This is the second in a series of articles about making your printing more sustainable – yes, your printing can be in line with your values!
The importance of design in green printing cannot be underestimated. After all, as printers, we will work with the files and specifications that you provide to us. Certainly, we’ll ensure that recycled papers and soy inks are used, but the decisions about what needs to be printed, for what purpose, and in what quantities are generally decided upon beforehand.
The folks at Design Can Change have gathered some great resources for designers who want to incorporate more sustainable practices into their work. They have prepared a Sustainable Design Checklist that covers topics such as strategy, execution, production, distribution, and end-of-useful life. Some of their suggestions for auditing the sustainability of a printed piece include:
- Serves multiple purposes and maximizes shelf life
- Raises awareness by displaying environmental specs
- Limits ink coverage and areas of solid color
- Is printed by a printer that has environmental certification
- Uses recycled, FSC-certified paper that was processed chlorine-free
- Uses soy- and vegetable-based inks and avoids metallic inks
- Avoids foilstamping, thermography, and lamination
- Uses up-to-date mailing lists that accurately target your audience
Another great resource that takes a holistic perspective on sustainability in graphic design is Green Graphic Design. This new book begins by asking designers to look at the end result of their work – what will happen to it after it’s been used? It then challenges designers to “design backwards,” a process similar in concept to backcasting. In this case, designers would begin by considering where the piece will end up, what the user experience will be, how it will be distributed (including delivery and warehousing) and what the production process will be (including printing and bindery).
The next article in the series examines Recycled Paper.
How has sustainability influenced your work in designing a printed piece? What additional tips or resources would you provide?