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Greening Print Marketing: Ideas for Sustainable Design

When we think of greening print marketing, we often think about the production of printed pieces—the printing process, the consumables, the recycling. But greening print marketing starts much earlier, with the design of the piece itself.

Design Can Change, an initiative designed to help green print marketing from the very earliest design stages, now offers a “Sustainable Design Checklist” to help marketers and designers think through how they can make simple changes that move them forward to a more sustainable future.

Some of the suggestions are obvious, such as moving toward targeted marketing and choosing paper with a high percentage of postconsumer waste. But others may not be so obvious. For example. . .

  • Set you specs so that you maximize space on the press sheet
  • For visual punch, consider embossing or die cuts instead of additional ink coverage
  • Avoid specialty, metallic, or flourescent inks
  • Minimize transport and shipping by using local vendors and sourcing local materials
  • Using lighter papers
  • Spec paper that is processed chlorine free
  • Eliminate adhesive in packaging by using alternative binding or tabs
  • Avoid labels by printing directly on the packaging surface
  • Limit the use of staples
  • Keep your mailing list up to date

This checklist has many more ideas that are surprisingly simple, but in the long run, can make a big difference. To obtain the checklist, click through the link on the What They Think “Going Green” blog post.

Like this post? See all my “Greening Print Marketing” posts.

Image courtesy of the Print on Demand Initiative Case Study Archives

Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker

Heidi Tolliver-Walker has been a commercial and digital printing industry analyst, feature writer, columnist, editor, and author for nearly 20 years. She is known for her meticulous research and no-nonsense perspective. In addition to having written thousands of industry articles for top industry publications, she and Richard Romano have been the face of the well-respected industry research firm The Industry Measure (TrendWatch Graphic Arts) for many years. In her more than 13-year tenure with the firm, she has written countless reports on digital printing, 1:1 (personalized) printing, Web-to-print, personalized URLs, and other hot industry applications. She is also a long-time contributing editor and columnist for Printing News, for which she writes two monthly columns, including "Personal Effects," which features monthly analysis of 1:1 (personalized) printing case studies. She is also the author of three titles for the National Association of Printing Leadership: Designer's Printing Companion, Ink & Color: A Printer's Guide, and Diversifying Via Value-Added Services. As a small, niche publisher (Strong Tower Publishing), she is active in utilizing these technologies in her own business, as well.


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