We felt it was about time we piped up about our 12-year commitment to sustainable communications. We looked at what we do and how we do it, to define the values that shape our work, i.e. We believe in good* design. *appropriate, sustainable and beautiful. We pushed ourselves and our printer to the limit, to create a set of truly fabulous stationery, that is: Appropriate – communicates our ethos through the messages and the medium Sustainable – has been produced entirely from waste materials. Beautiful – uses bold colours and tactile metallics to reveal inspiring and challenging statements. Here’s the story of how we did it: Paper – We know that by switching to a post-consumer recycled stock we can save up to 70% of the embodied energy of a piece of print. But then we thought, what if we use paper that is already sitting in our printer’s warehouse because of an over order? We riffled through their surplus stock and chose some suitable weights and finishes. We didn’t stop there. We asked our printer to use it as “make-ready” (paper that preps the press on a number of jobs). Once it had finished this useful task, we saved it from being discarded. Inks – Even with vegetable-based ones there’s a story. They may be low in VOC’s (Volatile Organic Chemicals) and less polluting, but there are some serious questions around soy crops causing rainforest deforestation to contend with. Every time a designer asks for a particular spot colour (even for the smallest job) the printer mixes up a tin. That’s a whole litre of ink when you may only require a spoonful. So instead of contributing to this global impact, we spent an afternoon peering into leftover pots (checking them for low barium and copper along the way) to arrive at our new brand palette. We checked the supplier’s specification and asked some experts about the use of metallics and the effect of using big floods of colour on the de-inking process and they responded by telling us that our approach was great and would not detract from the overall recyclability of the finished article. Imposition – Now we had our colours and materials, we could combine these with our knowledge of the press sheet space and start designing. It may seem a backward process starting with the restriction of leftovers and the production process—but it made perfect sense to us!