#001 How to build & design a low carbon brand & website

In this episode I, (Krissie), talk to Saskia and Nico from HeyLow - a creative studio designing and building low-carbon brands. We talk about the disturbing fact that the internet is dirty and every website has a digital carbon footprint. Saskia and Nico reveal some quick and long term wins to create a low carbon brand and website - this episode is fascinating and might completely change your mindset about the internet!

HeyLow Website

Find us: 

Show notes:

Krissie Leyland  00:00

Hello, and welcome to episode number one of the MindfulCommerce podcast. In this episode, I Krissie, talk to Saskia and Nico from HeyLow, a creative studio designing and building low carbon brands. We talk about the disturbing fact that the internet is dirty, and every website has a digital carbon footprint. Saskia and Nico reveal some quick and long term wins to create a low carbon brand and website. This episode is super fascinating and might completely change your mindset about the internet. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to email us at info@mindfulcommerce.io. And as always, the full details will be in the show notes.

Welcome Saskia and Nico, I'll dive straight in! What made you decide to start offering low carbon web design as a service?

Saskia  00:56

So Nico, and I met at Precious Plastic, which was a year long project based in the Netherlands. We were designing and building open source machines to reduce plastic waste around the world. There was this huge community activism project but 70,000 users around the world. Anyway, Nico and I were both on the digital team. So I'm background UX, Nico's back UI and we actually worked on the digital tools together. And then, yeah, I mean, it was a year of really understanding, much deeper the climate crisis and how interconnected it is with all about different types of industries. Because we work on the web, and we had some much bigger explorations into it, and kind of finding out facts, like, the internet is actually more of a carbon producer in the sorry, then all of the airlines put together and, and so this is just like, not a narrative that we hear around what the internet is. And it really is just a large dumping ground for stuff that has to be powered by, basically dirty energy. So we decided to pair together and Nico can talk a little bit about it. He has a long background in low impact. But yeah, we just joined together because it seemed like the right thing to do. And yeah, it's been a really great response so far.

Krissie Leyland  02:23

That's amazing because yeah, you've never really think about your, well, I do now but I didn't used to think about my impact on the planet in terms of just googling something or, you know, landing on a website. You just think you can't see it, it's not physical, so you don't really think about it.

Nico  02:43

The story written around the internet, we talk a lot about the clouds. And like, it seems to be a wave, not like a physical thing. But actually, it is like it's a big spaces with a lot of computers, the servers and it takes like a lot of energies. And even you have to build the structure like the cables. You have to build the computers and charge your devices. And  because it's like, digital and not something physical. We think it doesn't exist, actually. It's real.

Krissie Leyland  03:25

Yeah, exactly. And it's just, you know, I guess. So when did you first learn about low carbon websites?

Nico  03:36

So I don't remember exactly. But my side, I think it was like something like four years ago. And, then I loved the fact about like the the flight industry, the fact the internet is more carbon intensive than the oil industry. And actually, in the news, we talk only about frying, like, the shame of things that like that. And then when I thought about I was like "Wow, Oh my god, this is like, not amazing, the opposite". And I was like, wow, maybe I should do something about it. Because it's also my watch. And yeah, it was an idea in my mind, like for four years and learn a bit about that. And yes, Saskia already told, we met last year and at some point, it was like obvious. We have to do something and walk on that small and it's also like a great design exercise actually. Yeah, for designers, it's pretty cool. It's even more exciting like to design in another way.

Krissie Leyland  04:50

Yeah. One of the people that asked the question is actually a web designer and she's like, she's hosts her website on Square Space and was just like "Oh no, this is really bad." And so she asked the question of, you know, how, what are the simple, quick wins that a web designer can do or recommend to their clients to like improve their website that's already up and live?

Nico  05:21

So the first thing is the hosting. So it's where you put your websites, which server. And for that, then you need to be, the data centre need to be run on renewable energy. You save a really a lot of carbon by doing that. And it's kind of, like it's not really about the design of the website, that model structure. It's like when you're designing a product, a physical products, is like the sourcing of materials. Let's say it's like the equivalence, the equivalence with the websites is the server and the hosting services. This is really the first step.

