Saturday, October 9, 2010

Green Business Cards by Moo !

A small selection of ready-made designs by the fabulous artists who sell on MOO  /  Credit: Moo Print

If you haven't seen MOO before, then you are missing out on one of the best collections of cute and trendy graphics anywhere. period

This is the perfect stop for anyone who wants amazing, but doesn't have the budget for custom branding or embossed and die-cut. At MOO, you can pick out one design per business card, and make a huge statement with variety and a noteworthy collection. (Yes!) If you order 50 cards all 50 can be unique, and the price for printing doesn't change. It's a great way to try out a few different ideas or techniques on your cards for an amazing price.

It turns out that MOO has a wonderful business card option called MOO GREEN, I am not sure how I missed this addition to their collection, but I did. The last time I visited their site this wasn't an option, and now that it is I will be frequenting their site on a regular basis.

Their cards are totally chlorine free and 100% recycled with  Post Consumer Waste paper. Tell your friends, this is an amazing day. (I hadn't been to the MOO site in a few years, so I know I am on the caboose end of this news.) I'm just so excited about it, because it means I can shop at MOO again. Their print quality is amazing, the cards are quirky, and the off-sizes are great conversation starters. I am smiling all over.

Credit: Moo Print

Friday, October 8, 2010

Upcycled Felted Wool Brooch Pins

I was browsing Etsy today, and I found these amazing little upcycled sweater pins. They are so gosh-darn-cute I think I need one in every colour ! The seller, Babongo, has a great eye for design and texture and her stamped, felted and sewn brooches make me smile just looking at them. These eco pops of colour are only $15.00. My Christmas list just grew.

What a great way to use old sweaters and fabrics. Repurpose everything ! The earth needs as much of a break from the manufacturing of goods as it can get right about now.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Albero Upcycled Reclaimed Wood Side Tables To Die for

Today I came across these Albero side tables. They are eco-perfection in a nutshell. (I suppose we could say that they are perfection in Walnut shell ?)

I, for one, love having a few accent pieces that scream rustic, and these would certainly fit the bill.
They are made from fallen trees, put together by hand, and of course - each piece is absolutely unique. They run a steep $1025 - $1200, but considering the manufacturing process, the overall look and the fact that they are one-of-a-kind; the price tag seems to fit these eco-chic little tables.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, a well chosen set of ikea legs and a friendly phone call to your local  arborist might be a cheaper option.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Clear Path Chiropractic's Green Graphic Design

Last week we finished off a series of projects for Clear Path Chiropractic Health Centre in Guelph, ON.

The project was one of those great ones, that only comes around once every few years.
Mark Kubert and Julie Gill (the doctors in charge) were totally on board to go with 100% post-consumer-waste recycled business cards. We designed their cards so that they are 70% of the regular height (skinny cards!), so that means not only are they printed on recycled papers, but they also save recycled material resources because of their size.

The inks are soy and vegetable based as opposed to petroleum, so we are delighted with the overall materials choices of the Clear Path gang !

The cherry on top was their website. We have their site hosted on HostPapa's green servers.
 (HostPapa buys solar and wind energy credits to replace all of the energy that they pull off of the regular energy grid.)

I love it when we are given the green light to design in a way that inspires us !
Thanks guys for being good and green and just plain awesome !

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sometimes the Design Just Doesn't Flow

Today is one of those deadline days.
Things are being punched out slower than they should be, so I thought I would revisit a favourite quote,

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the U.S.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Upcycled Throw Pillow eye-candy

I love Etsy. There are so many wonderful and unique items, and so many crafty creatives all in one spot - I just came across a cute shop run by tallulahssatchels - and her upcycled repurposed throw pillows are fantastic. They run from $30 - $50 dollars, and are a steal if you are looking for one-of-a-kind accents that are kind to the earth.

She has a wonderful eye for colour... and I love the fact that you can literally see the old sweater in some of the pillows. I could design a full room around one of these !
Cute Cute. Did I mention that I love Etsy ?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sheep Poo Paper - Sustaina-baaa!

Just when you thought the "paper-from-dung" blog posts were put to rest...
Creative Paper Wales (a company from, you guessed it... Wales) had to go and pull out the sustainable-card and make us take another look.

