, pretty much in a typical way,

Future Guest 1:

In an atypical way. No, but I think those are the best ones that you don't enter in and saying, like, you're my mentor, and the mentee is how we're going to do it. But he just happened very organically from what it sounds

Emma Fanning:

Yeah, pretty much. He just sort of like, saw that I was doing good work with marketing and then started giving me more projects directly that were like on like, the, the stakeholder higher level. And then it works really well because I was super motivated and able to commit a lot of time to the fast paced work environment and everything that entails. And I definitely grew a lot as a designer.

Alex Villacis:

And now you yourself are in a position to have mentees and to become a teacher. Well, you are a teacher because you have your own course. So how did you develop? How did you come to that? Do you want it to make somebody else's journey easier in sustainable design? Or did you just go because a lot of people did it in 2020 It's like everybody said, I want to have a course.

Emma Fanning:

Yeah, yeah, I really been thinking about the idea several years before 2020, when everyone made a course, I had really been thinking about it since around 2018. But I knew that I didn't have enough, I didn't have a big enough Instagram following and community base. And I knew that I didn't have the full amount of knowledge that was actually going to be required to create a course, it was really important to me that I had like, a really solid understanding of everything that I was going to be teaching and having it be as detailed as possible before I started creating the course. And then it was something that we probably could have done in 2019. But really, the opportunity only came up in the pandemic, because I'm sure like many others, work dropped off very suddenly. And it was like, Okay, well, we have a lot of free time now. And I was super lucky, and that the government here was actually giving, like stimulus to people repeatedly throughout the most of the pandemic. And so I was able to just take government support money to keep the business afloat, which was great, because I probably had enough runway, but like, just barely, and it would have been like cutting it pretty close if I truly had gotten no clients or no projects that made income through the pandemic. But the other thing that was really, like instrumental for the the creation of the course was actually just that my partner who is a science student, he was taking time off, because he didn't want to take the online classes, which, fair enough, I think as like, especially like stem that sort of is best done in person, like I can imagine, like online English classes, but like, how do you do an online lab? anyway? Exactly. Yeah, he was sort of looking for something to do at that time. And I realised that he could fill in a lot of the, like science and chemistry gaps that I was missing, especially in terms of materials sourcing, for packaging, and other design things. And so we worked on the course together. And we found that to be like, really, really rewarding and super fun. He himself wants to eventually continue in academia and be a professor likely. And so it was a really great experience for him as well to be able to get a trial run at teaching a class. And, yeah, we just, we had a lot of fun creating it. And so it was really like, probably the same time everyone else was creating a course, because they had free time, we also had free time to create the course. But I think something that we did differently from a lot of other people is that we weren't trying to price it to have a 10k course launch. Because I mean, we can talk more about that later. But like, we really don't believe in education as a pure profit model, we really do think that it should be accessible. Ideally, our course would be free, if that was financially viable for us, but because that's not, it's priced as literally as low as we can to be able to, like pay the bills, and like, make sure that it kind of like breaks even so this isn't like something that we're making mad money off of. Because sometimes large course creators talk about how much money they made. And honestly, it doesn't, it's upsetting. And like, yeah, okay, make your money. But like, a lot of it is geared towards people that don't have money. And like, I've heard stories of people that go into debt to take these two expensive courses, they don't make their money back. And that's upsetting to me. And I don't feel that education should be priced that way, and should be built to manipulate people into spending more money than they can afford on a promise.

Future Guest 1:

I think one of my favourite things of you as a teacher is how the high level of ethics that you have, and justified that the course that you get all the updates after it's not like you're going to be like in a year, if you gotta get an updated version of all the information from the course you have to pay for the course again, and so on. It's, it's it comes from a genuine place that you want to teach people and you want people to spread and to do better at their job. I think even now, as the market is switching can be more aware of the environment. It can also help young designers like separate themselves from the pack when they start saying like, Hey, I'm a green graphic designer, I am certified. Here is my I did a course from a respected we in graphic designer. And you can help them even financially.

