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El Designo Inc.
El Designo Inc. knows how to create multi purpose designs that play fair with the planet. Principals of the Edmonton, Alberta design studio state: "We do this by beginning at the end. We start at the product that you will ultimately hold in your hands, working backwards through the layers until we arrive at the concept phase. We don't start with a concept that might have to be created in a harshway. We start with a finished product that is clean and pure, then trace the steps back to how it can be best created." For its clients, the firm offers an environmentally-friendly graphic design approach.This includes a focus on Reuse Design (creating communications that are multi purpose mean your designs last in the market for a longer period of time, increasing their value and reducing waste); Projection (projecting how a product will be produced and work backwards from completion to creation to ensure all environmental steps were taken and the minimum amount of waste was created); and Materials (scrutinizing the materials used in the manufacture of the product and make sure they are the best option to use and have the smallest ecological footprint.)
Within the studio itself, the firm tries to reduce its own impact on the environment by, for example, running its studio with BullfrogPower, 100% wind energy; using suppliers' paper waste and its own paper waste in its promotional material; composting and recycling overall; dealing with local FSC-certified suppliers who use no VOC inks; accessing wind-powered web hosting. El Designo is a member of E-SAGE (Edmontonians Supporting A Green Economy) as well as www.designcanchange.org and www.designersaccord.org.
Carbon Environmental Boutique was so named to show a sense of community. Carbon is the one element on the periodic table that isresponsible for all organic life. Every living thing is linked by this one element: people, trees, the planet. The store is a place for people to come together, share ideas, and find healthier alternatives for their homes and their lives. The logo is a fresh modern mark that promotes green growth and the business cards for the store are shaped like leaves, yet are completely tree-free. The promotional materials for Carbon are a blend of clean vector lines, bright vibrant greens. Organic wildlife lithographs from the 1800s provide gorgeous rich texture and are a reminder of a cleaner, simpler era. The entire look, from the business cards to the custom designed store displays, is clean and fresh, warm and inviting.
Among the notable aspects of the project: the creation of multi-purpose and reusable window banners printed large format with the most eco-friendly paper possible; printing of the business cards with low-VOC inks on FSC-certified 100% PCW paper; design of two reusable busboards running on Edmonton's new fleet of hybrid buses; the choice of fully recyclable aluminum lettering rather than plasticmolded lettering; upcycle window displays; creation of a potted topiary for window displays and exterior topiary signage; and having the website hosted using windpower.
Tomorrow seeks to partner with forward-thinking clients to encourage healthy living, a healthy environment, a healthy economy, and a culture that celebrates these things. The firm, based in San Francisco, helps larger scale organizations articulate their often complicated sustainability stories in ways that are engaging and meaningful, and NGOs develop strategies to expand their reach and maximize their limited resources. Says Gaby Brink: "We contribute to making healthy products more desirable than their conventional counterparts, and in this work, we look for opportunities to educate, raise awareness, and change consumer behaviors. We enter into partnerships with social entrepreneurs and philanthropic organizations to innovate big ideas and then bring them to life. And through The Living Principles for Design framework and community (livingprinciples.org), we create the context for individuals and leading design organizations around the globe to come together, engage in lively conversation, and collaborate across disciplines and continents to promote a consistentand holistic understanding of sustainability thinking in design. In short, we look for strategic opportunities to change lives, not just materials. To us 'green' has many shades."
Mohawk's purchase of the SMART brands formed the most extensive collection of post consumer-waste (PCW) papers on the market. Tomorrow's challenge: to name, position and launch the amalgam line as the go-to collection of PCW papers with an unquestionable environmental pedigree, backed by Mohawk's commitment to sustainable business practices.
The solution to this challenge is a campaign entitled the Living Almanac, a perpetual calendar that acts as the paper promo. The Almanac introduces the vastness of the line, explains its genesis, and showcases its unparalleled color palette and printing possibilities. Unlike most paper promotions, the Loop Almanac is also a rigorously researched, sourced and vetted reference guide for responsible design. The content raises awareness and encourages daily action with tools like printing tips and design processes, pop-out sustainability glossary terms, pull-out reminder cards, and calendars highlighting events, conferences and dates of importance, such as Earth Day, Arbor Day, and the International Day of Climate Action.
