Project X – The Issue

One garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our oceans every minute. Thats 8 Millions tons a year! Plastic constitutes 90% of all waste in the ocean. with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile. One million seas birds and 100,000 marine mammals are likely to be killed from plastic in our oceans annually. Waste damages eco-systems and enters the food chain. It can take up to 1,000 years for plastic to decompose in the ocean.

32% of the 78 million tons of plastic produced ends up in the worlds oceans each year. This figure is likely to double by 2030 and quadruple by 2050, and by that point, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans. At the moment, only 14% of global plastic is recycled, and only 2% is reused as packaging. The system as it stands is unsustainable and need to change.

In our group, we discussed this information over and discussed the major topic that stood out. Nobody is recycling effectively. This lead us to think about how we could get people to think about how they discard there rubbish, and in the correct way in order to recycle properly.


Project X – Display Day

Today was the day our display would be showcased to the college in the canteen. Looking at how everybody had presented their information on their chosen topic, I found it interesting how everyone had collaborated and generated different ideas to entice the audience in and engage them in debate. I think it’s important to reflect not only on our own design piece, but everyone elses too, as there were some interesting styles and techniques used that I found interesting, and also felt quite jealous that they were able to execute them so well!

Other Groups

One particular display I think everyone enjoyed was “Say no to recycling”. The group adopted a Andy Warhol pop art style, which didn’t necessarily link to the topic, but did entice the intended audience with bright, vibrant colours and interesting visuals. They created leaflets that were handed out to from the stall, and also created a bin to illustrate the problem. I thought the halftone effect was very eye catching, and married well with the pink and yellow type, and the blue background. The colour palette was well thought out and is something that I will remember and use in future projects!26295306_1920207174962072_385637008904552448_n.jpg

Another display that was quite under appreciated (in my view) was the eco building, showing how plants could cleanse the air in built up cities. The interesting element of the display was the 3D model created by Dan. I know how much time and effort goes into 3D modelling, and it’s by no means easy. I think because it has become expected in modern design, it often gets overlooked and under appreciated. However, I think he did a fantastic job and has a lot of talent! I asked him what software he used, and it was Cinema 4D, a program that I had previously encountered from tutorials on youtube. Its certainly an area I want to explore and feel inspired by his design. The display its self was clear and easy to understand, and I thought it was a nice touch that the feedback was handed out on clouds, which were later tied to the table to further strengthen the purpose of the design.

Our Group

Overall, I think the design was well received. The issue itself has been quite prominent in the media recently, yet I don’t think people understood where and how plastic waste ends up in the ocean. People were shocked with the amount of time it took for a nappy to biodegrade in the ocean, and this shock factor could have been exploited further. It was a good exercise to gain initial feedback, and one key point was that we only focused on the negative aspects of the issue. Many people wanted to know how they themselves could make a difference, and this is something we had missed.

Also, it was clear that other groups had focused on what the audience could take away from the design to remember the issue, in the form of leaflets and cards. Again, this could have been added to our display with more appealing visuals that could have encouraged a positive reaction.

Our idea was to “fish for fish”. Initially, I pushed the idea of fishing for facts, which was overlooked by the group. However, feedback suggests that the plastic fish were distracting from the overall purpose of the design, and perhaps I should have been more forceful in pushing my idea if it was to benefit the group design.

In term of the group dynamics, I’ll admit i’ve found it difficult to communicate with them effectively. I’ve found that a lot of the time, someone may suggest an idea and it is too quickly adopted and the ideal solution, without exploring all possible angle, despite how ridiculous or unachievable they might be. I think it’s important to always push the boundaries, especially in the development stage, and consider the intended audiences needs. It was clear to see other groups had worked well together in collaborating ideas and working to each others strengths.

Many times during this project, I’ve looked looked around the room and noticed every group conversing and generating fresh ideas. Nothing was dismissed straight away. I don’t want to seem like I’m moaning about my group, however I do want to get a better grasp in the final week of this task and try and lead the group to achieve the best possible outcome possible. A lot of negativity seems to be in the air at the moment about the overall purpose of the subject, but that’s just design. Often as designers, we won’t be able to pick and choose who and what we work on or with. So I think this is an exercise of perseverance, and I think the group attitude needs to change in order to achieve a good outcome.


Project X – Dirty Beach

Dirty Beach are Brighton-based artists Chloe Hanks and Lou McCurdy. The name is a nod to “saucy” seaside postcards of yesteryear and typifies the humour and satire that characterises their work.


Initially, the pair exhibited individual art works under the name “Dirty Beach”. After noticing the increasing amount of rubbish dumped on their doorstep and beach, they began developing an installation concept, immersing consumers in a fully fitted “supermarket” that mimics the visual language of large modern-day retailers, however, stocking reclaimed discarded plastic items from the beach.


The project aims to inspire awareness of the issue surrounding not just Brighton, but every coastal town across the world, using humour and mimicry to create an installation that is simultaneously proactive, popular & accessible.



Again, this is a good demonstration of how the public can fully immerse themselves in an issue without becoming bored or bombarded by masses of information. It appeals to their natural instincts and poses the question ‘is this right?’. The provocative artwork stimulates debate and encourages people to dispose of there waste plastic correctly. Moving forward with Project X, I feel this has given me masses of inspiration that covers both art, and activism in a light-hearted way.

