The Secret Life of Paper

September 1st, 2008 | 2 Comments »

Off Ramp Films and 18th Street Media teamed up for project INFORM to create this short, inspiring video about paper – how much we use and at what cost.

An American family of five sits on steps while cardboard and junk mail piles up to show how much is used every two weeks, until the people are totally obscured. They take away a third of the pile to show paper waste in England. Most of the pile goes away to show average paper waste in Mexico, where people use a fifth what Americans do.

Dr. Thomas Henningsen of Greenpeace Germany said every second, forest in an area the size of a soccer field is cut down, and globally we’ve lost 80% of all forests. He adds, “There is no need to make toilet paper out of wonderful, hundreds year old trees.”

Germany passed a packaging law in 1991 that makes producers responsible for their packages. The first thing to go was excess packaging, like the boxes toothpaste comes in. Jars are standard sizes so they can be sterilized and reused as is, saving all the energy wasted in America to sort, crush and re-make bottles.

What we can do:

– Use less.
– Recycle everything.
– Buy recycled. If you can’t find it, ask for it.
– Use recycled paper and add a line at the bottom to remind others to recycle and use recycled.
– Pay bills online.
– Copy double-sided.
– Don’t print electronic files like email.
– Choose digital printing, which wastes less than commercial offset, and only print what you need.
– What else?

Best quote: “Every time a consumer picks up a recycled product, they’re casting a vote for the environment.” ~ Bette Fishbein, Senior Fellow of INFORM.

Gaia Graphics & Associates… creative by nature ~

Design: How NOT to do it

August 20th, 2008 | 1 Comment »

This hilarious video imagines the stop sign as designed by a committee.

Any designer who’s been at it awhile will relate, but in my experience most clients are not like this. They hire us for our expertise and are not about to waste time and money over-controlling the process. Enjoy the video!

Stop! A Committee Designs the Stop Sign

Gaia Graphics & Associates… creative by nature ~

KIDS – go outside and get into nature!

August 5th, 2008 | 2 Comments »

Most kids can identify 1000 corporate logos, but know the names of fewer than 10 plants or animals native to their own backyards. It’s NDD – nature deficit disorder.

Average middle-school aged children spend 30 hours a week looking at TV or a computer monitor. Outdoor educators, including the No Child Left Inside Coalition, encourage kids to get outside and experience nature face to face.

“If you sit in the classroom and open a book and say, here’s the food chain, they may understand it but they don’t really care,” says one teacher who takes students outside for lessons. “I want them to love it! Outside, I see excitement. Their eyes open.”

A recent study by the California Department of Education found that children who learn in outdoor classrooms increase their science scores by 27%.

“Why not make outside part of your classroom? If you’re doing measurement, why not measure for a garden? If you’re doing descriptive writing, why not go outside and look at something real to describe and use adjectives? If you’re doing science it’s a natural tie, but if you’re doing social studies and you want to find out how this area has changed over time, how has the environment changed over time, why not use the environment as a context for that learning?”

If the kids are touching, smelling, seeing, tasting… that’s the way they learn the best.

National Association for Interpretation
No Child Left Inside Coalition
California Regional Environmental Education Community
“Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder”

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love;
we will love only what we understand;
and we will understand only what we are taught.”
– Baba Dioum, Senegalese ecologist

MPAA: “Best Practices Guide for Green Film Production”

April 20th, 2008 | 2 Comments »

UPDATE 2010: The Producer’s Guild of America website has more information about green film production, which includes the MPAA’s Green Film Production GuideNBC Universal also offers a pdf download with information about green film practices.

We’ve also updated the other links in this article, originally posted in 2008, as many had gone dead.


Film students, Hollywood producers, production crews, directors, actors! Get your red-hot GREEN FILM PRODUCTION GUIDE here!

The Motion Picture Association just announced their new guide to green procedures and strategies to reduce waste created by the film industry. The “Best Practices Guide for Green Production” doesn’t actually seem to be available anywhere, including MPAA’s website, but the announcement is all over the blogosphere.

No worries — until MPAA actually produces their Guide, you can access the California Film Commission’s GREEN RESOURCE GUIDE for film production, which was introduced last September. The CFC’s site also has links to Green Government Sites, and Green Office Practices as well as Green Film Production. It’s a great effort.

Back to the MPAA’s announcement. The press release quotes CEO Dan Glickman saying, “A new norm is emerging in which eco-friendly practices are best business practices.”

He’s right on both counts. Eco-friendly practices are best business practices, simply because waste in any business hurts the bottom line. And true, most people get it now: damaging the environment is literally the same thing as damaging ourselves.

