I'm Lisa Zimmermann, a Visual Communication Designer and Researcher based and at home in Dublin, Ireland. When working as a freelance designer, creating beautiful products for my clients, I realised that -apart from choosing recycled paper or board for print products- there wasn't much for me to decide on in order to make my work more sustainable. I didn't know why I couldn't choose finishing options for designs printed on recycled paper, but I wanted to create products that were pretty AND recyclable. But could printed products with finishings and varnishes on them even BE recycled?
I didn't know.
But who does?
...the printer? ...the designer? ...the paper manufacturer? Neither?
So I started my journey to more conscious business practice, and find some answers.
After pinning down the progress in 'Sustainable Graphic Design Practice in Ireland' during my first Masters, I also became more aware of how little Sustainable Graphic Design is talked about, while at the same time, sustainability as a term is already so overused, one would think every business was aiming for it. While in fact, very little is actually done. This is why I call what I do 'Conscious Communication Design'. 
I have recently graduated with an MSc in Environmental Sciences from Trinity College, having written my thesis in collaboration with a German Paper Research Institute PTSpaper. My paper about paper actually compared two sizing recipes, one conventional one, and one with biodegradable ingredients. I tested them both for printability and recyclability.
Paper sizing is the process of covering paper with a layer of starch and other compounds to achieve printability. Papers that are produced to be printed on, all have additives added in the pulp and/or also have layers of sizing or coating on them. What's actually added, the paper manufacturers keep to themselves -it's not like paper comes with an ingredient list. But shouldn't it?   

Having worked in the design-, the IT-, the print- and the paper technology sector, I understand that these sectors need to start communicating and collaborating. Only then will we be able to create truly sustainable graphic design products and business practice.
I have come a long way in my journey to becoming a specialist in Conscious Communication Design. As a Designer, I am aware of my responsibility to reduce the environmental footprint of printed products, promotional material and web products, as well as sustainable business practice.
If you want to talk about Sustainable Design, have any questions or suggestions, please do get in touch and/or find me on LinkedIn!

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