Sustainable Graphic Design

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If you truly think about the life cycle of a design project, it might make you want to adopt more sustainable business practices, if you don’t already.

Here is a short list of things we all could do to reduce our carbon footprint when it comes to graphic design. These may be obvious, but hey, the more you put it out there, the more sustainable business practices may become commonplace.

Feel free to comment and add more.

USE RECYCLED PAPER

Every year, nearly 4 billion trees are used to make paper products. This generates pollutants and waste and uses copious amounts of chemicals, water, and energy, so recycle and use recycled paper. AIGA provides a list of sustainable paper sources.

USE ENVIRONMENTALLYÂ CONSCIENCE VENDORS

Be choosy when deciding on the printers you work with. Renourish is a handy web site with tools to help you find eco-friendly printers in your area.

RECYCLE YOUR INK CARTRIDGES

Recent studies show that only about 20-40% are recycled. The rest take up residence in landfills and because they’re made of plastic, they’re there for a long time, and may take a thousand years to decompose.

EMAIL INSTEAD OF DIRECT MAIL

Opt-in emails may be more effective than traditional unsolicited direct mail, many of which wind up straight to the trash.

BLACKLE INSTEAD OF GOOGLE

Try using Blackle as your search engine. Blackle is powered by Google Custom Search and displays a black background instead of a white background in an effort to consume less energy. Check out what the creators of Blackle say.

For an interesting read on environmentally friendly graphic design, check out the book Green Graphic Design by Brian Dougherty.

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