Labeling Initiative

Creating places that enhance the human experience requires HKS to advocate for, craft and use new sources of knowledge. With this comes a renewed perspective about the purpose of design and the responsibility of our profession. The environmental and human health impacts of the materials and systems we select and specify matter. Transparency leads to knowledge. Knowledge leads to choice. Choice enables us to create a better environment for each of us. mindful MATERIALS is one of our contributions to shaping places with knowledge, quality and care.


The mindful MATERIALS resource library labeling initiative was created by HKS in late 2014 as a practical means to incorporate transparency information into designers’ everyday work process, providing easy-to-access product ingredient information where designers search for it most often: on resource library shelves.  Many factors are in play when designers select products, which traditionally have encompassed aesthetics, performance, cost and durability. The new sustainability selection paradigm also includes the products’ material ingredients and environmental impact.


Designers often begin this selection process at library shelves. The mindful MATERIALS brand on the binder spine indicates there is a transparency label located on the binder. At a glance, the designer knows what products to research further. The transparency label on the binder identifies what material health and environmental information exists for a product.

In April 2015, in an effort to promote the material transparency effort across the industry, HKS made the resources for this initiative available to the broader architecture and design community. In June 2016, HKS along with a dozen prominent design firms launched the mindful MATERIALS Collaborative. The Collaborative seeks to advance the mindful MATERIALS initiative.

HKS issued a new transparency disclosure letter in June 2016 which asks product manufacturers to continue to pursue disclosure and optimization of their building product contents. Click here for the letter. 

If you are a manufacturer, HKS also requests you engage with the mindful MATERIALS Collaborative. Join mindful MATERIALS and then upload your product information by creating a company account in the mindful MATERIALS Portal. Visit www.mindfulmaterials.com for more information.