Project X – #SquareMileChallenge

As part of my research for Project X, I scoured the internet for design inspiration and campaigns already in existence. This is an important part of my design process, and one that I often overlook. It enables me to generate new, fresh ideas from peoples design experiences to propose a solution to the design problem.

One particular campaign that inspired me the #SquareMileChallenge, appealing to people to recycle their coffee cups. In central London, there are 131 coffee shops in a square mile, hence the campaign name #SquareMileChallenge.

The Problem:

  • 7 million coffee cups are binned everyday
  • Less that 1% are recycled

The solution

Over 100 bright yellow bins were positioned around the square mile. The aim is to collect half a million coffee cups in a month, and 5 million in a year. The material will then be recycled and new products will be made to demonstrate how this can be achieved.

I thought it was interesting how they caught every day working peoples attention by using a variety of different techniques.

I particularly liked this video below. It uses a discarded coffee cup on the characterised by cartoon-like facial features, and a speaker embedded inside the coffee cup to communicate with the target audience. As the public walked passed, someone hidden in the bushes would talk to the target through a microphone in a lighthearted manner, asking them to physically pick the coffee cup up and place it into the bright yellow bin. This was then documented with a camera and posted all over social media, gathering momentum for the campaign whilst raising awareness of the problem and the proposed solution.


Project X – Foil Blocking & Green Patriot Posters Class Presentation

We were given the task of researching and presenting a couple of different cases, that might not directly fit into our specific topic in Project X, but made us think about systems thinking, and the most effective way to present ideas to a large audience. At this stage, admittedly I was a little overwhelmed and didn’t understand the relevance of the task in relation to Project X, and felt we were being pulled in loads of different directions and bombarded with work. I understand that this was an attempt to replicate a real professional design experience, however I don’t think it helped me learn the information effectively as I felt very confused about the task it self. Despite this, I pressed ahead and learned the information myself to grasp the concept of both foil blocking and green patriots poster, and the relevance to the environment. A small change can make a big difference.

As a group, we decided to show large visuals with background information, in the form of a display that people could view and read. In hindsight, we could have developed the presentation further, and engaged our audience more by appealing to multiple human senses, not just sight. We walked around other groups displays and dissected their displays, analysing what we liked and didn’t like, what was memorable, and what we could take forward into the next stage of Project X that would enhance our own outcomes.

Feedback suggests that the display was too text heavy for our classmates, and our method of displaying information could do with development.


Some of the better displays engaged with there audience in various different ways. The display below used large type and strong visuals to entice the audience, whilst displaying the information in a clear and concise manner.


I also like the presentation captured below. Instead of using flat images and text in the form of a poster, another group appealed to our humanly sense of touch, encouraging us to interact with their display by opening a box, tying in with their case study. I thought this was an effective way to add another dynamic to the overall experience of learning. Although the information itself was quite dry, the group were able to evoke a positive reaction from many in the class, by changing the approach at which we learn.


I liked how this group visually represented how easy it was to gather information from social media across the world. The text elements of the display anchored the display, giving context to audience. This method made it clear and easy to absorb the information and made it more interesting to learn.



My takeaway from this session in particular was to think about the most effective way to learn information. It gave me the opportunity to dissect everyones methods of displaying information, and understand what worked for myself and others, and what didn’t. I did however, find it hard to establish a link between this exercise and Project X, apart from our presentation skills to an audience that didn’t know the subject well. In some case studies, it was easy to see how this could enhance our knowledge of systems thinking, but some weren’t so obvious. On the whole, I think this was a positive experience and wish to take what I’ve learnt forward into the next stage of Project X.


Project X – Systems thinking

As part of the background research for Project X, we had a class teaching us about systems thinking, making us more aware of the natural issues, and the complex world we live in.

What is Systems Thinking?

A system is a set of interrelated elements that make a unified whole. Individual things—like plants, people, schools, watersheds, or economies—are themselves systems and at the same time cannot be fully understood apart from the larger systems in which they exist.

Systems thinking is an essential part of schooling for sustainability. A systems approach helps young people understand the complexity of the world around them and encourages them to think in terms of relationships, connectedness, and context.

One lesson that nature teaches is that everything in the world is connected to other things. John Muir famously wrote, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”

Systems thinking is particularly useful in addressing complex or wicked problem situations. These problems cannot be solved by any one actor, any more than a complex system can be fully understood from only one perspective. Moreover, because complex adaptive systems are continually evolving, systems thinking is oriented towards organisational and social learning – and adaptive management.

Project X – Foil Blocking


Foil blocking (or hot foil stamping) is the process of applying metallic or pigment foil to paper or card, where a heated die is stamped onto the foil. 

To tackle the foil side of sustainability, a new study on the recyclability and repulpability of foil-decorated stock and board recently was commissioned by the FSEA through a third-party research firm – Pira International, Surrey, UK.

It finds in a 14 page document that both hot and cold foil stamping are sustainable methods of decorating recyclable products. To strengthen the sustainability of the process, the FSEA is currently investigating ways the foil can be completely removed from the carrier (after applied on-press) before it is re-rolled. Second, the FSEA is in the process of determining what types of recycling options are available with the used foil still on the polyester film carrier.

A de-inking process removes the foil, film laminate, or transfer metalled material from a paper or board substrate. Companies that manufacture and supply film and foil laminated board have had the ability to recycle scrap for many years using a de-inking process that separates the laminate from the board. Then the fibre in the board is recaptured and sold for secondary market pulp. This shows the ability for the process to be sustainable, and shouldn’t be misconstrued with other techniques used that are less so.