think: Ecolabels
April 2012 | Graphic Design IV

Did you know the average toner cartridge takes upwards of 1000 years to break down in a landfill. For this project I was asked to research the environmental impact of a product, and design a way to convey that impact within a label. At the time I worked at MassArt's Computer Arts Center, on any given day I watched hundreds of prints get crumpled up and thrown away. As I researched into the impact of toners & inks I struggled to find a way to both evaluate the impact of toner cartridges, and to visually explain what I'd learned.

After extensive sketches of half cooked ideas I found myself using the language of print to describe the impact of each cartridge. Inherently the CMYK color allowed you to manipulate the overall color of each label. I began to develop a system of variables that conveyed print efficiency and overall environment impacts. By selecting two good attributes and two bad attributes it allowed me to create a system where high values of good attributes created a more overall green color, and high amounts of the bad attributes created a murky ugly color.

After my initial attempts to create a label that conveyed this idea, I quickly began to pair down my designs. Simplifying my design which each iteration until I was left with a label that was both glanceable and informative.

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