ADC Paper Expo — A Paper Waste

On Wednesday evening Emil and I headed out to the Art Directors Club’s Paper Expo to pick up some swatch books missing from the studio’s library and to indulge in the unlimited cocktails and snacks (and yes, those horrible notorious graphic design cheese sticks were there too). The ADC gallery is not exactly a big enough space for a paper expo and with everyone racing around like contestants on Supermarket Sweep, the word overwhelming is an understatement. As I pushed through the sea of designers toting bags and bags full of promotional crap, I couldn’t help but see the tremendous hypocrisy in the industry when it comes to sustainability….

Lately everyone is talking about what they do to be more eco-conscious, right? Every paper company and printer had at least one piece splayed across their table to explain their green initiatives, but here in lies the question, is it actually green to produce even more waste in order to tell your green story?

Um NO, it seems pretty counter intuitive to me. I know their business is paper, but do we need to use so much of it to explain the product? I love beautifully designed paper promotions as much as the next designer, but there comes a point when it is just completely extraneous.

Here’s my call to action for the paper and printing industry: Why not actually print less? Force the design to work a bit harder to explain everything with less pages. Stop tempting silly designers to pick up piles and piles of booklets that they will recycle or trash within a week (or during their next spring cleaning).

And designers, just because it is colorful and free doesn’t mean you need it… Next time, try to just take the swatch books that you will actually use for reference. Let your reps know that you don’t need all the supplemental material they are handing you because if you have a question about their product you will call them.