Bryant Yee

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Redesigning LED Packaging

Thesis Project, 2011

We’ve all been there before: standing at the hardware store inspecting an endless display of light bulbs, trying to discern which one is right for us. To be honest, it’s a bit stressful and a bit difficult to understand the lighting jargon. Lumens, watts, volts—what do they mean?

The packaging should clearly display information that will help us select the bulb that best suits our lighting needs. The label should emphasize lumens (which measure brightness), rather than watts (which measure energy use). Currently, reliance on watt measurements alone has made it difficult for us to compare traditional incandescent bulbs to more efficient bulbs, such as compact fluorescents. Labels should also display yearly energy cost, so consumers can understand that though an LED bulb may be more expensive initially, it can save an estimated $108 on electricity bills over a lifetime of use.

In addition to changing the label, we need to redesign LED packaging itself, which is made of plastics. These are primarily manufactured from oil and natural gas, which are both non-renewable resources. Additionally, nearly all of the molecules that plastic factories have produced for decades are still with us and will remain with us for centuries. These microscopic particles of plastic litter the landscape, oceans, and enter the food chain.


As we move towards a more green future, both through increased awareness and impending resource constraints, designers are playing a larger role in society than ever before. At its core, design is about effecting change. In this constantly evolving world, if we are unhappy with something, we are going to attempt to improve the situation by investing in design. Moreover, designers have the power to influence culture in their decisions as well as their actions through innovative products and services. We have the opportunity to change what design means. We can forge an industry that respects the limits of our planet while promoting and contributing a positive impact on society.

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