| Creative Scarves for Lush

"I always say, buy less and buy better quality - so that what you buy will last" explains Dame Westwood. Image Source: www.ecouterre.com

One of the designs for the limited edition Climate Revolution Knot Wraps.
Image Source: http://www.ecouterre.com

Image Source: www.ecouterre.com

“I always say, buy less and buy better quality – so that what you buy will last” explains Dame Westwood.
Image Source: http://www.ecouterre.com

As Christmas rapidly approaches, I thought it would be of interest to share this new eco-friendly initiative from fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. In fact, As part of her sustainable forward thinking, she has created scarves for high street beauty store Lush to use instead of wrapping paper.

Since 2005, the beauty brand, which produces handmade cosmetics, has decided to replace the paper with scarves as part of a worldwide project to cut back on gift paper. Sadly, we are responsible of using an impressive 365,000 kilometers of wrapping paper every Christmas.

Christmas is about giving, not about wrapping, packaging and waste. We’ve been encouraging our customers to use fabrics […] – half of our products don’t even need packaging – they come “naked”.
– Mo Constantine OBE, co-founder of Lush

All proceeds from the two limited edition “Climate Knot-Wraps” designed by Vivienne Westwood will be used to raise awareness for Climate Revolution. So, not only will these scarves reduce waste and last a lifetime, but they also encourages a cause for a thriving future.

| Sustainable Graphic Design


Source: PACT website (2013)

As part of my DART 391 class, we had a lecture on sustainable graphic design. The guest speaker was Marie Reumont, the founder of PACT.

I had already heard of Marie Reumont, since she had her graphic design formation at College Ahuntsic, juste like I have done.  During my final year, she received an award for the role she played in the growth and development of the graphic design and communications industry in Quebec.

I found her lecture very motivating: she seemed very passionate about the future of the designer in the ecodesign process. The challenge is to achieve good design while integrating sustainability principles.

She gave us many tools and solutions; here are just a few:

  • Using alternate materials;
  • Choosing the right processes;
  • Simplify the message;
  • Getting back to the essentials, to the core of the product;
  • Optimizing manufacturing.

However, I think the real challenge here is to get companies and big corporations to adopt these changes in their branding and products. Nowadays, the problem is that companies are willing to invest enormous amounts of money for the marketing of their so-called “green design”, to convince people that their product and/or company is eco-friendly and sustainable. However, when it comes to investing in ways to actually make the product greener, they are not so willing. So, it all comes down to greenwashing, which is exactly what Marie Reumont wants to change: with PACT, she has the fervent desire of informing the consumer about what actually has been done, as well as what has to be done in the future.

Here is a link to PACT’s webpage: http://www.projetpact.com/



| 30 secondes pour changer le monde

This series of shows analyses the marketing image and the advertisement of twelve major social issues. This week’s topic was environment, an issue that is becoming more and more important in Quebec.

Climate, nature and biodiversity are hot topics that concern us all, especially now that we are aware that human activity can have irreversible environmental impacts. Ecological disasters marked the imagination of Quebecers, and shocking images of these disasters led to the protection of the environment as a major cause of the early 21st century. Gatherings such as Earth Day show us the effectiveness of advertising campaigns as well as their repercussions on society.

As people nowadays become saturated with warnings of a danger that appears so distant from our reality, communication experts have to think about new innovative ways of getting the urging message across to the population.

Click on the image above to watch some shocking ads from Quebec and other parts of the world. 


Other subjects that will be analyzed in this series of shows are:

  • Road Safety
  • Domestic Violence
  • AIDS
  • Breast Cancer
  • Drug Addiction
  • Suicide
  • Weight
  • Alcohol Addiction
  • Smoking
  • Gambling
  • Poverty


| “One day I will find the words, and they will be simple.”

Source: Roxanne Desrosiers

Source: Roxanne Desrosiers

As our weekly assignment for the third week of the semester, we had to go Guillermo Trejo’s exhibition Protesta.

I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed when I entered the ARPRIM gallery; I think I was under the impression that the exhibition would have been much bigger than it actually was (from my past experience, I had only been to quite larger exhibitions than this one). Also, the exhibition space seemed rather empty, because Trejo’s prints were all white on a white wall.

Nonetheless, once my first impression put aside, Trejo’s exhibition was quite powerful. As soon as you entered the room, you felt the tension in his prints between the Mexican government and the public. You knew, even if your understanding of Spanish is very limited, that the slogans did open many debates back in Mexico. In fact, the whole essence of this exhibition is to reveal the role of prints in public space, and how the government in Mexico quickly removes these powerful slogans and commentaries that are in opposition with the government’s political views.

Trejo’s prints themselves symbolize the procedure used by the Mexican government to remove the posters that were put up in public spaces during protests. Indeed, the words were printed in bold black ink, but then covered in white ink. Because the white ink was not totally opaque, the white would only partially cover the slogans so that they would seem faded, but still readable.

