Going Green in Graphic Design

Today we are going to be talking about a subject related to graphic design. We will be talking about going green in graphic design, what it means to be a green designer. Why you should go green, how to practice green design and a few more topics. I hope that you will find the article useful and that you would be able to learn a few things regarding this topic.

What does it mean to be a Green Designer?

To be a green designer means to think about our environment and to practice sustainable design. This includes using non-toxic recyclable materials and saving on energy and resources where we can. The ultimate aim of practicing sustainable design, is to reduce waste, use as little resources as possible, and the resources that are used, should be unharmful to our environment and re-usable.

Why should I go green?

As a graphic designer, your job is to produce creative ideas to promote your client’s message effectively. By promoting a greener image, you are adding value to your relationship with the client. Consider that consumers have never decided against a product because it is green, but they have and will decide not to buy it if it isn’t. In fact, 82% of consumers are focused on buying green products and services. Customers are becoming more drawn to going paperless, recycled products, bio-degradable products and low emission products.

Companies that are supporting the eco-friendly movement are also seeing increasing numbers in their sales. Many companies are opting for the ‘greener’ option not only because they are contributing to a better, healthier Earth, but because it saves on costs:

  • Less print costs
  • Less shipping costs
  • Less energy costs

How can I practice green design?

By creating a greener image, we are creating awareness of our environment. By creating a greener product, we are taking the step of saving it.

The first step is to become aware as the designer. You’ve heard about the three R’s and why we should be doing it, everyone has; but has it become something you think about daily?

Start with your own surroundings:

  • Are you using energy efficient light bulbs?
  • Are you turning off your pc/appliances when you’re finished?
  • Are you using more paper than needed?
  • Are you printing more than necessary?
  • Can you reduce your own waste materials?
  • Do you have recycling methods in place?

The next step is to think about how your work is impacting the environment. Did you know that for every ton of paper that is recycled, the following is saved: 7,000 gallons of water; 380 gallons of oil; and enough electricity to power an average house for six months.

When you receive a project, the importance of how it may effect our environment should be something considered in every step of the planning.

Factors to consider include:

  • Are the materials you’re using recyclable?
  • Are the materials coming from somewhere nearby?
  • Are the materials non-toxic?
  • Can you use less materials?
  • Can scrap materials be used?
  • What will happen when the user no longer needs this piece?
  • If printing, are the inks vegetable-based or soy-based?

There are so many helpful resources out there supporting graphic designers to make the commitment. If you’d like to make a pledge please visit : designcanchange.org

Re-nourish is my favorite site of all. It includes fantastic tools to help, including a project calculator, paper finder and green printer finder. It also includes standards on design sustainability and includes the best case studies on companies that have gone green. Another inspiring and helpful resource is the ‘big book of green design’, which shows numerous examples of projects and explains why they are green.

Don’t be frightened to think of green design as being limited… it’s just another opportunity to think outside the box and get creative!

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  1. Reply Vidit Kothari March 25, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    Hats-off to this great post. So thoughtful. I’ve been thinking on this “Green” topic for so long. I got such a nice post for my thought.


  2. Reply jeprie March 25, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    That’s nice. I’ve stop printing and focus on PDF file. That’s my way of going green.
    .-= jeprie´s last blog ..Menggambar Hard Disk Eksternal Realistik =-.

  3. Reply Benjamin Rama March 25, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    very good article Natasha – this is something I do feel is very important – I had in mind to do this kind of article too – Its the most important cause in the world cos without the planet there wouldn’t be anything to work for .

    .-= Benjamin Rama´s last blog ..Impressive & Mind Blowing CG charcters in Z brush =-.

  4. Reply Antonio March 25, 2010 at 6:52 PM

    Very thoughtful article, but not really related much to web design though. This is more like what you can do as a person as opposed to what you can do as a designer. I was expecting the post to b a little more specific to web design. I guess the thougth is whY counts though.

  5. Reply Jonathan Kurten March 25, 2010 at 8:07 PM

    Something that is definitely very important to me in my own freelancing business. I try to be as conscience about my footprint as possible throughout my daily workday.

    I feel that change has to happen somewhere, and it really is true that every little bit helps.
    .-= Jonathan Kurten´s last blog ..Desktop Candy – Science Is Harder =-.

  6. Reply Dzinepress March 25, 2010 at 10:30 PM

    really helping article.
    .-= Dzinepress´s last blog ..40 Ultimate Useful Mind Mapping Tools =-.

  7. Reply Logobird March 25, 2010 at 11:48 PM

    Many designers really underestimate the positive impact that green design can not only have on the world, but also on their bottom line.

    I try my hardest to keep my design business as green as possible and have got a LOT of business as a result. There is a huge amount of customers out there who are actively seeking green designers.

    I did a post a while back outlining 23 ways to run a more sustainable design business. I have quite a few extra resources in there so if anyone is interested in the topic check it out.

