Responsible Design 2015

The Circle Expands
Sustainable + Socially Responsible Design

Sponsored by Rolland Enterprises, Inc.

Several years ago, GDUSA began to spotlight the good works of design firms active in “green” design. In the early days, the focus was well-meaning but narrow: how designers used and sourced specific products or services — good examples being recycled papers or vegetable inks — to reduce waste.

Then, over time, a more holistic notion of “sustainability” arose that encompassed papers, products and services, yes, but also took into account broader concerns such as energy and emissions, forest stewardship and conservation, third party certifications and sourcing, media alternatives and relative footprints, shipping and distribution, internal studio procedures — all now seen as integral factors in sustainable design.

Then the circle expanded even further. Designers moved beyond asking questions about their specific area of design and production expertise, and sought to align sustainability with the client’s brand, products, mission, processes, and practices in ways that are real, verifiable, transparent, commonsensical.

In 2015, we note yet another widening of perspective. In what seems like a tipping point moment, more and more designers are embracing the notion of responsibility writ large — linking environmental responsibility and social responsibility, designing for good and for positive social change — and in the process blurring or erasing the lines between these concepts.

Frankly, this time around it felt anachronistic to invite design firms to participate in our traditional “green” issue because sustainable design and socially responsible design are so intertwined. I struggled with how to frame this special report but, luckily for me, the creatives we spotlight this year got the point. Designing responsibly matters no matter how you label it.

Featured Designers:


Oxide Design Company

Thinkso Creative

Design Nut, LLC

Sandra Wolfe Wood/Designing Change

Gill Fishman Associates


Graphic Granola

Susan Newman Design, Inc. | Frogs Are Green, Inc.

Kollar Design | EcoCreative®


Rolland Enterprises Inc., sponsor of this special report on sustainable design and a leading independent producer of fine recycled paper, has announced a commitment to advance the protection of endangered forests, engage in R&D of alternatives to tree fiber and avoid all controversial forest fiber sources. With this policy, developed in cooperation with international environmental not-for-profit Canopy, Rolland sets a new standard for the North American paper industry.

“Rolland has a track record of setting the pace for ecopaper development and post-consumer recycling,” says Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s Executive Director. “By expanding their vision to avoid controversial fiber and sourcing from endangered forests such as the Boreal, Rolland stands out as a sustainability leader at the vanguard of change in the North American pulp and paper industry.”

The company’s new policy commits to: end the use of wood fiber sourced from endangered forests and controversial suppliers; avoid fiber sourced from Intact Forest Landscapes, such as the intact forests of the Boreal; play an active role in the research, development and commercial scale production of pulp and paper from alternative fiber sources such as straw; support visionary solutions that protect endangered forests in the Coastal Temperate Rainforests of Vancouver Island and North America’s Great Bear Rainforest, Canada’s Boreal Forests, and Indonesia’s Rainforests; and continue producing papers with 30-100% post-consumer waste recycled content.

“These commitments are an integral part of Rolland’s plans to remain a competitive player in the challenging North American paper industry,” says Rolland CEO, Philip C. Rundle. “Rolland is excited to remain at the forefront of meeting customers’ growing needs for sustainable products into the future.”

Canopy has worked closely with Rolland’s St-Jérôme mill over the past 13 years to advance solutions, including the development of its very successful 100% post-consumer recycled paper to print the Canadian edition of Harry Potter in 2003 and 2005. In 2011, Canopy and Rolland again collaborated in another ground-breaking initiative — the production of straw paper made from agricultural residues. This limited edition paper was used to print a special edition of Margaret Atwood’s book, In Other Worlds, and Alice Munro’s, Dear Life. It was a North American first!

Canopy’s collaborative work with companies such as Rolland helps advance solutions for businesses reliant on forest products while simultaneously securing a brighter future for ancient and endangered forests and the species and communities dependent on them.

The text of this edition of GDUSA is printed on Rolland Enviro Satin, 60 lb., a great choice for printing dazzling and colorful visuals; it features a very smooth satin finish and excellent foldability for annual reports, promotions, and all documents that require color and detail. The paper contains FSC® certified 100% post-consumer fiber; is certified EcoLogo, Processed Chlorine Free, and FSC® recycled; and manufactured using biogas-energy.

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