101 Things Designers Can Do to Save The Earth


115. Use ecofont for business printing
February 9, 2009, 4:58 pm
Filed under: Ink, Studio Practices

Of course, you’re doing more business with PDFs than paper, right? But for those times when only a written document will do, change from Times Roman or Arial over to ecofont. It’s a free, multi-platform font based on Verdana, that’s full of holes — the Swiss cheese of type — to save around 20% of the toner you’re currently wasting. Ecofont isn’t Swiss, though, it’s Dutch; brought to you as a public service by the Utrecht-based design firm, SPRANQ.

ecofont

ecofont



112. Use your Mac dashboard for sustainability tips
January 19, 2009, 6:06 am
Filed under: Classes & Resources, Paper, Printing, Studio Practices

It’s been a while since we’ve added a new tip to the site, so here’s one that recently caught our eye — a widget you can add to your Mac’s dashboard for free. When you’re working on a project and need to jog your brain for ways you could make your paper or printing choices more sustainable, just click through the topics and fill your brain. It’s like the proverbial Easy Button. sustainablegraphicdesignwidget_200807071101011



111. Spread the good word
October 21, 2008, 6:15 pm
Filed under: Classes & Resources, Studio Practices

Perhaps you’re one of the countless designers now blogging on a regular basis. We salute you.  Especially if you actually write a new post more than once a year (we struggle with that, as you’ve no doubt noticed). If you’re talking about design on a regular basis, why not include a post on sustainable design? Share your thoughts. Your doubts. Your accomplishments. Your resources. An excellent example comes from inspirationbit, a handsomely designed blog by a Vancouver B.C. designer. She recently featured a guest post on designing a sustainable future that’s well worth reading — and passing along.



110. Give green to a green cause
July 29, 2008, 2:54 pm
Filed under: Classes & Resources, Studio Practices

You probably make charitable contributions every now and then. If you don’t, well, it’s something to think about. And especially now that GlobalGiving, the well-respected online donor site, has set up GlobalGiving Green, a collection of 25 charitable causes that are addressing climate change and sustainability. You can read more about the new initiative here in the New York Times, or cut to the chase, head straight for GlobalGiving Green and do some giving of your own. Gotta love their tagline: A New Shade of Generosity.

GlobalGiving Green Logo



102. Get off unwanted catalog mailing lists
November 4, 2007, 6:17 pm
Filed under: Paper, Studio Practices

Sounds like a good idea.  It also sounds difficult, eh?  Not really.  There’s a new website, Catalog Choice, that lets you opt out of hundreds of catalog mailing lists with the proverbial click of your mouse. By jumping off the catalog bandwagon, you’ll do your part to spare some of the 8,000,000 tons of trees consumed each year for catalog paper consumption.

By the way, you may be wondering what is tip 102 doing a site called “101 Things?”  Well, we’re going to keep going, sharing good information as we find it.  If we wind up with 201 things, that’s all the better for the earth.



100. Add a green cause to your pro bono client list
June 30, 2007, 12:37 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

We almost forgot: You’re a talented graphic designer, copywriter, web developer, strategist or some other sort of marketing communicator. Well, why not put your talents to work on behalf of some organization trying to make the world a better place. There are plenty of them, and not nearly enough of generous, talented people like you.



98. Opt out of wasteful mailing lists
June 30, 2007, 12:35 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

If you find your office mail box stuffed with computer catalogs and who-knows-what-else that goes straight in the recycling bin, nip that paper waste in the bud by getting off the mailing list. It may take some diligence if you work directly with the sender, but there are national opt-out lists run through the Direct Marketing Association that can eliminate a lot of the unwanted mailings.



97. Turn used file folders inside out
June 30, 2007, 12:34 am
Filed under: Paper, Studio Practices

We bet you’re thinking this is the dumbest idea you’ve seen here yet. But not really. When a job’s complete, clean out the file, refold the thing inside out and you’re ready for a new project. You just cut your file folder expenses in half and saved some poor tree.