Gage Mitchell Design
Gage Mitchell Design of Madison WI is a husband and wife duo-Gage Mitchell, a creative, passionate graphic designer and Jennifer Stewart, his meticulous, inquisitive copywriter wife. The team makes it a priority to stay on top of new technologies and innovations that affect the graphic design industry and advance the green revolution. Designer Mitchell says: "At the office and in our lives, we strive to act on what we believe. That means electronics purchases are based on energy use and longevity to reduce waste. All buying decisions are based on the whole life cycle of a product; on whether it was made with fair labor; on whether the item is made of recycled or sustainable content; if we can get it used; or if it is recyclable when we are done with it. When we leave our office, we travel by bike, bus, foot, or the local community car share program. Local packages are delivered by bike couriers.The office is powered by 100% renewable energy. We print only what is necessary and encourage our clients to do the same. We do all of this in the hope that the little things will add up to a greater impact in terms of both the environment and society. We challenge ourselves to design with green practices just as we challenge our clients to think sustainably as well."
With the Bloom Bake Shop design, the firm aimed to brand themas a gourmet sweet treats shop that is going back to the days of fresh, from-scratch baking, and all around sustainability. Because the treats are as local, organic, and as fair-trade as possible, the brand needed to carry that message as well. As part of the sustainability push, the design firm says business cards (which also double as the packaging label) were printed on 100% post consumer recycled paper. They also saved energy, waste, and money by printing only what was needed and only producing items tha thad multiple functions. The packaging was made from recycled boxes with ribbon made from recycled plastic bottles. Custom boxes were resisted because they would create more waste; instead a custom logo stamp was created. For shop signage, PVC-free materials were used on all vinyl graphics for indoor use. Since the life-span of currently available materials made outdoor use a problem, they opted for outdoor hanging signs with a direct UV print on MDO plywood to limit the use of plastics and PVC based vinyl. Finally, they tackled promotional items. the Bloomcompany shirts are organic or recycled cotton, and printed with water-based inks. To promote reuse, custom BPA-free biodegradable plastic travel mugs and recyclable stainless steel water bottles were ordered. "Sustainability is possible, even on a tight budget," says Jennifer Stewart. "With some research, a bit of creativity, and a handy copy of the book, Green Graphic Design (by Brian Dougherty), we were able to create a brand for Bloom that supports its mission and resonates with the community."
Another Limited Rebellion
Another Limited Rebellion (ALR) of Richmond VA has been practicing the people-planet-profit approach to socially conscious design since its inception in 2001. ALR started as an experiment to see if it was possible to run a business from an ethical/environmental perspective and still succeed, and has become a leader in the fast-growing, socially-conscious design movement. The ALR office, for instance, is on the first floor of a refurbished house where natural light is used almost exclusively during working hours (and compact fluorescents are used the rest of the time). Paper office supplies are all made of 100% post consumer waste whenever available and the environmentally friendly laser printer (with recyclable long-lasting toner cartridges) is often stocked with the paper that has been printed on one side. Taking it a step further, food waste is composted in the back yard; the owner's commute is just down the stairs from the upper floor; and bicycles are the preferred transport when out-of-office meetings are scheduled.
Most ALR clients are actually located in New York City, so much of the design happens via an entirely digital workflow from concept to printer with minimal physical waste. Of course, no two projects are the same so each one is assessed for the best available green solutions, says ALR. Recommendations of paper, printers, website hosts, and other vendors are made based on their ability to provide the best possible results for both the client and the environment.
Ellwood Thompson's Local Market is a Richmond-based grocery store that focuses on natural food. Looking to promote its emphasis on supporting local farmers and selling products made within a 100-mile-radius of the store, Ellwood Thompson's hired ALR to create a set of large signs to hang throughout the store featuring photography by Richard Lordand copy by Sherry Petersik. The store had a variety of existing signs with no consistent branding system in place, so ALR tried to create something that fit in the environment while still standing out. The designers chose to be consistent with the store's local emphasis and find a local sign shop to help figure out the most environmentally-sensitive processes and materials for the signs, avoiding the toxic PVC products typically used in most stores. Each sign was printed with UV inks directly onto FSC-certified plywood, which allowed the grain to show through the semi-transparent images. They were then coated with environmentally-friendly water-based varnish. In one case, a large sign replaced an existing mural that had been printed on panels. The mural was repurposed and eventually reinstalled on the outside of the store.
Located in Manasquan NJ, Rizco Design is a greengraphic design firm specializing in brand communication through print, interactive and promotional design. In May 2007, the firm launched Beleaf, a measurable sustainability program that ensures that a percentage of each of their clients' jobs is environmentally friendly. In June 2008, Rizco was the first graphic design firm accepted into the Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Leaders Program. Rizco recognizes that small changes can make a big impact — especially where the choice of paper and printing can directly effect the environment.