Emma Fanning:

Yeah. Yeah. And we, we could have easily picked that as our sole marketing purpose and like price the course at $1,000 and said like you'll get your money back because you're going to be now like a top top designer in your niche. And instead, we took the opposite route of just saying like people that want to do better in your work no matter what. This is how you do it. You will be able to have like a strong position in your niche and you will potentially be able to price more. But that's up to you and how you run your business. We're here to just teach you the basics, or they will from the basics to the advanced. Because Yeah, there will never be an advanced degree in graphic design course. It's the one.

Future Guest 1:

Yeah, but it's also bad that you're not making those empty promises. It's like so many courses online. I personally dislike I take in, like free webinars and what I don't like it's like 10 minutes of introduction and introducing the problem. 20 minutes of content, 30 minutes of the person promoting themselves.

Emma Fanning:

I know!

Alex Villacis:

It's so predatory. I'm like, why?

Emma Fanning:

Yes! 100% predatory. Like, it's so we're actually like, we've got like several blog posts in the works that we really want to like, find too and about like, just like, what to, like, watch out for in terms of red flags, when you're purchasing a course from a creators to help people be able to make better decisions and cut through some of that predatory manipulation and be able to save some money, hopefully. But yeah, like, I hate the, like, 10 minutes of like, when I was a child, and it's like, this doesn't relate, hear, please stop.

Future Guest 1:

It's like, what I don't care about your life story.

Emma Fanning:

Yeah, unless specifically asking for it, no!

Alex Villacis:

Exactly. I took this one in which the last half I timed it last half an hour, it was just the two girls explaining like what they were doing and just selling you other products. So if you take this, you can take this, and they never reveal the price. And when somebody doesn't reveal that price up front, it's insanely expensive.

Emma Fanning:

I know, right? I hate that. That's why I always put like $300 is the price of the course on everything. It's like on the front page of everything. Because I hate it. Sometimes you even have to go to the checkout page to see how much money it is. What is up with that!?

Future Guest 1:

Exactly! I scrolled for these courts, I was so curious about the price, they were like 20 minutes into like their sell me section. And I thought, Okay, I need to see how much this cost, I go through the website, I'm scrolling down, scrolling down, scrolling, testimonials, scrolling down, scrolling down, and testimonials, scrolling down, stat. And I get to the bottom and the course at the end that everything they were promising It was $7,000 at a sale price, because you were doing the webinar, the full price was $12,000 and 500, like $12,500. And I thought, what?!

Emma Fanning:

Who has that kind of money? I'm sorry, but like, we have a very successful business. And we don't have that kind of money to drop on education. Like there's this co option of this idea that clients in their entire marketing and like design budget for a year should spend eight to 12% of gross the gross income that they make any year client. So this is on like specific, like branding, packaging, website investments that are going to have a direct return on investment. But there's this co option of this idea in that students should pay up to 25% of their gross annual income into education because it's going to make them more money. No, that's not how this works. Like.

Alex Villacis:

Who are these people? who are the students?

Emma Fanning:

I don't know. Because like I and that's something that like, I am, like, sort of honoured that people share with me is just there have been so many people, so many messages from people that have saying thank you so much for how you price your course, I truly can't afford other courses, or I have gone into debt in the past, or the pandemic has really hurt my finances. And I can't take your course right now. But I want to one day, and like this is a very, very, very common theme. So like I don't really understand where these like larger course creators are coming from when they're marketing to beginner designers. And assuming that they can afford and like comfortably afford without like actually damaging their financial situation, a 10,000 or $12,000 course. I just don't see it as viable in the current like economy in the global north, let alone the global south. Like with the currency exchange rate from people in different countries like that. Like it's just insane. They can't afford anything, but they're still designers. They're still on the internet. It's not like the Instagram is just full of white people. Like

Future Guest 1:

Totally, I really and I love that when you price records, you're like, hey, it's 300 but you can also get it in three easy pay in three payments of 100. And if you have an issue with that contact, contact us and we'll figure something out. So you have that openness, because it comes from the fact that you want to teach you want to share this information. It's not coming from I create a course I became a teacher because I saw a hole in the industry.

Emma Fanning:

Yes.

