Sunday, April 26, 2015

Go. Go. Goooooooo…GREEN!

The primary focus of Greenhouse Graphics, LLC has always been marketing with sustainability as the driving force of all we do and offer. I believe we can market our business and keep Mother Earth healthy at the same time. Since I first opened in 2002; being green or environmentally friendly is abundantly more mainstream and thankfully the cost of to do so is now comparable if not less than traditional options.

In honor of celebrating Earth Day this month I felt it was quite natural to share a few tips and resources:

  1. Allow for more white space and less text. Did you ever realize that you naturally will be drawn to a design that has one catchy phrase and minimal supporting text than a design full of long-never ending copy? Two for one here…less ink usage and increased read ability and visual appeal for the recipient.
  2. Image mindfulness. Aim to work with images that do not include gradients or large areas of heavy, dark-color coverage; instead support a 2015 design trend of using monochromatic images which highly reduces the number of inks used for printing or full-color images where the subject can be cropped to be the main focus. You can save even more ink (and paper) if you do not print to the edges of the final printed piece (printing to the edge is called a bleed).
  3. Give Green Away! Consider purchasing promotional products that are made from sustainable materials or that are manufactured using solar or wind energy sources. Also consider where they being shipped from; aim for within the state you live or a neighboring state.
  4. Ink! So much about ink! Go with a printer that uses one or more of the following ink types: non-toxic, non-metallic, vegetable based, soy based, linseed oil based or low or no VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) content! This is better for the environment as well as the workers running the printing presses. While you’re at it ask the printer how they dispose of their ink and paper waste; some have wonderful recycling practices.
  5. Paper. Is it readily available as TFC (Totally Chlorine Free), post-industrial recycled content, post-consumer recycled content, FSC-certified, recycled fabric content or even tree-free paper such as Kenaf, Hemp or Mineral based? Most of these options cost less than or equal to traditional, non-green stock. This is a super easy one to implement.
  6. Powering the Presses. How does your printer or design agency run their operation? Do they use alternative energy such as solar, wind or water? Or do they purchase carbon footprint credits or support research for sustainable energy by way of annual donation?
  7. Size of finished product. There is a magic formula that your printer and/or designer can use to ensure that your final printed piece use just the right amount of raw-stock in the printing press to minimize paper waste. Sometimes even adjusting the final size by a quarter-of-an-inch can make a huge impact on the amount of the final paper waste. This is of even more importance if you are printing quantities in the 5K, 10K or higher range.
  8. Don’t forget your Website! Green website hosting services are out there. Hosting companies that power their office building and server farm with solar, wind, water or any combination of the three are just as reliable as traditional hosting services. The extra bonus, for me anyway, is that choosing a green-hosting company supports a family-owned or entrepreneurial business, too. BTW…Greenhouse Graphics, LLC is a re-seller of green-hosting services.
  9. Resources
    1. Renourish is a great site with all kinds of tools, calculators, articles, etc. about awareness and action for sustainable design.
    2. Integrity Graphics the printer I use exclusively – absolutely green and continue to expand their green and sustainable practices annually. They are currently working on community outreach / education programs on recycling, re-purposing and overall connectivity between companies and their communities. If you reach out to Integrity Graphics ask for Tanya Hughes and let her know Chana Monahan sent you – she will treat you like family she loves.

I hope the above gave you some inspiration to green-up your next printed design project or simply offered awareness to this very important topic. If you have any questions I am a phone call 860-379-2794 or an email away!  

Until next time, happy marketing!

Chana Monahan
Greenhouse Graphics, llc. Where Ideas Grow