Gregg Deterding


My name is Gregg Deterding, and I am the graphic designer for the Orange County Sanitation District (OC San) in Fountain Valley, California. OC San is responsible for safely collecting, treating, and disposing the wastewater generated by 2.6 million people living in a 479-square-mile area of central and northwest Orange County.

Tell us how and why you became involved in socially responsible communications, any thoughts on why design can be an especially effective tool for this goal, and, if you wish, give us an example of a project of which you are proud.As the lone creative in the Public Affairs Department, I have worn many hats over the last 11 years. In my position, acquaintances have asked me “What creative projects can you be working on at a wastewater agency?” Well, I touch every possible creative project from collateral, annual reports, newsletters, advertisements, environmental design, interior design, and special events.

I have worked for many different types of industries from tourism, publishing, ad agencies, city government and higher education. Working for OC San has been very rewarding. Their mission statement says it all “To protect public health and the environment by providing effective wastewater collection, treatment, and recycling.”

I believe design is important to all types of businesses. Good design helps tell your story and the importance of what you do. Wastewater is not a glamorous industry, but it is a crucial and important one to public health and the environment. Good design can help get your important message out to the public. The projects I have been able to work on have earned numerous design awards for OC San. I have had wonderful experiences and work with an amazing team of public affairs professionals who support my vision of creating things that will stand the test of time. One of my favorite projects I have worked on is the History Wall in the lobby of the Administration building. I was given the opportunity to create a museum style wall showcasing photos, artifacts, 3D display boxes and a timeline of OC San. I also rebranded the agency by creating a new agency logo and style guide.

Given the confluence of events and challenges our society now faces, does this moment in time present any special opportunities, urgencies, obstacles to designing for good?

I do believe in the importance of giving back. I have used my design talents to help non-profit agencies, cities, schools, and youth sports. As designers, we must stress the importance of how design contributes to society and all businesses. We can and do make an impact.