Saskia  06:06

It's a little difficult when it comes, because places like SquareSpace. Obviously, they don't run on renewable energy and a lot of the really big, big conglomerates that exist in the internet space. Kind of, they're not very transparent around how they actually use energy for their data centres. So it's a little bit tricky. When it is just you know, we obviously use green hosting for all of our projects. But when you're using services like SquareSpace, or other ones, it's very hard to have control over that, unfortunately. Yeah, the hosting is the most important thing.

Nico  06:44

For example, there is a lot of services using Google Cloud Platform. I think actually should be fine to use it. And Google is claiming they are like 100%, green. But in the meantime, for events, they help oil company on the job, like to perform even more. So first, that means that Google is not green. And also they got data centres in the world were like, not running on green energy. And they came out green just because they're like, compensate. They offset the emission. And we don't think is the way to do it. Like, you can't really like you can't really claim you're green because you compensate. It's like it's kind of a real thing for us.

Krissie Leyland  07:40

So offsetting is like, a secondary option.

Saskia  07:45

Yeah, I mean, you can imagine what it takes to create the energy, you know, you're pulling something out of the earth, or the infrastructure that's created to pull that oil out of the earth, and then it goes through all these ginormously complex processes to be able to be performed into energy. You can't just plant a tree to take that energy out, you know, like, you're comparing the output of carbon by, you know, powering something versus actually the entire infrastructure. And we actually need to be able to move towards a much more green infrastructure. We need to be putting out dollars, you know, and into an opportunity that makes it easy for people to be like, "Okay, cool. Like, this is really valuable to the earth now." Because while I think offsetting programs can be beneficial, they are not equal to, yeah, what it takes the infrastructure and the damage that's created of pulling it out of the earth in the first place.

Krissie Leyland  08:42

Yeah, so being green first. So using the right server, like a green, do you call it a green server?

Saskia  08:52

Yeah, green hosting.

Nico  08:53

Yeah. We can call it that. We should already like, compensate the green energy, because even the green energy are emitting carbon. Yeah, actually. So yeah, like, green green, green energy.

Saskia  09:12

It's kind of impossible to be carbon free.

Krissie Leyland  09:14

Yeah. So then, I guess, at what point in a brand's journey then, should they think about, you know, being or choosing the right platform? You know, if they've already got a website in place, is that too late?

Saskia  09:31

I think that it is not fair to say that everybody should move to be green right now. I think that obviously, if they're, if there's the time and the space and the money to move, I think that's the right time. But you know, you have to be a financially viable business before you can have the investment for that. And I do really believe in small businesses and like a much more distributed economy. So I really admire people that run their own businesses, but I actually come from a long line of family businesses. I know, I know how hard it can be. But I mean, there's no, there's no real one time. I mean, whether you're a small young business, or whether you're very well established, um, anyone can make the move. It's actually probably easier at the beginning than it is if you're much more established. But yeah, anyone can make the move at any time, I wouldn't say that there's like one time to do that.

Krissie Leyland  10:23

Okay. So do you think then So say, for example, me, I've got a website, and it's also on Square Space. And would it be more efficient to kind of swap my internet provider, build a website from scratch that is low carbon or do things like plant a tree? Like offsetting, which you said, isn't necessarily the best way. What would you recommend I do?

Saskia  10:58

It really depends if you have the time and the space and the money. You know, like, it's not so much like we said it, we don't believe that just offsetting is the same as not producing the carbon in the first place. So when when people have the time and the space, I think that's the time for them to actually move. But I don't think a low carbon website versus a website on dirty energy plus trees planting is an equal game. What do you think?

Nico  11:32

Exactly that. You could also can iterate your switch and start by maybe looking at your actual website on Square Space, try to make it lower, like removing images, or like compressing your images you have or trying to design it in another way or like, make the actual website lighter. And when you have the time, or like the budget for it, with the new one, you can maybe start from the Square Space realm. I don't know if you can export. But maybe you can just keep the same design and build it on another platform. And when you have the time and the budgets, and it's on a green server and like really plan, make a plan, don't have to be like, you know, everything at once. Yeah, it's kind of drawn is like, for everyone actually can be like, totally, totally perfect. From a day to another one, it's a kind of a journey.