“Hollywood continues to evolve as an industry that takes environmental responsibility, individually and collectively, on the big and small screen, and behind the scenes,” said Mr. Glickman. “Every major studio is getting in on the act.”

Let’s hope it’s more than an act.

In 1990 the studios formed a Solid Waste Task Force in response to CA Assembly Bill 939 addressing the wanton filling of garbage dumps across the land. It took them awhile, but last year Paramount, Warner Bros., Disney, Fox, CBS, NBC Universal, and Sony Pictures together recycled 20,862 tons of studio sets and other “solid waste” according to the press release, which they say is equal to removing over 14 thousand cars from the road.

From smaller DVD packages to solar lights to The Red Carpet made from 95,000 soda bottles at last year’s Emmy Awards, every major studio in Hollywood is collaborating to expand eco-friendly practices!

OK, good!

It’s about time. According to Ecorazzi and a 2006 UCLA study, Hollywood is the grossest air polluter in the LA area, which is saying a lot. It’s not all explosions and hair spray. Also cited were idling generators and idling limos, jet travel, freight. Add catering waste, habitat damage around the world, and just bad old-fashioned Hollywood excess to get a bigger, clearer picture of the damage done by the magicmakers.

I don’t have a TV, but I don’t hate Hollywood. I’m one of those geeks who watches the DVD extras: the story behind the story, outtakes, deleted scenes, and especially anything to do with production. Long after my partner has gone to bed, I’m checking out the shorts about CGI effects, costume design, props, sets… I love it all.

But. Hollywood is huge, excessive, over the top consumptive. The industry’s impact on the planet is huge. Hollywood is also the undisputed leader in putting on the glam. Some of the studios’ green efforts, praised in the MPAA’s press release, were actually pretty thin relative to what they could and should be doing.

The MPAA and the studios they represent are very very anxious about copyrights, or more accurately copywrongs. They haven’t given much space to green production guidelines, despite the fact that they will save money by actually practicing them. The more they do the more they save! Maybe a lot more money than what they keep for themselves when they bust Pirates of the Compactdisc burning illegal copies. I understand there are some good accountants in Hollywood who could help them figure out the ROI.

There’s just this single press release parading some small efforts towards undoing some very large damage. The MPAA doesn’t provide a link to its own guidelines or mention the California Film Commission’s, which were probably the catalyst for the studios jumping on the bandwagon.

So naturally I wonder about the claim of environmental responsibility, “individually and collectively.” On the other hand, every litter bit helps. They can only get better at reducing their footprint, as can we all.

“Hollywood’s film studios have come a long way since they started recycling in the 1970s,” said Gary Petersen, environmental member of the California Integrated Waste Management Board.

“Studios’ waste reduction and recycling efforts are having a real impact on reducing greenhouse gasses and they have implemented many other responsible practices that showcase how the private business sector can contribute to sustainability,” he added.

Hooray for Hollywood!  No really, I mean that.

Gaia Graphics & Associates… creative by nature ~

True Colors in a Grayscale World

April 16th, 2008 | Comments Off on True Colors in a Grayscale World

This study in gray pushes grayscale about as far as it goes in any direction, in this hectic CGI animation short from Movieola on my favorite new place to go,

A city in grayscale. Robots race through a maze of freeways surrounded by factories, production lines, and constant reminders to BE WHITE. When they find a giant spray can and unleash the power within, the city and its manic citibots are transformed.

True Colors is 9 mins and could use some editing, but it’s a blast of primary colors. This is legal graffiti!

Gaia Graphics & Associates… creative by nature ~

What is the SOUND of COLOR?

February 28th, 2008 | Comments Off on What is the SOUND of COLOR?

A neat project by Rehab asked five music artists to create music that interprets a color, then gave the music to five directors to intrepret the music and create video. With lots of latitude the results are very different, but each one is fresh creative work.

I especially love the Raveonettes’ take on black and white, and Marie Digby’s “Paint me in your sunshine” song about the color yellow. Both are fabulously artistic music videos.

Watch all five here:

Gaia Graphics & Associates… creative by nature ~

Flashy Frogs and the Amazing Colors in Nature

February 3rd, 2008 | 1 Comment »

Kermit said it first: it isn’t easy being green.
If you’re a green designer, it isn’t easy if you limit your color palette to shades of green – and why should you? Nature contains more colors than the eye can see – from ultraviolet to infrared, including all the colors of the rainbow and everything in between.
Margaret Walsh of the Color Association says the color for 2008 is bamboo,a yellow-green hue, because “It just has a power; you know, these are very insecure times.”
Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute says the color for 2008 is blue iris, a sort of purplish blue that is “a reflection of the times, [bringing] together the dependable aspect of blue, underscored by a strong, soul-searching purple cast… meditative with a touch of magic.” Last year Pantone’s choice was chili pepper red, but they’ve chosen some shade of blue four years out of the last eight.
One of my favorite resources for exploring color and color trends is COLOURlovers, the Color + Design Community for Creative Inspiration. A brilliant entry by ruecian for fazai38 shows color palettes inspired by fantastic frogs and toads.
Kermit would be jealous.