96. Embrace digital photography and videography
June 30, 2007, 12:33 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

There are still a few holdouts who say shooting on film gives a look that digital media can’t duplicate. Undoubtedly so. But the toxic chemicals involved in making and processing photographic film are among some of the most hazardous around. For those of you involved in video projects, there are excellent digital techniques that can closely approximate the look of film.



92. Read BoDo’s sustainable studio blog
June 30, 2007, 12:29 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

There are more and more great resources popping up to help designers run their studios–and create client projects–from a greener perspective. One worth watching is a blog written by Jess Sand from San Francisco called The Sustainable Studio. It’s part of Business Design Online, which has all kinds of other helpful tidbits on starting and running a creative business.

Bodo Logo



91. Live in a green house
June 16, 2007, 4:15 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

No, not the kind where they grow plants–the kind that uses materials and energy wisely.  While the Build Green movement is getting press left and right, you can cut to the chase and buy a pre-manufactured home that incorporates almost every conceivable energy- and material-saving idea. The Glidehouse is designed and built in northern California by Michelle Kaufmann Designs in Oakland–and they say the pricing is comparable or less than conventional energy hog homes. The added bonus:  They’re beautiful.

Glidehouse



90. Buy a carbon offset for your car
June 16, 2007, 4:02 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

Well, it’s not for your car. It’s for you. And the planet. But when you go to DriveNeutral you can calculate precisely how much CO2 your specific vehicle is spewing into the atmosphere and then–depending on your guilt level–buy a carbon offset for as little as $28. What does that mean? Your $28 goes to buy emission reduction credits on the Chicago Climate Exchange–which, in turn, gives financial incentives to large companies to reduce their emissions. As for carbon emissions from cars, here’s a little sample: A BMW X5 SUV with a 4.8 liter engine produces nearly 13,000 pounds of CO2 annually, while a VW Jetta TDI burning biodiesel contributes 1,500 pounds to the environment.



89. Start a planet-friendly coupon book
June 16, 2007, 3:46 pm
Filed under: Project Concepts, Studio Practices

San Francisco has one. It’s called Green Zebra – Local savings for natural living. Consumer purchase the book for $25, and then use the coupons and passes inside to save up to $12,000 on goods as far flung as organic catering to surfing lessons to a carpet cleaning services that uses non-toxic non-chemicals. Green Zebra donates a share of its profits to a local conservation organization, and the coupon book itself–of course–is printed on chlorine-free 98% post-consumer waste paper. Kudos to the founders, Sheryl Cohen and Anne Vollen.

Green Zebra



88. Encourage local clients to market “still made here”
June 16, 2007, 3:31 pm
Filed under: Project Concepts, Studio Practices

There’s a trend afoot among consumer to buy products that are made locally, and no one has their finger on the pulse of this movement more than trendwatching.com. This website is made possible by the contributions of more than 8,000 trendspotters worldwide. Their June/July 2007 focus is on the “buy local” movement and shows dozens of client-convincing examples. Also on the site is a vast library of past trends spotted–great info for any marketer’s gray matter.

trendwatching.com




87. Patronize places of good intention
June 15, 2007, 5:51 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

You can’t spend your entire day purchasing recycled paper and non-VOC carpeting. Occassionally you have to eat, drink, and be merry. But even then your crusade for a sustainable planet can go on by patronizing establishments that have committed to doing the right thing. An excellent example: Go have a great dinner at Moxie in Seattle’s lower Queen Anne neighborhood. They’re joining forces with Cedar Grove Composting and Green Scene Organics Recycling Program so kitchen waste is recycled, rather than added to the garbage stream.

Moxie



86. Don’t go to meetings
June 11, 2007, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

Instead of heading across town for a meeting that wastes time, gas, and probably doesn’t do a whole lot for your sense of calm (especially if it involves a trip over 520), why not stay at your office and put technology to work?  Your laptop probably has a built-in camera for video conferencing (all the new MacBooks and MacBook Pros do, as do a number of PC laptops), and the results are surprisingly good. What the heck.  At least give it a try.

