Sustainability and environmental issues are at the forefront of consumers' minds and having expertise in green graphic design will add value to your business.
Yet there is a lot of hype and misinformation floating around when it comes to green business practices and green design.
Below are three ways to focus on environmental issues as a graphic designer and provide truly green services and offerings for your clients:
1. Green your business
In the town where I live there are two gourmet pizza shops on the same main street. One is run completely on solar power, the other is just a pizza shop. Which one do you think I choose to order from? Doing something to green your business, will attract like-minded, environmentally conscious consumers. It doesn't have to be a costly solar panel installation. Something as simple as donating to an environmental cause, cutting down on your energy use or purchasing carbon offset credits can all make a difference. Be sure to mention any environmental initiatives on your website and any customer communications.
2. Don't be a greenwasher
While I am suggesting you green your business, don't go overboard and become a greenwasher. Nowadays there are more and more businesses and products branded to look environmentally friendly. Brown recycled paper, the color green and other "natural" design elements are becoming far too ubiquitous. Don't fall into this greenwashing trap. Keep your branding, design and identity unique. You can mention a green initiative on the "about" page of your website, but there's no need to overhaul all your copy and design to focus on the environment. Customers won't buy it, and you'll blend in with all of the other businesses who are selling empty green hype.
3. Educate yourself on green production techniques
I don't know how many times I've heard small businesses claim they want to focus on digital marketing because it's more green. Print marketing is green, too! Educate yourself on green printing and paper sources so that you can then pass that information along to clients. There are many certified sustainable paper companies out there as well as printing vendors who offer soy-based inks and other energy and paper-saving initiatives. Talk to those folks who only want digital design services about how paper is a renewable resource, which can be managed sustainably, while digital campaigns eat up tons of power and resources in data centers all over the country!