Illustration of Steven Cretney working in The Forest studio

Steven Cretney, Certified Design Professional

Design is a potent tool of communication. It should inspire and enhance quality of life, not just be used as a means for encouraging more consumption. So, I use my design talents to endorse social, environmental and educational initiatives. 

I founded The Forest in 2008 because I wanted to design for impact and be involved with initiatives that were purpose-led.

Encouraged by the likes of the First Things First Manifesto and David Berman’s Do Good Design, I strive to be aware of how I work, for whom I work, and how my work affects others.

With over twenty years of professional design experience (yikes… am I really getting that old), I am well-versed in all aspects of design and am certified by the Design Professionals of Canada.

Some of the design services I can help with include:

  • Art Direction
  • Web & UI Design
  • Branding
  • Icons & Illustration
  • Package Design
  • Digital Content Strategy
  • Communications Strategy
  • Creative Campaigns
  • Signage
  • Wayfinding
the Forest design + engagement
Illustration of Steven Cretney facilitating a workshop on social change.

Engagement and Facilitation

Meaningful collaboration is essential for impacting complex social challenges and achieving breakthroughs.

Whether I am facilitating a series of climate action workshops or leading a team through a branding exercise, I strive to create spaces for open and authentic conversations that inspire participants to collaborate and move forward together.

Inspired by facilitators like Adam Kahane, I want to help enable people to “remove the obstacles to love, power and justice.”

I have experience co-leading a multi-year climate-focused social innovation lab, Nest Lab, and am trained in the Art of Hosting. My award-winning masters thesis was focused on integrating participatory processes to activate transformational change (which led to the co-authouring of The Weave, a guide for sustainability practitioners for deeper engagements). 

I can help with online and in-person engagements:

  • Workshop Design
  • Facilitation
  • Harvesting
  • Hosting
  • Webinars
  • Branding Exercises
  • Art of Hosting
  • Prototyping
  • Social Labs
the Forest design + engagement

Clients say the darndest things

Steven has a unique talent to take complex ideas and find the simple threads that resonate with people.

— Esther Speck, Vice President, Global Sustainability and Social Impact, lululemon

Making a complicated thing look easy and accessible! You are a genius!

— Julia-Maria Becker, Director, Clean Economy, Pembina Institute

Supe. Supah-doop. Supah-doopah-doopah-doop.

— Jocelyn Carver, Executive Director, Kootenay Career Development Society

Some clients with powerful ideas

the Forest design + engagement
Illustration of Steven Cretney riding his bicycle to a sign with various options

Facing the future

I embrace the powerful connection between hope and taking action. For me, being actively and meaningfully involved in social, climate and environmental efforts has reinforced a true sense of hope, while significantly reducing my personal climate anxieties or feelings of apathy. I keep showing up to help improve and co-create the future.


I’m an active participant in numerous community and national initiatives, including co-chairing the Sustainability Committee of the Design Professionals of Canada, being a founding member of the West Kootenay Climate Hub, hosting my regional TEDX Countdown event, and helping elementary students learn to become authentic leaders. I’m a past board member of several non-profits and had the pleasure of co-leading a team of college students on an elementary school construction project in Guatemala.

I Pledge 1% of profits to local non-profits, I’m a signatory of the First Things First 2020 manifesto, and a Clean Creative supporter.


My education has opened my eyes to seeing the big picture, which helps me produce work that is honest, clear and effective. I hold an M.Sc from Blekinge Institute of Technology (Sweden) in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability. My undergrad degree was in Communication Studies and I have a diploma in Audiovisual Communications. I am also trained in the Art of Hosting conversations that matter, public speaking and small business development.

Diverse professional development is important to me. Getting to Maybe, a one month Social Innovation Residency at the Banff Centre was truly inspirational, exploring concepts on systems, complexity, and social innovation. Some recent courses that I have done include Every Child Matters – 4 Seasons of Reconciliation, EnRoads Climate Simulator Ambassador training, Digital Fabrication (hands-on training for laser cutting, 3D printing and CNC machining), and Fund Development & Donor Motivation.

the Forest design + engagement