Krissie Leyland  12:45

Yeah. So the simple actions would be to change the images to lower res maybe, and perhaps not having animated graphics or stuff that... yeah, takes more energy.

Nico  13:00

First, try to avoid video. Because this is really the the most heavy thing, of your data, like if you put for example, a video on a website, you're gonna know, like, a website is around, it depends. But it could be around five, three and five megabytes, I would say. And the video is just, you can click on play, and it's already five or 10 megabytes and like, just continue to play in like, I don't know, like a three minute video, it could be like 60 or 100 megabytes, depending on the quality of, but this is really offensive.

Saskia  13:46

Yeah. So it's really like lowering your website is really relative to what your website was in the first place. So, you know, like a portfolio site could be, you know, 50% lower or 80% lower versus like a larger e-commerce site. They're not going to be the same like weight at the end, but they would have reduced a similar amount. So I think I think it's hard to get all to make this exact same size. But it's more about the percentage of reduction because there's lots of different industries, some will require more images, or yeah, just depending on what your industry is.

Krissie Leyland  14:24

So then, for example, Organic Basics. Should we talk about that in terms of their lower impact version? So they've got their main site, which has all the what it looks like high, higher res images and graphics and stuff, and then their lower impact site. What do you... do have an opinion on how they've done it? Have they done it well?

Nico  14:51

So I think it's a great website. Great exercise. So this thing is a kind of easy job for them because they sell basic clothes. So like a white t-shirt, it's a white t-shirt. And then they can do what they did for the design. That means they put like just illustration. And after when you click, you can see the image in a low quality image. So it's works for basics issue. But if you have like, dresses, like shoes or like products and everything, you can't do what they did. So it's a super good exercise. But for me, the downside of that is like, they didn't switch their main websites. So that means just for now, like a marketing tool is cool. Like, like, it's really good to communicate about this programme. But could be even more cool to have like, really that as the main website.

Saskia  16:06

Yeah, that's the challenging thing about it. It's like a really great example of a low carbon website. But I would like to see like how many clothes or products they actually have sold using this material. You know, like using this philosophy? I think that it is there's a common, there is a middle ground between what they did. And there are lots of examples of websites, lots of use cases so that you can use a website like that. But yeah, as Nico said, the most important thing, well, a very important thing to a small business owner is that they have something that's good for their brand, and that converts well, and, and so like there's a combination between the two. But yeah, it's a good marketing exercise of Organic Basics, but at the same time now they have two websites. And I think one is a marketing piece and the other is where they sell clothes.

Krissie Leyland  16:53

Yeah, like just wondering if it would actually make a difference in the end? Because, yeah, like you said, they've got two websites now why not just have the one.

Saskia  17:03

I've bought from Organic Basics and I've bought from their normal website. I didn't actually, you know, I didn't go through that. Because you know, it's hard to buy just like that.

Krissie Leyland  17:13

Yeah, it'd be really interesting to kind of ask them the results. I'm hoping maybe.

Saskia  17:20

But I admire them. But I hopefully I think it's probably an experiment. And I think that we might see an evolution of something later on. Because, you know, they're obviously like very committed to finding out what works for them in a more low carbon way. So I think it's just a first step. And I, yeah, it was really cool for us to see because it was like a bigger place kind of, yeah, doing this as well.

Krissie Leyland  17:45

Yeah, I think it might be... Well, I think it's one of the only lower impact e-commerce sites on Shopify.

Saskia  17:55

Mmhmm.

Krissie Leyland  17:55

So it'd be really interesting to see the difference in how many people like shop, or make a purchase on the lower impact site in comparison to the other one?

Saskia  18:06

Yeah, like now that I've bought, I might just go to the lower impact site because I know what they have already.

