Sustainable Design: Is it our future?

More and more of our clients are requesting design that is sustainable. Sustainable design is environmentally conscious and eco-friendly—it’s the philosophy of designing physical objects or services that comply with the principles of economic, social and ecological sustainability. With the success of the “green” phenomenon, this idea is not surprising. Everybody is looking to sustain the earth in one way or another whether it is shopping organically or locally or recycling. I just started shopping at my local farmers market, and I already feel great about it. And that’s what’s so huge about sustainable design; it makes you feel good…and that’s all that matters.

As creative thinkers and graphic designers, you may wonder how we help our clients achieve their goal of staying eco-friendly. That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised that most of our requests have been for papers that are environmentally friendly. This includes business cards, brochures, postcards and other printed pieces. That’s a good start (and it’s simple) for lessoning an environmental footprint, however, some clients are interested in going the extra mile like using FSC Certified papers in support of well-managed forests. There are many other options for eco-materials specifically for printing needs, including inks and other printing processes. A great resource for green paper products is Neenah Paper. They have a great line of sustainable papers and an even better list of terms to help you decipher what’s what so you can decide which paper is right for you. Here’s what to look for:

  • Made Carbon Neutral: Reduces emissions to help decrease the effects of global warming.
  • 100% Post Consumer Fiber: Saves trees, water, energy and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Processed Chlorine Free: Manufactured without chlorine.
  • Alternative Fiber Choices: Offers environmental benefits.
  • Green Seal™ Certified: Ensures 30% minimum post consumer fiber.

Besides paper, there are many others ways we can help clients achieve their goals for sustainable design, including reducing the amount of materials required for production, printing with low-VOC inks and making sure the end-product is biodegradable. Considering how successful going green has become, many think that this is the new standard in design. HOW magazine is one of them: “Brands have to love the planet in order for us to stay here with any significant quality of life. It will no longer be OK for brands to be disposable; they must transition into something else, once their primary role is exhausted. They must be “zero-carb” in terms of carbon dioxide output, reusable, recyclable. It is no longer optional.”

What are you doing to stay eco-friendly?

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William Musial
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Cheryl Musial
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