Sustainability has become an increasingly important topic in recent years. Businesses and individuals alike recognising the need to reduce our impact on the planet. While many people associate sustainability with areas such as energy use and waste reduction, it is also a critical consideration for the graphic design industry. Graphic designers have a significant impact on the environment. From the materials they use to create their designs to the printing processes used to produce the final product. In this blog post, we will explore the role of sustainability in graphic design and discuss how we here at anne+co. are looking to create more sustainable designs.
The Impact of Graphic Design on the Environment
Graphic design has a significant impact on the environment, primarily through the materials and resources used in the design and production process. The most obvious example of this is paper. Paper is a critical component of many graphic design projects, from business cards to brochures and packaging. The paper industry is notoriously resource-intensive, with significant impacts on deforestation, water use, and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the inks and printing processes used in graphic design can also have a negative impact on the environment.
Sustainability in Graphic Design
Sustainability in graphic design refers to the practice of creating designs that have a minimal impact on the environment. This includes reducing the use of non-renewable resources, minimizing waste, and promoting the use of sustainable materials and production processes.
Here are some steps we have taken to create more sustainable designs:
1 Use Sustainable Materials
One of the most significant ways graphic designers can promote sustainability is by using sustainable materials in their designs. This includes materials such as recycled paper, vegetable-based inks, and biodegradable packaging. By using these materials, designers can significantly reduce the impact of their designs on the environment. We encourage our customers to choose carbon balanced paper. You can read more about carbon balanced paper here. We also encourage choosing biodegradable compostable packaging. Here is an example of food packaging which we designed, the outer packaging was biodegradable.
2. Minimize Waste
Another critical consideration for designers is to minimise waste. This includes using efficient printing methods and designing products that minimise the amount of material used. For example, using smaller font sizes and reducing the number of colours used in a design can significantly reduce the amount of ink and paper required.
3. Use Digital Alternatives
In many cases, digital alternatives can be used instead of traditional print materials. For example, digital brochures and presentations can be used instead of printed materials, reducing the use of paper and ink. Additionally, online advertising and social media campaigns can be used instead of traditional print advertising. We recommend carbon balancing the paper used for printed projects to offset the impact on the environment.
4. Educate Clients
Finally, designers can play an important role in promoting sustainability by educating their clients about the importance of sustainability in design. By discussing the environmental impact of different materials and production processes, designers can help their clients make more informed decisions.
Graphic designers can also work on campaigns to help get information out to the public about sustainability. A designer can work on making information eye catching and intriguing. Having visually interesting content to promote the public to be more aware of their choices which impact the planet. Designer can work to insure information is displayed in easy to understand and digest chunks. Sometimes this information can be overwhelming to the public. We recently worked on the Carlow Climate Action logo. We also worked with Met Eireann on graphic to promote their new supercomputer which is running on 100% renewable energy.
Greenwashing is becoming more of an issue. Greenwashing refers to the deceptive practice of making false or exaggerated claims about the environmental benefits of a product, service, or company’s practices in order to appear more environmentally friendly than they actually are. Companies or organizations engage in greenwashing to capitalize on the growing consumer interest in environmentally friendly products and practices, without actually making substantial efforts to reduce their environmental impact. This can involve using misleading labels, false advertising, or overstating minor environmentally-friendly aspects of their products or operations, while ignoring or downplaying more significant negative impacts. Essentially, it’s a form of marketing or PR strategy where organizations try to portray themselves as environmentally conscious in order to attract environmentally conscious consumers. This is something we are aware of and will advise on the best packaging or paper stock which is actually sustainable.
If you have a project you would like some advice on, reach out to us today for a chat. We would love to advise you on the most sustainable options.