The cards have been developed to be used in different ways and by different people. Therefore different ways to navigate on each cards and between the cards exist. To emphasize this, each card consists of a graphics side and a fact side.

The following goes through different components of the cards and how these can be used to obtain new insights on the specific cards and cards that are related.

Graphics side

Fact side

The Focus Compass

On one side of the card, there is a visual compass showing how the individual Material Pathway card links to three overall approaches to sustainability and design:

  • Technically oriented approaches deal with technical aspects of lifetime
  • Functionally oriented approaches deal with functional aspects of lifetime, and
  • Emotionally oriented approaches deal with emotional aspects of lifetime.

The visual model, shown on each card, builds on these three definitions and positions each card within the overall knowledge area contained in the deck. This is illustrated with a coloured area. The colour of the area is defined by the orientation of the card:

  • Technical focus is green.
  • Functional focus is blue.
  • Emotional focus is red.


All the approaches to sustainable design are linked to six categories that correspond with the product lifecycle approach.

  • Raw Materials
  • Production and Manufacturing
  • Transport and Retail
  • User and Practice
  • Disposal and Recovery
  • Design and Concept

Each approach is linked to one to four categories. See below to get a further description of the categories and to go to continue to approaches that are related to the individual categories.

Categories overview

Raw Material relates to aspects concerning resource
extraction and refining.

Manufacturing and Production relate to aspects concerning the conversion of resources into products.

Transport and Retail relate to logistic and handling aspects such as shipping and service concepts.

User and Practice relate to aspects in use and can be influenced by the user.

Disposal and Recovery relate to the disposal, recovery, reuse or recycling of material resources.

Design and Concept relate to aspects in the design and can be integrated by the designer. Thereby the category related to the entire lifecycle.

What? and Why?

On the fact side of the card, you will find information on:

  • What the approach on the cards is about
  • How to work with the approach
  • Possible challenges working with the approach might face
  • Examples of companies where this is applied
  • Links to other, related cards
  • Further readings if you want to know more.

How to Use the Cards

As ways to inspire

  • Choose one card and use this as the starting point for a brainstorm session.
  • Choose 2 to 4 cards and use these as a frame for developing concepts. How do the cards correlate? How do they differ? Are they contradictory? Is it necessary to make compromises?

As ways to mediate knowledge and values in multidisciplinary teams

  • Choose one card and discuss knowledge and values that relate to the specific card. What are the shared characteristics? Where do/don’t you agree? Why/ why not?
  • Choose 2 to 4 cards and use these as a frame for developing concepts. How can the use of the cards create a synergy? How can the use of the cards support a holistic approach?

As ways to reflect and create analytical awareness

  • With point of departure in a finished or almost finished process, which cards have been used in the process? What have their effect been? Were they the best choices?
  • With point of departure in existing products or companies, identify the cards that have been applied. How many cards can you identify? How are the cards connected?