- Our belief in offering sustainable brand and green graphic design strategies to all our clients is what makes us tick. If while we are delivering design solutions that work hard, look good, and garner ROI; we can also introduce a new sustainable design strategy such as right-sized printing, inks that contain no hazardous metals, or using renewable resources – we will have done our job – and then some.
Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at something worth doing.
- sustainable and green graphic design
Sustainable graphic design considers the environmental impacts of design solutions throughout a life cycle that includes: raw material; transformation; manufacturing; transportation; use; and disposal.
This all matters because: If all the world's more than 6.8 billion people were to design, produce, consume, and dispose of paper and print as North Americans do, we would require FOUR times the resources available on our planet and would still not be able to achieve sustainable economic growth.
To that end: we ask these 11 questions before we design or specify anything:
- Do we need it? Can we live without it?
- Is this project designed to minimize waste?
- Can it be smaller, lighter, or made from fewer materials?
- Is it designed to be durable or multi-functional?
- Does it use renewable resources?
- Is reuse practical and encouraged?
- Are the products and packaging refillable, recyclable or repairable?
- Is it made with post-consumer recycled or reclaimed materials and how much?
- Are the materials available in a less toxic form?
- Is it available from a socially and environmentally responsible company?
- Is it made locally?
sustainable and green paper specifying Specify Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain of custody paper and printers; Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI); and Ancient Forest Friendly stocks whenever possible. Specify paper with highest percentage of post-consumer waste.
- Consider tree-free papers such as Sugarmade™, woven from the cellulose fibers of sugarcane and bamboo, and produced in a socially responsible manner by a Certified B Corporation; Suzano Paperfect®, made from FSC Certified eucalyptus fibers; UltraGreen® 100% tree-free paper made entirely from inorganic mineral powders derived from stone; or our favorite - Canopy SecondHarvest paper made from leftover straw from grain harvesting and recycled paper.
- Further, we look at the paper mills efforts to manufacture with renewable energy, or with renewable energy credits.
There are databases to find up-to-date info on the most environmentally-friendly papers and in-depth information about certifications, recycled content, bleaching, etc.
- sustainable and green ink selection
We specify vegetable-based inks (over soy-based) which contain no crude oil and therefore reduce contaminants such as VOCs and hazardous waste.
Additionally, this resource lists spot colors in the Pantone Matching System® which contain high levels of potentially harzardous metals such as barium and copper. We will find alternatives.
- sustainable and green printing
It's tough to tell a green printer when you see one, with everyone clammering to get aboard the green bandwagon to garner more business. We search for the authentic printers in our locale to support our sustainable and green design.
We leaned on the Sustainable Standards for Printing published by Re-nourish®:
- a formal and public environmentally-preferable purchasing policy in place
- a formal and public waste reduction and recycling policy in place
- a formal and public client education policy for every print job about materials reduction, layout, and transportation efficiency
- pays a local living wage and offers employee health insurance
- uses energy efficient equipment in the press rooms
- uses a minimum of 10% renewable energy
- makes material data sheets on any chemicals available
- recycles all waste-ink in-house or externally
- recycles all waste paper
- reuses packaging materials
- recycles used film, silver, and aluminum plates
- uses specific procedures in place to reduce or reclaim make-ready waste
- uses non-toxic or chemical-free plate processes whenever possible
- print files are transmitted via online file sharing
- offers pdf or online proofing
- house stock includes at least one 30% minimum post consumer waste option
- house ink contains less than 5% VOCs and at least 50% vegetable-based
- strongly prefer certifications such as FSC and ISO
- sustainable and green studio
The sustainability of our studio and our operations are the link between the mundane, everyday tasks -
such as using only environmentally responsible dish soap - and the bigger decisions of purchasing
100% renewable energy.
- purchasing eco-positive office supplies;
- reducing and recycling glass, plastic, aluminum, paper, and cardboard;
- purchasing 100% renewable energy;
- supplying coffee mugs, glassware, dishes, and silverware;
- composting kitchen waste;
- replacing bottled water coolers with filtered tap water coolers;
- upgrading to all CFL bulbs;
- setting thermostats cool in winter and warm in summer;
- using fresh air ventilation whenever possible;
- printing all internal materials double-sided by default;
- purchasing 100% recycled in-house paper goods (kitchen, bath, and printer papers).
Management policies include:
- paying a local living wage;
- offering employee 100% paid heath insurance;
- patronizing local suppliers
- developing local client base
- donating a percentage of profits and pro bono work to social and
environmental non-profit organizations;
- printing our own marketing materials on 100% post-consumer waste,
FSC-certified, GreenSeal certified, manufactured with Green-e certified
renewable wind-generated energy, and carbon neutral paper stocks.
- purchasing eco-positive office supplies;
- sustainable graphic design widget
Divided into three sections; “paper,” “print,” and “more info,” the sustainable graphic design widget delivers basic information about the environmental impacts that design methods and techniques have.
Designed primarily as an easily-accessed working tool for designers, the widget also has some ethical tips and links to other websites with more information.
- and last but not least: print versus digital?
Published in February 2012, this take on the question is penned – make that keyed – by Eric Benson appeared on the Living Principles site. As with most "either/or" questions, the answer is not that easy.
Print versus Digital: The Scuffle in the Studio