Creativity meets sustainability: Personalising your packaging with the environment front of mind

Creativity can be a powerful tool for spreading green awareness. Below, we chat to illustrator Lauren Martin and noissue on the interlinking relationship between the two.


As the climate crisis only worsens, many working creatives are looking for new ways to make their practice more sustainable. One of the more straightforward ways to do this is by using greener packaging, something illustrator Lauren Martin does by using noissue’s services. The New York-based illustrator has made a name for herself in the industry with colourful, charming work which gives a friendly face to flowers and fruit. Often, her work bears a sustainable message like her “Put the Planet on a Pedestal” poster which features a cheeky faced planet on a plinth, framed by Lauren’s signature typography; a contemporary font with a psychedelic twist.

With clients such as Apple, New York Magazine, The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Zeit Magazin under her belt, it’s surprising to hear that Lauren still classifies her practice as “in its infancy in many ways”. The illustrator looks for new ways to express herself through her characters, and a pattern has emerged as a result. When she’s working on something personal, for example, she uses a flower character with glittery boots. She explains that “it acts as my representative”. When Lauren is feeling cheeky on the other hand, that’s where food illustration comes into the equation. Differing assortments of dishes interact with each other in humorous quips and the illustrator adds extra layers of comedy by including fruit stickers.

GalleryLauren Martin: noissue (Copyright © Lauren Martin, 2021)

GalleryLauren Martin: noissue (Copyright © Lauren Martin, 2021)

Nature is a firm theme throughout her work, and at the moment, during lockdown, it’s played an essential role in how she gathers inspiration. “I live near a huge park,” she says, “and watching the seasons change, the flowers bloom, the birds chirping, turtles waddling, a secret cluster of mushrooms, all of that really sparks creativity in me.” She notes these observations in a journal through writing or drawing, and in this way, she’s managed to keep herself creatively motivated.

With nature at the forefront of her work, it’s no surprise that Lauren likes to apply greener practices to whatever she’s doing. “I always gravitate towards alternatives to waste when I can,” she adds, and with that in mind, noissue offers some peace of mind. She first heard of the eco-friendly platform creating bespoke packaging while collaborating with the brand Eat.Me.Do, a food-inspired fashion label. On the job, Lauren worked with the label’s founder Lara, designing a sticker set, wrapping paper, and tissue paper for the shop. The illustrator remembers the “seamless” process: “The end results were so cute and I loved the quality of the final product.” Noissue even offered to do a feature on the collaboration to further elevate the products.

By using noissue, Lauren was welcomed into a “really artist-friendly service” which “allows small businesses to apply branding that you usually only find in larger scale operations.” Noissue is particularly useful for any creative just starting out and Lauren’s experience is a testament to this. “Getting to observe, admire and collaborate with more established brands has empowered me to give more attention to my own branding. Just because I’m a micro business, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have access to awesome branding materials!”

GalleryLauren Martin: noissue (Copyright © Lauren Martin, 2021)

GalleryLauren Martin: noissue (Copyright © Lauren Martin, 2021)

As Lauren’s brand has developed, she’s also upgraded and expanded her products. She’s recently started working with a new print shop in New York, not far from where she lives, and the collaboration is already providing bursts of inspiration as to what noissue’s bespoke packaging can offer next. An expansion of products is something every rising illustrator looks forward to as one of the many signs of hitting the big time. Not only does an expansion give the work a chance to exist in different forms and materials, but it also creates a customer experience. Who doesn’t love that feeling of delicately unwrapping a package adorned in crisp tissue paper – matching stickers and all.

While exquisitely designed details always enhance the viewer’s interaction with a purchase, these days, sustainability is also key, in turn, increasingly shaping the creative industries. We spoke to Ashley Garrels, noissue’s creative community manager on the subject. She sheds light on the relationship, telling us, “The nature of creativity is to embrace change and pivot with new ideas, which makes it a perfect tool for tackling climate change and environmental concerns. We’ve seen firsthand the ways that creative thinking has been crucial for navigating a global pandemic, and becoming eco-conscious is no different!”

For Ashley, the conversation around sustainability can only positively and uniquely shape the creative sphere, and it’s through this mentality that noissue thrives. While there are many services that pride themselves on sustainable values, noissue sets itself apart by championing small businesses like Lauren and her collaborators. By offering low minimum order quantities on eco-friendly products, noissue ensures an accessible price for anyone just starting out or with a tight budget. It also has a collaborative way of working, giving its customers additional bespoke tools and the chance to offer feedback. As Ashley puts it, “it’s easy to customise your noissue experience based on what’s important to you!”


Lauren Martin: noissue (Copyright © Lauren Martin, 2021)


Lauren Martin: noissue (Copyright © Lauren Martin, 2021)

As we are urged towards adopting increasingly sustainable lives due to the climate crisis, creatives all around the world are seeing this as a new opportunity, as much as a necessity. Ashley shares this opinion, affirming “creativity and sustainability are undeniably linked!” As long as the environment has been a topic of discussion, artists and makers have paid tribute to it, reflecting their concerns as seen through a rich history of art and design. Today, Ashley hopes the message can be spread even further with the help of social media as a tool for raising awareness. And as far as we can tell, it’s worked.

Whether it’s a student tackling a new brief in their bedroom, or a multinational corporation working on a brand revamp, sustainability is a key topic to be considered in today’s creative sector. Ashley adds: “There is a positive shift in intentionality that folks are bringing to their creative practices.” The larger the demand for sustainable materials and services, the bigger the supply, and luckily for us, there are more recycled and multi-use objects on the market than ever before. Noissue is one of these services offering a variety of naturally-derived materials to its customers, helping its users get one step closer to a smaller carbon footprint. It may sound like a small thing, but as Ashley points out, “sustainable options are making it easier for people to switch to earth-friendly resources in all areas of their lives.”

All noissue products are eco-friendly but on top of that, your order will aid in planting trees in deforested regions across the world to help revive biodiversity. “We wanted to include an interactive way for people to get involved with protecting the planet,” says Ashley on this Eco-Packaging Alliance. And when it comes to further engagement with the sustainably-minded creative network, noissue has also instigated a Creative Community for illustrators, designers and thinkers to share and promote their work. Here, creatives can take part in design challenges, network and even find new freelance jobs by designing products for noissue customers. To round up the wealth of services and perks on offer at noissue, there are also custom PSD templates, access to industry experts, as well as social media exposure available to its users. “Creativity is an incredibly powerful and effective tool for spreading environmental awareness,” Ashley concludes, and by harnessing this relationship in the form of a multi-faceted platform, noissue is furthering both.

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noissue was founded to provide makers, brands and businesses of all sizes access to custom, sustainable packaging. The noissue difference is characterized by our commitment to sustainability for all our products, our simple online design platform, and our low minimum order quantities.

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About the Author

Jyni Ong

Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.

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