The FMP is going to be an awareness campaign about Sustainable gifts/presents.
Following my research on excess packaging and toxic ingredients used in conventional cosmetics, it is important for me to make people aware of the impact on the environment caused by society and especially of unwanted gifts which end up in landfill.
I started off the semester with an experiment: it was one of my housemate’s birthday and I made her present as sustainable as possible, it was a knitted hairband (handmade by me) in a box (which used to have biscuits inside). I then wrapped the box in a vintage silk scarf (from a charity shop) using a Japanese wrapping method called ‘Furoshiki’.
When she received the present she loved it and did not realise that it was actually handmade, she thought I had bought it from Accessorize. Her surprise proved my point that handmade presents are so rare nowadays and it is unexpected that anything nice would not be from a big brand. What my FMP is going to try and achieve is to change people’s perceptions and hopefully open their mind to natural and handmade products.
I then attended a workshop by Sallyanne on Brand theory which further re-enforced the fact that consumers associate brands in their culture with certain qualities and so it seems that things which are handmade cannot compete with the advertising campaigns of companies such as L’Oreal or Next. What I need to achieve is to give a reason to people to stay away from the shiny and unsustainable corporations by giving them information which helps to make better choices.
For example, one of the info-graphics I will make is about the most common toxic ingredients in consumer products and how to avoid them. Another series of information graphics will consist of quick tutorials on how to make handmade earrings, basic knitting techniques, wrapping using silk scarfs etc. I am aiming to give people a broader picture of the range of choices available. For example, buying handmade gifts from Etsy.com or cosmetics from companies such as Lush Handmade Cosmetics instead of gifts which are over packaged and not recyclable.
As part of my course I am also doing a Critical Reflections presentation and based on the research from it I came to a conclusion that a lot of ‘green’ posters and campaigns seem to be inspired by propaganda war posters and the style of the 50’s which means that they take the visual language out of context and appropriate it for their designs. I on the other hand, argue that the graphics should be inspired by the materials and the idea behind (in my case sustainability and the planet).
For this FMP, the colour scheme is inspired by Japanese gardens, hence the green colours.
So far I have taken a series of photographs for the tutorial section of the web site and have started working on the logo and layout for the web site.
The next step is to start working on a book which will consist of a series of screen printed posters. In the spirit of re-using and hand-making, the posters will be double sided and can hung up on a wall to raise awareness or used as wrapping paper instead (with a simple pattern on the back side).
After speaking to Liz (screen printing technician) about materials etc, I have decided on using ‘Magnani Pescia Book’ paper at 100gsm, which makes it thick enough not to be transparent (as it will be printed on both sides) but at the same time the cotton material makes it really easy to fold so it can be used as wrapping paper.
My next step is to contact the company which stocks our university and ask them for advice on if they have more suitable choice (bearing in mind the environmental costs).
The posters will include some of the info-graphics (also featured on the web site) and will hopefully be seen both by the person giving a present and then by the receiver (after opening it). This way raising awareness further and starting a conversation about sustainability.