Five print providers who have plotted out a green course.
By Paula Yoho
“Our customers are able to actually go into the website and create their own design with an embedded design tool that’s a Flash application,” explains Neil Johnston, the company’s marketing and IT director. “You can upload your own graphics or logos into it, you can even add a Facebook photo right from our tool. Everything you see on the website is recyclable or biodegradable or sometimes both; all the materials, inks and substrates you have to choose from on the website are ‘green.’ You basically can’t make a mistake in terms of creating a sustainable product.”
The all-green interactive website was the culmination of years of R&D and research into the best products and processes for providing quality, sustainable work, Johnston reports.
“When we first began thinking about ‘green,’ we started to look into other materials besides PVC vinyls and the traditional foam boards that are typical of the graphics industry,” says Johnston. “For a long time, it was very expensive and it was difficult to get customers to even acknowledge the idea to do something green. But in the last three years or so, the pricing has come down into a reasonable range where we can take a little bit less of profit margin and offer the customer the green alternative for what they were paying before.”
Today, the company views sustainable substrates as the only way to go – so much so that they don’t offer customers an alternative.
“We’re only using an Insite Biodegradable Foamboard from Gilman Brothers for anybody that requests foam board now – we don’t even tell them there’s an option – we’re just offering that as our standard traditional white foam board 3/16-inch thick,” he says.
Johnston says that eliminating the option of traditional materials is a necessary evil to combat ignorance and misinformation that runs rampant among his customers about the feasibility and affordability of sustainable printing. “We are constantly surprised by the perception that people have about being green with their graphics and how so many people just assume it’s too expensive. We say to them, ‘Well, have you ever just asked us?’ This way, we can show them the alternatives and that we can do all this for you in a ‘green’ way for the same price. They’re always shocked. People just don’t even know it’s an option. There’s a lack of understanding and knowledge there.”