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Entries in Design (61)


15 Paths to More Sustainable and More Green Graphic Design

Graphic designers can help apply the principles of efficiency and waste reduction in our industry. This can save us money and time if we're creative about it.

After watching The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard, I'm just beginning to understand the meaning of sustainability. Recycling works and buying recycled goods helps because there is only so much space on the earth to put all the trashed plastic so we might as well put it back in our stores. That principle might be applied to all kinds of things and on this page I've looked for an answer to how the graphic arts fits in. While I'm still not totally convinced that all of these methods are viable for everyone, but it's still an interesting discussion.

If there is something you're doing to be more efficient and less wasteful with your design, share a comment.



Green Graphic Design by Brian Dougherty and Celery Design Collaborative is a book explaining how to make every step of the design and production process a little greener: paper, printing, binding, shipping, packaging.

SustainAble by Aaris Sherin aims to educate on sustainable applications and tackle sustainability in paper, printing, formats, materials, inks, and practice.

Packaging Sustainability by Wendy Jedlicka talks about making effective packaging that is minimal eco-impact.

Design for Sustainability: A Sourcebook of Integrated, Eco-logical Solutions by Janis Birkeland takes design to every level covering specifics in industrial design, materials, housing design, urban planning and transport, landscape and agriculture, and energy and resource use.


Kirsti Scott talks about Sustainable Graphic Design on the Hot Design Blog. She argues for more efficient practices, working from home to reduce travel, using only recycled or bamboo papers and even using fonts that use less ink.

The Green Resource Guide tells us the story behind Green Signage in Produce. There are great photos showing how the reclaimed items factor into the farmer's market look of a grocery store.

In "Making Sense Of It All: How to Promote Your Brand While Staying Sustainable", Delia Bonfilio of Fast Company talks about the challenge of balancing environmental ideals with business realities.

Paragon Muse talks about implementing some green practices in their post Joining the BandWagon: Sustainable Design. They are promoting recycled papers to their clients. They have redesigned their business cards with tree free paper and use only soy-based inks. They make some great points: the need for actionable ideas, more education and spreading the word.

"Tips: Sustainable Graphic Design" by Metropolitan Group gives us a number of ways to ease our impact by requesting biodegradable elements from others in the chain, creating multi-use products, using designs that require less white space (less paper), targeted mailing (instead of blind mass market mailing) and other ideas.

In "Sustainable Graphic Design in Malawi" by Jesse Rankin, we're asked "how can graphic design actually help Malawi in the development process to becoming a self sustaining country?" and given some very powerful answers.

"Sustainable Design" from Drawing on Experience gives us 10 Best Practices for Sustainable Design.

More Resources

Renourish is a sustainability toolkit. Great way to start getting things in motion in your production process.

Lovely as a Tree wants to tell you everything about environmentally aware graphic design with tips about paper choice, printing considerations, case studies and a database of printers and paper sources in the UK.

Design Can Change is a pretty website with a message: you as a designer can help.

AIGA Center for Sustainable Design has more case studies, interviews, and resources.


Inspiring Calendar Design

Calendars are a bit of functional art for your home. So let's take a look at some inspirational calendars that will get your art juices flowing.

If you're feeling craft, check out Digi Scrap Station's Calendar Templates by Inspiredbydominic Designs. This is a set of digital templates for each month in 2009 in PSD format.

2009 Bubble Wrap Calendar from Perpetual Kid

For more wonderfully wierd but fun calendars take a look at Smashing Magazine's Creative Calendar Designs including a magnets of the months to make your own calendar of the pieces, a color concept associating colors with days and a smart post it calendar.

10 Plus Creative Calendar Designs via Kreative Garden has some pretty calendar images that attempt to break the grid form of the usual calendar while still being functional.

DezineHQ's 29 Creative Calendar Designs is just what it says. The amount of variety with these is great, although without sources comments or links it's hard to tell what's what. Some of it may be concepts and some might be available to read. I'm not sure.

For original art pieces, check out Etsy. Fifth Course has a few highlights

If you spot or made an interesting calendar, pass it on in the comments.

Top 10 Ramblings of This Graphic Designer & Illustrator in 2008

Here's a post of the most popular posts in 2008. This site has been a great success compared to year's past. Focusing more on what people want to read about and where that intersects with what I want to write about has been a key strategy. People visit this site for design, crafts, tv talk and tech and we'll expect a lot more of this in the year to come. Please keep on commenting about the things you care about and I'll keep researching and rambling about it. If you really want to support this site, subscribe to the feed and maybe even buy a print of my art.

Now on with the top 10 list, in reverse order for maximum suspense:

#10 12 Social Websites for Artists & Designers

Graphic designers, especially those who freelance, often rely on networking for information, growth and work. These 12 social sites provide great ways to meet other designers in either a professional and amateur context. And there are even more social sites recommended in the comments.

#9 Telefrancais

This post of the Telefrancais theme song five years ago isn't just about the original post. The comments thread has spawned 80 posts of discussion. Telefrancais was a weird French language instructional video that North American classes were subjected to. The nostalgia of a talking pineapple that hasn't made it very far in the digital age has driven people here on their quest to discover the truth of Ananas.

