Sustainable design is smart, creative and enduring. It inspires change and is gentle on people and the planet. It is economically sustainable. Clever design uses minimum resources for maximum exposure.
Sustainability is alive in each aspect of our design process – from concept ideation and choosing the medium for delivery to the colour palettes or paper choice. It is not an afterthought; rather, it is ingrained in our standard practice. We think about environmental impact early in the design stage; we even apply abstract measures, such as a design’s emotional durability. This is how we design for humans.
Sustainable communication design checklist
- What’s the most effective way to get your message across? Do you truly need a publication or printed item to reach your audience, or can you deliver it digitally?
- Multi-purposing is a big bonus. Can one publication or printed item serve multiple purposes?
- Size does matter. Does the paper printout need to be that big?
- Discuss minimising paper wastage with the printer. What’s the best design format for that?
- A lesser number of ink colours also means less resources used
- It’s a simple one, but choose recycled materials where possible
- Find out whether the publication or printed item can be re-used and recycled
- Tell your audience about how the work was produced in an environmentally sensitive way
Environmentally responsible paper checklist
- Does it have a high post-consumer recycled content?
- Does it come from sustainably managed plantation timber? Look for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification
- Is it free of chlorine-bleached fibres? Look for Process Chlorine Free (PCF), Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) or Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) certifications
- Does it come from a paper mill that has an environmental management system certification? Look for ISO 14001 or EMAS
- Is it made in Australia? We like to support local industry to reduce the environmental impact of transportation
Environmentally responsible printing checklist
- Ask the printer if they recycle and separate solid waste – paper off-cuts, cardboard, printing plates, ink containers, cleaning rags, palettes, screens and metals
- Does the printer have an environmental management system in place? Look for the environmental certification ISO 14001
- What is the VOCs emission rating from the printing process? This includes inks, coatings, cleaning solutions, dampening solutions, glues. The less emissions, the better
- Can we skip the hard-copy proofs and stick to digital proofs?
- Try to use vegetable inks on uncoated paper
- Can we avoid metallic and fluorescent inks? These contain heavy metals
- Choose aqueous varnish over UV coatings and plastic laminates