10 Guidelines for eco-design

PRé Consultants outlines a series of key considerations involved in product design. Although it’s not specific to graphic design, the points outlined are just as applicable to our practice. Review the guidelines.

AIGA Center for Sustainable Design

This site is dedicated to providing designers with a wide range of information regarding sustainable business practice. Through case studies, interviews, resources and discourse, the site encourages and supports designers as they incorporate sustainable thinking into their professional lives. Find out more.

Advancing Sustainable Lifestyles through Marketing and Communications

This hefty PDF from the UNEP and Utopies presents the argument that marketing can play a key role in encouraging sustainable consumption. The report reviews the opportunity, features case studies and suggests how others can do the same. Start reading the PDF (5.5 MB).

Cradle to Cradle design

GreenBlue is a nonprofit Institute that facilitates opportunities for implementing sustainability. Their primer on cradle to cradle design presents a new paradigm for design thinking, concentrated on creating items that work in concert with nature. More on cradle to cradle.

Creative Gallery on Sustainability Communications

A gallery featuring advertising campaigns from around the world, centered on the topic of sustainability. The site is hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme. The ads are great lunch-time viewing, and sure to bring a little smile. Watch some (good) ads

Design by Nature

This resource initially intended to empower Australian graphic designers to embrace sustainable practices features a guide for designers relating to eco-design, paper, printing and packaging, as well as a gallery and community section. Visit the site.

Environmental Leadership in the Paper Supply Chain

This trend report by Markets Initiative is the first comprehensive review of the “greenward” shift that is taking place within Canada’s publishing industries and other major paper consuming sectors across North America. View the PDF (1.3 MB)

Green Design

In May of 2005, Communication Arts’s cover story was on green design. If you missed it, visit their online version of the piece. The article contains a small gallery highlighting green design projects and the methods they employed. Take a quick read.

Growing Pains

Kristin Johnson reviews some of the discussion that took place at the AIGA’s GROW conference, in March 2006. In it she reiterates the tone of the event, some of the questions that were raised, and even provides a couple of useful links. Link to the review.

The Okala Design Guide

This eco-design super tool is a comprehensive resource which covers everything from eco-design process to environmental ethics. Especially useful are the ecological scoring methods for hundreds of materials and processes. Start using the guide.

Overview of sustainability

In this Design Council article, Beatrice Otto of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development explains how sustainable design can offer opportunities for business improvement, without compromising our environment. Read the article.

Print Design and Environmental Responsibility

This wonderful little resource, made available by the AIGA, serves as a primer for print designers wishing to become more sustainable. Through its “myth-busting” format, they address many misconceptions and give us plenty to think about. Download it, read it and re-read it.

Redefining Green: A New Definition of Quality Empowers the Next Wave of Design

In this piece adapted from an article in Perspective by William McDonough and Michael Braungart (authors of Cradle to Cradle), the visionaries review some of the notions presented in their book, particularly that of moving to more intelligent design models. Read the article.


Re-nourish is a resource for the graphic design industry with definitions, tips, links, information and inspiration to aid in environmentally conscious graphic design. Visit the site.

Sustainability and Graphic Design

An article by Phil Hamlett that starts by defining sustainability, discussing how it works in the business world, and provides a path for designers who wish to further their understanding of issues around the topic of sustainability. View the PDF (1.7 MB).

Sustainable Packaging and Design

World Changing – a site that’s worth real inspection – has this fine piece by Wendy Jedlicka on sustainable packaging. In the article she discusses the need to look past a materials checklist and engage in systemic thinking. Visit World Changing.

Sustainable Packaging Coalition

This membership-driven industry group (a project of GreenBlue) works to transform packaging using the principles set out by cradle to cradle thinking. They advocate and communicate on the topics of packaging materials and systems that promote economic and environmental health. Learn more.

Tips: Sustainable Graphic Design

Metropolitan Group offers a series of suggestions to help graphic designers reduce resource use through the design process as well as a number of other sustainable design tips. Look over their tips.

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“A quarter of all species of plants and land animals, or more than a million in all, could be driven to extinction” Chris Thomas, professor of Conservation Biology at England’s University of Leeds. Source: MSNBC. Photo: A0106-000436 Jeff Rotman/courtesy of Getty Images