Krissie Leyland  18:13

Yeah. Maybe it's returning customers that will go to the lower impact site. And then new customers will yeah, use the main one. Because they are basic items, like, you know, once you find out that you like it, it's yeah... you may as well go to the lower impact and choose that item again.

Nico  18:35

The experience is pretty good, because I don't know if I did that, but when you order on the low website, because I order on it, I wanted to see like, the whole journey and actually the email and send you at the end is even designed in a low way. They don't use an image or like weird stuff like that. It's really low. And it's pretty good design. Just it's pretty cool.

Krissie Leyland  19:08

So the entire journey, even at post, like after purchasing then with their receipts and stuff...

Nico  19:16

Only if you order on the low version of the website.

Krissie Leyland  19:20

Yeah. Interesting, hmmm. And I wonder, like, in terms of social media, then because if they're, you know, they've got the low impact website, low impact emails. I wonder what their approaches on social media and then that brings me to a social media question, which is, we've noticed that you're not on social media as much. And is that because they're bad for the planet? Or is it just a personal choice?

Saskia  19:53

Well, Nico is not on any social media because...

Nico  19:56

No, I'm just like, I start fighting against. But more like, it's not about the carbon. It's more like...

Saskia  20:09

Yeah, the power.

Nico  20:10

The power and what's happened like recently with the Black Lives Matter movement and like what Facebook did or didn't actually when like... so Trump tweet, like not tweet but sent a message. It was like "When the shooting starts... no when the looting starts the shooting starts" and like actually, I think Twitter flagged the message, but Facebook did nothing. And I started to realise like, wow, this is weird. And I did some research and I had a  look and like some thinking and realised like, for example, the Far, far right movements are like super strong because of social media in particular on Facebook. Like I just finished. And so I started like, trying to boycott on my side, like, so I removed my Instagram account and Facebook and WhatsApp. So I came back again, because some thoughts are really difficult to not live with. Like Whatsapp is really hard. But just like realise the power of this platform. And in other way, also Black Lives Matter is really important also because of social media. So in a good way or so.

Saskia  21:32

Yeah, I think that like the power, the control of these large internet companies is like way, it's way too imbalanced. And I really want to like promote, well, how power communities promote a more distributed way of how we connect online on social media, because I believe in social media. I think it's a great way to communicate. However, like I deleted my Facebook, sorry, yeah, maybe a year and a half ago, because I was so fed up with the way that they do business and the way that they like, you know, they really market on like bad feelings of anxiety and loneliness. And like, they really try to just promote this, like over consuming behaviour. And I think that that is just so, I don't know if you know the work of Tristan Harris, and he does, like, the humane tech society in San Francisco. And yeah, it's just incredible how they really design a tool like Facebook, to be towards our like animalistic behaviour of like dopamine and like, and how we kind of get these highs from this. And yeah, I much prefer social media that will promote human connection. And so I still, for me, personally, I'm still on Instagram. And we haven't actually done any HeyLow social media yet. Just because it hasn't really been a priority for us. Like we, we really, like I've been in this realm of sustainability and system change and social equality, yeah, for probably like eight or nine years. And so like, yeah, just from all the places that I've worked and collaborated with and design projects, I've just got, like quite a big large network as, as Nico has. So we're, for us in our business right now. It's... we don't need to be on social media channels. And to be honest, like, I think that we kind of went way too much on the other side from from having no social media to kind of like, just spending like 100 hours a week on it every week, you know, some people do. And it's just so unhealthy. And I want to find a way that social media has a role in our society, but it's not a controlling force. And I think at the moment, it just feels too controlling. So I look forward to more platforms that might emerge in the future that, you know, for example, like, doesn't own your data. I mean, it seems so simple to like, have a tool, I would love to use a tool like Facebook, but I don't accept that they own everything that I do online. So it's very easy. I look forward to the entrepreneurial spirits of some more ethical founders that will build products like this, because I think we're all bit keen for it. But at the moment like there's only like three things. And yeah, it's just crazy. I watched the anti trust. Well actually Nico watched all of it. I watched some of the anti trust hearings. I watch some of the anti trust hearing of like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple. It was frightening. It's really frightening how much power they have and how just they give like zero, yeah. Actual like community involvement and stuff like that. So sorry, that was a bit of a rant.

