Greener Print Through Design

Greener Print Through Design
Tracey Samuelson
  • 27 april 2009

While we’re collecting and researching products made from various wastestreams for our upcoming exhibition at the Green Depot, we’re also thinking about greening the printing process, thanks to Eugene Lee of Rolling Press.

While going paperless is often a green ideal, it’s not always possible. When you need to print, whether it’s brochures or business cards, conventional green wisdom says to use recycled or FSC-certified papers and vegetable-based inks. But those are just the basics. Like bringing your own bags to the grocery store, we’ve heard this over and over again. What else can you do?

After touring Rolling Press yesterday, a sustainable printing press located in Brooklyn, we learned from Eugene that green printing can (and should) begin long before the presses start rolling. While Eugene and the Rolling Press crew have pioneered ways to make the actual printing process more environmentally friendly—from recycling their aluminum printing plates and test sheets that don’t meet their rigorous quality standards to utilizing smaller machinery and powering their press with wind power—they also advocate greening their clients’ design process (their past clients include Whole Foods, the Sundance Channel and 826NYC).

But how do you green the design of print materials? According to Eugene, the more areas of solid color on a page, the less green it is. First, it uses more ink, which isn’t good for obvious reasons. But second, large areas of a single color are fickle; it’s hard to get the color even. Any flaws or disruption of the color are easily identifiable, more so than in an image with its complex constellation of colors. This means that far more pages are scrapped for quality control, which means more waste. It also means purchasing more paper and that jobs take longer to complete. So it’s not only more wasteful, it’s most expensive as well.

Eliminating or limiting large areas of solid color is a simple way that designers can green their designs. Instead of a black page with white writing, opt for a more environmentally friendly white page with black writing. Eugene offers many more green design tips at Brooklyn Green Drinks, which he helps to organize.

Rolling Press


Transformable Table Maximizes Utility In Small Spaces

Design & Architecture
Syndicated Yesterday

How Fashion Became All About Fonts

Why a new wave of designs have put typography front and center on your clothing

Retail Yesterday

GM And Audi Are Experimenting With Car Rentals In SF

The automakers are trying something new to capture the segment of urban dwellers who don't want to own a car


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Travel Yesterday

This Vertical Forest Hotel Will Improve The Air Around It

An architectural firm is creating a lush mountain lodging in China with so much greenery that it will actually clean the atmosphere

Related Expert

Bill Ready

Mobile, Retail, Payments

Europe Yesterday

This Company Believes Insects Can Provide Biofuel To Power Our Future

A Polish group is testing out a new factory concept that can provide a source of renewable energy, and even serve space missions

Technology Yesterday

Music Venue Caters To Virtual Reality Events

Boiler Room has launched the first VR hub for content creators to capture special footage for the masses

Gaming & Play Yesterday

Automated Chessboard Lets You Play Against Anyone In The World

Square Off is an AI-powered board that can move the pieces on its own


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Creative Leadership Expert: Experiencing A Seismic Shift From Brand Loyalty To Interface Loyalty

Marc Shillum, founder of Chief Creative Office, explains why product designers must rethink the way they capture consumer attention

PSFK Labs october 25, 2016

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Technology Yesterday

Contraband Recorder Helps Those In Need Capture Captive Conversations

Designer Marianna Mezhibovkaya created the device to help prison inmates capture crucial evidence of abuse

Advertising Yesterday

A Compelling Brand Purpose Is Never Born In The Boardroom

Strategist and Designer Anna-Rae Morris shares why she believes all brands exist for a reason, and how Snapchat has upended our behavior

Fitness & Sport Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: The Xs And Os Of Performance-Enhanced Sports

WHOOP, ShotTracker, Rithmio, PlaySight, STYR Labs, EverybodyFights and Lift / Next Level Floats explain that we're only at the iceberg's tip of performance enhancement

Retail Yesterday

Kodak’s Smartphone Is Inspired By A Retro Camera

Ektra is an Android phone with a powerful lens aimed at photographers

Sustainability Yesterday

Modern Home Created Entirely Out Of Modular Shipping Crates

A project in Ecuador used the ubiquitous material to design a spacious and industrial-chic house

Retail Yesterday

Retail Concept Offers Food Hall Inspired Space For Online Brands

The store will offer a lower cost way for internet entrepreneurs to try physical retailing

Advertising Yesterday

Disney Retells Beauty And The Beast On Snapchat

In a partnership with LACMA, the entertainment platform drew from over 130,000 works in the museum's collection

No search results found.