Green Design

18 06 2008

By Allison Stulpin
Graphic Designer

With all of the talk lately about going green, I decided to contemplate how this might affect design as we know it.

We’re all touched by design on a daily basis from newspaper and magazine ads to billboards and flyers. And with all of this paper floating around it can’t be good for the environment. So, I went searching for some statistics to put things in perspective, because, after all, it can’t be that bad … right? Wrong. The Clean Air Council states that businesses use approximately 21 tons of paper each year, and 1/3 of the waste that Americans toss is from packaging. Those numbers are staggering to say the least, and the thought of my personal contribution is a bit depressing.

You may be wondering, why in the world a designer would discuss the negative aspect of the design world. After all it’s what she gets paid to do. Well, I have to admit I went back and forth quite a few times, weighing the pros and cons of this subject, but ultimately decided that there is an up side to this information.

As a designer, I am constantly searching for new and innovative ways to get a business’ message to the masses, and with the spotlight on being greener, I was energized in my search to find ways to design while decreasing my environmental footprint.

Lettuce BillboardOne site I came across contained a plethora of information about being a green designer. Its tips ranged from recommending tree-free paper stock options like sugar cane waste and straw, to using green ink and reducing the amount of ink used in each project (http://www.green.net.au/srd/#green). I even found an example of what some may think is the extreme of green advertising: a lettuce billboard from McDonalds promoting its healthier food options.

Let’s not stop there though. Because of the push to reduce paper design and printing, there has been some exciting developments in the world of design. Web sites and web videos are becoming a more popular advertising method, along with social networking sites and email campaigns designed to hit a specific market. With new technology emerging every day, it might not be long before I’m back here writing about the latest in hologram advertising.

So you see, it might not be easy to go green in design, but it is possible with research and a bit of creativity. If you’d like to see a few examples of greener designs, check out our web site at www.igpr.com.

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