World Environment Day and the Power of Graphic Design in Sustainability
World Environment Day was celebrated in 1974 for the first time to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth. It is organised by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and hosted every year by a different city in the world. This year WED is hosted in Milan, Italy.
Bearfoot Graphics is a graphic design agency and we want to help your business to become green. But first, lets embark on a little journey of Green Graphic Design. Graphic design hasn’t traditionally been thought of as a particularly green strand in the field of design, but we actually can have an enormous effect on sustainability and the carbon footprint of a business. On top of being able to influence opinions through visual communications, we have the ability to offer green printing solutions, suggest smarter printing quantities, go digital, use recycled materials, use reputable and accredited printers, use toxin free … you get the gist. While all of this is lowering the carbon footprint of a company, it can also save a small fortune.
Sustainable business is about the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit. In order to stay ahead of the competition, companies today need to consider all aspects of it. It is necessary for the business, good for the environment and good for marketing. It is beneficial for a company gaining about accreditations such as FSC, Fair Trade, ISO14001, Rain forest Association and many others as well as needing to produce Corporate social responsibility -reports. There are some brilliant examples of organisations, such as WWF with their campaign against littering and consumerism (Image 1&2) and Greenpeace’s campaign against global warming (Image 3&4), steering people towards being more environmentally friendly.
(Image 1&2: WWF campaign)
(Image 3 &4: Greenpeace campaign against global warming)
On top of the obvious players, other companies whose core strategy doesn’t appear to revolve around sustainability stepped up to the plate and change the way they think and communicate their renewed ethos to the public. McDonald’s is a good example, through their “Journey Together for Good” –campaign they explain efforts they have taken towards sustainability (Image 5). Another example is Waitrose who frequently remind their customers about their own drive towards sustainability as they shop for food (Image 6&7).
(Image 5: McDonald’s Journey together)
(Image 6&7: Waitrose information boards)
Leading Designer Brian Dougherty has changed the way sustainability is integrated into Graphic Design. The first person to start a sustainable Graphic Design agency in the 90s called Celery. Celery and Brian have changed the way graphic design acts as a sustainability agent by shifting the focus from mere visual towards the strategic. He did this by thinking about everything from a sustainable point of view, from the way information is conveyed, to the processes and suppliers design agencies employ. According to Dougherty the role of Graphic Designers has changed as “Designers can craft and deliver messages that have a positive impact on the world”. Green graphic design is “about using the power of design to shift the status quo toward sustainable solutions.”
Bearfoot Graphics has long prided ourselves on being a sustainable design powerhouse. We take the environment into account in everything we do from the way we manage our office to the way we source our external suppliers. By using Bearfoot Graphics as your Graphic Design Agency of choice, you have a partner that cares for our earth and as a result, you are one step closer to achieving your sustainability targets.
Our office is mostly run by power that we harvest by using our own solar PV system. The heating and hot water is generated by using a combination of solar panels and a wood burning stove that burns reclaimed timber. We use equipment that is based on the newest and most energy efficient technology and all of the lights use energy saving bulbs. We harvest rainwater from our roof which is then used for many applications, from watering the plants to keeping our livestock happy. Our building is highly insulated and we rarely have to put our heating on.
When printing for our clients, we always find and suggest an alternative, environmentally friendly printing method so our clients have the option of going recycled and toxin free when they want. On top of this, we suggest that our clients are conscious about the printing quantities they have to produce and quite often, we manage to convince them that instead of printing massive amounts of presentation materials, they display information on a screen instead.
We are strong believers of in the power of community. Based in the Southdowns National Park, we offer employment opportunities for young people in a rural environment. We are enthusiastic supporters of local projects. Whatever we do, our environmental policy guides our decision making. For a business that is looking for an environmentally friendly design partner, Bearfoot Graphics is the way forward.
At Bearfoot Graphics, we have created a campaign of our own in support of World Environment Day 2015. With our World Environment Day Poster and Interactive map, we want to draw attention to this wonderful cause that we should all care about together. We wanted to create something tactile that allows the user to be able to explore the history of WED and see how it reaches all corners of the earth. On the map you can click through the 42 years that WED has been around and see what the theme for each year was. We wanted to show how the focus has shifted from one year to the next.
The accompanying banner displays some important facts about WED and acts as an attention grabber for the audience to engage with. We had fun producing it and we hope you like it!
Link to our map here. Let’s save the world through Graphic Design!