Environmental Designers Irrigation (EDI) of Howell, NJ, specializes in the design, installation and maintenance of commercial and residential irrigation systems in the tri-state area, but also boasts the first Certified Water Conservation Specialist. Rizco Design was chosen to over see an audit of EDI's marketing materials and position the company as an industry leader in the water conservation market. The solution became a consolidated, 6-page brochure that would be used to educate end-users on water conservation and how to reduce annual water expenditures. The piece features irrigation efficiency tips, introduces eco-conscious products and important information on EDI's services. Information is intertwined with impactful imagery and earth tones to create a strong visual hierarchy and a challenging eco-print project.
Rizco Design utilized a commercial printer with a High Definition UV (HDUV) press that, they say, reproduced the brochure with amazingly vivid colors and extraordinary detail on uncoated FSC-certified cover stock. HDUV, a revolutionary, green printing process with reduced environmental impact, combines two powerful technologies: ultraviolet printing and high definition "stochastic" screening. Recognized by the EPA as the greenest printing process available today, UV printing utilizes the photo initiators in UV inks to instantly cure the ink to paper or substrate when exposed to UV light as it passes through the press. This eliminates the VOC's (volatile organic compounds) and HAP's (hazardous airborne particles) found in all conventional inks, including soy inks.
GV Creative's owner Gina Vivona has been a keen conservationist since childhood camping trips with her family where she and her brother would collect trash from the camp sites. It's odd then, Vivona says, that she chose a profession that creates a lot of waste. "I have always designed taking into consideration paper sheet size with the size of the project, brochures that self-mail to avoid extra envelopes, etc.," she says of her efforts to design with the environment in mind. For instance, Vivona says she is switching it up this year for one longtime client, Snaidero USA, a high-end Italian kitchen manufacturer, which has won several awards for its green solutions. Generally Burbank CA-based GV Creative has designed and produced a 16-page annual newsletter for Snaidero USA but this year, the firm will produce an interactive PDF instead. Snaidero USA has a focus on architectsand designers, no strangers to computers, so it will be even easier to reach more clients, eliminate printing, shipping, and fuel use. Happy air, happy trees, happy clients = renewed contract for GV Creative, says Vivona.
Modern Masters, a GV Creative client, looked to the firm for a new look and new print materials when a change inregulations meant the already environment-conscious decorative paints and specialty-coatings company had toget even greener. This meant a makeover, focussing onprint materials from paint labels to brochures, said Vivona, Art Director and Designer on the project. Using FSC paper was a no-brainer, she said. "The contemporary corporate look was created with nature in mind. Images of natural elements represent colors and textures and relate specifically to each product's finish. This gives consumers confidence in their purchase and in the company's commitment to eco-friendly products," she said.
Chermayeff & Geismar
Chermayeff & Geismar is a New York City graphic design firm famous for creating some of the most recognized logos in the world, including those for NBC, PBS, Chase Bank, the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic. In its 53-year history the firm has designed marks for high profile environmental institutions, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, and organizations like Brighter Planet. Its latest venture with a green client is a new comprehensive identity system for Conservation International which is launching in the fall and winter of 2010, and which will be seen in more than 70 countries. "The new logo for Conservation International is intended to work as a flag for its new mission to protect nature for the well-being of humanity," says partner and designer Sagi Haviv. "This was a great opportunity for us to help this major environmental organization with a simple memorable logo that has the potential to be a true international icon. And in this era, cultivating green clients is good for business as well as the environment."
The new Conservation International logo also marks a significant mission change from saving the environment for its own sake to saving it in order to save people. This divergence from a traditional environmental movement strategy will have a potentially seismic effect on the movement as a whole. Since it was founded in 1987, Conservation International has been one of the most influential environmental groups in the world, successfully convincing governments, corporations and the public to help save "hot spots" of threatened biodiversity around the globe, and in the process protecting the wilderness. However, with the planet's extinction rate estimated at 30% to 50 % in this century, the group realized that basing its appeal to the world on protecting the environment, as an end in itself, isn't enough. So the group is redefining itself and with that, it needed a new logo. Haviv's solution — a blue circle underlined in green — symbolizes the blue planet, emphasized, supported and sustained. The mark could also be seen as a unique human form - either way, it works as a powerful brand signal for Conservation International, as a critical new mission message.