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Green Graphic Design is Good Graphic Design

We continue our look at the state of affairs in the green design arena... follow along, and remember, we want to hear from you, and your own discoveries on green design. Just contact us here.

Green Graphic Design: Why And How to be More Eco-Friendly

Angela Ferraro-Fanning of 13thirtyone Design has assembled a good essay on many aspects of going "green" in her well documented piece published by allgraphicdesign.com. Angela is a small graphic design business owner who focuses on helping her clients create design solutions in an eco-friendly fashion.
Go Green www.13thirtyone.com. She's a member of
Go Green GreenAmericaToday.org (Which actually started in 1982 under the name "Co-op America")

And, did you know...

For every ton of paper that is recycled, the following is saved:
* 7,000 gallons of water;
* 380 gallons of oil; and
* enough electricity to power an average house for six months.

* You can run a TV for six hours on the amount of electricity that is saved by recycling one aluminum can.
* By recycling just one glass bottle, you save enough electricity to power a 100-watt bulb for four hours.

Good thoughts from the
Go Green Go Green Initiative website.

The Delusion Revolution: We're on the Road to Extinction and in Denial

In August of 2008 Robert Jensen, journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin, posted a thoughtful article on AlterNet stating:

Our current way of life is unsustainable. We are the first species that will have to self-consciously impose limits on ourselves if we are to survive.

He makes an unmistakably lucid observation : "Unsustainable systems can't be sustained."

It's hard to argue with that; the important question is whether or not we live in a system that is truly unsustainable. There's no way to prove definitively such a sweeping statement, but look around at what we've built and ask yourself whether you really believe this world can go forward indefinitely, or even for more than a few decades? Take a minute to ponder the end of the era of cheap fossil energy, the lack of viable large-scale replacements for that energy, and the ecological consequences of burning what remains of it. Consider the indicators of the health of the planet -- groundwater contamination, topsoil loss, levels of toxicity. Factor in the widening inequality in the world, the intensity of the violence, and the desperation that so many feel at every level of society.

For some wake-up insights, you can read Robert's full article at:
Go Green alternet.org

Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center. His latest book, All My Bones Shake: Radical Politics in the Prophetic Voice, will be published in 2009 by Soft Skull Press. He also is the author of Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (South End Press, 2007). At this article listing you'll find other thoughtful works by Robert including : Is America on the Brink of a Food Crisis? ; Porn's Dirty, Dangerous Secret ; and The Failure of the First Amendment

11 Questions

Chris Hacker, Senior Vice President of Global Design and Design Strategy for Johnson & Johnson poses these hard questions for everyone's consideration. It's shared in the AIGA "green" site, sustainability.aiga.org, because it is of particular importance to graphic designers.

Eleven questions to ask before you design, specify or buy anything:
1. Do we need it? Can we live without it?
2. Is the project designed to minimize waste?
3. Can it be smaller, lighter or made from fewer materials?
4. Is it designed to be durable or multi-functional?
5. Does it use renewable resources?
6. Is reuse practical and encouraged?
7. Are the product and packaging refillable, recyclable or repairable?
8. Is it made with post-consumer recycled or reclaimed materials and how much?
9. Are the materials available in a less toxic form? Can it be made with less toxic materials?
10. Is it available from a socially and environmentally responsible company?
11. Is it made locally?

Sustainability Definitions:

AIGA goes on to provide a brief but excellent glossary of "green" design terms including

Carbon offsetting, Cotton paper, Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Genetically Modified Organism (GMO), Kenaf, Kyoto Protocol, Post-Consumer Waste (PCW), Processed Chlorine Free (PCF), Recycled paper, Soy ink, Sustainability, Totally Chlorine Free (TCF), Vegetable-based inks, Virgin fiber, and others.
Go Green AIGA Sustainability Definitions

Design Can Change

The author of the "DesignCanChange" web site makes the bold statement:
      "Climate-related disasters are increasing. Designers like you can help change this."

Although we failed to turn up any actual names of authors in this 100% flash site, it is handsomely executed even though it offers little or no convincing support of that statement. They do offer one piece of text on the site, and that's an FAQ where they attribute all the hard data in the site to www.smashlab.com which also happens to be their own web site. They explain as follows:

We are a studio in Vancouver called smashLAB. Over the past couple of years, we have tried to become more sustainable, but found it a cumbersome process. As we started to do more research, we felt it would be good to share our findings with others in the community. Additionally, when we started to consider our collective influence as designers, we thought it made sense to work together to lobby for better options.

Poke around in the site and get some inspiring encouragement about the green design movement by poking around in the .
Go Green DesignCanChange.org web site.

The Designer's "Green" newsletter

GRAPHIC DESIGN USA in New York, has begun publishing a "Green" newsletter, with news, views, reviews and links to everything that's happening in the Green graphic design arena. Gordon Kaye, I suppose the editor (although I cannot seem to find a masthead -- the first rule in good publishing 101) writes this intro:

In our increasingly polarized culture, where idealogues portray life as a zero-sum game, one of the truly dimwitted notions is that environmental responsibility and business growth must be at odds. In fact, green graphic design can be good business for creatives and their clients; indeed, that is a central tenet of this enewsletter. Today, we note two outstanding design firms -- Hershey/Cause in Los Angeles and TippingSprung in New York -- which operate divisions focused on the communications needs of non-profits and public interest groups in general, and environmental advocacy groups in particular. These two organizations reflect a broader movement among creative professionals to grow their businesses consistent with personal beliefs and social responsibility. Writ large, it's a recipe for innovation and expansion.

I believe this will be good information and good reading for all of us who are interested in green design. You can find the latest issue at www.gdusa.com

Will you go green?

All of these are good, thoughtful, well documented essays. They will help you get a foot-in-the-door toward developing an inherent will for designing green. Your first, and most important step should be to grab a copy of Brian Dougherty's Green Graphic Design which will arm you with the realities, tips, techniques and processes of designing for sustainability.

We hope to continue our coverage of green design, and we want to include your discoveries, and experiences. Please contribute your feedback for other DTG readers. Start by contacting us here.

... and thanks for reading!

Fred Showker
Fred Showker, Editor / Publisher of DTG Magazine

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