Is There Such a Thing as Green Graphic Design?

A guest post by Britt Brouse

Does green graphic design exist and does green graphic design really even matter? Yes and yes.

green designWhen people think of businesses going green, they might picture Fortune 500 companies installing wind farms and solar panels, and reducing their packing materials; however, there are many ways for graphic designers to be environmentally responsible. Even one graphic designer or small design firm can make a big difference.

Below are five examples of green graphic design initiatives to get started:

1. Streamline office space to be more energy efficient.

There are lighting choices, furniture and design choices and even windows, doors, insulation and heating and cooling systems that can all help your home office or commercial space be more green. Contact your local chamber of commerce, and find out if they have any information on becoming certified as a sustainable business. Some cities now have green chambers of commerce to address this growing need.

2. Create social changes

Get all your coworkers involved in becoming more environmentally aware. Purchase only environmentally friendly office products, make sure everyone is recycling and reducing wasted paper and materials. Encourage using green transportation such as bicycles, public transportation or carpooling to get to work.

3. Donate to green causes

Designers can purchase carbon offset credits to offset the impact made when traveling for business or to a conference. Start a donation matching program where you match employee donations to environmental charities. Don’t forget to talk about these initiatives either in an e-newsletter or on the “About Us” page of your website.

4. Work with green clients and organizations

Choose to work with clients who have environmental or corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in place. Designers can also help clients to build a greener brand and better communicate any CSR or environmental initiatives in their communication materials.

5. Make green production choices

Select environmentally friendly inks and use a printer who reduces wasted paper and employs the most environmentally friendly chemicals during the print process. Finally educate yourself about recycled and sustainable paper sources.

To find out more about green graphic design, check out these leading resources:

  • Green Graphic Design by Brian Dougherty is a book about how graphic designers can effect environmental change.
  • Society for Responsible Design is an organization website with many useful tips for green graphic design.
  • Design Change is a non profit organization with resources for designers to create environmentally positive changes in their work.
  • The Living Principles is a hub for green graphic design, with event listings, resources and a community forum.

Britt Brouse is a writer for PsPrint Blog. She has been writing about marketing, graphic design and printing for more than five years. In between writing deadlines, you can find her riding her bike around town, sipping an iced-coffee or hanging out on the front porch with her dog, Jackie. PsPrint is an online printing solutions company, which you can follow on Twitter and Facebook.

Image via Flickr user Sean McGrath

This entry was posted in General Graphic Design, Guest Blogger and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Posted August 23, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    We try to work as ethically as we can on every project and that includes taking a strong approach to environmental issues. It’s just convincing clients that it’s the an important issue that’s the hard part ;-) Thanks for posting

  2. Posted August 25, 2010 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I must say, that I am pretty impressed by your thoughts, especially point 1-4 :-)

    In my way of thinking, “green line thinking” is typically related to (as you state) “wind farms and solar panels”. But you are totally right, way to go!

  3. Posted August 28, 2010 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    For companies, I think its all about having corporate social responsibility. Promoting Green to these companies can actually have a big impact in the society. So its like being green can start from anyone and can spread to everyone.

  4. Posted August 30, 2010 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Social changes is my favourite. Also, allowing your employees to work from home as much as possible, when they already have ongoing projects and tasks to keep them busy is a great way to address transport and traffic congestion issues. It might even make happier designers, spending less time and money on travels to and from work.

  5. Posted August 31, 2010 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Hi Tim

    I think working from home for more people would be a great idea and help a lot of problems with pollution and traffic congestion. Maybe one day there will be incentives for companies to let their employees work fron home.

  6. Posted September 6, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Love the idea about people working from home. Now a days it is pretty simple to video conference but if you have a computer, a fax ,and a scanner your good to go. Of course this does not imply all jobs. Very important subject love the post.

  7. Posted September 7, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your post… There is no such things called Green Graphic Design. But to show anything more energetic, we need to make the graphic green based.

  8. Posted September 18, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Great tips. A couple of other really good resources for making a design practice more sustainable:

    Design is the Problem by Nathan Shedroff – incredible book
    Re-nourish (this is a self-plug, sorry) – indie online toolkit for sustainable design

  9. Posted October 5, 2010 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    to add to point number 4 – i think the ISO environment accredition number is ISO14001 when looking for companies that are compliant

  10. Posted April 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Love the idea about people working from home. Now a days it is pretty simple to video conference but if you have a computer, a fax ,and a scanner your good to go. Of course this does not imply all jobs. Very important subject love the post.

  11. Posted February 2, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Great article thank you. Of course design can be green, but it is by nature a non green area (we are creating waste every time we send something to print) but everything we do CAN help keep the process as green as possible. It is these small yet important areas outlined that help us sleep at night.

    We are a green company and make a huge effort to ensure that our work has as little impact on the environment as possible. Take a look at our “Tick Marks PDF” /a> which is something we have in place so that the client has a choice improve on just how Green their product can be.

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