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We will be regularly adding case studies, so keep checking this space.



christine fent


We’re a graphic design studio that believes in great design that communicates successfully, whether it’s a branding, printed communication or online project.


One year ago we made a conscious decision to change Composite Projects into a more sustainable business, minimising the impact our designs and our studio have on the environment.


We decided to implement an Environmental Management System (EMS) and to work towards a green accreditation. We chose an EMS specifically designed for small businesses called the Acorn Scheme as it offers a phased implementation process. We are currently completing Phase 1.





It’s an environmental commitment to ourselves

To make the decision to be more environmentally friendly is one thing – to actually stick to it is another. Particularly during very busy periods often high-flying aims easily fall by the wayside when quick and already tested solutions seem the easier option.


Writing an environmental policy (or as I prefer to call it, an environmental commitment) has helped us to define our promises and commitments and, seeing as we have published it on our website and made it known to our clients, we are forced to actually do what we said we would. In a way it makes it easier as we don’t have to question how far we want to go for every project.


It’s an environmental commitment to our clients

The in-depth work of implementing an EMS shows our clients that we take our environmental responsibility seriously and are not just riding a wave. Acquiring an accreditation gives us credibility for keeping our commitments in the long run.


It’s a marketing tool

More and more businesses are specifically looking for design studios that consider the environmental impact of the design solution. A green accreditation gives a clear signal to the values and ways of working we have signed up to.


How it works

You can download a free workbook from The Acorn Scheme. This offers step-by-step guidance through the 6 implementation phases.


To help us with Phase 1, we’ve also had one-to-one tuition from Groundwork an environmental support consultancy for businesses. Groundwork also offer group courses on the implementation of the Acorn Scheme and other EMS schemes.


Once we’ve completed work on Phase 1 we’ll apply for an accreditation. The accreditation process is a one-day workshop where the accreditor assesses if all requirements of the scheme have been fulfilled. Specific goals for future improvement must be defined and will be reviewed annually.


One specific goal we set ourselves for the coming year is to prepare a ‘certificate’ for each project to present to our clients after project completion. This certificate states all data relating to the environmental aspects of the job and shows the measurements that had been taken to reduce the impact on the environment.



Project: 'Walk Islington' and 'Cycle Islington' guides


Walk and Cycle Islington



Islington Council wanted a guide to motivate people in Islington to walk and cycle more instead of using their cars or public transport.



The compact size of the booklets makes optimum use of the printing sheet. The guides have three sections defined by alternating coloured and white paper.


Paper stocks

Coloured paper: 100% recycled Sugar Paper available from Arboreta Papers,

call 0117 963 6699. White paper: Revive Gloss from Robert Horne, call 01604 495333



Project: 'Green. Who cares?'


green report




Compile a report on green consumer behaviour and green branding that Composite Projects can use to approach green companies for business.



We’re fed up with the amount of excess packaging we receive. So when it came to designing this book we made sure there wouldn’t be any. It became ‘self packaged’ – the cover wrapping around the contents to become the envelope.


Paper stock

Naturally we used recycled paper – and finally settled on one that carries the ‘Blue Angel’ certification. It specifically indicates that a paper has the highest environmental credentials on a ‘cradle-to-grave’ basis. Colorset is manufactured from 100% recycled pre-consumer fibres.





An EMS (Environmental Management System) provides a framework to help you identify, manage and improve your environmental performance.


There are many types of EMS, such as Greenmark, ISO14001 and EMAS.


All printers featured on Lovely as a Tree participate in EMS schemes, click here for more information.


Becoming a more environmentally conscious business is a gradual process. Don’t try to aim too high and get frustrated if you can’t keep your promises.


Put it in writing. State your environmental commitments as bullet points in a brief environmental policy. Let everyone who is working with you know about it.


Help with writing an environmental policy can be found at Envirowise.


Be specific and meaningful with your environmental claims.
“We do as much as we can” doesn’t say anything! You should be accountable for what you promise. For advice on writing environmental claims see Defra.


Don’t let the restrictions in choice affect your creativity. After all it is the essence of design to embrace working within set boundaries.