To find these prints in Montreal made me realize how the very powerful slogans could, to some extent, be applied here in Quebec. With all the controversy surrounding the Charte des Valeurs Québecoises, the collusion in our government and the student strike last year, we might not be better off than Mexico…


These are examples of slogans that could be found in Trejo’s prints:

“Behind every fascism there is a failed revolution.” – this slogan was actually the first one you noticed when you enter the gallery, since it is hung on the wall opposite of the gallery entrance.

“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find a meaning in the suffering.”

“Paz con justicia y dignidad”, or “Peace with justice and dignity.”





| First Things First; A Manifesto

This reading was the first to come to my attention, since it concerns the field I am most comfortable with, which is graphic design.

On one hand, being a part of a generation that is bombarded with publications and advertising, I have to agree with this graphic design manifesto. Ads are EVERYWHERE, we cannot avoid them even if we tried: we see them on the highway, while waiting in line at the doctor’s office, in the public bathrooms and even in the sky. Even worse, the ads on the web adapt to your interests according to your web page history ! Consumers do not even notice these ads anymore, they are too numerous and it becomes confusing to pay attention to every single one of them. Take Tiime Square for example: the giant billboards are part of the city decor, but nobody really notices them as ads anymore. We see the ads more like accessories of the city scape than as communicators of an idea or specific product. This results in the making of even more aggressive ads, so that consumers will end up noticing them. It is an ongoing cycle of bombardment.

On the other hand, being a graphic designer whose professional experience has mainly been in the commercial industry, I have to disagree with the authors of the graphic design manifesto. Nothing is more stimulating and fun as a professional to brainstorm and develop a new ad campaign for a certain product on the market. It is immensely self-satisfying to see your completed ad on the highway, while waiting in line at the doctor’s office, in the public bathrooms or even in the sky. The greatest challenge as a graphic designer is to create ads that will get to consumer to look up and notice, and eventually get to desired reaction.

So maybe, just like the authors of the manifesto wrote, it would be more profitable for our national prosperity if all the energy graphic designers spend creating ferocious advertising campaigns, they would invest it in other media that promotes “our education, our culture and our greater awareness of the world”. The great campaigns of this world would then actually serve the population, not just inform them about yet another product that is available to them. Like mentioned in the text, there is no use to taking the fun out of life, both as a consumer who looks at those ads and a graphic designer who creates those ads.

| Home

The documentary Home, by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, is for the most part done with great beauty, sensitivity and grace. Indeed, Home is a film that opens your eyes to the devastating state of our planet, with an incredible cinematography and a well crafted narrative.

Firstly, the cinematography of this documentary is stunning; with beautifully rich aerial shots of more than 50 countries, you get to see our planet like you’ve never seen it before. The film, like its tagline suggests, is a “stunning visual portrayal of Earth”. Even the images of pollution that humans have caused in the last fifty years look appealing to the eye. The film contrasts the beauties and miracles of our planet with the disasters humans have come to create, yet does so with respect and sensitivity for the human race.

Even if the pictures and images do most of the talking, the narration and score add immensely to the beauty of the film. In the English version, Glenn Close (six-time Academy Award winner) is a calm, but very intense narrator. She does not sound alarmed by the facts she is enumerating throughout the film. The score accompanying Glenn Close’s voice is also quite powerful, bringing as much to the film as the images do.

Even more so powerful is the contents of the documentary, which underlines the most overwhelming and alarming truth about our planet’s (our home’s) future. The documentary shows numerous ways in which our current human activities are not at all sustainable. Our over-use of water, our dependance on non-renewable resources, the use of agriculture to feed cattle as well as the Earth’s overpopulation are the main causes for the quick destruction of the fragile state of our planet. Personally, I found interesting that the director drew attention to our own country, Canada, and how Canadians are dangerously wasting land, water and energy. This is mostly the case in the oil sands of Alberta and Saskatchewan, all in the strive to obtain harder-to-get oil and other fossil fuels. The fact that the film mentions Canada as one of the actors of this alarming situation makes us realize that the catastrophic pollution and abuse does not happen only in countries far away from us.

Also, the narrator mentions several times in the film that everything is linked, that we all come from the same family. However, it is shocking to see how humans are doing exactly the contrary: we are shattering this natural balance and harmony, breaking the links of elements that were once intimately linked. Fortunately though, the film ends in an optimistic manner, telling us that it is too late to be pessimist about our fate as a species. We need to come together, not as citizens of different countries, but as human beings. However, I think we need to find more concrete solutions other than the ones mentioned at the end of the documentary. Our major world leaders are not ready to attack this giant of a problem, and could postpone the alarming situation another ten years if the population does not come up with concrete solutions that would help our Home to survive.