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Reducing Paper Consumption As A Graphic Designer

Environmentally-friendly pointers to lessen a dependency on paper

Paper waste is abundant in the graphic design world. So many mock-ups, color tests and extra finished products from clients. Each unnecessary piece of paper creates more waste to be dealt with and higher costs for the business or freelancer. Although paper is recyclable, it may not be the best medium for the job its being used for. Evaluating whether the business really needs to use paper for each task can greatly reduce the amount of paper purchased and used in the workplace.

Email Client Proofs

Yes, some clients will need to see a completed mock-up of the design project, but only for a final proof. Email proofs to clients to help save paper consumption instead of creating mock-up after mock-up for a client to make little changes that could have been make through an electronic file.

Not only does this help control paper waste, it will also make projects go a lot faster without having to wait for the client to drop by and look at a tangible proof.

Electronic Invoicing

There are many ways to implement electronic invoicing into a business’s already existing accounting methods. One of the easiest ways to go paperless is to simply create PDFs of invoices and email them to clients. This allows for a much easier filling system as well. Creating a search-able file name for each invoice and storing it on a hard drive creates an easy way to find old invoices. Also, PayPal is a great way to send statements or credit card invoices if the business does not already have an established way to collect money from clients.

Need a signature for something? Electronic signatures are every bit as legal as paper signatures and there are many software programs on the market, such as Adobe Digital Signatures (this works through Adobe Reader), that make it easy to collect a digital signature.

Purchase Recycled Paper

This may seem like a no-brainer, but many small businesses can miss this aspect of creating a green office because they set up an account for their paper when they first opened and haven’t thought about it since. Contact the paper supplier and find out what post-consumer options are available. And of course, remember to use both sides of the paper before you recycle it.

Stop Receiving Catalogues

Full color stock photo and paper catalogues are huge beasts and unless they are necessary, get off the mailing lists. This goes for all graphic design business junk mail. Take the extra few minutes to make sure the business does not receive unnecessary paper products that will just become trash. Also, if there are a few graphic designers within the business, evaluate whether everyone needs their ownPantone color book or if they could be shared. The same with font books and other design related paper products.

Only Print What You Need

It is alright to keep a few samples of each client’s finished product for a portfolio, but institute a set number of samples to be printed for the business and stick to it. Also, have an organized place to put each portfolio sample to make sure they are not ruined. This will help the urge to print way more than necessary if the business knows that their paper samples are safe and secure. Take the extra time with clients too. Ask questions and really nail down the final count of each project to reduce unnecessary paper waste.

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