What is Grain?
Grain is a multidisciplinary consultancy that unites sustainability and business through design. As consumers and businesses continue to realize the hidden costs of the objects they use and create, both must evolve towards a more sustainable future. At Grain, we do not consider this fact a burden but a chance for innovation. Our commitment is to find new opportunities within markets and provide sustainable solutions, which exceed the expectations of both our clients and end consumers.
How did you decide to form the company?
Founded in 2007 at the Rhode Island School of Design, a ‘dream team’ of RISD talent emerged collectively actively asking how, as designers, we could make our world a better more sustainable place to live. There are many ways one could go about changing our unsustainable consumer culture. One way is by force through various forms of government regulation. Another is through education over time. At Grain, our first step is always to question what sustainability means within the context of each project. Even if a product is made "sustainable", we still have to question its relevance to society. Is it necessary to create new products, or is it more sustainable to provide a service-based design? There are numerous creative ways of looking at a problem to optimize the economic, social, and environmental value. Grain believes that by optimizing all three systemically, one can achieve the greatest outcome for the greatest number of people. There is no reason sustainable products and services can't be even more desirable than their inefficient and/or toxic cousins. As designers, we must help both businesses and consumers want what is also good. This is why we've created Grain.
Who is involved and how?
Right now Grain operates as a mixture of full time and part time designers. James Minola (RISD BFA '07) is our Founder and was the driving force behind bringing us together as a business. Chelsea Green (RISD MID '07, Pratt BFA '02), Partner at Grain, has also been instrumental in getting us to where we are today. Together, they work full time on both the business and design aspects of the company. The rest of the team includes Jackie Guido (RISD BFA '07), Sami Nerenberg (RISD BFA '07), and myself Brit Kleinman (RISD BFA '07). We all work independently for outside companies but come together to collaborate on Grain projects. We're a well-rounded group that all worked (or are currently working) for some very high profile companies. We're proud of Grain and believe firmly in what we stand for. We take all our outside experiences and contribute them to our larger goals with Grain.