Krissie Leyland  24:55

This is great. I was just thinking then so an alternative to Google, for example, is Ecosia? I think it's called. And you know they don't store your data. So maybe they will come up with a social media platform that doesn't, or someone.

Nico  25:16

Or like we could have also like, nice to have like a decentralised platform. Think about emails, that you can choose your provider of emails like, and there is like a protocol. Like from one services to the other one, like there is like communication, but it's not like on only one. And you're still about to send messages between the providers. So yeah, the idea would be to have something like that and there is like, little ones, like, there is one can Mastodon, which is kind of Twitter.

Krissie Leyland  25:52

Okay. What How do you spell that?

Nico  25:56

Mastadon so it's

Saskia  25:59

M-A-S-T-A-D-O-N

Krissie Leyland  26:02

Oh, yes.

Saskia  26:05

There's some really cool tools coming up. Like I've seen some interesting social networks.

Nico  26:10

But the problem is, like, for example, on WhatsApp, so there is like a really cool application called Signal, which is kind of it's the same as WhatsApp. It's a message app. But the problem is like, there is no one there. Like you have to ask your friends to come in and to use it. So as the mentor, I'm like, the centralisation of like, when you meet some people, they asked for your WhatsApp accounts and stuff like that. And that is really like...

Saskia  26:42

But that might change again.

Nico  26:43

Yeah. Yeah, no, for sure. For sure. It takes time. And yeah, just wants to add about the carbon impact of social media. More on the technical side, I would say. So first, there is like the same thing as Google. They all claim they are green, or like, I think Facebook says there are 100% green, but the same as Google, like, think as they compensate. And also, like they, like they give space for like, climate denial or stuff like that sort of like it's not, it's weird. And also, there is a lot of video, like Instagram, there is the stories and stuff and it shows a lot, a lot of data. So in that way, it's not pretty good for that.

Saskia  27:34

I have a good social media, it could be around, like, curating what you want to say. And just really being careful about your message. And not so much like being careful what you have to say, but maybe not using three posts to say one thing.

Krissie Leyland  27:48

Yeah, yeah. Just being really to the point.

Saskia  27:51

And yeah exactly, which is hard in the like, mess that we have of just like so much stuff coming through there.

Nico  27:58

And maybe, you don't have to say anything, every 10 minutes.

Krissie Leyland  28:01

Yeah, yeah get on with your day. Don't worry about what other people are looking at you for. But like, I just wonder how, because being passionate about, you know, saving the planet, and I feel like my way of getting my message across at the moment is through this community, which just so happens to be on Facebook, or Instagram. And I don't know, do you have any other what, like, suggestions of how people can make an impact without using social media? Because they do have so much control? And that's where everybody is. How would you get your message across instead?

Saskia  28:46

I think the most important thing is to try and affect the community around you. I think, that like, while we think that everybody is on social media, there's also a lot of people not on social media. And I think the most powerful thing is to rally the people, your community, your family, your, you know, like when we both worked at Precious Plastics like we live, we met and live with 40 to 50 to 60 people, you know, like, dead passionate about the environment. But, um, I don't know, I think I think while it's really helpful to engage in online community, which I do, too, like it's something that I still do. And but I don't know, I think there's nothing compared to spending time with people face to face. You know, rallying local movements, local food movements, local localisation movements. It's really, and this really this, this concept around my pleasure activism, which to be a happy and grounded and connected human being is actually a method of being an activist because everything around us in society is trying to feed off our anxieties, trying to feed up what we're insecure about trying to feed off our loneliness and our you know, like our discontent with what we've achieved so far. Like that's, that's what I think is really driving this over consuming, like very much against the planet. Again, this linear economy is like, I don't know, just to, to work on ourselves and to be spend with our communities and to maybe not want to have businesses to, you know, an X amount of hundreds of thousands or but you know, just just what is the enough for you and like, kind of just, like, bring it down a level. I feel like the last period of growth is just been so focused on, you know, the individual rather than the whole of our communities and our ecosystems. And, yeah, it just, it's much more, you know, controversial, I think, to be a happy and grounded person that doesn't need to buy a whole lot of stuff like, but at the same time, like, I know that there are small businesses that need to sell stuff, but I don't know, like, I've been in e-commerce before. And I've had several go's that you know, this type of thing. And, you know, it's about like, yeah, getting what we need, and not more than that. And I think that engaging in local movement, and local communities is just an amazing form of activism.

Krissie Leyland  31:13

Yeah, I love that. And I was, like, I feel now I'm happiest, actually, when I have just enough, like, now I enjoy decluttering my life and just, you know, thinking, do I really need this? No, well, don't buy it. Even if all these ads are telling me to, no, I'm not going to do it because it's, it's not going to make me happier. It's not, you know, and just thinking about the planet more and just being more conscious about everything that I do, basically.

Saskia  31:53

And if you do produce things, and if you do sell things, then you know, do it because people want to buy it and not because you're trying to sell them an idea or, like a something that I don't know might not last, you know, it's much, much more like I buy things, I'm not saying that, like, you should never buy things again. But I think that there can be a much more holistic relationship between people making things to sell and and people buying them. And I believe in economy, and I believe in enterprise, I just don't think that we need to, like, work our entire lives to fill our houses with crap.

Krissie Leyland  32:27

Let's not do that. Um, so I'm just gonna look at, see if there's any questions that we haven't answered. But I think what, okay, so what is the number one tip that you could give to everyone when they're designing their website to make it, you know, more carbon friendly, more environmentally friendly? Out of all the tips that you've just given?

Nico  32:57

Okay, so yeah, all the tips. Because the first one is the hosting for sure. Because just to come back to that, like the carbon intensity between the two energies, like classic one and renewable one, like it's like, it's a huge difference.

Saskia  33:14

Isn't it like 19 times or something?

Nico  33:16

Yeah, maybe. I don't know. Like, we did like quick like, calculation, about a page we did design recently. Oh no actually, it was about the actual page they got. So it's a page around 10 megabytes. And so if it's run on, non, non renewable energy, like this page, if it's visited by 10,000 people each month for a year, you need 47 trees to compensate the emission, but if it's run on renewable energy, I think it's between three and four tress Its a difference like 10 times. So just that...

Saskia  33:58

And thats just one website that's not very big and only visited by 10,000. So you can imagine like the news websites the like, all the e-commerce all these big, it's just ginormous.

Krissie Leyland  34:11

Makes me so sad.

Nico  34:13

So this is really the first step and after that for sure no video if you can.

Krissie Leyland  34:20

Yeah.

Nico  34:22

And after really try to focus on the content and like not putting everything. Actually, it's really also design and like really good for your communication. Because online the attention span of people is really, really small. So it's just send like thousands of messages and you put like, I don't know many image like like lots of images, like you're losing people and but if you focus really on like, your main message and you put one or two image maybe it's way more efficient, and is going to be lighter, actually.

Saskia  34:57

Yeah, I believe that like it's not even about Low Carbon that like, you know, having a really good strategy around how you communicate your message is actually good for the planet because if you can reduce that, you can reduce people understanding what you do very quickly. And yeah, it's it's also a very big tool that we use, is by starting with the communication, which doesn't seem like a low carbon thing to do but, it's really, really, really helpful and making sure that it's curated and well received and easy to understand.

Krissie Leyland  35:28

Yeah, because the less time they're on your site thinking, "What do, what is it that you actually are offering?". then there's less impact.

Saskia  35:38

Yeah and you're less tempted to use more images to break up the content, because, you know, has a big stream of lines, they have animations, and they have images, and they have, like, all this other stuff. So yeah, it's definitely an exercise in trying to achieve that.

Nico  35:54

And an easy win also is to compress the images. There is good tools online like one is called tiny PNG.  You can go there and like, you just drag and drop your images, and you compress it and you can really, really win a lot of data.

Krissie Leyland  36:15

I think that's also good for SEO. Just as a side note.

