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visual communication practice

Unwrap the World


Description of idea

Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the festival outlines:

For the Memefest Competition under the visual communication design category I have chosen to work with the idea of environmental debt, specifically looking at how environmental debt affects us as human beings and what we can do to reduce our impact on the planet and actually reduce the debt we have.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

I have chosen to produce a work under the Visual Communication Design category and in particular Graphics. I have produced a logo, poster, info graphic, as well as a model of a garden, which these graphic elements are all centered around. Through my designs I have not only informed my audience about the huge and devastating effect we are having on our world, but tried to help the problem and even reverse the environmental debt we have incurred.

What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of your communication?

I believe my design ‘Unwrap the World from Environmental Debt’ does indeed benefit society and also the environment. Through my design I have given clear facts about how our actions affect the environment and how this is leading to a huge environmental debt. I have also attempted to encourage people to seek further information about the issues, through promotional days, stickers and posters. However, perhaps the most significant effect of my design on society is the garden where I envisage the info graphic to sit (as seen in my model). I imagine this garden being built along side the Power House Museum in Brisbane. I have chosen this location not only for the aesthetics, I feel the grungy, industrial feel of the building would be a nice juxtaposition of the garden, but also because of the popularity of the site. Another consideration is that if the Powerhouse Museum was behind this idea their support would not only help with monetary aspects of the initiative but also their huge database of contacts and advertising would create greater awareness and interest in the community. The idea of the garden is not only to create a place for the info graphic to sit but through the choice of plants this garden actually benefits the environment and helps to pay off our environmental debt. The plants chosen are species of bamboo and various grasses, used because of their ability to sequester the greatest amount of carbon. Therefore this garden has a positive impact on the environment, resulting in benefits to the society.

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

Through creating this design I have learnt a lot about environmental debt. I have learnt that the amount of waste we produce, specific products we buy (because of their production), daily activities we participate in all contribute to the devastating effects we are having on the earth and the huge environmental debt we are all responsible for.
As part of my research into environmental debt as well as my efforts to create a design which helps to decrease this debt, I have learnt a lot about carbon sequestration. Carbon sequestration is the capturing and storage of CO2 from the atmosphere with the purpose of minimising global warming. The paper ‘Green’ geosequestration: Secure
carbon sequestration via plant silica biomineralisation’, SULLIVAN, L.A. and PARR, J.F. ,2007, goes into great detail about the process of carbon sequestration and in particular the capturing of carbon in silica balls. This particular discovery was ground breaking because of the silica’s ability to hold in the carbon even after being burnt (through fire) preventing the carbon from escaping and becoming CO2. The paper also discusses the varieties of plants that are the best at sequestering carbon such as bamboo and grass; this knowledge inspired the plant choices in my garden.

On a less technical level I have learnt that doing a design surrounding an issue you are passionate about is very inspiring. I am inspired to do more designs, not for clients or for money, but instead to help try and solve a problem, which in this case was environmental debt.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

I believe my work is good communication work because of the aesthetics and the message it is trying to communicate. Through colour choice it is evident to the audience that my designs are related to nature. There is a reappearing motif through the various elements of my designs of the world surrounded by sinuous lines, suggesting the work has something to do with the entrapment of the world, in particular nature. I believe my work is good communication work, because it not only communicates the problem but offers a solution, or at least a step in the right direction. We live in a time where we are bombarded with information about a plethora of topics, and I have tried to make what I am trying to communication different from anything I’ve seen before. I also wanted to make people feel like they are part of the solution.
I believe making designs that are aesthetically pleasing is only one part of good communication work, the other part is the message you are trying to communicate. Designers need to reassess the way we make work and for what purpose as discussed by Rick Poynor in the ‘First Things First Manifesto’, 2000 and the original by Ken Garland in ‘First Things First’, 1964. They called for designers of their time to change the way they work as designers, to design for the greater good and for worthwhile causes, rather than for monetary incentives.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

As part of my submitted design the implementation of my work is evident. I envisage my info graphic, which discusses and addresses various aspects of environmental debt, to sit in a garden which through the particular plants which are growing there (bamboo and grasses) will actually work towards helping the problem of carbon emissions and inherently environmental debt. As for the location of this garden, as discussed above, I would place it in a public area which would create more awareness but also attached it to a preexisting company, such as the Powerhouse Museum in Brisbane, which would enable their database of funds, clients and advertising to benefit the scheme ‘Unwrap the World from Environmental Debt’.

As well as the garden, I have also created another avenue for people to help decrease their environmental debt and that is through the distribution of seed packets full of the bamboo and grasses, which are so amazing at sequestering carbon. I would have these packets handed out at the ‘Plant a Tree Day’ in the garden where people could come and learn about environmental debt, carbon sequestration and what they can do to help. I hope that this small contribution that people can make (planting and growing these plants) will empower them to learn more and do more to decrease our environmental debt. On this day stickers will also be handed out for people to put on their cars or in other public places, which hopefully sparks intrigue from friends and strangers, enabling people to spread the message through word of mouth.

Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change other media with your work- how?)



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Curators comments

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Entry details


Unwrap the World


Help Unwrap the World from Environmental Debt

Concept author(s)

Thea Darnell

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

Creation of concept.




Thea Darnell

Designer(s) year(s) of birth


Designer(s) contribution

The creation of the project and all design elements.

Competition category

visual communication practice

Competition subcategory


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

Studying a Bachelor of Visual Communication Design at the Queensland College of Art at Griffith, Queensland, Australia