Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Art and Design

First Advisor

John Mark Lawler

Advisor Department

Art and Design


Graphic design students and professionals experience an enormous amount of pressure in regards to their final printed pieces. In the effort to produce flawless work, they print several versions of a piece—often comparing dozens of copies for slight differences in ink variation, color saturation and paper quality. While this trial-and-error process undoubtedly accomplishes its intended effects, it also produces outrageous amounts of wasted paper, ink and cardboard among other products.

Graphic design has implemented computers to increase efficiency in the design process while ignoring the impact of obsolete hardware on the environment. In its perfectionism, it has sent countless pounds of paper to the trash and depleted millions of ink cartridges for the sake of beauty. The field’s overall lack of consideration for the environment partnered with the growing trend of eco-friendly consumerism calls for questions about the relationship between the environment and graphic design. How do graphic designers actually feel about eco-friendly design?

This research analyzes designers’ opinions on sustainable design through an in-depth look at articles throughout two well-known publications in the design community, Print and Communication Arts. Individual attitudes toward sustainable design lead research’s final conclusion that perhaps graphic designers are not moving toward environmentally-friendly practice because they neither want to nor have to.