Scherer, B. (2014) Consciously Creative: Where Sustainability Meets Design Education.

Brooke Scherer writes in her own words what it means to teach sustainable graphic design to his students. Teaching them that not everything is as green as it says it is, and by delving a little deeper into processes. We might learn how as practicing Graphic Designers we can make more informed choices when it comes to our final output.

As an Assistant Professor of Art (Graphic Design) at the University of Tampa, she is ideally placed to teach his students and future generations the importance of sustainable design.
In my essay “Is Print Dead?” I want to point out how printed material is bad for the planet and how it has become less relevant and effective in today’s digital age.

“True or false: Recycling and composting are beneficial to the environment. This is partially true but usually false—while these proactive efforts can be beneficial, they are oftentimes incredibly harmful. As quoted by William McDonough and Michael Braungart (2002), authors of Cradle to Cradle, “Unless materials are specifically designed to ultimately become safe food for nature, composting can present problems . . . . When so-called biodegradable municipal wastes, including packaging and paper, are composted the chemicals and toxins in the materials can be released into the environment” (ch. 2).”

This exerts really was an eye-opener for me as it clearly demonstrates that we need to delve a little deeper when it comes to evaluating what GREEN SUSTAINABLE GRAPHIC DESIGN really is.

“True or false: Soy inks are a safe and environmentally friendly method for printing. Again, this can be true, but is primarily false. While seemingly safer than using traditional inks and dyes, the process is without purpose if companies are not 100% “printing green”—in other words, unless companies are: actively reducing the amount of emitted VOCs (gasses/vapors that are harmful to air quality) produced during the printing process; eliminating harmful waste 2 from printing; more efficient with materials used; and are not actively reducing the amount of energy needed to process jobs (Sherin 2008: 67). More alarming, however, is the effect soybean production has on the Earth’s natural resources. According to Liza Murphy, senior manager of marketing and business development at Rainforest Alliance, “Planting soybeans is the single biggest cause of Amazon deforestation” (Sherin 2008: 67).”

Again Inks and paper usage for print comes into focus for me, As a practicing graphic designer I never took into account the Inks I used on the 100% recycled paper, the processes that paper, when discarded, would have in a rubbish dump, a compost heap. Or the power used by the printers and chemicals used to produce the copies of the printed literature or the recycling plant use of chemicals to clean and reuse it.

Can Print really be GREEN?