7. Educate your clients.
Many companies today are concerned with producing
print materials and packaging made with
sustainable resources. IBM, Coca-Cola, and Mc-Donald’s are just a few major businesses making an
effort to publish shareholder reports on 100-percent
recycled post-consumer content. But not all clients
are familiar with “green” design and printing processes.
You may find that you need to act as an ecofriendly
8. Practice what you preach.
Set a good example to convince others to follow
your lead. Consider incorporating these methods:
- Conserve ink use by determining whether print
projects need to be full color. Could a two-color
design suffice instead?
- Maximize ink staying power by substituting a
Pantone color for metallic inks, which tend to
degrade. (This reduces VOC emissions, too.)
- Avoid wasting paper by designing to standard
press sheet sizes (e.g., 23 x 35, 25 x 38, 26 x 40,
28 x 40). If a job is large enough, your printer can
order a special sheet size from the mill. Since paper
is sold by the pound, this approach can also save
your client money.
9. Offset cost with creativity.
Some environmentally friendly products may be a
bit more expensive. It’s important, however, not to
view pricing issues as constraints. Instead, think
creatively to help balance benefits with costs.
Design multifunctional projects—e.g., selfmailer/
program combos—to economize when using
more expensive paper. Also, combining projects
whenever possible is wise; one idea is to print business
cards and postcards from the same recycled
paper. In the long run your clients may save money,
and they’ll also be honoring the environment.
10. Know industry standards.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
mandates that federal agencies must use uncoated
printing and writing papers containing at least
30-percent post-consumer content. Coated and
commodity papers must contain a minimum of
10 percent. Consider using these guidelines when
selecting paper for your projects, too.
Become familiar with other industry-issued
standards. Important stamps of approval include the
emblems of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
and Chlorine Free Product Association (CFPA). For
these symbols to appear on products, they must meet
specific standards determined by the International
Standards Organization (ISO).
11. Evaluate projects individually.
The first priority in design is to create an appealing,
functional piece of work. “It’s imperative to do good
design from an aesthetic standpoint,” Scalin says.
But he also urges designers to consider options that
will leave behind less waste. “Lots of what’s designed
is thrown in the trash. Using recycled materials is
necessary because so much is thrown away.”
If a client won’t switch to paper with a higher
percentage of post-consumer recycled content, try
finding a way to reduce the number of pages used
instead. You might also recommend different paper
types for different sections. For example, some
publications use high-quality coated paper for advertisements
and uncoated paper with higher postconsumer
content for editorial sections.
12. Stay informed.
Being environmentally responsible means staying
current with new products and practices. Check out
the following to see what others are doing to help
keep our quality of life at a premium:
Special interest groups
- Waterless presses
Water washable inks eliminate VOCs from the
printing process. www.waterless.org
- Windmill energy
This alternative energy source produces nonpolluting,
wind-generated energy to manufacture 100-
percent post-consumer paper. Mohawk Paper is a
This conference premiered in 2004 and is aimed
at environmentally conscious designers/artists.
- Business for Social Responsibility
Annual conference where designers can meet,
see, and hear from business leaders concerned
with social responsibility issues. www.bsr.org/
- Graphic Alliance
Join a community of socially conscious designers.
Making a commitment to practice environmentally
responsible design can be challenging, but it’s doable
and highly rewarding. Starting today will help
ensure a healthier quality of life for tomorrow.