This idea submitted by workshop attendee Kaytlyn Sanders of Beneficial Design in Bellevue–a place on the other side of 520 from SVC.

iChat Video Conference



85. Replace the carpet with InterfaceFLOR
June 6, 2007, 5:33 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

This may sound like a rather blatant plug, and it is.  InterfaceFLOR makes modular carpets for commercial and residential use that not only are manufactured with bio-based non-toxic materials that won’t off-gas poisons into your office, but they’re also recyclable, so used carpet never winds up in a landfill. It’s hard to believe a web site about carpet could be interesting , but check out the Interface site and be pleasantly surprised.

Interface Flor



84. Join the Seattle Climate Partnership
June 6, 2007, 5:22 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

Seattle is one of the hundreds of cities that’s endorsed the pollution reducing targets of the Kyoto Protocol (unlike the U.S. federal government). If you run a business in Seattle, you can take another step towards taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by joining the Seattle Climate Partnership and agreeing to a number of voluntary measures. Starbucks, REI and the U.W. are already in. How about your company?



79. Join the Washington Clean Technology Alliance
June 4, 2007, 6:46 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

If you’d like to be networked with like-minded companies (some of whom will be looking for design, web, and ad services) join the WCTA. In addition to the business development angle, WCTA is also an advocate for more sustainable business practices.

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30, 2007.

wcta logo



78. Promote your studio without paper
June 4, 2007, 6:40 am
Filed under: Printing, Studio Practices

Even if you can’t convince your clients to move completely away from paper-based promotional materials, you can certainly make the move yourself. Redesign your firm’s promo materials to be delivered via the web or electronically–then explain in those pieces why you’ve gone this route.

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30, 2007.



77. Turn your computers off at night
June 4, 2007, 6:38 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

Before you close up shop tonight, do a walk-through and see how many computers are left running. Think of each computer as a 150-watt bulb left burning all night, and you can quickly get a picture of how much energy you’re wasting.

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30, 2007.



76. Use pdf files whenever possible
June 4, 2007, 6:36 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

The latest version of Adobe Acrobat has some sophisticated tools for distributing layouts and proofs and collecting client comments. Learn about them. Use them. And let pdf files take the place of paper whenever possible.

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30, 2007.



75. Leave the driving to someone else
June 4, 2007, 6:32 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

Start a “leave your car at home” drive at your office. Encourage and incentivize your employees to walk, ride their bikes, take mass transit, or use FlexCar. And, as the manager, it starts with you to set a good example.

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30, 2007.

FlexCar



74. Reward employees in a green way
June 4, 2007, 6:28 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

Consider giving your employees green incentives, instead of the usual SWAG.  Maybe they’d like some mass transit passes, some carbon offsets for their home, or a gift certificate at a place like Goods for the Planet.

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30, 2007.



73. Give green clients a break
June 3, 2007, 6:40 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

Offer financial incentives for clients who go green.  You could call your program “Green for Green.”

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30, 2007.



72. Add a sustainability section to your web site
June 3, 2007, 6:39 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

Don’t just brag about your own sustainability philosophy.  Give current and prospective clients some ideas they can use in their marketing communications practicies to be more earth-friendly (and, in turn, consumer-friendly).
This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30, 2007.



71. Work locally
June 3, 2007, 6:38 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

When possible, work with local printers, paper mills, binderies, CD duplicators and other support vendors. The less your projects have to travel by truck, train, and plane, the smaller their environmental footprint.

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30, 2007.



69. Use logos that promote green practices
June 3, 2007, 6:34 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

If you design a piece that qualifies for FSC certification, use that label proudly on the project. For your own studio, consider putting the Design Can Change logo on your site and promotional materials, once you’ve signed that organization’s pledge.

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30, 2007.

FSC Logo



68. Create a “frequent earth saver” program
June 3, 2007, 6:30 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

Set up a points system to reward clients for choosing greener solutions. The payback doesn’t need to be money or discounts–give them carbon offsets or green gifts for their company.

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30, 2007.