Sheep Poo Paper is exactly what it sounds like - a sheep only digests about 50% of the cellulose fibers it eats - leaving behind an unlikely starting point for beautifully textured papers. The Sheep Poo Paper products are fun and quirky, (from the I love Ewe cards to the cute black sheep version of their mascot) and they are 100% tree-free. 
Sheep Poo Paper seems to be more costly than the Elephant Poo version - who would have guessed ? I'm not really sure how one would make the stretch from timber to poop when deciding on raw materials from paper, but I am certainly glad that someone did. Repurposing ? 
Baaaaaa humbug. This is all upcycle, baby.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

10 things I learned at HubSpot's Advanced Twitter "Webinar"

We all know that social media is greener than the paper and ink versions of promotion. It is also an entirely different entity and has a life of its own that is less controlled than a traditional print broadcast campaign. Today, I participated in a fantastic HubSpot Webinar on The Science of Twitter.

The main take-away ideas of the seminar were great reminders that online social media promotion is highly effective, when you follow a few rules. Besides writing good content, HubSpot offered some data-based suggestions to tweet more harmoniously and more in-tune with your sales goals.

10 steps to better Twittering
(from HubSpot's "webinar" on Twitter)

1. To find new clients online: identify keywords that are appropriate to your business and then follow the conversations that are happening when those keywords show up.  Start to follow those that use your keywords, and add interesting content to the conversation.  Use a monitoring tool like Google Alerts to find new and relevant content.

2. Use words like you, us (inclusive language) instead of words like me, my, our.

3. Unless you're in a business in which sensitive information should be protected, there is really no need to use separate twitter accounts for business and personal. That's what social media is all about - being a real person that people can feel connected to.

4. There is a "best pratices" ratio of followers:following in business. During the webinar it was suggested that even though as an individual it may look better to have more people following you than you follow, as a business that isn't always the case. A smaller business could appear uninterested in their followers (potential clients) if they have a very high number of followers without following many people. A 1:1 ratio would suggest that the information you are tweeting is relevant and interesting, and at the same time  communicates openness and involvement of the business tweeter.

5. Be picky about who you follow, but don't worry about who follows you.

6. Spend at least 10 minutes a day on your twitter promotions.

7.  Increase promotion by: setting up a full profile including your bio, adding a pic, and chosing a word like "owner, official, master, guru, founder, speaker, etc." to position yourself as an expert in your field.

8. Refrain from negative commentary. "Nobody likes a negative Nancy." Twitter is social (, if people want to hear about life's negative clippets, they can turn on the news.

9. Ask for a ReTweet, and you will probably get it. Social psychology suggests that we are more likely to do something if we are asked, and on that note, if you add the word "please" then people will be more inclined to oblige your request. (Use this technique conservatively, and only once in a while for the best results.)

10. Add interesting hyperlinks. More ReTweets include links to great content.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Maam Project's Carpet Bags

Here's the fun design of the day -
Maam Project out of Spain are making these nice looking handbags out of repurposed carpet.
One woman's junk is another woman's treasure ?

via Dezeen

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Better Barcelona Chair

I *love* the Barcelona chair - always have. Ludwig Mies van de Rohe is my furniture design hero. I don't have a Barcelona right now - it was with a heavy heart that I sold our red one a few years ago. It was a little too cold for our decor, and I was sure that I would purchase another one of these mid-century modern classics in the future.

I was sure - until I saw Viva Terra's amazing Butaca chair. It's Barcelona-esque lines are perfectly hand carved into machiche (a tropical Guatemalan hardwood.) The chair's wood is FSC certified, and as if that isn't enough to make my eco-design soul drool,  the seat cushions are upholstered in reclaimed jute coffee sacks or organic cotton. (Your choice.) I can't decide, and I think I want two... of each.

If this isn't decor perfection than I'm not sure what is. 

The chair is on sale for $1350 and I am saving my pennies quickly.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Green Hosting

Today I bought web space at Host Papa - I was so stuck between two options. and
Both companies purchase green "tags" or credits - I was so hoping to find a hosting company that actually had errected wind turbines, but I did not.
Host Papa had a list of companies and initiatives that it supports, and allowed me to see where they were purchasing their credits from. They also had a local office, here in Ontario.
So in the end, they were the winners (for me), this time.

If anyone has a turbine AND servers, you've got my business. Please let me know you exist !

