Sustainability Study Group Independent Research

In our study group we were given a task to find a definition for sustainability that relates to us Graphic Communicators and after we had to find 3 examples of sustainability that links to the discipline area. These examples can be a product, a service or art work.

In my research i discovered some quotes and definitions that links to Graphic Communication and Sustainability. Brian Dougherty the Author of the book Green Graphic Design spoke that Graphic Designers should “start at the end of the process instead of the beginning” because in this way we have a clear target of what we want to make and what we want to achieve. This makes sure that we don’t waste products like paper when doodling ideas and over printing things because we keep changing the piece of work. If we have a good idea what we want to achieve we know how to reach it, there won’t be any necessary work which leads to waste.

Another definition i discovered was said by the National Sustainability Committee in 20117 which stated that “Sustainable Communication Design is the application of sustainable principles to communication design practice. Practitioners consider the full life cycle of products and services and commit to strategies, processes and materials that value environmental, cultural, social and economic responsibilities”.  This is different to Brian Dougherty definition because with this it says that we look at the product life cycle like other designers like product and interior. But i agree more with Brian Dougherty because it makes more sense for us Graphic Communicators. We have the skill to effect people and only by looking at what we want to achieve we can do it.

After finding some definitions i started looking at some example of sustainable Graphic Design work. In the course we have come a cross First Things First Manifesto. Written in 1963 and published in 1964 by Ken Garland along with 20 other designers, photographers and students, the manifesto was a reaction to the staunch society of 1960s Britain and called for a return to a humanist aspect of design. It lashed out against the fast-paced and often trivial productions of mainstream advertising, calling them trivial and time-consuming. It’s solution was to focus efforts of design on education and public service tasks that promoted the betterment of society. The manifesto spoke about the possibilities of designers being sustainable and helping the societies which all had up to create a successful evolution in Sustainability for the future. It’s an example that shows graphic communicators working together trying to create a green future.

Next example i found was a tool which is increasingly getting popular because it is very sustainable. The tool is a press which has been around for a long time but now it’s coming back into fashion, instead of pressing with inc now graphic communicators use it to imprint in paper or recycled card because it’s recycle friendly and by not using inc it reduced pollution of creating the substance.

As you can see the imprints into the card is very effective and also the idea that designers use recycled papers/ card makes the process sustainable.

Also designers start using food colouring and coffee to create designs because they are more natural, environment friendly than paint ad printing inc. Designers now have started to look back to the past for sustainable products like lino printing which is cheaper and more sustainable than using paper and inc in paper. Some designers use objects to design on than paper because they try to reduce deforestation.


There are many ways Graphic Communicators work along side sustainability like I’ve seen in my research. I’m really interested to try some of these techniques like the pressing because that would be nice skill to achieve. The fact that designers start looking back to past for inspiration is unique because it brings up a modern twist on them and with the technology of today they create a useful and successful tool for the job of green designing.


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