67. Publish your sustainability policies
June 3, 2007, 6:29 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

If you’re dedicated to seeking greener solutions, write your philosophy down. Put it on your web site.  Include it in your capability pitches. Let clients and prospects know that you’re taking this seriously, even if it’s not the main focus of your firm.

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30, 2007.



65. Put two trash cans at every work station
June 3, 2007, 6:22 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

One for trash. One for recycling. How simple, but how smart.

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30,2007.



64. Open the door, turn off the lights
June 3, 2007, 6:18 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

Right now summer is just around the corner (or already feels like it’s here). So why not use the sun for office lighting, and the wind for air conditioning.  You might be surprised at how wonderful it feels to let the real world back into your hermetically sealed office box.

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30,2007.



63. Start with the need, not the end result
June 3, 2007, 6:16 pm
Filed under: Project Concepts, Studio Practices

A client may say “we need a brochure,” but try to figure out what the real need is.  For example, they may actually be saying “we need a way to tell people who use products similar to ours that we have a better solution.” Is, indeed, a brochure the best solution?  Would a web site be better? What else could you do to accomplish the client’s objectives without necessarily going with paper or energy-based solutions?

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30,2007.



62. Always include a green option
June 3, 2007, 6:13 pm
Filed under: Project Concepts, Studio Practices

When making creative presentations to your clients, in addition to showing them what they’ve asked for and expect, make it a studio policy to always show a greener alternative. No one ever got in trouble for doing extra credit.

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30,2007.



61. Partner with like-minded creative firms and clients
June 3, 2007, 6:11 pm
Filed under: Classes & Resources, Studio Practices

How about forming a local consortium or trade group of creative services firms and clients interested in pursuing greener marketing communications efforts? You could set it up in a heartbeat using online tools such as meetup.com, and then get together periodically to share ideas, vendor resources, and strategies.

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30,2007.



59. Conduct a research study
June 3, 2007, 6:05 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

To convince clients that there is, indeed, an interest among their prospects and customers in doing business with companies that have a strong sustainability stance, commission some research–even if informal. Hearing from customers–rather than from you–can be the most convincing argument for getting on board the green train.

This suggestion made by attendees at SVC’s 101 Things Designers Can Do to Save the Earth workshop on May 30,2007.



58. Encourage creative competitions to honor sustainability
May 31, 2007, 5:43 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

We’ll be passing this tip straight on to the people who run The Seattle Show. But since there are creative competitions all over the place (maybe you sit on the board of one), why don’t we start putting smart, globe-friendly design on a pedestal.



57. Observe the quote of the day
May 31, 2007, 5:41 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

Don’t let perfection stand in the way of progress



55. Use the Design Can Change checklist
May 31, 2007, 5:34 pm
Filed under: Classes & Resources, Ink, Paper, Printing, Project Concepts, Studio Practices

Here’s a handy checklist from Design Can Change that will tell you at a glance if a project you’re developing for a client is meeting the tests for a more sustainable end product.



54. Take the pledge
May 31, 2007, 5:31 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

Show the world (and your prospective clients) that you’re serious about designing more responsibly. Sign the pledge at Design Can Change and then proudly display the “Change” logo on your web site to acknowledge that you intend to:

  1. Learn
  2. Think
  3. Act
  4. Inform
  5. Unite

Design Can Change



53. Take your green thinking home
May 27, 2007, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Studio Practices

The average two-person household unleashes about 20 tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases every year. So, while going green at the studio is what this site is all about, feel most free to practice sustainability at home. Here’s snappy little poster from the Seattle Times that shows exactly what you can do at home, and how much CO2 you’ll be saving with each good deed.

Seattle Times Climate Challenge Poster



52. Become a treehugger
May 27, 2007, 5:54 am
Filed under: Classes & Resources, Studio Practices

Lest you think environmentalists are Birkenstock-wearing, plaid-clad dullards, take a look at treehugger.com. It’s a smart, handsomely-designed info trading post for the green set. You’ll find articles and discussions on all aspects of the modern green lifestyle, including business and design.

