An Argument for “Sustainable” before “Social”
Here’s a question we’ve been talking about in the studio lately: Why do we habitually include social icons on printed material while completely forgetting to include icons that denote use of responsibly produced materials (when appropriate)?
It seems likely that the building of this habit came from the need to let people know that an organization actually participated in x form of social media—back when having social presence felt new, and forward-thinking, and “with it.” But in 2019—is social media not simply considered an innate part of one’s marketing strategy? How much traffic does the visual of these well-known icons really produce, and since these icons aren’t clickable, has their presence on printed material become a bit superfluous?
The use of an organization’s hashtag or @username would without a doubt be a more effective call to action when leading someone to an online presence. Let’s put it this way: Have you ever seen an icon for the World Wide Web used in place of a URL? If so, the well-placed (or accidental, even) irony should not go unappreciated, but the simple answer is no.
Additionally, the use of another group’s mark (i.e. the Facebook logo) on any separate organization’s printed material (barring sponsorship or actional organizational involvement) feels like a tiny, little, sneaky way of actually promoting the media companies themselves. Why then, do we risk putting these large, well-known corporations into the mind of your target audience, when the goal is to attract or educate them about your own organization or cause?
And finally, we could of course go on and on about the questionable effects these media outlets are having on our society, but perhaps that’s another conversation for another time.
In response to the world we now live in, we think it would be a better—and a more thoughtful—use of the space to celebrate sustainability rather than promoting media with every printed piece that we make. We need to take the time to let the world know that we are thinking about the environment and making moves to preserve our planet for future generations.
Not only do sustainable practices benefit us all in the long run, but communicating your consideration helps to convey a social, cultural, and environmental consciousness that those social icons have never achieved.
Here are a few of our preferred sustainability icons that we like to use to help promote the thoughtful choices we make: