And now for something that doesn’t involve pushing pixels in the pretense of changing the world, a search for design that has true environmental impact.

Printing Responsibly advocates using “vegetable based inks, recycled materials and paper from better managed forests” (putting this in webhead terminology: think WASP for print, and with a green agenda). I’ve read about similar programs aimed at taking the toxic and waste out of print and it all sounds good and fine to me — glad to see it. However the folks at P.R. would like to take it a bit further and ask that people print less, not only in quantity but through the design of what is being run through the press.

In celebration of the renewed call from the highest levels of industry, government and of course, the grass roots concerns of community groups everywhere, we feel that the planning and design starts with the creative mind of the designer…As simple as it sounds, we believe that a significant first step in cutting print waste is to actually conceptualize and design printed media in an uncluttered direct way, so that the all important message is clear and concise upon first glance, therefore requiring less printing over time in order to get the message across more effectively.

This might seem like a no-brainer to most of you as we, who design sites, have always struggled with message vs. design (I don’t believe signal vs. noise is the appropriate cliche to use here because that’s best left reserved for describing the topic of good information design vs. overly designed crap that the artist considers renascence) but from what I have read on the subject this is approach is new, not so much to the print design world, but to their clients who hedge that more ink on paper equals better results. Which is, as you should know, poppycock.

To help make some noise and help advocate the use of less, Print Responsibility has gone to great lengths and is following in the footsteps of other grass roots initiatives to get their message across, they are holding a design contest called, Clean Design 2006.

This competition is meant to emphasize how a clear simple yet effective message can get your point across more effectively and in actuality, reduce the amount of printing therefore needed for a promotion to succeed.

Of course Printing Responsibly is not doing this solely to change the world, they do offer printing services via the techniques they advocate (in that regard they remind a bit of the 37signals of yesteryear), but I like that this competition advocates working, promoting, and designing smarter and in a way that impacts things like oxygen levels.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic without the taint of a contest — and like a good logging blockade from time to time — take a gander at the Green Press Initiative (their website could use some pixel jockey help).

Otherwise, good luck.