Emma Fanning


Little Fox Design has an environmentally focused approach to graphic design. The studio is run by Emma Fanning and her partner Sastun Phillips and offers an array of creative services for businesses including branding and identity design, website design, packaging design, and print design. Little Fox also provides sustainability consulting for packaging, print design and supports clients in communicating sustainability information to their clients/customers. Their work focuses on choosing eco-friendly packaging and materials, preserving high-value forests, and reducing the impact of their clients. Our green design work is based on years of research into climate, forestry, printing, and how this interacts with branding to provide our clients with cutting-edge scientific recommendations for choosing the most sustainable option available. We think sustainability should be a priority and that our approach should be normalized within the design industry. We believe that the often-discussed “sacrifice” between sustainability and beauty is a false one and our work centres around purposeful designs that reflect our client’s moral commitment to the future.

How did you become involved in socially responsible communications and why do you believe design can be an effective tool for this goal?

Around 2016, when the news cycle picked up the idea of climate crisis and it began to be an omnipresent stressor, I knew something had to change. I had been working as a freelance designer for a little while but felt that the work I was doing wasn’t enough — I had been making steps to reduce my own personal impact on the planet, but my design work was a huge area of neglect. I wasn’t sure how to integrate my sustainable values into my business, and if I did, if my clients would even care. After doing research and finding a dearth of current information, I decided that if I wanted to commit to sustainability, I was going to have to do the research myself and figure out my own path. This launched me into years of research and learning into forestry, climate crisis, carbon and more.

Amazingly, switching to being a sustainable studio was met with excitement from our clients and highdemand from new ones: inquiries started reaching out to say how happy they were they found us because we understood their values. Now, our client work emphasizes the use of sustainable best practices in terms of resource use, carbon footprint mitigation, and minimizing impact for design. Our expertise in these areas has attracted sustainable businesses that want credibility and technical support to realize their own environmental goals and communicate their values through design. By being an informed liaison between client and printer, we guide our clients through the sustainable sourcing of materials and act as experts and guides to help them navigate confusing, greenwashed spaces. Designers have always had incredible power in picking aesthetics for paper stocks and materials; it’s time for them to be experts in the environmental impact of those materials as well.

Given the confluence of events and challenges our society now faces, does 2021 present any special opportunities, urgencies, obstacles to designing for good?

Uncertain and chaotic times like those created by the pandemic are always unequal in the burden they place upon people — vulnerable people are made more vulnerable, and the privileged can strengthen their relative power by better weathering such times. Designing for good demands internalizing these truths and incorporating them into our choices. We need to recognize that the voices of the disempowered are going to be muffled, and so seeking out authentic underprivileged perspectives will be necessary in order to support them.