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Including Sustainability Into Your Design

Updated: May 3

The world is becoming increasingly globalised and fast-paced. We live in an age where people are always rushing from one place to another, and are traversing the digital space at almost all times of the day. This also means that people are exposed to and flooded by more information than ever before - making the work of designers all the more important (and difficult)!


A good design is not only about being pleasing to the eyes. It is also about being eye-catching, easy to understand, memorable, and effective in leading the consumer towards the proposed call-to-action. In an era where we are competing for the attention of eyeballs, it may be tempting to think that the more collateral you produce, the better.




While repeated exposure is indeed helpful to an extent, we urge you to consider other factors in the process of your designs. For years, climate scientists have been warning the world of the drastic effects of human behaviour, consumerism and industrial mass production on the Earth. Currently, scientists are announcing that the world has to take immediate action to combat climate change, or face the irreversible consequences towards the destruction of our species.


What is the point of launching a wildly successful product or campaign if no one will be around to remember it? Furthermore, with more awareness and support by the populace towards combating climate change, there may be outrage and social outcry against your campaign if it is deemed to be harmful to the environment.


To the end of encouraging effective yet sustainable designs, here are some things to consider when embarking on your next design project, so you may contribute to the world’s well-being while remaining effective!



1. Leverage on the Digital Space


Paper comes from trees. Trees and forests are essential for environmental conservation as they are a part of the eco-system that regulates carbon through processes like photosynthesis. It is a sad reality that most flyers or pamphlets given out get a quick glance and a one-way ticket to the trash bin.


That is not just paper wasted, but also the electricity and power spent printing those designs in bulk. It is a waste of the manpower behind distributing the flyers, and also a waste of the designer’s hard work.


Would you be able to create something for the digital space instead? Perhaps an Instagram ad, or a viral meme that is likely to be shared among friends? It is far easier and way more sustainable to share digital content than it is to share information through printed materials.


Furthermore, with the advent of social media, such materials give us more space to be creative! Consider incorporating animations in the form of gifs, or using music or interactive elements to get the attention of your audience.




2. Catch Your Audience, Rather Than Trying to Reach Them


We get it, though. Sometimes, the best way to reach your target audience is by showing up where there is the most footfall. That is why so many flyer distributors and sales people hang around public bus stops and train stations.


If you really wish to campaign through the physical world, consider catching your audience rather than blindly trying to reach them. Instead of giving out flyers to persons who are going to react with mild annoyance, how about having a large, singular standing banner?


With an effective design, you may catch the eye of people who are interested in your subject-matter, who will come in for a closer look. What’s more, they may take a photo of it and send it to friends it is relevant to! This reduces the materials and waste that results from the creation of your promotional materials.



3. Why use Paper and Ink?


Let us first discuss the use of ink. Did you know that there are many types of ink and toners for our printers? The inks we are most familiar with are petroleum-based inks, which are high in toxic components. Consider looking for alternatives, such as vegetable-based or soy-based inks, and using LED toners that are less harmful to the environment.


Secondly, why use paper? Paper is not only harmful to the environment, but it is also predictable. Remember - our goal here is to make end-users look twice, and to remember our efforts. Imagine receiving a piece of bamboo, a plank of recycled wood, or something texturally different. That is going to spark some conversations.



Just make sure the alternative materials you choose to use are sustainable! We recommend using recycled materials or some kind of waste material - finding a use for them and giving them a second life rather than simply throwing them away.


Another strategy is to place your message on a usable object, such as canvas bags, metal water bottles, or memorabilia.



4. It’s a Team Effort!


More often than not, a marketing campaign is a team effort, all the way into production and execution phases. The designer can do their best - using minimalist designs to save ink, and proposing to use recycled materials, but they are just one part of the process.


Try to encourage your partners to adopt sustainable practices, or choose to partner with vendors that already employ such practices. For instance, look into printing partners that use solar power, waterless printing, or carbon offsetting in their processes. When engaging design and creative firms, look into their Corporate Social Responsibility background and whether they make it a point to be environmentally-conscious.


When we encourage more institutions and people to work in sustainable ways, we make a significant difference in safeguarding our Earth!


Every bit makes a difference


We should keep in mind that everything we do makes an impact on our planet. The way we work, live, and play will affect how long the Earth is here to stay! Let us be conscious of our actions, reduce our carbon footprint, and inspire others to do the same. we have a range of courses that could be just what you're looking for. Whether you're a professional seeking to expand your expertise or simply curious about sustainable design, If you're interested in sustainability and want to delve into eco-friendly design practices, check out this sustainable design course that teaches how to be more sustainable in your packaging design, print, and more through hands-on learning with experienced practitioners as your trainers.

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