As the printing industry increasingly pushes into environmentally conscious territory, a glaring issue remains in how to tackle direct mail printing. A study fostered by UK firm CC Fat Map appears to provide the answers – as they polled a demographically representative number of UK citizens on the matter. It seems that 46% of respondents are of the mind that unpersonalized printed matter such as leaflets, coupons and samples are egregious affronts to the environment, compared to 20% of respondents taking a similarly dim view of personalized direct mail. It also appears that people are likely to perceive shoddily printed black & white brochures, leaflets, and flyers as 'junk' as opposed to well-designed, professional full color printing. So, essentially, if an advertiser puts forth the effort to design a nice full color piece and has it sorted, addressed and targeted by direct-mail specialists, it runs a far lesser risk of being perceived as 'junk' which is gratuitously harmful to the […]
Design inspiration for a green planet. What is it about the color green that is so inspiring? Yes, it comes out in green beer and even dyed green rivers on St. Patrick's Day, but it's more than that. It is the ultimate color representative of the natural world, and the descriptive word itself has also become synonymous with ecological stewardship. Nowadays, green printing and green design are everywhere. They can even start to feel a bit played out. But before you succumb to ennui, and in honor of St. Patrick's Day, have a look at this gorgeous gallery of green textures, backgrounds, landscapes, flashes of brilliance, sharp contrasts, and natural wonders, and remember what makes green so inspiring in the first place!
Pros and cons. As a printer, it's possible to come at sustainable printing strategies from many angles. Using green materials, employing ecologically mindful design sensibilities, recycling, cutting down on waste, and even encouraging employees to lead greener lifestyles are all parts of the puzzle. But the point when printers really step their game up comes when they begin to consider infrastructure. Using alternative energy sources, like wind or solar power, is one consideration. Building a facility, from the ground up, designed around environmentally sound architectural philosophies, is another. In July, Transcontinental Printing opened the NADEV Printing Facility in Fremont, CA. The building has just been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification for its green design. The massive printing plant took fifteen months and well over 200 million dollars to build. It includes green features like recycled materials used in construction, high-efficiency drip irrigated landscaping, and water-saving plumbing. The building is the first of its kind in […]
Be green! Scrub that list! For a long time, list management has been an important part of the direct mailing process. List management means to carefully oversee and thoughtfully edit the list of recipients for a piece of direct mail. The process was created to make sure that mailings were targeted, relevant, and easy for USPS to deliver. Now list management has a new responsibility: environmental stewardship. For too long, direct mail has been listed as 'junk' because poor list management leads to the wrong people receiving mailers, mailers being delivered to out-of-date addresses, and too many mailers being thrown out, unread. And that's a recipe for waste paper disaster. According to the Direct Marketing Association, these practices are no longer acceptable, particularly from an environmental perspective. However, the alternative is not necessarily to stop printing direct mail, but to maintain rigorous list management practices. Keeping clean mailing lists is an eco-must, because it ensures that campaigns do not get […]
Is this the end of sustainable forestry initiatives? Wow, I didn't think I'd be posting about green printing again so soon, but here we go! There's trouble brewing in the old sustainable forest… As you might know – being the loyal printing blog reader that you are – one of the biggest priorities that a green printer focuses on is achieving tri-certification. Tri-certification is all about preserving our country's – and our planet's – forests. (Yup, this all comes back to sustainability). One of the most important things being done to green our industry has been a commitment to using paper made from trees that were logged by companies who take provable steps to replace what they harvest. There is an entire chain of custody that must be entirely transparent in order to prove that the paper coming out of our printers can be traced back to a tree that was harvested from a certifiably sustainable forestry project. Tri-certification, for […]
And not as pricey as the 'trend' tag implies… Ever since the economy has been in the proverbial toilet, experts throughout the printing industry have been saying the same thing: nobody cares about the environment anymore. But what's really being said here? I think it's: nobody is willing to pay more for a 'green' brand or product anymore. Fair 'nuff. Too bad for businesses that were hoping to capitalize on environmentalism as a trend. However, those businesses for whom environmental stewardship is more than a buzz word should not give up on consumers so quickly. The root of the problem is that somehow, 'green' became a trend, and the difficulty with trends is always the same. They fly into popularity, a lot of chic terminology gets thrown around, generalizations and misconceptions abound, people buy a bunch of junk, and in the end, little of substance is gained from the collective cultural experience. However, in this case, it's different. Here at […]
Deep thoughts on printing. The other day, Mike and Andrew from Printing411 got in touch with us here at Hotcards to tell us about their great new blog, which explores, in their words, “the psychology, style, history, and environmental impact of mail marketing and modern propaganda.” Mike and Andrew are both grad students who take an academic interest in the print industry. Although their blog is just in its infancy, they've already posted on great topics like reducing the environmental impact of marketing materials, and weighed in on the pros and cons of personalization in direct mail marketing. As all you print lovers out there know, it's hard to find a printing blog that's not primarily promoting a business interest, so check out Printing411 for what might turn into an interestingly impartial look at what print is doing right, what it's doing wrong, and where the industry as a whole is headed.
Bike-to-Work Week all year round! As a green printer, you're always stuck in a bit of a paradox. On the one hand, you're probably thinking about environmentally sound solutions more than the average business, and you're trying to green your processes all the time. On the other hand, you're a printer. You put ink on paper for a living. In short, your business is never going to be particularly great for the environment. And that's where environmental stewardship comes in. It's not just about “how can I make this ink-on-paper thing easier on the environment?” It's about finding ways to make every aspect of your life and business greener, in order to offset the burden your industry places on the earth's resources. Our head boss-guy, Columbus Woodruff, has just changed things around Hotcards in a way that's a perfect example of this. Columbus, who is an avid cyclist, added five new bikes to the lobby of the Hotcards office. Why? […]
And how, maybe, this recession could turn into a good thing… WhatTheyThink just held their Environmental Innovation Awards, in which printers could apply to be recognized for their eco-mindful changes and contributions. As a follow-up, this week GoingGreen is interviewing each of the winners. Although the focus is eco-friendly printing, what these folks have to say has applications throughout the printing and print design industry. But I'm not actually talking about green printing, per se. What struck me as I listened to these interviews is how interviewees across the board expressed a frustration at the lack of communication between members of our industry. To move forward in terms of green innovation, they said, we have to share ideas and communicate! Could it be?Are printers secretive? Ironic that one of the hubs of the communications industry could have that problem! But the more I think about it, the more I find it to be true. Throughout our history, most of us […]
The Easter Bunny goes down the rabbit hole. It's been a while since my last 'best of.' What can I say? Things have been busy around here. But with this gorgeous long weekend shimmering all around us so pleasingly, I figured it was high time to hook y'all up once again with some of the best in print on the web. The theme this week is…thought-provoking… Begin the egg-hunt with a journey into the post-apocalyptic future through The Architect's Brother, the work of photo-artists Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison. The images are the story of a solitary man trying to fix the world after it has ended. The subject matter is fantastic, but the environmental message is all too grounded in reality. Treehugger just published their first annual Best of Green…well, pretty much everything. They've got sections for science, culture, celebrity and design. The design section is unfortunately low on reference to print or even graphic design, but all the imagery […]