VIKA are passionate about the environmental credentials of our books. We lead by example. We have created a new gold standard in publishing and challenge all publishers to follow suit: the colophon of a VIKA book contains a section dedicated to detailing the environmental considerations of that book’s production.
Even if a book isn’t perfectly sustainable—few are at the moment—just the action of being transparent with, and aware of, production standards sets a higher bar. Publishers, authors and designers must go further than promoting their use of decade-long practices like FSC Certification as being novel. Innovative recycled stocks, revised supply chains, and an allowance for the beauty of imperfections to shine is where we should all be at.
These principles are exemplified in Ania Ready’s I Also Fight Windmills, which was created with maximised consideration for the sustainability of materials and processes used.
VIKA are one of few designers to reverse engineer book design from the production line. Page size, pagination and realistic print runs optimise and reduce wastage. The choice of inks was minimised. Photographs were printed as duotones, and colour was used sparingly to enhance the texture of the recycled papers.
Printed using vegetable inks at Taylor Brothers, a carbon balanced printers certified by both the FSC and the World Land Trust. Chosen for close proximity to VIKA negating international shipping, couriers, and press-passing.
Printed on Fedrigoni’s Recycled Materica Viva: FSC certified, ECF free, acid free, heavy metal absent, selected secondary fibres. Paper is further carbon balanced through The World Land Trust, an international conservation charity endorsed by Sir David Attenborough.
Woodstock: a pulp coloured, recycled, uncoated paper with 80% recycled fibres and 20% ECF virgin fibres, FSC certified, smooth finishing.
Symbol Freelife Matt: an environment-friendly ECF paper, FSC certified. High content of recycled material with a 40% minimum recycled guarantee. Triple blade coated on both sides with matt finish.
This material was challenging to use with the ink densities for such dark images. We found that the recycled fibres are shorter and flakier than pristine fibres, meaning that small white dots appeared in some books. To negate this, dots were hand-spotted.
Such imperfections are the cost of sustainable materials. We must stop holding recycled stocks to the same bar of quality as pristene materials. We must learn to embrace any perceived imperfections for what they represent.
Bound using Winter & Company’s Toile Ocean, the first book cover material made from recycled polyester yarn derived 100% from ocean bound plastic and coated with water-based acrylic. For every metre sold, 1% of turnover goes to clean water projects.
This material was challenging to use as it does not adhere easily to recycled board. We are using the cloth’s reverse side as we wanted the bright red colour and so were not using it as designed. We needed to test several glues to get the fabric to adhere well.
The cover is blocked using Foilco vegan, recyclable biodegradable, compostable foils supported by the Zero Foil 2 Landfill scheme.