…creative by nature

EcoPinion Survey: The Green Gap

January 29th, 2008 | Comments Off on EcoPinion Survey: The Green Gap

Second EcoPinion Survey Points To Green Gap Between Customer Perceptions And Green Products and Services

January 14, 2008

EcoAlign, a strategic marketing agency focused on energy and the environment and an affiliate of DEFG LLC, today released the results and findings of the second EcoPinion survey on customer perceptions of green technologies.

The second EcoPinion Survey provides further evidence of a green gap between willingness to adopt or purchase green products, services and technologies, and consumer value perceptions around those offerings. While concern for the environment is at an all time high, consumers think that many forms of green technology (renewable, energy efficient or recycled materials) are cost prohibitive, difficult to understand and maintain, and aesthetically unappealing.

“As Kermit the Frog sang, it’s not easy being green,” stated Andrea Fabbri, COO and Chief Marketing Officer. “Vendors of green products and services have a lot of work to do to educate and promote their value proposition.”

Findings from the EcoPinion Survey Report include:

1. Forty six percent (46%) of consumers interviewed have adopted some form of green technology. This percentage jumps significantly among the 55+ age group.

2. However, when asked to compare attributes of green technology, consumers who have not already adopted some form of green tech tended toward the more negative value attribute for every comparison. These consumers perceive green technology to be ugly, expensive, and difficult to understand and maintain. The 46% who have adopted green tech were significantly more positive.

3. When asked about their level of concern should their neighbors adopt or install different forms of green technology, the overwhelming majority of consumers are not concerned.

4. For those consumers who would be concerned if their neighbor installed green technology, appearance and safety were the top reasons, with 39% of consumers citing each of these.

5. Consumers age 55 and over are more likely to have adopted green technology, less likely to be concerned if their neighbors install green tech and more likely to view green tech in a positive manner.

A copy of the full EcoPinion report is available at no charge by visiting EcoAlign’s website. For more information on DEFG, please visit the DEFG website.

Gaia Graphics & Associates… creative by nature ~

Divine Typography

January 20th, 2008 | Comments Off on Divine Typography

Here’s a link to a wonderful bunch of images – photos of the letters of the alphabet spelled out on butterfly wings.

Gaia Graphics & Associates… creative by nature ~

The Recycled Paper Symbol

January 6th, 2008 | Comments Off on The Recycled Paper Symbol

The Use of the AFPA Recycling Symbol

Products made from 100% recycled fiber should use either one of the following symbols:

If the paper used is made with less than 100% recycled fiber, the symbol should be accompanied by a legend identifying the total percent of recycled fiber. An appropriate legend might read “XX% total recycled fiber content.”

In 2005, a record 51.5 percent of the paper consumed in the U.S. (51.3 million tons) was recovered for recycling. Paper recovery now averages 346 pounds for each man, woman and child in the United States.

Total U.S. paper and paperboard recovery reached a record 53.5 million tons in 2006. With paper and paperboard consumption at 100.2 million tons, this yielded a recovery rate of 53.4% — up from 33.5% in 1990.

The U.S. EPA defines recycled fiber to include both pre- and post-consumer fiber.

Where did the Recycling Symbol come from?

In 1970, the year of the first Earth Day, the Container Corporation of America (which is now part of Smurfit-Stone Container Corp.), at the time the nation’s largest producer of recycled paperboard, sponsored a contest for a design that symbolized the recycling process. The design was to appear on the company’s recycled paperboard products.

The contest, which was judged at the 1970 International Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado, was won by Gary Anderson, at the time a senior at the University of Southern California. His design, three chasing arrows, was based on 19th century mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius’ discovery that a strip of paper twisted once over and joined at the tips formed a continuous single-edged, one-sided surface. This is why we sometimes call the recycling symbol a Mobius loop.

Anderson drew the symbol entirely by hand with pen and ink, without
the benefit of the computer-aided design software available to today’s
designers. He worked out the design over a period of two to three
days, although he had been mulling over the image for some time. Of
the three he submitted, the winning design was the simplest.
Container Corporation of America chose not to trademark the symbol,
but instead left it in the public domain so that others could help spread
the recycling message. For this reason, many permutations of the
original design have been developed over the year

Source: American Forest and Pulp Association

…creative by nature