Anatomy Communications Digs into a Deeper Shade of Green

4 02 2009

Design Goes Green – The first of a series of articles by Green Printer on the cross-section between the environment, business and the creative communications industry.

By Laurie Varga of Anatomy Communications, a small, full spectrum design and marketing firm with a lot to say on green design and wisdom of ‘serene business‘.

A Deeper Shade of Green

Anyone can spec a project on recycled or FSC certified stock. Anyone can use Google to locate a printer who claims to be eco-friendly and uses vegetable-based inks. Anyone can stick a tiny disclaimer on their promotional materials stating “please recycle me“.

These simple actions, although not insignificant, are like tossing an aluminum can in the recycling bin instead of the garbage can. These simple actions require no creativity, no exploration and no deeper examination of an organization’s business and marketing practices. It’s not fair to discount these small gestures entirely but I’m quite sure the trees and the whales are not terribly impressed by our efforts. So, let’s call these actions light green.

It takes a greater commitment to ourselves and to the earth to go beyond these effortless gestures and enter into an entirely different way of doing business – a deeper shade of green. Now that we have got the hang of the recycled paper thing and most people in the design and printing business know what FSC stands for it’s time to take our sustainability mandate to the next level.

What is the next level? How do we define it? The next level of green design is where our true intentions are revealed, it is challenging and it requires learning new habits. Unlike light green there are no guidelines or tips and tricks in this level. There may be case studies and award annuals to inspire us but there’s no hand holding now that we’ve graduated. We need to start asking “why” a little more often.

  • Why do we print our annual report?
  • Why do we publish this ad in this magazine?
  • Why has our client list not been updated since 1984?
  • Why do we send three copies of our mailer to the same office?
  • Why can’t some of our staff work from home some of the time?
  • Why are people not responding to our direct mail campaign?
  • Why do we do this? What’s the ROI?

Why is a great question to ask whenever we find ourselves doing something we’ve done for a long time. If we keep pressing “why” we get to the heart of the issue and from there new possibilities open up. We might start to sound like 2 year olds after a while but you have to admit, toddlers have a great technique for learning which is something we may have forgotten.

Once we’ve mastered “why” we can then move onto mastering “how”. This step is no less difficult for the possibilites are endless but if we begin with the end in mind – in this case the end being a more ecological solution – we can use that end to inspire our process.

One example would be using “how” guided by the old principle of quality not quantity. How can we dramatically reduce the number of direct mail pieces sent but ensure they reach a more accurate target market? Obviously the solution to these questions will require more thought and more time to produce a viable result than the previous methods but then thought and time don’t leave a carbon footprint. Which probably makes them both the deepest shades of green.


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2 responses to “Anatomy Communications Digs into a Deeper Shade of Green”

9 02 2009
Home Based Business Resource (10:45:50) :

its true, good post

17 02 2009
PogoGamesandChat (07:30:02) :

Its alot of green stuff, but no everyone’s taking seriously about it, this worry me

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