I’m Emma, founder of Little Fox Design and I believe green graphic design can (help) save the world!
Little Fox Design is a certified carbon-neutral green graphic design studio on the west coast of Canada. We help businesses navigate branding, strategy, and print marketing while considering environmental impact every step of the way.
The decision to originally start my business was impulsive and without much direction. I was graduating soon from a degree in English Literature, but had been working in the design field for several years at that point. It seemed like a natural next step. I didn’t get serious about the business for several months, and was struggling with wanting to integrate my passion for sustainability in my personal life and my business.
I always felt like there was something holding me back from going “all in” on the business because I wasn’t being authentic to myself.
I started researching “Green graphic design” and found that there wasn’t a lot of information on the topic – a few books were published a decade ago and that was it. It wasn’t that long after that I found myself at the Adobe MAX conference in LA, unexpectedly meeting Chris Do, CEO of BLIND/The Futur during an informal Q&A session. I’d learned a lot about business and design from Chris Do through the Futur YouTube channel, and thought I would seek his input about what designers could do to combat climate crisis. He looked at me for a minute and said, “Well, you should look after yourself first, and when you get rich later in life, you can perhaps donate some money. But I don’t see there being many reasons why this is important for designers to worry about.” I was devastated to get such a response from an industry leader. It felt like a betrayal to be blind to something that was so clearly the most pressing issue of our time.
It was that evening in my hotel room that I filed the paperwork to change my business to focus on sustainable graphic design.
To me success means being able to inspire and empower others to make sustainable choices in their business and with their clients. I love being able to help others out in the pursuit of education about different aspects of eco-conscious design and how we can all make small choices that have a wider impact. Last year alone, I diverted over 15,000 marketing materials over to being printed on 100% recycled paper. Each choice we make adds up!
My long term goal is to build a team of incredible designers around the work and I would love to eventually step into a consulting/art directing role in the business and be able to work with larger clients in order to have greater impact. I imagine Little Fox Design to be a full-service sustainable agency, offering green audits, environmental consulting, as well as eco-friendly marketing campaigns, branding, and websites. I would also like to build awareness in sustainable graphic design through speaking engagements.
I’ve encountered this several times as a young woman in business and feel it’s important to speak about. Always trust your gut and do what’s right for you, whether that is leaving that networking group or gently cutting ties with that client. People will try and take credit for your accomplishments to guilt you into staying, or continuing that behaviour or group. They don’t have your best interests at heart. Only you know what is best for you and your business. Only you are responsible for your own achievements.
If I could have a word with my younger self I’d tell her that networking in person isn’t as scary as you think it is, and before you know it you will be able to give an elevator pitch about what you do without shaking, forgetting to breathe, and having your palms get sweaty. You just have to be brave and step outside of your comfort zone one small baby step at a time.
My favourite app is Spotify, I love it. Nothing pushes me through some tough work like Taylor Swift playlists. It’s the only software I am happy to pay a subscription fee for.
My partner has been the biggest influence in my business. I’m incredibly lucky he’s so supportive and is a great sounding-board for ideas. We’ve brainstormed some of my most successful business approaches so far together and his input is invaluable.
I like to recharge by taking walks around my city, and making sure to read at least once a day. My partner and I have declared the bedroom a NO-PHONE-ZONE and purchased a real analogue alarm clock. Even on the busiest days, there’s always 30-minutes to read a chapter of your book.
I feel empowered when I’m researching and learning about the climate crisis, resource extraction and how we got into this mess. While perhaps a bit counter-intuitive, it soothes my eco-anxiety to understand the truth behind Climate Crisis. I draw power from being able to talk about important subjects with people I meet and be able to correct any misinformation they might have. Understanding the problem and the efficacy of solutions helps me feel more in control of what’s happening, instead of being consumed by fear of the unknown. Don’t get me wrong, the truth is scary as well. But I think it’s important we all understand the bigger systems at play here to understand the reasoning behind the corporate entities trying to take our future away.
To fight climate change we need to know who our enemies are to understand what policies are important to advocate for in government, both locally and federally. A lot of time and money has been spent into blaming consumers and shifting the responsibility onto ordinary people, when the burden rests solely on executives.
There is nothing more important than protecting our planet.
Visit http://www.littlefoxdesign.com and sign up to her newsletter. You can also follow Emma on Instagram @littlefoxdesignstudio