I'm a graphic designer and writer in Northern Ireland. Welcome to my blog.

Are you an eco-friendly designer?

environment scenery

The environment is under more threat today than it ever has been, and responsibility lies with all of to do what we can to help. Here are three very simple steps that designers can take to help the environment.

Reduce electricity. How many times have you left a computer on when you’re sleeping, or when it’s not being used? Do you really need to? Switch off at the mains.

Re-use printer cartridges. Refill your cartridges, or send empty ones for recycling. Currently only — the rest end up in landfill sites. Are you contributing to that statistic?

Recycle paper. When dealing with commercial printers, aim to use a paper stock that is 100% recycled. Failing that, try for a stock that contains a certain percentage of recycled paper, then go for paper from sustainable forests. Also, (I’m sure you’ve been told before) use both sides of the page when writing notes.

Now, head over to Noisy Decent Graphics and read a great piece about .

“…designers, it’s our fault. I honestly think we have to admit that before we can move on.”

Ben isn’t naive. There are a lot of people involved in projects that harm the environment, but if a designer plays a part, and does nothing to stop it, that makes the designer at least partly responsible for the outcome.

Winter photo courtesy of

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13 comments about “Are you an eco-friendly designer?”

  1. Thanks for the link and the great article David. I know I have so much to learn as well. I pondered long and hard about what I could write about today. I don’t have an agenda or a specific cause that really drives me. What I do have is an appreciation for nature though. If only i can help spread the love for the outdoors then that will make me happy. I’m afraid that’s all I can do.

    And we all have something we can do and this is a great example of it. Kudos to you and everyone involved in today.

  2. Sorry to spam your comments David. I just saw this post and thought it was awesome and wanted to share it:

    http://www.spuriousink.com/2007/10/halloween-su-20.html

    The author drew a halloween comic dedicated for the day. It just goes to show that we all have something to say, and we all say it in different ways. This is really a demonstration of the power of bloggers. Ok, I’m going to leave quietly now. Don’t mind me :)

  3. Thought provoking as always David! The more posts I read today on Blog Action Day, the more I realize there is so much to learn and so much more my family could be doing.

    Thanks for the link!

  4. The link was my pleasure, Sara, and thanks for stopping by. No need to apologise for more than one comment!

    Char,

    You’re also very welcome for the link. I hope all’s well with you.

  5. I am so glad these conversations are becoming part of the “mainstream” design consciousness. It’s wonderful how our accountability as designers have matured, able to see the larger picture and actually do something about it globally, as a community. For anyone who may be interested in deepening their knowledge base further, I recommend reading “Cradle to Cradle” – Remaking the Way We Make Things”. Amazing book and more blog postings like these! Thanks David!

  6. David,

    Thanks for this short but sweet post – I wasn’t even aware that ink cartridges could be refilled!

  7. Awesome post David, Now I am feeling proud to have subscribed to your feed. This post made my day.

  8. A few comments:
    -Leaving a computer on: the swiss_mouse has wondered about this. He does turn off his printer and shredder which are beside his computer (uh, paper shredder not cheese shredder). However Swiss_Mouse runs a program called “Folding at Home” that is run by Stanford. Similar to the SETI program, Folding@home uses the power of distributed computers in order to crunch data. This data may someday help provide answers to why certain diseases occur and how they can be cured. SO sometimes the Swiss_Mouse lets the computer run, and he folds a few proteins. HEY if Al Gore can fly in private jets and live in an energy sucking mansion, but pay for “carbon offsets”, the Swiss_Mouse can chew up some electricity in the name of science.

    -Re-Use of Printer Cartridges. Great idea and Wal-greens does this for a low price in the Swiss_Mouse’s hood. Warning though, certain brands like Lexmark seem to have HUGE problems reloading.

  9. Excellent piece, we have to do what we can..though the economy by its consumptive nature is the root cause…Patrick

  10. Good thoughts. Sometimes, it is easy to forget that whatever our profession is it could be done with the environment in mind. I try to spare the trees as much as possible, even when I could get a feel for a project better in printing it out.

  11. ARGH.

    I missed this one. I’ve been away from the blogsphere for a few weeks and I completely overlooked this one :-/

    Great tips – Hopefully actions like these will have an impact.

  12. Hi Lainie,

    It is refreshing to see a spread of more personal accountability. It all starts at home.

    Scott,

    You’re very welcome. It seems there are more and more ink cartridge refill stores opening up around Edinburgh lately, or maybe I’m just paying more attention.

    LiC,

    Good of you to say so.

    Swiss Mouse,

    Thanks for the short into into your hood, and for the warning about Lexmark printer cartridge reloads. Much appreciated.

    Patrick,

    We do consume a lot, for sure. For the most part, no matter what we have, it’s not enough.

    Jason, Dennis,

    Here’s hoping we see a shift in the right direction soon, rather than the construction more Airbus A380s.

  13. Thought provoking as always David! The more posts I read today on Blog Action Day, the more I realize there is so much to learn and so much more my family could be doing.

Anything to add?

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