    Excellent stuff Natasha!
    .-= Logobird´s last blog ..How Can We Improve the Design Community? =-.

  8. Reply XiVoid March 26, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    Brilliant! Awesome to see people taking such active steps to create awareness. I also love the way that it show that anyone can be aware, no matter what field you are in, you can be conscious of your environment.

  9. Reply Six19 Creative Web Design April 2, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Awesome concept… With Great Design. It helps to people to save our earth from Global Warming. I appreciated for this design blog. Thanks Bro.

  10. Reply The Loft Creative Branding Design April 10, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    If we can see and feel green color in atmosphere with around us, then we should have to go for the Green Design Idea, which we’ll make this design business Eco-friendly.

    Wonderful Perception Loved to accept in my life.

    Thanks for great article.

  11. Reply Kate Fosson April 12, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    Thanks for the post. Great things to consider.
    I wrote a similar article that includes some specific solutions.
    Check it out: http://katefosson.com/blog/how-to-run-an-eco-friendly-web-design-business/

  12. Reply cuba Diving April 16, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    Thanks For the Post its really Helpfull

  13. Reply Aswani April 17, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    Hello, it is an excellent post. Being myself a design enthusiast, I am yet to try this type of designing. After reading this post, I am quite inspired to do it and will do it hopefully..very soon. Thanks.

  14. Reply Hot Images April 18, 2010 at 8:07 AM

    very inspiring and informative post for me as I am a graphic/web designer… thanks for sharing…
    .-= Hot Images´s last blog ..Sexy and Hot Gym Girls =-.

  15. Reply Charles Babayi April 23, 2010 at 10:06 PM

    Very Well Done NATASHA!!
    This article is so Useful and Creative. There are so many people who do not care about nature and how to conserve it at all. I therefore recommend this article to the Whole World. Once again, CONGRATULATIONS on a good work don!

  16. Reply Ronnie Saini Design April 23, 2010 at 10:29 PM

    this is really thoughtful!

    As you can see on my website too, I advocate the Best Green Practices all the time. Save Paper, Save Trees!

  17. Reply Car Salvage April 26, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    This is a great site. Everyone is trying to go green, and this is great advice on ideas you may not have thought could save energy.

  18. Reply Logo design May 3, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    An innovative idea of being a green designer, awesome thought, good work, i like the content so much.
    .-= Logo design´s last blog ..The saga of forgotten brands and their logo designs =-.

  19. Reply Re-nourish Jess June 2, 2010 at 5:37 AM

    Natasha, thanks so much for covering this subject! It’s great to hear when folks find Re-nourish useful; we’re working really hard to help designers integrate sustainability into their work as easily and realistically as possible.

    For those of your readers curious about how web designers can be greener, you might want to check out our section on digital design:



    Partner & Content Lead, Re-nourish.com
    Follow us on Twitter! http://twitter.com/renourish

  20. Reply Marketing and Advertising June 28, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    Going green seems to be a growing trend these days. Thanks to many organizations that advocate environmental awareness and embracing habits that are meant to save the environment, a lot of companies all over the world are going green regardless of the sector of industry to which they belong. These companies highlight their eco-friendly business practices as a show of commitment to saving the environment as well as a selling point for their products.

  21. Reply download icons August 1, 2010 at 10:08 AM

    We should start few by building a green society and shower our love to our fellow beings as this way we will learn to respect not only the human race but also the environment.

  22. Reply Erwin Heid October 21, 2010 at 9:30 AM

    My compliment, You are the first designer which like to show the people who to go green. It would be helpful for the environment, if more companies like you doing that.
    This is why I greet your activities
    I think I will add a link from your site to my website.
    But It is a pity over and over again, that the colour and the word “Green” as promotion for such Food and other Products is pulled up, although these do not deal with the real problem – nature and environment.
    Green should deal only in connection with products of the nature, and in connection with the protection of our environment.
    But here our industry shows how easy it is to promote with the word or the color green, products which have nothing to do with real going green.

    But the nature of us is, the nature and their needs to ignore.
    Then the people notice that they have destroyed the environment at first, if it is too late something to “repair”.

    your advocate for why go green, architect and building biologist and owner of Why Go Green For Our Childrens Future and to show our Children the oposite of TV and Internet Games visit Flay Fishing For Beginners

  23. Reply Justin McD October 18, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    Many of the end results of how “green” you are going to design, boil down to who you are going to use to bring your designs to life. Many of the inks that commercial printers use are dangerous and release VOC’s into the air. Combine this with not using recycled materials and your green efforts are wasted. Look for FSC certified printers that use UV inks. These inks do not require as much energy to dry them and they don’t release VOC’s into the air. I use this Green Commercial Printer for my designs. Soy inks aren’t as green considering the energy needed to cure them.

  24. Reply Posterina May 9, 2014 at 4:14 AM

    Hi Natasha!
    Thanks for helpful suggestions :)
    Lets Gi Green!

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