Sustainable practices for graphic designers include a wide range of problems and issues. When traditional print materials are made the toxicity of ink and paper and the sheer quantity of paper produced need to be considered.
To really determine the sustainability or carbon footprint of a product, one needs to follow it through its entire life cycle. Questions need to be raised about how much fuel is being used for shipping, what the final end product is, how long the life cycle is, and how long before the product ends up as waste.
In Green Graphic Design author Brian Dougherty asks graphic designers to start at the end of the process instead of the beginning. Imagine the best possible destiny for your design and visualize the process of every phase from the final destination of your product at the end of its life cycle back to the design studio. Consider everything from the time of its ultimate disposal to its conception including transportation, warehousing, production, and manufacturing that may prevent green solutions from being implemented.
Tips for sustainable web and graphic design
There are many ways a graphic designer can reduce there eco footprint and consider the environment.
- do more with less: be innovative in downsizing – go for originality rather than size, whether it is a retro self-folding envelope or itty-bitty business cards
- rightsize it: by optimising rather than oversizing the job you reduce the demand for paper to be produced
- fill the white up: by reducing the amount of white space in a document you can reduce the amount of paper needed to produce it
- give it a second life: give your product a second chance at life so that it reduces the possibility of ending up in landfill