D&K Printing’s Origins Project Redefines Sustainable Design

Photo: The Office of Ordinary Things


Like other groundbreaking companies, D&K Printing’s (D&K’s) humble origins date back to a modest garage-based operation in Boulder CO. Since its establishment in 1964, co-founders Vernon Dietz and Jim Kinkead have paved the way for an extraordinary and ecological future. Today, under the ownership of Gary Bennett and with the active involvement of his sons, the company has flourished into a family-owned business, driven by values of exceptional customer service, design excellence, and commitment to sustainability.

D&K is a printer devoted to unique, intentional design and sustainability in all its forms. To deliver on this vision, the company strives to collaborate with supply chain partners who share its values of environmental stewardship and high-quality design. Among these partners is Monadnock Paper Mills (MPM), a New Hampshire-based family business with over 200 years of continuous operation. This partnership reflects a shared dedication to environmental responsibility and resonates deeply, given the privately-owned and family-oriented nature of both organizations.


Using a combination of digital and sheet-fed offset printing presses, D&K applies sustainable practices to all facets of its production of brochures, catalogs, direct mail and other printed materials. D&K’s latest expression of the marriage of design and sustainability is its Origins project – an engaging and interactive piece designed to educate the market about the nuances and choices involved in sustainable printing.

The journey into the Origins campaign promotional book starts with an outer sleeve composed of a straw pulp blend that features minimal carbon footprint and less reliance on water and energy. Enclosed in the sleeve is a colorful booklet, whose cover features 30% post-consumer waste (PCW) material and is offset printed with Living Ink Algae Ink (86% biorenewable content). Fun fact: In 2019, D&K became the first offset printer to integrate this eco-friendly ink into its processes. Also included in the package is a small notebook and a sheet of perforated bookmarks that offer a delightful tactile interaction for the reader.



The interior pages of the booklet and the notebook cover feature MPM’s Astrolite PC 100® paper, crafted from premium, smooth, bright white fibers derived entirely from post-consumer waste recycled materials. By selecting post-consumer recycled paper and alternative fiber options, D&K effectively reduces its carbon footprint while encouraging responsible sourcing throughout the supply chain. Utilizing low-VOC and vegetable-based inks helps to further minimize harmful emissions during the printing process.


It’s worth noting that D&K Printing’s dedication to sustainability doesn’t stop at material choices. It actively recycles printing plates to divert metal waste from landfills and recycles paper trimmings and cardboard shipping cartons to cut down on paper waste. Another of D&K’s environmental initiatives involves the common commercial printing practice of multiple-up printing, where multiples of the same piece are printed on the press sheet and trimmed down post-print. D&K incorporates these intentional sustainable choices into client projects in a way that deliver on quality while minimizing press sheet waste, maximizing efficiency and reducing the project’s carbon footprint.


These efforts certainly don’t go unnoticed. D&K is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC), recognized for its responsible practices that contribute to a healthier planet. As certified by the City of Boulder’s Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) program for Waste Diversion, D&K diverts over 522,000 pounds of waste from the landfill each year.

Beyond the tangible actions, D&K embraces a proactive role in educating its clients and the market about sustainable printing practices. By thoughtfully explaining the intricacies of sustainable printing, D&K empowers its clients to make informed decisions, encouraging broader adoption of eco-conscious choices throughout the industry. Partnering with like-minded companies as MPM and prioritizing sustainable practices at every step, D&K proves that “playfulness, high-quality design, and sustainability can coexist harmoniously in the world of printing.”