Our design for the 2020 ZEISS desk calendar owes its genesis and its very name—“environmental echoes and good habits” to a request consistent with the cultural climate which has been prevailing since quite a few years: everyone should be expected to take care of the planet—and therefore of our own future.
Having been entrusted with this task, which involved thinking up creative and copywriting aspects as well, we came up with a folding desk calendar and a 100×70 poster-sized schedule planner, so that each and every day of the year all ZEISS employees will have something before their eyes to remind them of all those “good habits” one should be aware of and practise at work.
Three words stand out on the folding base: Green – Safe – Responsible. This is how ZEISS Vision Care Italia decided to encapsulate their policy vis-à-vis the environment, in the corporate headquarters in Castiglione Olona as well as in their six branch offices: 12 examples of “best practice” to emphasize concepts they had already partially started to convey through several in-house newsletters.
The basic suggestions on how to reduce the environmental impact of our daily activities are always the same: enable the automatic stand-by mode on the PC, switch off the light when you do not need it, set your air conditioning unit to “Dry” rather than “Cool”, and so forth.
What was needed was a novel way to convey these ideas, captivating and yet effective—offering suggestions instead of directives, so that people get accustomed to them without feeling they are being ordered about. A way to lead people to smile and learn.
12 topics for 12 months
Thus we agreed with the company’s communication manager on 12 topics, adjusted to fit the season; then we turned them into short rhyming messages (either AA couplets or following the ABAB scheme) and finally handed hem over to an illustrator who was to suggest visuals—one for each of them.
Drawing the sketches themselves was a task we assigned to Fabio Folla, a graphic designer, an illustrator, a storyteller and a respected teacher at the school of applied arts located in Milan’s Castello Sforzesco as well as visiting teacher at the Accademia di Belle Arti (school of fine arts) in the same city. We chose together the sort and style of the characters who would populate the various sketches, then we gave him the texts we developed and told him what size each sketch was to be.
We appreciated his decision to opt for black and white only, and when we saw his work we also realized it was ideal as we meant to add a touch of deep blue in each sketch—the blue ZEISS logo.
Eventually, the choice of which paper to use also conformed to an environment-friendly approach: we opted for recycled paper, bearing the Ecolabel and certified by the FSC. Waste disposal instructions direct the user to remove the metal spiral binding for the paper, since the former is to be disposed of together with aluminium cans and the latter in the paper bin—unless one finds a creative way to reuse them.
Good habits always bring about environmental echoes!