Nico  36:20

Yeah, no, for sure. Because if you website is fast, Google likes it.

Krissie Leyland  36:27

It's like the load speed. I was just thinking then as well, you know, if you if you're, you know, when you look at Google Analytics, and you've got the bounce rate percentage, actually, now that might, if I looked at that now, I might think "Oh, that's quite good." Because if they're not spending too much time on my site, maybe it's good. Instead of thinking, "Well, no, where are they going?"

Nico  36:54

Yeah, but you could have like, the same use of bandwidth, but with more people. Because you're like, you have better communication. Next, you drive more people to your website, but as because your website is lighter like it just uses the same amount. So it's like a win win.

Krissie Leyland  37:15

Cool. So um, what are some examples of the websites that you've built? So who are your typical customers?

Saskia  37:25

I wouldn't say that we actually have a typical customer, because we do work across... yeah, people that are just willing to go low. So at the moment, we're doing a e-commerce store, like it's sustainable fashion. And that has been a very amazing and interesting journey. Because, you know, it's a lot about taking them along the journey as well. It's just like a conversation like this. And sometimes there's friction, because there's a very standard way of presenting these types of things. But we did that. We did an organisation, it's actually my organisation on it's like an NGO, based in and around India, and women's work over there. And so we were able to Yeah, that was amazing. We were able, we took that from Square Space, and we put it onto our own custom site, and the reduction was just ginormous. And that was really around removing a lot of images. And yeah, really making sure that the messages and the news, the updates, and the information was very loud and clear. We're doing this, do want to talk about some projects?

Nico  38:35

Um, yeah, we're working right now on an exhibition, we are doing the website for the exhibition.It's around imagination and our imagination work with design. Basically, there is like example of illustration, like from like 50 years ago, some snags that were people were imagining the wall today. Like for example with like a TV in the pocket, which is actually now phones and now we can like imagination can drive design and the society actually.

Saskia  39:13

And it's pretty amazing because we have to like use, we have to do an immersive experience but in as low as possible way. So you know, it's not so much like yeah, definitely not lots of videos but yeah, lots of text animations and things like that.

Nico  39:29

Yeah, and with like now, like so we start with like really like at the beginning of HeyLow and we start to add some gems and which is I found myself pretty cool is we have different type of websites, like e-commerce website, like an immersive website, and we can really test this idea of design, like philosophy and like, because it's not about building the lowest websites ever like because, this is easy like you do like on like, the HeyLow website is actually just text. And that's it. That's like for e-commerce websites, you can't do that for a massive expense. Like, you can't do like that. So it's not like getting the lowest possible. I mean, the lowest possible for that case. To still do be able to do like e-commerce websites, but trying to really lower the impact of that kind of website.

Saskia  40:31

Yeah and we're about to do like a big, big organisation website, which might be like 100 pages or something. So like, it's gonna be very different to the NGO website we did for me, which is literally like five pages. So yeah, the goal is not to get to a certain level, but more of a percentage decrease and like, show,  because not many people are doing this industry right now. So we really want to have the best examples put forward for how the internet can be like, this is what me and Nico say to each other. Like, we love the internet. We've like, we've been on the internet for 15 plus years. And it can be a really sustainable place. It's just at the moment, it's just like hurtling towards, not that. So yeah, it's more about the approach and the philosophy and the combination of who we work with plus what we think it should be, and then kind of like arriving at a new destination.

Krissie Leyland  41:25

And that's really cool. So it depends on the type of website. And yeah, so just decreasing the percentage in rather than being like, let's get it to zero.

Saskia  41:35

That would be easy, don't have a website.

Krissie Leyland  41:44

Yeah. Oh, cool.

Nico  41:47

Yeah. See, we try to work with like, sustainable companies. And if we don't work for oil companies, don't even call us.

Krissie Leyland  41:59

So what would you say that your mission is then? To lower the impact as much as possible?

Saskia  42:07

Make the internet a better place. Yes.

Nico  42:11

I do think there is true traditions, there is the design part, the web design parts, which is really trying to, as we said, like, making the internet a better place and a greener place, if we can say it like that. And I do believe there is like a mission, which is helping the brands or organisation to have a better communication and like to, to win, actually to to win...

