Viola Design


An industry leader since 1999, and a pioneer in Australia’s eco-graphic design business, for Victoria’s Viola Design sustainable design is at the heartbeat of their Melbourne Studio. Founder Anna Carlile is hugely passionate about educating fellow designers and commercial users about the need and tools required for environmentally sustainable design and is the brains behind Design By Nature –, an online resource that is based on extensive research, guiding designers through the key areas of consideration, providing practical tips and ideas for everyday use to better sustainable design practices. With projects that draw on a range of sustainable methods like green-sensitive stock and printing solutions, creative print-based design outcomes, designing for sustainability,  Viola demonstrates that visually sophisticated graphic design doesn’t have to “cost the earth”.

Since founding Viola in 1999, Carlile and her fellow associates have developed a diverse eco-design portfolio with clients such as The Earthwatch Institute, Green Peace and the Environmental Protection Authority.

Every year Melbourne University produces more than $9 million of printed material. Like many environmentally conscious organisations, the university wanted to explore new ways of meeting their communication needs while also being sensitive to the environment. In 2008 Viola was approached to develop an internal environmental management manual, with the goal of helping the university adopt new practices that would reduce the environmental impact of its publications.

The result was a comprehensive guide that showcased the potential of eco-design as an environmental discipline. At first the standard twenty-four page printed brochure was considered but then quickly dismissed due to the waste that would be generated and also because, once printed, the information could become outdated. Due to the changing nature of the content, a website was approved as the most appropriate communications medium. To promote the use of the website by the university’s publication departments, Viola created an innovative, freestanding desktop piece, which required no binding and was both eye-catching and retainable. The printing was sponsored by a initiative and was QIS014001 compliant. The production used low-toxic inks and Envirocare paper that was composed of 65% post-consumer and 35% pre-consumer recycled material. The end product was also produced by a mill, with EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) accreditation.


Sustainable Business and Design

Light Touch Solar and Electrical is a local business for whom I have designed their logo, branding and several pieces of promotional and marketing material. Some of Light Touch’s core values and services involve sustainable, renewable and clean energy along with reducing their environmental and carbon footprint wherever possible.


Tim Hodgson and Alice Moffett are old friends of mine who started the local business several years ago in Lennox Head. Tim is driven by a vision to decarbonise and decentrantilse the energy system and commits himself to helping the uptake of solar for business, home and community. Tim is a founding member of CORE Mullumbimby (COREM) whom have a vision for Mullumbimby to be 100% renewable by creating solar projects which local people can be a part of. Alice specialises in sustainability advice for homes, businesses and organisations.

Hence, both Tim, Alice and myself wanted such values to show through in any of the branding and marketing material.

Light Touch recently had a popular stall at ReNew Fest last Saturday at the Mullumbimby Showgrounds. They were a part of demonstrating Tesla solar batteries, electric cars and presented talks on solar and renewable energy.

Banner I designed at ReNew Fest in Mullumbimby


Some of the projects I have helped with include.

Business Cards
Soon after designing a logo I designed a business card for Light Touch. The cards have been printed on recycled paper using vegetable inks. Together with Alice we sought a local company that was able to offer this service. Producing such business cards makes them more environmentally friendly (less toxins from vegetable dyes and recycled paper uses less trees). Also having marketing material (that shows its on recyclable paper and printed with vegetable dyes) promotes a sustainable way of life which is great for any business but particularly important for a Solar Electrical company who’s key values and products are about being sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Business Card design on recycled paper using vegetable ink

The pull up banner was designed in a way so that it would be suitable to use at multiple events avoiding the need for multiple prints and minimum use of materials. Light Touch sourced a printing company that also hold sustainable and environmentally friendly values. The printing company were relatively local which helped reduce transportation costs/impact and carbon footprint.

Car Magnets
I designed magnets to be used as signage on Tim’s work van. They were designed so that they can be taken off and used on other vehicles or for Tim to use his vehicle for non Light Touch work. This means that only one set of magnets needed to be produced and one car can be used for multiple purposes and branding. Less printing, less cars so less waste and environmental impact.


Other sustainable marketing practices by Light Touch include using a monitor to display powerpoint presentation at events. This reduces the need to print lengthy brochures and gives the advantage of being easy to update without the need to re-print. A well designed and updated website has also just been completed for  similar such reasons.

Ad I designed for local independent newspaper The Echo



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Nike A Global Sustainable Brand

Eighteen years ago, this was a completely different story. People across the world were burning Nike shoes instead of wearing them; customers were boycotting Nike products; and in 1998 the company’s earnings dropped by 69%.

A Soulful Awakening of the Multinational Giant

With  900 factories, 750 retail stores and hundreds of thousands of customers.               Nike’s business footprint is enormous, therefore, any sustainability-oriented changes that the company makes will undoubtedly raise global consciousness and improve the sustainability footprint of the world.

Times have changed

It’s likely that your most recent pair of Nike shoes had a previous life.                                       The athletic apparel giant recently announced that 71 percent of its footwear is made with materials recycled from its own manufacturing process.