Treehugger



48. Run an energy-efficient office
May 27, 2007, 5:22 am
Filed under: Studio Practices
  • Implement an office recycling policy.
  • Remember, just because a product is recyclable, it does not mean its being recycled. Encourage your office to implement an effective recycling program.
  • Paper and paperboard continue to make up 35-45% of material discarded in the waste stream. By implementing waste reduction and recycling efforts in your office, you can help divert paper, as well as plastics, glass, and other materials from landfills and waste incinerators.
  • Recycle your laser printer and copier toner cartridges.
  • Most toners from copiers, fax machines, and printers can now be recycled. Your supplier should be able to provide this service to you.
  • Using recycled toners and selling them back to your suppliers are ways your office can save money.
  • Contact your local energy utility for information on how to implement energy saving techniques within your office and office building. They will provide you with free information and technical assistance.
  • Simple measures such as tuning off lights, copiers, and computers at night can save a lot of energy and money in your office.

This tip is from the excellent Minnesota Environmental Initiative’s Print Buyer’s Guide.



29. Clean up the mailing list
May 26, 2007, 5:51 am
Filed under: Paper, Studio Practices

Victoria’s Secret mails out more than 1,000,000 catalogs every single day. So you can imagine that one of the biggest wastes of paper is when firms mail to lapsed customers, people who have moved, or other non-prospects. Worse still, is using obsolete and “uncleaned” lists so multiple copies show up at one address. List providers can help remove those extra addresses, and graphic designers can make the question about efficient mail lists is being asked.

Victoria’s Secret Catalog



26. Get rid of unused computers safely
May 26, 2007, 5:06 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

You can imagine what sort of toxins and heavy metals are sitting inside those no-longer-used computers, monitors, and printers cluttering up your storage closet. Total Reclaim is one of many services that will recycle your office electronics, giving you these assurances:  the residue of your stuff won’t be shipped overseas, reusable equipment is donated to non-profits, hazardous materials are properly handled, and nothing recyclable winds up in a landfill.



25. Promote with a solar-powered web site
May 26, 2007, 5:00 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

You and your clients need a web site, right?  But think about all the energy that goes into powering the servers that host your sites. No problem.  Portland’s ecoSky offers sustainable personal and business web hosting for the same prices as the electron guzzlers.



24. Sign up for a free green marketing newsletter
May 26, 2007, 4:50 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

In case you’re in doubt about whether marketing sustainable products and services is gaining some momentum, Green Marketing Newsletter is a free bi-monthly enewsletter available from the publishers of Sustainable Industries that’s devoted solely to PR, design, advertising, and marketing professionals. Perhaps you should read it–or write a guest column for it.

Green Marketing Masthead



23. Let Seattle City Light help pay for new light fixtures
May 26, 2007, 4:34 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

If you run a small business in the City of Seattle, your electric utility will help underwrite the cost of switching to more energy efficient lighting fixtures.  They’ll kick in between $25 and $65 per fixture (more if your studio is in West Seattle), and you’ll lower your electric bill at the same time. Since office lighting typically accounts for 60% of your electric bill, that’s–dare we say it?–a pretty bright idea.



22. Have a clean, green toilet
May 26, 2007, 3:16 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

Your design firm and house have toilets in them, yes? How about carpets, windoes, floors, and stuff?  Well, all those things need to be cleaned from time to time, and there’s a planet-healthy alternative to all the chemical-laden cleaners you’d normally pick up at the grocery store. Consider, instead, Coastwide Labs Sustainable Earth Cleaners. They don’t contain phosphates, petroleum distillates, heavy metals, carcinogens, or other evil ingredients.



21. Read 40 newspapers in 2 minutes
May 26, 2007, 3:11 am
Filed under: Studio Practices

To keep up-t0-date on regional news involving sustainability, subscribe to Tidepool News Service, a free daily email summarizing environmental issues in the northwest.  This service is a project of the Sightline Institute, a Seattle-based non-profit research organization and think tank in support of sustainability.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.