Alex Villacis:

Or I saw an opportunity to make money out of other people. It's like I really wanted to teach it. And also the course is beefy. Like you showed us the syllabus on the webinar and I'm like, this is beefy course, like, there's a lot of information here, it's not going to be like 4 or 10 slides, this is 13 hours of video, right?

Emma Fanning:

Yeah, 13 hours of lecture content. And like people have actually. And this is like, so cool to see our students, there's, there's so much content in the course, that they're taking the course the first time, and they're like, I'm gonna do it again with the next round of coaching costs. And I love that, because like, they're really dedicated to learning. And there is a lot of information in the course. Like, we really truly packed as much information as we could like, the videos don't have like, the five minutes of like, intro, they're just like, this video will be about topic and then launch right into.

Future Guest 1:

And that can still enrich your work. I mean, it especially when it comes to packaging. And that's what I appreciated from the first webinar that I went with you. And it's just that knowledge, that idea that as designers, every we have to think about the full cycle of the thing, because it doesn't end, when the person gets it, especially with packaging, they have to throw it away at one point, what are we leaving behind? And it's, it's not a tale of if you don't do this, you're damaging the planet, it's more of a tale of empowering people to think about the full cycle. It's a very, it's not, we're all going to this hellscape it's more what can you do today in your work? And how can you influence everything around you. So it's, it's great. I love that spirit, you have the teacher, it's really wonderful.

Emma Fanning:

Thank you.

Alex Villacis:

The only reason that I haven't taken the course yet is because I'm doing a social innovation course, which is ending in July. And I thought, okay, I want to be able to pay my full attention to one course at a time. So as soon as I finished my one social integration course, I'm taking yours because I just know that it's going to be amazing.

Emma Fanning:

Thank you, well, we're excited to have you in the course. Yeah, I genuinely feel that like, I really love the client work, don't get me wrong, it's really fun doing brand design and packaging, design of websites, it's super fun, but like, I genuinely feel that like, the course is like some of the most meaningful work that we're doing, actually, and that it has the most impact. And that we're really like the community with the course too is amazing. Like, even for us, like through the pandemic, like being able to have like weekly or two times a week calls with the people, the students in the course, it's a great way to make friends. And like it was such an amazing, like, social interaction in a time where like, everyone was locked down. And so like it was just so fantastic. Um, through through the whole, the whole pandemic that's still going on. So, you know, it's not like it's over.

Alex Villacis:

It's a chance to build connection and connection and a topic that you're interested in with people who have the same curiosities as you do. And being like, hey, maybe I've always had this idea. And if you go online, finding this information will take you longer than 13 hours. And if you look at all it will take you so long. And also you don't know what to believe. I mean, that in Can you explain to the audience because people have this misconception about the whole internet, like watching an episode of Netflix is more damaging to driving your car.

Emma Fanning:

Okay, yeah. So this is a like

Alex Villacis:

I want to, I want to have this document that because I've heard that from so many people.

Emma Fanning:

Yeah, so this is a fascinating study that was done, I believe by like a think tank in the UK. And they actually ended up having to retract their statement about driving is equal to watching Netflix. Because what they had done in the study is confused a bit with a bite. And so a bite I believe, is like significantly larger than a bit. So when they hadn't confused them and issued their new study after the retraction. As it turns out, the carbon footprint of Netflix is really totally, completely minor. It has no serious impact and is not comparable to driving. But of course, the damage had already been done, because the headline already got out there. And now everyone is like talking about it. And it's unfortunate because like they they issued a formal retraction for their studying because it was completely wrong, like the data behind it was completely wrong. And this is one of those interesting ideas because it's a similar concept for any time someone tries to say that your carbon footprint of emails or anything online is comparable to something serious in the real world. It's really not like when you put things in perspective. So a great example of this is my website is on Squarespace. So that's not technically very eco friendly because you can't control too too much about it and so it has a slightly larger page size then say if you code it from hand, if you punch my website, Little Foxes calm into a carbon calculator, and you adjust the automatic setting which is 10,000 page views per year down to 1000. Because really, we get 1000 like page or sorry, 1000 pageviews per month. So we get 1000 page views per month, we don't get 10,000. That's quite a lot, I don't feel most people get 10,000 page views per month. So when you just sit down to 1000, it says that the carbon footprint of my website over an entire year is eight kilogrammes. And they list off a bunch of like, statements about like, what that equivalents to so like, how many cups of tea is that, like how much electricity and they're trying to really make this seem like a really big number, and that it's quite impactful. But when you look at the carbon like footprint of an individual person per capita in the United States, or Canada, it's close to 16 tonnes of carbon per year per person. So how much is eight kilogrammes compared to 16 tonnes, it's 0.008% of your carbon footprint in the air. You could offset like the website at eight kilogrammes of carbon by having a meal that would traditionally have meat in it and make that vegetarian three or four times in a year. And then you over offset your website just for making few lifestyle changes. So and this isn't to say that green web design isn't important because a lot of what goes into that, in terms of reducing image size. And like putting in a metadata tags and stuff that's really important, everyone should be doing that. These aren't things that we should be ignoring, but trying to equivalent, a website carbon footprint to something that has like a physical presence. It's just, it's just not the same. And so it's not worth like putting all of your energy into that front, when you have more meaningful impact in other areas. And the overarching theme of this is that this is one of sort of what we call what are the three new tenants of greenwashing. And it's more than just like putting a green green colour on a packaging. Now, we call this one deferment to the consumer to defer it to the individual. Because ultimately, large corporations are trying to push all of the impetus of your own carbon footprint onto you and your individual actions. And it's individuals fault that we're in this mess. laughs That is not the case. And it is mostly corporations and the 1% of wealthiest people in the world that are contributing the vast majority of climate emissions, greenhouse gas emissions to the world and the individual consumer that is just having, like subsistence emissions from just like living their daily life in a normal way driving to work, etc. Those really don't have a significant impact on the global scale of emissions. But it's very convenient. If corporations can say, Oh, no, it's your fault. You're the one driving to work, how dare you, we're just supplying the oil. It's not our fault. So that's sort of like one of the things that we explained in the course as being something to watch out for, when it seems that too much blame is falling on the individual.

Future Guest 1:

That's great. And I think that segways perfectly into my next question, which is where do you see the future of creative education going? Because I think that you're talking a lot about developing critical thought, and being reading a headline and knowing like, Okay, how am I going to interpret this? How, what does the research say is repeating in other places? And that's something that none other people do. But that's something that's an integral part of your course, like getting the information and be like, Okay, how am I going to critically make this decisions? And how I'm going to back it up and also say, okay, maybe I don't do perfectly here, I'm going to do better on this other category. So where do you see the future of creative education going? Do you think it's going to be more online like this, talking through a medium, or it's going to be more oriented in a certain place? Or we can talk about the economics actually, that will be also very interesting.

Emma Fanning:

Yeah. So I think that online education is really cool. And especially for creativity, I sort of seen it beam being much more common to shift a shift art and design away from traditional university or college degrees, and being able to have people learn it more independently on their own at a lower cost. So I see companies like super high create these incredible courses that are like super detailed and teaching you the basics of design, the basics of coding, telling you how to run projects. Those are the kinds of things that you know, the courses are all below $1,000 each, and they just have so much content. And that's the kind of thing that you might pay thousands of dollars for in a university. So it's my perspective that that's sort of making university education a little bit more obsolete until You potentially get to a higher level where it's more about like, especially physical technique for drawing and art, like traditional art, I think that can be difficult to learn, like face to face, or learn not face to face and learn online. But I see a lot of sort of like power more going towards people being able to train themselves independently online. And ultimately, I would really like to see a world that's on like green New Deal tenants where education is free for everyone, no matter what I think that that is ultimately the world that I would like to see, because education is extremely low carbon teaching is low carbon, we should be putting more effort into these kinds of low carbon activities, teaching healthcare, childcare, building different infrastructure, like being able to create jobs that are meaningful to people, and also our low carbon. And so I'd love to see that become more of a tenant of the society and economy that that we will move to hopefully. And I think that being able to have education and be free is really sort of like where we should be at. And I know that's the case, in some places in Europe, too. It's just North America is like lagging behind real hard on that. And so I I'd love to see things actually progress in that direction, which would also like kill off a lot of the predatory models of education that exist, because they wouldn't be able to compete with with things being free. If education were free, I would go back and get a marine biology degree.

