D&AD’s Low Carbon Annual

Last night D&AD launched it’s most sustainably produced annual to date: its carbon footprint is an impressive 82% smaller than that of last year’s edition…

Last night D&AD launched it’s most sustainably produced annual to date. Published by Taschen and the brainchild of D&AD President and AllOfUs founder, Sanky along with Nat Hunter of Airside and graphic designer Harry Pearce of Pentagram, its carbon footprint is an impressive 82% smaller than that of last year’s edition…

Questioning every element of the processes involved in producing such a tome, the team considered not actually making a physical book. “We looked into creating a digital version of the Annual,” says Hunter, “but when you consider the huge amount of energy consumed in hosting large files on servers for decades to come – and the possibility that many people would print them out on inefficient printers, the benefits became less convincing. So we reduced the amount of materials used, made it a stunningly beautiful object so it’s not likely to ever end up in a landfill site, but if it does… it’s fully compostible.”

Instead of cheap pulp from South America, the book uses 100% recycled material from Austria (to the highest international environmental standard) where 70% of electricity comes from Hydro power. The pulp was made into wood-free, RecyStar Polar 80gsm paper. Thanks to making the paper stock as light as possible (and leaving it uncoated), this year’s Annual is almost a kilo lighter than last year’s. As well as weight, distances travelled were reduced which meant less fuel was consumed in the production and shipping of the books.

Pentagram’s Harry Pearce’s editorial design also contributed to the extra light annual: fewer images were used than in previous years – if a piece of work won in more than one category, the image/s were not duplicated. There are also no chapter dividers in the book but rather three section dividers. The limited edition D&AD member’s version delineates categories with thumbcuts in the pages – thus saving even more weight. Pearce’s layout too is lean, there is no superfluous page furniture or decoration.

The book is printed with soy-based inks and the hard cover sports a compostible laminate.

Regarding the cover, Pearce says: “Alan Fletcher was a dear friend of mine for one thing, and as a designer, all your career the D&AD logo floats around you – it’s an intriguing mark (designed in 1962 by Fletcher Forbes Gill the studio that later became Pentagram) and the use of it has become quieter and quieter each year. I thought it would be great to bring it in to the fore this year.

“Instead of just reproducing it we made models of it using white paper and card,” Pearce continues, “and worked with photographer Richard Foster who took shots of and filmed the models in his studio lit by a single source of light. Once we’d discovered where the most poignant, descriptive moment was with the shadows – that’s when we took the image. It’s an exploration of [the D&AD logo] really – showing a bit of relish for the actual mark.”

D&AD members’ special edition not only sports thumbcuts – but also Pearce’s signature:

And finally, here are the stats for this year’s annual production’s carbon footprint as compared to that of the 2010 annual:

Also see the post on Pentagram’s blog about its work on this project: pentagram.com


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