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Green Business Cards

Our secret mission as Green Designers is to convince clients to do something unique and green for their business cards. There are so many fantastic card designs out there, and I love to find green design inspiration. Here are a few eco-friendly business cards that are a little bit different than the standard. They are either repurposed, and make use of what would be waste; or that are printed on recycled papers with soy inks.

Here's a cool card from AIGA Knoxville - an old pantone colour chip repurposed
into a business card. A wonderful idea - and a fun way to reuse those pantone chips !
Via All Graphic Design

And what do you do when you have a store that is chalk full of recycled
wonders for resale ? You create a unique, 100% re-used card made of left
over fabric and bits of old... um... things. I would never throw it away if it
made it into my wallet, and it's worth showing people as a conversation piece.
Via All Graphic Design 

Simple and effective design on cardboard by Michela Chiucini.  

This card designed by Jamie Wiek actually sprouts. Amazingly creative.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Half-Sized Business Card

The foods we eat, the places we shop, the mantras we subscribe to - living the good green life has had an effect on the way that we do everyday things. The way we do every-day-business is also feeling the pressure to succumb to the eco-will of the masses.

The half-card trend is one that clearly speaks to this trend. Not only are people using recycled papers, but many designers have decided that precious white space takes back seat to precious raw resources. Here are a few fantastic examples of what can be done with half the paper.

via The Sky Was Pink

Cards From Card Observer

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hip Recycled Business Card

How do you create a paper business card for an environmental consultant ?
What kind of card would pass the eco-scrutiny that a person in this position would be subject to ?

You don't design a card at all, but rather, a stamp - a stamp that can happily punch out the details of contact information on every scrap piece of paper in any colour that the consultant desires.
What an amazing way to make an impression...  I can envision the exchange that takes place when Andrea Romani's future clients ask for her phone number...

"Oh ! Your an environmental consultant. Do you have a card ?"
"One sec,"(She grabs a scrap of napkin from the table and pushes ink onto it) "Here you go. "

What a strong eco-impression like no other.  Amazing !

via Cherry Flava 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Corrugated Cardboard Love

Eco Furniture for Green Spaces is all the rage, and this bio-degradable upcycled and re-used corrugated cardboard accent furniture doesn't disappoint. This table can be used vertically or horizontally, and boasts a stylish built in magazine rack.

Displayed at this year's Argentinian Pure Design Expo "Feria Puro DiseƱo 2010", these unique pieces are sure to please even the most discerning green tastes. The designer, Buenos Aires' Santiago Morahan, works with urban garbage collectors and buys the old cardboard boxes from them, then turns them into art.

Urban garbage collectors get paid more from the designer than they would from a recycling factory, so not only is his amazing artwork eco-conscious, but it is also helping to create a better wage for people who, essentially, create their own jobs collecting cardboard from the garbage.
Ecologically green, socially just and creative ? Where do I sign up ?

Monday, June 28, 2010

I love when designers use their talents to speak their minds

The website My Logo My Way  is running a contest for a bp logo redesign. We all know they will need an image revamp after the disastrous mess they have created... and the designing minds around the world have come up with some good solutions.  

Vista Print responds to 100% recycled option requests !

Chances are, if you are a designer working online then you have sent work to Vista Print. This online service does the printing using uploaded files, then sends the finals off to clients.

I stopped using Vista Print a few years ago because they didn't have recycled options, and they have made the switch to green requests ! (I wonder how many they had before deciding to go that route ?)

It's great news to see his sort of change happen at such a rapid rate.
Their greener cards are made with 100% Post Consumer Waste fibers, and 500 cards printed on recycled paper with full colour bleed on each side costs $45 Canadian. Not bad at all !

Now we need to see if they can ship using a biker, a horse, or using a really big stork.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Turning garbage into landscapes - CD art by Bruce Munroe

Artist Bruce Munroe has created a shimmering sea of polycarbonate wonder - the over 600,000 discarded disks are placed on the ground to create this unusual art installation. The disks reflect the sun and the moonlight from the 10-acre display at Long Knoll Field in Wiltshire.
The "CD Sea" will be on public view for a full two months, after which the the cds will be sent to the recycling plant and given a new life.

The eerie yet strangely beautiful scene really proves the old adage - one man's garbage is another man's treasure. 

Posted by Anupam

Um Purses made with recycled organic felt to carry it all

Josh Jakus' Um Bags are made of one flat piece of dense wool felt (organic leftovers from industrial processes) and the unique design makes the most of the materials.

