The Green Graphic Designer

I’m someone who is always ranting about the state of the planet and frustrates about how as a race we seem to so freely destroy our own environment but like many of us, I’m more than guilty of actually doing very little about it. Sure, I stick all the right things in all the right bins but apart from that I like to think that by moaning and worrying I’m doing my bit.

After taking care of a family, designing brochures, illustrating books and branding logos,I haven’t got a lot of time left to tie myself to trees, climb aboard the Rainbow Warrior or camp outside power stations. Thing is, I can re-think about the way in which I function as a graphic designer.

Evolving from the implications of environmental damage caused by modern globalisation, is an ethical, conscientious creature that some may refer to as The Green Graphic Designer.

Both individual lifestyles and the way businesses are run contribute to a rapid decrease in resources. Due to global change some Graphic Designers have started to control their services in an attempt to lessen harmful effects on the environment.

Here are 12 ‘green’ techniques that can be applied to a graphic designers general practice;

1.    Minimise paper waste and the use of electronic office systems.
2.    Reduce material used and ecological footprints.
3.    Recycle everything possible.
4.    Balance environmental impact with creative integrity.
5.    Ongoing education, research and discovery.
6.    Share what is learnt with others.
7.    Create online PDF catalogues, brochures and flyers.
8.    Encourage foot power, cycling or car sharing to client meetings.
9.    Assist when possible, environmental and non profit groups.
10.    Set up online payment systems, such as Papal and BACS.
11.    Endeavour to run entirely on solar and wind energy.
12.    I heard of some that even plant a tree for every new customer.

A good green design operation will be committed to minimising environmental impact and the carbon footprint that can be associated within graphic design. It’s good practice to take into account, calculate and reduce environmental risks, before starting a project. Try to take into consideration the production, life cycle and ultimately, the disposal of the design. By bringing in other companies to work on projects the designer will be able to trace the elements used, making sure that they are ethically sourced.
A green designer will also pass on their ethics by encouraging clients, customers and suppliers to consider minimising environmental impacts of products and services through joint environmental action.

The number of designers becoming consciously aware is increasing and more are changing their practices to enable a reduction of damage that the industry can cause.

I believe by ranting at the TV less and by supporting the right design initiatives it should be possible to give back more than we take.


  1. Ben Routledge says

    hi there I have just read your piece and i think its brilliant, as a first year graphic design student this is something that my generation is going to need to take into consideration to make sure these problems with how we design are dealt with in a professional way. I am currently writing an essay on the environmental considerations of a graphic designer and why we should take them into consideration. it would be great to hear back from you

    Kind Regards

    (i was 13 when i made the email address and I have never changed it :P)

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.