#8 Closed Versus Open Source DVD Burning Software

Burning a DVD in Windows is only as easy or hard as the software that you have. Luckily, there are free, open source solutions and people are really looking for them making it number eight on our list.

#7 Embedding Twitter in Your Wordpress Blog

Twitter is a micro-blogging website that has become one of the most watched "Web 2.0" sites in the recent year. Embedding a micro-blog in your Wordpress blog can add an additional, more up-to-date feed of information in between your larger posts. This tip tells you how to do it pretty easily (You can friend me on Twitter at

#6 How to listen to podcasts without iTunes or an iPod

Audio programming is great for a commute or at wor. With podcasts being a free medium, it seems like they're taking off more and more. This compilation of tips is meant to make the concept behind podcasts easier so you can start listening to free customized radio-like programming even if you don't have the latest gadgets. If you can read this, you probably have everything you need to enjoy podcasts.

#5 Gifts for Graphic Designers: A Wish List

Whether it's about the holidays, a birthday, a promotion or a non-event, people are looking for all kinds of gifts for graphic designers. The latest picks quickly became one of this year's hottest posts.

#4 David Bromstad

This old post still seems to strike a cord with David Bromstad fans. He's an interior decorator on HGTV. While the post is old, the comments still buzz with conversation about the star. If you're looking for a place to talk about David, join in the discussion.

#3 Graphic Design Meets Open Source Software

These free open source tools for graphic designers on a budget seems to have resonated with people. Open Source software has taken off in 2008. Open source fonts, web design, illustration software, page design and photo development tools are there for the freelancer, casual use or business. If you're interested in any of these, check out this post.

#2 Designing Your Own Custom Shoe

Shoe design was once limited to athletes, celebrities, big name designers and whoever is designing shoes for the brands. Now some of that technology has gone to the masses and it sounds like people are loving the idea. Now someone tell Zazzle we want men's shoes in 2009!

#1 Hemming Jeans Like A Pro

Crafty and resourceful designers really have responded to this tip on hemming jeans. It's the most popular post on this site. As a shorter person myself, it really makes life easier to have the option of hemming pants. This tip takes a bit of practice, but it can be worth it. Practice on some cheap jeans from a consignment shop if you're really worried about messing up those designer brands.

Google Reader Redesigned

Google Reader has launched a new interface design. I never really liked the old design of Google Reader. I had criticized the overuse of boxes, rules, lines and terminologies. Most of this has been fixed in the new version. The settings now says "Folders and Tags", but is it more clear what a tag is and what a folder is? I'm not sure. I guess it doesn't matter in practice.

The white backgrounds and the more simple design fits inline with usual Google offerings although not as simple as they've made search. It looks a lot like Google Docs. You can now hide elements that you don't want to see and the friend's shared social feature have been given more prominence. You can even hide the feed counts which can be useless if you have a lot of feeds that you don't plan to read thoroughly. There are bundles to get you started quickly with the recommended feeds and feed topics to fit your taste.

If you didn't know, Reader is a way of subscribing to web sites such as this one, news sites, audio and video programming, etc. You can reader more about the new design at the Official Google Reader Blog.

This post is a follow-up to Google Reader’s Design Kinda Sucks

Gifts for Graphic Designers: A Wish List

Whether you're getting ready for the holiday season, a birthday or even without an occasion here's some graphic design related gifts that are on my wish list.

PRINT Magazine

The gift that keeps on giving. What could be better than a subscription to PRINT: America's Graphic Design Magazine filled with trends, commentary, reporting and ideas.

"STEP Inside Design" Magazine

Another magazine subscription worth considering is STEP Inside Design which tends to be a topical look at the current state of design. Each issue highlights creative people, design in the business world and hot design topics.

Wacom Intuos3 9 x 12-Inch USB Tablet

The Wacom Intuos3 9 x 12-Inch USB Tablet is an interface made perfectly for designers which allows you to access features and techniques in programs like Photoshop that you can't access any other way. This tablet includes shortcut keys and a five button mouse.

Pantone 100 Top Colors

Pantone 100 Top Colors is an affordable (under $30) set of colors for quick reference. For the price you get a pretty decent set of 1,114 colors.

"Hillman Curtis Designer Series"

The "Hillman Curtis Designer Series" has short films featuring Milton Glaser, Paula Scher, Stefan Sagmeister, David Carson, James Victore, and Pentagram Design

"How To Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul"

The book "How To Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul" by Adrian Shaughnessyis a business guide to being successful in the field. This book isn't about effects or visual tricks, but the business of being a commercial artist. New designers are often surprised at how important the business side of their career is and how little they learned about this in their formal education.

"Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students"

"Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students", a book by Ellen Lupton, isn't about fonts but working with type effectively on the page. Update: Read the full book review.

In "Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop" by Timothy Samara the topic discussed is one of the most important aspects of design: grid layout. It seems like many designers are unprepared to deal with the grid and there is always more to learn. It's essential to learn how to handle the many elements you will be asked to include in your designs. Learn the rules and how to break them effectively.

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