Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Publishing with fewer environmental Perils?

A bit of a focus on Green Design
written by visual artist Janet Botes

While doing some online research for my studies in 2006 I came across Celery Design Collaborative, based in Berkeley in the US. On a recent search for this Design company I found that 5 years later they're still going strong. With updated branding and some outputs or "eco tools" from their efforts in creating and supporting sustainable design they're a great example or role model for other design and publishing companies. One of the outputs is a Sustainability Score Card that gives a good overview of what options to favor when choosing paper, plastic, ink and binding methods for your next creative or publishing project. Check it out at Looking at paper, they have also created an ecological Guide to Paper. Go and read more about paper processes and how to choose your paper at

Another output is a book published in 2009, Green Graphic Design, by Brian Dougherty. Check it out at According to Jade-Snow Carroll of the Design Observer, it is a "great resource for designers wanting to practice their craft sustainably".

On the same track there is a fresh, new and local company to keep an eye on... Paper People Publishing Collective, based in Johannesburg. As a book arts network and a publishing house they encourage all their authors to print on recycled materials, and are developing solutions for hand-printed and hand-bound books from Studio 6 at the Newtown Artist-Run Centre.

As a general guideline, when choosing your paper, try choose paper that are approved by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), tree-free paper or recycled paper.

When choosing your recycled paper also consider the percentage of waste used, and the amount of chlorine used to whiten or brighten the post consumer waste paper used in the production of the paper. And how about hemp paper? From what I hear things are looking good for the possibility of having industrial hemp legalized in our country! Industrial hemp is not from the same strain of plants that can be smoked, and as hemp grows much quicker and with less water than cotton it is a great raw material for use in the clothing industry, building industry and, of course, for paper. Another new option is stone paper, have a look at the post we published about Stone Paper:

When looking at ink, suggest to your printers that they use vegetable-based inks and low-VOC solvents. And from what I've read, don’t use a printer that uses isopropyl alcohol. Generally, as with all materials and products, try to avoid inks with toxic chemicals.

When delivering and packaging your books, brochures and other designed materials for your clients, don’t wrap them in plastic, but pack them in re-usable, recycled or re-used packages. Also tell buyers to recycle or re-use all packaging and containers as far as possible.

Together all the small changes and effort we make makes a big difference.

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