Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Repeat. I suppose there is no end to the cycle! But how do we, as a company, motivate our clients and ourselves to reuse and recycle?
How we’re doing our part:
Recently we completed a large, multipage document for a client. After communicating with the printer, we realized that the size of the document left 4 x 36 inches of unused space on the press sheet. (Quick printing tutorial: larger offset print jobs are printed on larger sheets – up to 40 x 28 inches – so multiple pages or pieces can fit onto one large sheet.)
What would you do with that space? With a print run in the thousands, tens of thousands of printed spaces would go unused. If my math is correct, that’s approximately 432,000 square inches of wasted space! We were already paying for the printing, ink and press time. We couldn’t let that space go to waste, now could we?
Of course, we’ve been crazy busy and didn’t have time to conceptualize ground breaking design ideas to fill the space, but we brainstormed and came up with a few pieces that will now last for the next 16 years. Seriously. We have thousands of each.
We’ve been redefining our brand this year, and these pieces are an extension of that new brand…
Business cards. A basic necessity, but we needed new ones with our new look. We’ve removed the phrase “visual communication” and simplified the name to thinkPARALLAX. We are still visual communicators and still look at everything from every angle (parallax defined). We’ve only simplified it.
Bookmarks. Long and narrow. A fun leave-behind that plays off of our Dutch/American heritage.
Belly bands. No, not a substitute for your belt, but a wrapper for presentations, around binders, folders, paper, etc.
Wrapping paper. Yes, it fits our long and narrow mold, and maybe we’ll only be able to wrap antennas and rulers, but I’m sure the creative ones here will figure out something else do with it. Besides, how cool is it to have your own wrapping paper?
Go on Red campaign posters and postcards. This is the beginning of our “throw-your-keys-down-and-do-something-besides-drive-your-car” campaign. Over the next few months, we want to promote walking, skating, biking or taking the train in our Encinitas community and beyond, promoting basically anything besides driving. I suppose reusing paper to persuade others to reduce driving is doubly eco-conscious!
How you can do your part:
Converting print material to web is an obvious solution. It’s a reality for nearly 70% of our current projects. Annual report books have become online annual reports. The brochure has become the micro site, and so on. But we’ve found that print is not dead. It is still one of many effective tactics used to connect with clients and customers. With that in mind, we are still creating new and unique ways to connect our clients with their audience through print communications.
For high quantity print pieces, we steer clients toward recycled paper and eco-friendly soy ink. However, recycled paper costs more than non-recycled paper. As cost is an ever-present concern, we occasionally print large quantities on non-recycled paper.
The best way to control paper waste is to print on an as-needed basis. Only recently has this become an option. With technology improving at light speed, it’s hard for the average consumer to know the difference between offset and digital printing. With this in mind, we’ve moved from large run, offset printing to short run, low quantity and low cost digital printing for most clients.
Digital printing saves more than just the environment. To start with, turn around time for digital printing can be same day. Offset printing requires at least a 3-day turn around time. Cost. You’ll be saving a chunk of change, as long as you are planning to print 1000 or fewer pieces in the near future. The breaking point for costs is usually around 1000-2000 pieces as to when offset becomes more economical. Changes. No matter how carefully you proofread the last comp, chances are in three months the information on a printed piece will need to change. If you’ve printed 10,000 pieces, you might be using the extra pieces and boxes as a back room table!
My hope is that by reducing waste and reusing materials on a personal level and within our business, others in the business world might follow. Help us create a “RE-volution,” one small step at a time!