Strategically placed zippers create the form of the bags, when zipped closed, and the line lies competely flat when opened up. Great design to hold all the doo-dads that designers tend to carry around. (Make sure your exactos are locked shut)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Green Printers

In my search to find a local green printer that I can work with I have on a regular basis I have compiled a list of great responsible printers (with great prices !) These are companies devoted to great printing services with vegetable inks, 100% recycled paper and lots of environmental love. Enjoy my list as it grows !

Toronto area:
Warren's waterless in Toronto

Green Printer Online in Brampton.
1.800.737.4308 x104

BC En Masse Media

United States:
San Franscisco Greener Printer

How to Offset Carbon

So your office is sort of green- you use the right printers, buy 100% recycled paper, but you would like to offset your carbon emissions that you produce by getting to work in a car, or maybe your business is an energy guzzler and want to reduce carbon through carbon credits. Here's a basic overview of what it means to purchase carbon credits. Stay tuned for the next post on where to purchase, and how much they cost.

What is a carbon credit ? What does it mean to offset carbon ?

When people reduce their environmental footprint by buying carbon credits, they may not be actually decreasing their own wastes and carbon footprint at their immediate location. What they are doing is putting money into clean, responsible, and sustainable carbon reduction somewhere on the planet, (and perhaps not really changing the way that they do business at all. ) Now, I am all for carbon reduction, and I am a firm believer in the carbon credits industry as long as it is run responsibly.

If you think about carbon reduction at the individual level or business level, putting money into a sustainable project in another country might seem like an easy way to make your company look greener. If you, however, start to think of the earth as one entity, interconnected and dependant - then purchasing carbon reduction credits in South America does affect the overall state of the planet and, indeed, the less carbon we produce as a UNIT the better off we all are.

When a company offsets their carbon, what they are doing is making a reduction elsewhere, in order to bring their polluting practices down closer to neutral.

Carbon Reduction versus Carbon Offsetting: hypothetical situation 
(Let's substitute "number of trash bags" for "tonnes of carbon dioxide", and pretend that the number of bags of trash on the planet could affect our climate.)

If I, for example, make 100 bags of trash per week, and I want to reduce them, then I could look at my own spending and purchasing and examine my lifestyle to reduce my waste. I may recycle to become more sustainable, and in this way I reduce my weekly trash bag footprint.
(Reduction) Great. I am directly affecting how much trash bag waste I produce - in my own home or business.

If I then, realize, that even after doing my very best to reduce my trash bag footprint that I am still producing 20 trash bags a week, and I want to go "trashbag neutral."

I don't want to be responsible for changing the climate with my trash bags, but I can't exist (or keep my lifestyle) without have some trash bag emissions.

I can then pay to offset my trash bags. I can find a company, for example, that has a high production of trash bag waste. Every week they produce thousands of bags. I can pay them to change over their machines, and because of the machine I purchased, they now make 400 trash bags a week less. I have "gone trash bag neutral."

I have offset 400, and I only produce 20 - so my own trash bag waste is actually non-existant. (Not really, but the math works out that way if you add it all up, globally.)

While to some, this type of offsetting seems like "not really going neutral" - it is a great way to make an industry of a "step in the right direction." Carbon offsetting all of a sudden becomes "chargeable", and we all know that it's the money-green and not the planet-green that makes the world turn. Carbon offsetting is a unique marriage of the two worlds.

While the first company is still producing 20 bags of trash - they have also made a drastic reduction elsewhere, and if we begin to think of the earth as a globally connected entity with one atmosphere and one climate, this sort of offsetting begins to make sense. It's not so much about the "individual business" and the change that they have made, it's more about the "greater good" and the overall change.

Who can argue with a motivating factor like that ?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Eco Audit your Paper project with Mohawk Papers Free Tool

Mohawk Papers,  one of the industry leaders in in environmentally friendly papers for the print industry offers an eco-audit tool that allows you to check your carbon footprint and resources used / saved depending on your paper & printing choices. The tool is amazingly helpful if you want to see first hand how the impact of smarter choices affects the environment on many different levels.

For designers, Mohawk's tool is invaluable if you want to convince clients to go green. In a visual chart set up in easy to understand format - Mohawk calculates how post consumer waste papers made with wind power can save trees, cut down energy usage and solid waste production amongst other things. Definitely a tool worth bookmarking ! (Thanks Mohawk!) ♥