2020 Plans: Design for Good

Over Christmas, I found a copy of the book “Body and Soul” by Anita Roddick, Founder of The Body Shop, in a charity shop. It’s a hugely inspiring read about how she built a business in an ethical manner; but equally heartbreaking.

Written in 1991, Anita writes so positively about the environmental and social changes she hopes and predicts will come in the future. Sadly she was wrong. So far wrong, that the world and our environment are in a far worse state nearly thirty years later.

Her approach to business is needed more than ever and she’s proven it can work*.

What’s shower gel got to do with graphic design?

It really resonates with me because my first ever job was with The Body Shop, whilst I studied for my A-Levels. It still stands up as the best place I’ve worked. At the time, I had no idea what I wanted to do for a job and no idea what graphic design was. But I was so inspired by the social campaigns that were always running, in particular the use of window graphics to communicate big issues. My personal favourites were “Ruby” (the realistically proportioned Barbie doll – check out Ruby’s curves here) and “Fake it” a cheeky fake tan ad.

So I’m borrowing Anita’s phrase “Business for Good” for 2020 and working towards that as a vision for my business. It’s going to be hard, there’s no simple answer to most of the big issues of environment and sustainability, but committing to doing business ethically will hopefully be a start.

I’m aiming to document this journey to help other businesses see the changes they can make.


*I’m referring to the early days of The Body Shop, not once it was sold to its nemesis L’Oreal in 2003.