Nike’s smarter designs maximise performance, lighten the environmental impact and can be easily disassembled to be reused.

Nike,s designers now have access to a palette of more than 29 high-performance materials made from there manufacturing waste.                                                                                           Recycled materials  include old shoes, plastic bottles and factory scraps.

Nike has invested in technologies to drive 100 percent renewable energy within its factories, and has reduce the toxic chemical output from dying processes from entering the environment.The “waterless dyeing” technology for textiles uses CO2 instead of water. Nike is also collaborating with NASA, U.S. Department of State and USAID to encourage innovations that generate more environmentally and socially sustainable materials and fabrics.

Nike Flyknit technology, uses a single thread to knit a shoe upper, helps in preparing more custom fit and lighter shoes and generates less waste during the upper production process.        


Nike has changed the direction of its entire company over the past eighteen years buy doubling down on waste, There sustainability report reveals a continued concerted effort that is on its way to achieve zero-waste in its supply chain.                                                           In 2015, the brand recovered 92 percent of its trash.                                                                                        It goes to show how consumers and activists can influence the biggest brands.

Power to the people


Recycle this flyer- give to a friend

Sustainability and business efficiency work well together. Having a great product coming from an efficient business uses less resources for getting the business to the market place.


My business flyers were always double sided and usually had the line Recycle this flyer, please give to a friend. Paper stock was lighter at 115gsm or less, depending on the graphics.

4up FSVThe print run was increased by over printing our promotion date and venues with a home printer. This was done by printing 4 up on A4, doing the overprinting  and than arranging a printer to trim them back to A6.Estimating an effective number of flyers per venue can minimise waste. Different, generic flyers that not have overprinting were used when the overprinted flyers ran out.

POSTERPosters were printed in short runs again with a text box to change the dates and venues.

Reusing the same display graphics to different markets was another way of reducing waste. This was done by logging which sign went to which venue.

The choice of sustainable web hosting is done by using a small local business.

Recycled paper was used where possible but not often. Stationary for office use does not need to be A4. This also helps the customer with a useable size and coloured.The customer would keep the blue copy. The white copy was attached to the product.


Sustainability and carbon offset from our business was achieved by running our business from a 100% stand alone solar powered dwelling. Over the past ten years we have established a native tree plantation with over 2000 trees both planted and maintained.

Photography can and does promote its susatainablity.Photographic print processing became more sustainable with the move from chemicals to digital technology.There are far fewer test strips needed digitally than in the analog process.

Bench marks in sustainability are awarded from the printing industry association as opposed to the photographic industry. NULAB based in Melbourne boasts Australian only  Sustainable Green Print Level II Certification

Photography can and does promote its sustainability. This is a promotional quote that sits well in the marketplace.

We have a strong personal commitment to sustainability and social responsibility – we invest in Solar power to offset all of our electricity use, 100% green web hosting offsets all of web based platforms (client web libraries) and we offset all of our travel.Our target clients are those that share a commitment to lowering their carbon footprint and want to promote the good things that they are doing in sustainability and their role as good corporate citizens (corporate social responsibility).Do you have positive initiatives in your business that you want to communicate to your clients and potential customers? We would love to talk to you.

Sustainable design is an attitude that can be applied daily. I used it to reduce the need for this poster to be printed as A3 poster to A6. This was done by identifying the main message and increasing photo size .It was than set up onto an A4 page.


 Business’s sharing office space with sustainable industries will attract clients looking to promote their message with a more sustainable voice

Filming in National parks now attracts sustainable codes of conduct


Sustainability in Design

Which is greener? A digital or printed work. I was of the understanding that digital was greener than paper, however after researching various sites, this supposition has been challenged.. According to an article in, the answer lies with who’s being asked; ‘Talk to a paper manufacturer and he will certainly support printed communications as much more sustainable. Ask the CEO of a web hosting company

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

and she will make the case for digital work’.

In another article in, they also suggest print has been ‘cast in the role of a dark old devil in decline’ and ‘digital media has been cast as the bright young saviour on the rise’. They suggest print has incredible potential to be a far more sustainable medium than it is today and is already based on comparatively renewable materials.

As well as being the single largest stream of toxic waste created by man, accordingly to zdnet, making a computer typically requires mining and refining of minerals and metals as well as large scale use of plastics and hydrocarbon solvents. To function, electronic devices require a constant flow of electrons that come from the combustion of coal.

The list goes on and on… so, the question is what can we do to reduce our carbon footprint. The ultimate aim of practicing sustainable design would be to reduce waste, use as little resources as possible, and the resources that are used, should be unharmful to our environment and re-usable.

How do we turn over a new leaf and remodel our thinking to incorporate papers, inks, solvents, packaging, waste management or recycling in new and different ways?

Perhaps we can convert our electricity to green power, chose chlorine free paper sources from ethical companies and perhaps with effective communication and by exploring and offering eco-options we could contribute to a reducing environmental impacts. Australia using green printers