Sustainability enables the continuity of life on Earth as we know it for future generations to enjoy.
“Tomorrow’s business must innovate or deteriorate. They must design or die! .”
(Janice Kirkpatrick, designer, at the launch of Design in Business Week, 1998)
Green Graphic Design, Sustainable Graphic Design or Eco Graphic Design is a form of design practice that follows a specific philosophy. As Governments and organisations are recognising the financial, social and environmental costs of not acting, Green Graphic Design is becoming more commercially accepted and sourced.
Green Graphic Design is as easy as allowing your designer to think outside the box and suggest more environmental solutions where possible.
Sonja Meyeram is an Australian graphic designer. Her work includes the development of visual identities, as well as creative graphic design for print, web and other digital products.
Sonja is an advocate for Green Graphic Design and lists her design considerations below;
Work with your designer during briefing stages to identify the most important to the least important items of the project so these can be accommodated with eco preferences where possible.
Consider the message of the project, is this project socially responsible? What is the best way to market your product or service with honesty and integrity?
Intend to have the piece designed for extended use or reuse wherever possible. For example, a promotional flyer designed in December could include a yearly fridge calendar on the back to be used all year-round. Be creative in your approach.
When designing for print, avoid page bleeds where possible. Printing with bleed creates offcuts that need to go through a de-inking process during recycling.
Avoid creating design that uses a lot of ink coverage and design in black and white when possible.
Consider using ‘low-ink’ fonts for large areas of body text. Here are some examples.
Consider the size of the project. Is it possible to reduce the amount of paper required to achieve the desired outcome, such as developing an A5 brochure instead of A4. Does the project have to be printed at all or are there other digital solutions?
Use only environmental printers for the printing of your design. Accredited printers have met targets for the reduction of their emissions.
Choose only FSC certified 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper and use vegetable based, low-VOC inks.
Avoid adding metallic inks and coatings such as varnishes and laminates to printed items as these are difficult to de-ink and recycle, and many of these special finishes are made up of toxins that are harmful to the environment.
Use a local green web host for your website such as Digital Pacific. A green web hosts will host your website on a server in a low energy environment.
If a web page is likely to be printed, ensure the design doesn’t have large areas of colour which will waste large amounts of ink during printing.