Future Guest 1:

That would be beautiful. Oh, that would be amazing.

Emma Fanning:

Only if it's free, though.

Alex Villacis:

No, I totally get it. The course that I mentioned that I'm doing right now. It's a social innovation course. It's like any cost me 10 euros. And they're talking about so many things from the Lean Startup principle to design thinking. they're proposing a lot of ideas, they have great seminars, and I thought this is not, I would have paid a lot more for it. Here, I'm happy to do what's available to me for 10 euros, and there are a lot of people in the course who couldn't afford it, if it was higher priced, like I could I could afford it if it was higher price, because I'm in a very privileged position. But other people wouldn't have been able to. So it's taking that that it's putting it not lowering the quality of the education, but making it so more people can afford it. Because in the end, what is better to have 10 people who can pay $100 or to have to have like, what 10,000 people who can pay $10, like in the there is a way to make it financially sustainable for everybody. Yeah, and follow ethical principles. And I didn't know that education was low carbon, to be honest. That's news to me. I'm like what I always think like in this in design school, because I had a formal design education, how much paper we use, and I think why am I Why are we using? Do we need to print this? Is this 100%? This is Do you need me to print this? Really? Huh?

Emma Fanning:

Yeah. And, and that's true. Like, there are ways in which it can be cut down. But ultimately, like, out of all of the many professions that one could do. Education is super low carbon.

Future Guest 1:

Good to know. Interesting. Well, we have made it to the end of the podcast. Thank you. It was such a great episode. I love learning more about your beginnings. And I yeah, just gave me a such a huge window into you and your work and little flux studio. Is there anything you would like to promote? Could be a course could be a movie could be another person that's designing whatever you want.

Emma Fanning:

Yeah, so Okay, I have two things. One is like a book recommendation for people that are really interested in concept of a green new deal and what that would look like and what a kind of positive low carbon future would look like. So not about just like climate Apocalypse, and like, why we need to stop climate change because otherwise everything is literally going to like be on fire including the ocean like the other day. Or, like more about, like a really hopeful future that I really recommend picking up. Green new deal a planet to win by Kate arnoff It's a fantastic read is really short, super accessible, and really, really inspiring and hopeful about a plan for a future that is just for everyone. And that is much, much more low carbon than our current future. And why we should fight for that in a positive way over just like climate apocalypse being bad and we don't want that. And then anyone that's listening that is a designer and wants to learn more about sustainable design and check out our course is you can find more information at greengraphicd signcourse.com And it's got lik a full curriculum and fre uently asked questions and you can always send us an email, or nstagram message. If you hav questions about the course. We ry and make everything as inf rmation accessible as pos ible. So like providing more inf rmation that probably people wan to know. But that's okay.

Future Guest 1:

Perfect, thank you so much. I will link all that in the show notes. So everybody has access to it.

Emma Fanning:

Great.

Alex Villacis:

Thank you so much for this interview. It was really amazing. And I hope you have a good rest of your day.

Emma Fanning:

Thank you, you as well.

Alex Villacis:

This conversation took place a couple weeks ago, and I've been Mind blown by this. It's what I love about making this podcast I can learn so much about how people I admired of people I look up to for as an example, dining to these fields. If you have more questions about Emmas education or her programme, or if you want to take her course, you'll find links to all that in the description. Yeah. Do you have any questions for her feel free to reach out. They're always super open to share any information. And if you have any questions for me, please also reach out and let me know. Thank you, dear listener for joining me again today on this episode. I hope you enjoyed it. You'll find links to my guests information like their website or Instagram to that maybe the recommendations they made on the show notes, as well as a couple of links that you may use if you want to support us in any way. But we appreciate anything you can do. If you give us a review, that would be great. If you share with your friends, that would be awesome. And you'll find also links to our social media accounts if you want to just get in touch and give us your feedback. It is amazing to be able to make the show and to be in your ears, hoping you'll stay curious. You'll keep learning and to talk again next week. Bye