@studiocatherine Not in the slightest! Our printers just require a little extra time.
What do we have in mind when we start designing our response to a brief? Connecting with our audience, grabbing their attention, communicating ideas and messages, achieving desired outcomes – colour, form, image, typography, size, format? Let’s add one more ingredient to the next brief. The planet.
We should first consider what impact that creative spark scooting around our designer brain is going to have on the environment. Can we challenge our thinking and usual means of delivering our next design solution – what will produce less waste or consume less energy? Being exceptional critical thinkers and problem-solvers, designers should be captivated by the challenge of lessening their impact. If we put our minds to it, we can be part of a new wave of designers – creating new, sustainable ways of communicating visually. You have to admit (or is it just me?) the potential is actually exciting. Finding new ways of reaching an audience. Developing new vehicles to carry our messages. Exploring and discovering sustainable production methods. And, it’s already happening…
Industrial designers and object designers have been catching my attention and leading the way with creative and adaptive thinking – making something out of nothing, so to speak. Modern, desirable stools made from old salvaged street signs (trentjansen.com). Chic light shades, handturned from large cork blocks made with reclaimed waste cork from wine bottles. And, of course, the very original, individual bags, satchels and other products by Haul – made out of recycled billboards and rubber inner-tubes. Impressive and inspirational stuff. OK graphic designers, what can we come up with?
The main point I’m trying to get across is simple. Be mindful of what it is you do. Ask questions of yourself, of your printer and other suppliers. Find your own answers and solutions to lessen wastage, unnecessary use of resources or energy use. Be aware of the materials you use. Where do they come from? What are they made out of? Where do they go when we’re finished with them?
Talk to your printer about the most efficient use of the standard sheet sizes for your next publication. Find a size, with the help of your printer, that uses as much of the sheet as possible. Use 100 percent post-consumer waste stocks. Don’t print more than you need. Choose printers with good enviro credentials. And, above all, design well. If what you design is beautiful, it is more likely to be treasured and less likely to be easily discarded.
When we create something, we have the privilege of bringing something to life. The destruction of our environment is the antithesis of this creative practice – and we should use our ‘noggins’, ask all the right questions, become pioneers and innovators, and design with the planet in mind. This is the ultimate creative challenge for designers.
Illustration: Emily Gillis.