Saskia  42:37

the hearts and minds of their viewers. Yeah, we didn't, we haven't really talked about that. But like, obviously, part of our work is the website production and the low design. But definitely a big chunk of it is, is like re-imagination, reimagining their branding and reimagining their strategy and their communication and like how they can, yeah, communicate in a much more connected way towards finding the people that are there crews and communities. And like that, which is also very, we think is like quite an important part of moving the internet to a better place, because then it just feels less cluttered and people kind of know what they're looking for.

Krissie Leyland  43:19

Yeah, I feel like by simplifying websites or the internet, it will actually make people a lot happier. Because you're not having to trawl through all this information and all this noise to get what you're looking for. It's just, it will make it easier for everyone I think. And at the same time, yeah, saving the planet.  Um, cool. Well, thank you. Um, did you have any questions for me or for the community, or anything that you'd like to just tell everybody?

Saskia  44:01

I think it can feel a bit scary when you like, learn how bad the internet can be. But I do, I think we both believe that there is a bright future for a place like this. And it is much about the design and communication, it's also about the infrastructure, it's also about the parts that we might not have visibility on. So yeah, we just kind of want to make it easier for other people to do. And in fact, we come from a very open source, like background, Precious Plastic was all open source. So once we get up and running, I do really want to publish a bit more around like, what what brands can do if they don't, you know, if they can't kind of go through a big redesign, you know, I'd really like to help out the community as a whole to say, you know, these are the things that we can, you know, start working together and it's less about having 100 HeyLow, 1000 HeyLow sites, it's more about the internet moving in a direction that is more sustainable, more connected. So yeah, hopefully sometime next year, we'll have a bit more content around like how we think that we can kind of help people in a more community like way.

Krissie Leyland  45:12

Hmm, cool. And we can we can do it together. And because together, we're stronger. And so you mentioned something else then. Precious plastics? Tell me a little bit about that. And I know that it's really cool. So you can tell everyone.

Saskia  45:33

Precious Plastic is an open source, collaborative project, designing and building machines to recycle plastic. So it was started by a guy named Dave Hakkens. Yeah, maybe four or five or six years ago. And he started building some machines and like really low flying machines. He saw that the recycling machines were very complicated, convoluted they need, you know, like the whole recycling municipality recycling system was very difficult to kind of get your head around. And he was a designer working in this area. So he made these really simple machines, that one would tread plastic one would extrude it one would, like squish it into a sheet. And anyway, so he put these plans online, open source, so people around the world could download them and like thousands of people did over the years, and they iterated on them and they sent their plans back. And so the machines have gone through several versions. And last year, but actually 2018, he did a big call out for version four and over 100 people came over the year to contribute to whether it be machines, whether it be like solutions to waste as in like biomaterials or by plastic that biodegradable materials. What else do people do product design? We did the digital tools. Okay, cooking, cooking shares, there were lots of helpers around. And so yeah, it was and it's been adopted. And now it's kind of like a pretty amazing resource like you can, you can even like buy entire workspaces now, if you want. So it's kind of for plastic entrepreneurs. So if you kind of want to make a bit of a dent in your local community, you can go onto the Precious Plastic website and see how you can contribute. Maybe you want to start a workspace and you want to collect plastic, and you want to like produce products where you want to sell something. And there's just a general, mostly active and supportive community online that are all trying to help each other. Learn how to decentralised plastic recycling around the world. So it's pretty amazing. It's pretty cool community, I definitely recommend having a look if anyone's interested in it.

Krissie Leyland  47:43

Definitely. Cool. Well, thank you so much. That was really, really insightful. And all the questions have been answered. Yeah, thank you.

Saskia  47:56

Do you want to add anything, Nico?

Nico  47:58

No.

Saskia  47:58

Okay, cool. Yeah, it was great to talk to you and thanks for setting it up. And yeah, looking forward to making the internet a better place!

Krissie Leyland  48:07

Yay! Absolutely. Thank you so much.