Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Greening Your Business

You may (or may not) know that Kalico strives to be a an eco-friendly, green business. This past fall we're were featured in Graphic Design USA's "A Culture of Green Article", and we've been granted Green America's Business Seal of Approval. But, we didn't become a green business overnight (and trust me, it's an ongoing learning process). As a small business owner, I simply started taking small steps to make my business as sustainable as I could. And some of those steps are actually REALLY easy, you just have to make the effort.

Here's a list of 10 fairly easy steps you can take to make your business greener today (or tomorrow)! Steps below are taken from Green Marketing TV's "75 Tips to Green Your Business".
1. Turn off your lights: (See, told you it could be easy!) Either set your office lights on a timer, so they get turned off after hours automatically, or assign someone to always make sure the lights are off when the office is empty.

2. Use fewer lights and/or switch to energy efficient lighting: Do you need all of those lights on all of the time? Try using daylight to lessen the need for artificial lighting. Buying all new bulbs or light fixtures might be an expensive option, but replacing one light at a time with an energy efficient compact florescent (CFL) or LED unit is an affordable way to transition over. (PS-this will save you money on your power bill's a win-win)

3. Turn off office computers when not in use: Set computers and other equipment to go to sleep after a period of inactivity, and turn them completely off when leaving for the day or for the weekend. Schedule your backups for during the day if you can, and use a file-syncing service to take files with you avoiding the need for remote access.

4. Install power strips to cut phantom power usage: Many devices use electricity even when not in use, so put a power strip between the outlet and your equipment so that you can fully shut off anything that doesn’t need to be running. (Bonus: If you're in the Maryland area, you may be eligible for a free Energy Conservation Kit consisting of six Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs), a Smart Strip/Surge Protector and more... I've got mine!)

5. Install a water dispenser: Cut out plastic water bottle usage by supplying drinking water and reusable cups. (This one is actually on my to-do list!)

6. Bring your own lunch: Eating out, especially take-out, can generate needless waste, and you often don’t have the choice to recycle leftovers. Plus, it’s almost always more expensive (and usually less-healthy) than eating homemade foods. Bring a homemade meal in a reusable container for lunch.

7. Buy recycled paper products: Choose 100% recycled content paper, paper towels and toilet paper. For printed promotional materials, explore your options for using post-consumer recycled paper. Even Staples has it's own cost-effective line of recycled paper products (paper, file folders, envelopes, etc)

8. Print on the back: If you must print something out, have a receptacle ready for when you’re done with it. Take these used pages, flip them over and put into the paper drawer of the printer so you can print on the back, getting two uses out of one piece. (also, when printing out a multi-page document, set it up so you are printing front-to-back)

9. Recycle old electronics and equipment: Don’t just pitch the old version in the trash – find an office sup-ply store that accepts e-waste and disposes of it properly. (Even your local Staples has recycling programs!)

10. Furbish your office with used furniture: Shop around at thrift stores, surplus auctions, or yard sales for your office furniture. A used chair or desk will always be greener than purchasing a brand new ‘green’ model and you’ll save tons of cash as well. (plus, it can help give your office space much more character! We combined old and new furniture in Kalico's offices)

What steps have you taken to green your office?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2012 Logo Trends

Every year LogoLounge, an online logo database of almost 175,000 logos, releases an annual Trends report. And, you guessed it, the 2012 Logo Trends report is now out! As a designer, I love reading about the noted trends and seeing the examples. But, I think this information can be very interesting to everyone, including business owners who may want to stay on top of some of the latest design trends. Plus, it's fun when you start to recognize these trends being used in logos and design that you come across.

While it's always fun and educational to view the Logo Trends Report, please keep in mind that these are not the end-all, be-all for logos. Just because it's considered a trend, doesn't necessarily make it a good logo for your company.  Good logo design doesn't follow a trend simply to follow the trend. Good logo design is a mark that truly represents your business visually, that can work well on multiple platforms, both in color and black and white, and that can transcend trends (afterall, your logo needs to last a long time…you don't want it to look outdated just a few years down the road).

OK, with that disclaimer being stated, please check out the full report of LogoLounge's 2012 Logo Trends here.

My favorites are Icon Clusters and Anaglyphs (though some of these may not translate easily to one color and/or black and white). Which are your favorites?