Being a graphic designer means that you need to work with specific content previously imposed by someone.
Customers want to use your services to transmit a message they wish to send visually. Graphic design involves a series of creative processes that have visual materials that help people understand a specific idea.
These materials can be either virtual or physical. Physical materials are the ones that you can hold in your hands, touch, and see. Physical materials are more impactful for some people than virtual materials, which they can only see through a device’s display.
So, What’s the Problem?
To create physical materials, specific resources are consumed. Among these resources, paper and ink are worth mentioning first.
The paper industry uses wood as the prime material for creating paper, paperboard, or other products based on cellulose. The more sheets we consume, the more trees must be cut down.
You may wonder why this is relevant for you as a graphic designer. The answer is simple – a change of perception.
Your capability of creating visually engaging content is reduced to printing it down? Without printing the respective material, it cannot generate any emotions? Is it not persuasive anymore? Is it not valuable for your customers? Your work’s beauty depends on the quality of the printed paper?
Suppose your answers make you question your work’s quality. In that case, you might need this change of perception to become a better graphic designer.
A Change of View
A confident graphic designer could print his work on recycled paper or publish it online and gain the same amount of appreciation and profitability as a graphic designer who only receives positive feedback if his work is printed on premium quality paper that enhances colors.
This argument aims to define sustainable graphic design and present its importance in today’s society.
Your legacy as a graphic designer is not related to printed materials that some people throw away, and that’s the purest exemplification of wasting paper.
This is where sustainable graphic design intervenes. Instead of wasting paper and negatively impacting the environment, you can change by adopting sustainable graphic design projects that won’t involve non-recycled paper.
The Major Consequences of Paper Waste
The Natural Resources Defense Council stated that the paper industry is risking the old-growth forest through deforestation and clearcutting. Instead of reducing paper production, the demand for paper is constantly growing, primarily because of its usage in the marketing sector.
The paper industry attracts other serious consequences. The paper industry includes them all, starting with air and water pollution and using chlorine, sulfur, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, and other polluting agents.
To mitigate this issue, a change needs to be made. One of the possible changes is reducing the need for printing materials.
As a graphic designer, you can diminish the demand for paper by moving your work to the digital world entirely or using recycled paper instead of a high-quality one.
What Can You Do As a Graphic Designer?
Your main goal should be to use as few resources as possible to create impactful projects. Since you are a creative person, you’ll indeed manage to find a meaningful sustainability strategy for your designs.
First, you should tell your customers that this is how you work. Let them know that you are planning to use recycled paper only or perform solely projects that can be delivered over the internet.
Even though this might reduce your clientele, the higher purpose of your work is undoubtedly worth it. In addition, there are so many projects out there that only require digital work that you might not even feel the change, financially speaking.
Secondly, you should look for partnerships that promote eco-friendly solutions as well.
You might find a company that offers paper recycling solutions. This should be applied when you know your projects won’t survive without printing.
Sometimes, printed materials are an absolute requirement. Unless your project is in that situation, you should try your best to provide only digital work with zero paper demand.
Also, for printed projects, make sure they are durable and require little energy. Choose partners that encourage green living and eco-friendly processes.
Last but not least – look for inspiration. You won’t know what to do and won’t be motivated enough to do it unless you see that other graphic designers chose this path before you.
Creating a small community of people who encourage eco-friendly and sustainable graphic design has all chances to make people think differently about this topic.
If you keep reading this article, you will find several sustainable graphic design projects that might inspire you to do the same.
Examples of Sustainable Graphic Design Projects
Here is a list of examples of sustainability projects in graphic design:
Ecocreative is an Australian company that clearly stated on its business plan and official website that they care about sustainability.
The Ecocreative company operates with small ecological footprints and stands with the sustainable graphic design movement.
For their clients, they have already introduced an interactive section on their website that has to do with eco-friendly graphic design, where customers can check out the encodes and opt for one of the respective projects.
- Orange Bike Design
Another company that encourages sustainable graphic design, Orange Bike Design, gives a clear definition of the concept on their official website while enabling clients to select digital materials over printed ones or choose green printing methods.
Orange Bike Design only works with local distributors to reduce the need for long-distance transportation.
ecoLingo is a company that’s entirely focused on earth-friendly graphic design. This graphic design studio specializes in creating altogether ecological products that won’t impact the environment in any way.
They also made genuine efforts to inform the audience about sustainable graphic design and its importance.
Ripe is making greener improvements while stating the problem with today’s graphic design and mentioning what measurements should be considered.
Ripe opted for using recyclable and eco-friendly materials for their designs. They also let their clients know about their sustainability movements before collaborating.
Adopting sustainable graphic design is not easy, especially for people driven by money. The more significant cause is much more important than your cause, and a slight change could lead to a great outcome.
Follow the examples of graphic designers and design companies that have already adopted sustainability plans and left a beneficial imprint on the environment.
Sustainable graphic design could make a difference in the world if implemented correctly. Be a part of the change!