Sustainability in design


New Member
Hey guys!

I'm working on a project on sustainability in design and it made me think about the whole industry situation. I realised it's easy for me to assume things in my freelancer bubble which is why I'm super-interested in your opinions.

Btw. for this situations purposes:
Designing sustainably is to take conscious and active steps towards reducing your negative impact on the planet as a designer.
So what do you guys think? Do you consider the environment while working on projects? I do get this feeling of guilt at the back of my head, to be honest. Do you think we, as designers, could and should do more?

I'd most love to start a discussion but – so it's easier for me to analyse everything – I've also made a very quick survey (7 questions, 2 mins tops). It's just an option but it would be very very helpful if you guys took a look on this.

For my pretty little survey, click here


Active Member
Not sure how a graphic design can be sustainable. It's an image on a computer.

I supose the graphic designer could drink less tea and turn the lights off. Or put on a jumper instead of a heater.


Well-Known Member
I suppose we can all do our own little bit with regard to paper and printer inks etc, but I really don't see how the process of design
can be sustainable. We are purely led by our clients, as graphic designers we can't dictate to them how they should print and produce their products.


Active Member
I think you can make a difference in the way you spec print jobs. For example, I designed a pull up banner a few months back that I had to persuade the client to spend a bit more on to use a biodegradable material, rather than the more usual pvc, which takes 250 years to break down and never quite degrades. Spec-ing recycled, acid free papers, vegetable inks. Using printers near to the end user as much as possible to reduce delivery miles. Limiting in house proofing printouts, etc, etc. Small stuff, but if each designer did it, it would make a difference. Using 300gsm instead of 330gsm, gives a 10% saving in trees for fsc papers. The list goes on.


New Member
That would be an uphill struggle all the way wouldn't it? I can't imagine many clients would want to pay more for a biodegradable material on their products.

Though as a designer I wonder if that could be a good personal branding decision? If the client knows you are an advocate for sustainable methods and knowledgeable in that area more so than any other designer then you wouldn't need to convince them to go biodegradable they would come to you.

Nick Eldridge

New Member
Sustainable graphic design is the application of sustainability principles to graphic design. It considers the environmental impacts of graphic design products (such as packaging, printed materials, publications, etc.) throughout a life cycle that includes: raw material; transformation; manufacturing; transportation; use; and disposal.