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Checklist: sustainability in graphic and web design

Implement sustainable practices in your graphic and web design work

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  • Reduce your impact on the environment in your work

Use our checklist to make informed decisions to incorporate sustainable practices in your graphic and web design work.

1. Identify key design outcomes in the brief & concept

  • Prioritise the decisions you make in the brief and concept stages of your work – they'll impact on the entire design process and the environmental impacts of the job.
  • Ask your client to identify in the brief the most important to the least important items so you can accommodate these with eco preferences.
  • Provide your client with an eco-design option when responding to a brief.

2. Produce drafts sustainably

  • Consider formatting, aesthetic style and impacts equally – use space efficiently and effectively to minimise resources required.
  • Encourage your designers to design with minimise offcuts and paper waste at the printers.
  • Think about whether you could get the desired visual impact with the least amount of colour and ink – some inks create Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) which contribute to air pollution and climate change. 
  • Use 100 percent post-consumer waste recycled paper (PCW) approved by a certifying agency such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
  • Send proofs digitally to clients for editing and approval.
  • Switch equipment off at the wall when not in use.
  • Look for energy-efficient appliances and products for the office.

3. Reduce inefficiencies in printing, post-press and packaging

  • Engage a printing company that's certified or environmentally-conscious.
  • Use low or non-VOC based inks – water, vegetable, soy based and recycled inks have less environmental impacts.
  • Explore the best post-press operations such as using water-based glues for binding and labels to avoid VOCs – many post-press processes, such as laminating and spiral binding prevent finished design jobs from being recycled.  
  • Think about ways to minimise packaging.
  • Consider your recycling options.