During a brainstorming meeting at BIG INK, a large format digital printing company based in Eagan, Minnesota, staffers suggested ways to launch the company’s Eco-Green campaign. Summer intern Noah Namowicz, a University of St. Thomas entrepreneurship major (class of ’09), half joked about putting graphics on his Toyota Prius hybrid. The idea took off and BIG INK partnered with Image Haus of Minneapolis to create green inspired vehicle graphics that would garner customer and industry attention for their green efforts.
The cars feature one of four integrated designs and the simple yet powerful message, “Little Things Make a BIG Difference.” In addition to being driven around the Twin Cities, cars are used for client visits and strategically parked at local business events. People have taken notice. The Eco-Green page of BIG INK’s Web site now gets four times more traffic than the other pages. “The Prius fleet has proven to be a great marketing vehicle that has brought attention to our many green efforts,” notes Tom Trutna, BIG INK president. “It drives the ‘Little Things Make a BIG Difference’ message, features graphics we produced, gets people thinking about being green and puts a smile on the face of everyone who sees it.”
Although the digital graphics industry is not well know for environmental initiatives, the vehicle graphics are only a part of BIG INK’s campaign. The company assembled an internal Green Team and made simple changes to their operations—the results were immediate. “Even the small changes we made had impact,” Trutna says. “From the onset we started recycling over 2,400 pounds of scrap waste each month along with 600 pounds of office paper.” In order to educate the industry about the initiatives they took, Trutna wrote an article entitled “Kermit Was Wrong! It Is Easy Being Green(er)” for Digital Graphics magazine, encouraging other printers to adopt the easy practices that make a difference.