Monday, February 19, 2007

Green Printing - Talking to Your Printer

The other day I heard from Jill Balkus of Jill Lynn Design (who really has some great work, by the way) with a question about finding green printers for one of her clients who (kudos to her) has insisted on green design and printing for their upcoming project together. The following is some advice I shared with her. I hope you find it useful!

Hey Dani!

How’s life? How’s business? Mine is crazy as always. I believe I was reading a recent post of yours on the How Forum about making time for marketing-something I can never do!

Anyway, that’s not why I’m writing. I have a client who’s a health counselor who’s interested in producing business cards/letterhead/envelopes on recycled, eco-friendly, soy-based stock. I’m sure you know some printers who specialize in this. Would you mind forwarding me a few names?

Hi Jill,

It’s great to hear from you! There’s actually no such thing as soy-based stock, but there are a number of really good options for both high-recycled content and alternative-fiber papers depending on the client’s budget. For high-recycled, I go with Strathmore Script PC100 – it comes in white and cream and it’s an exact match of the Mohawk Options PC100 (but it comes in smaller quantities). If you’re looking for somethin a bit more natural/crunchy looking, Fox River has some interesting sheets (the Confetti line is pretty good for recycled content, if I remember) and Neenah’s Environment line has a couple of nice alternative-fiber papers. Celery Design in San Francisco has a great overall list of great eco-papers:

In terms of printers, you can find a bunch of options just by doing a Google Search or looking in the phone book. Call around to a few places and ask them for more information about their shop. Some specific questions:

• Do you use vegetable-based or petroleum-based inks?
• Do you use traditional film-based plates, or are you Computer to Plate?
• Do you recycle your paper waste?

There’s a lot of good information on re-nourish as well (, including information on Pantone colors that have lower levels of toxic materials.

Hope that helps!

That's a good start, but as always, that's just the tip of the green iceberg. How do you start a dialogue with your printers? What other things do you look for?

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