How green are we?

Our books are designed have a big splash. But we’re working hard to reduce the environmental impact of their production.

The printing industry can be high impact in terms of energy, water and waste. We make careful choices about the manufacturing processes involved in our books, the materials we use and the suppliers and teams with whom we work.

Binding for Longevity

We are well known for high quality books produced in both short and long runs. Books bearing the Hurtwood imprint are always made with care and are designed and built to last. We specialise in hardback books, sewn in sections using PVA (water based) glue with a cloth, leather or paper covering. Books made this way are archival (this includes our Tailored range) and if, in a few hundred years, the binding become a little worn or loose, it can be soaked off and the original book blocks (the inner pages) re-bound. Watch this short video, it’s a bit corny, but does demonstrate perfectly.


We like to work with printers who share our values. We will always place your work with the right printer for the job, and we use a number of European suppliers but, wherever possible we like to work with Pureprint who are a recognised leader in environmental printing and, with their long running record of high quality art printing, they are the perfect partner. We usually print our short run work on an HP Indigo 12000 digital offset press and this allows us to operate with almost zero waste, something that was unthinkable until relatively recently. We can, and do, advise on longer more commercial type projects, but always with our Hurtwood ‘benchmarks of quality’ as a baseline.

The paper

All of our Tailored Books along with many other titles we produce, are printed on Mohawk Superfine paper. It is US Library of Congress certified as archival and guaranteed not to fade or discolour for 500 years (or your money back!). Manufactured using windpower it is, in our opinion, the best of its kind for high quality and sustainable print work. As part of their commitment to quality, Mohawk paper is available in both long and short grain. The correct paper grain direction for the pages is crucial.

A note on recycled papers – there is a great deal of opinion about recycled paper. Provided the pulp is traceable, responsibly produced and the mill certified in its operation, paper made from virgin fibre (not recycled) is a perfectly acceptable material. Trees are one of the best ways to lock carbon from the atmosphere and especially in the early years of life. Most paper forests plant many more trees than they cut down. For us, the biggest waste is a print job that doesn’t work; either through a bad paper choice, bad printing or bad binding. There are are a myriad of papers on the market and we will always advise on what is best for your project.

Using paper wisely

Knowing how to use paper efficiently is another critical factor in our work. The flat printed sheets of a book don’t appear at first glance to correspond to the page sequence of the finished book (see diagram). It’s important to understand how to set pages up and impose and fold correctly ensuring minimum waste and optimum layout for our clients designs.

And what about us?

From 1994 to 1999 I worked as a Director at Beacon Press (now part of the Pureprint Group), the world’s leading environmental printer. The list of world firsts was impressive; first printer in the world listed in the EMAS register, first printer in the world to be accredited to ISO 14001, first printer to receive the Queen’s Award for Environment (and retained every three years since then). As Sales & Marketing Director, I was involved in how these standards were communicated to stakeholders and spoke regularly at environmental conferences as well as representing the UK industry on an EU Committee trying to find ways to accurately report and harmonise eco-metrics within the industry.

Our commitment to the wider environment extends to everything we do. We are a Living Wage Employer, supporters of charities such as Sustrans and CleanSpace and we cycle and walk whenever and wherever possible. At Hurtwood, we commit to the highest standards – quality standards and environmental standards; they needn’t be in conflict!

Words: Francis Atterbury


Thanks to Phil Carter for the design of the team cycle shirts and Paul Barnes of Commercial Type for the typography advice and ‘artisan’ font.