| Do The Green Thing

The Green Thing. Image Source: http://www.dothegreenthing.com/users/new

The Green Thing.
Image Source: http://www.dothegreenthing.com/users/new

As I was researching other sustainable practitioners, designers, thinkers, movements and/or trends that could inspire me for the second assignment of my Collaborative Design Research class, I came upon a website called Do The Green Thing. They give you, among other things, seven ways to lead a greener life:

  • Walk;
  • Stay grounded;
  • All-consume products;
  • Eat less meat;
  • Stay warm with human heat;
  • Spend less time with technology;
  • Stick with what you got.

It presents a simple yet doable approach, without being totally overwhelming like sustainability tends to be. They work on the principle that lots of small things can add up to more than a few big things, which is exactly the way we should start acting if we want drastic changes in our world. If Green Thing is about one thing, it’s inspiring green action. If we all contribute to Green Thing, it will become as creative, as credible and as inspiring as it can be. If we all do the Green Thing, it will make the biggest impact it can make. You can consult their manifesto right here.

Another cool project to this website is the “Do The Green Thing” project. Artists, illustrators, copywriters and general creatives submit posters highlighting different environmental issues. Most posters that were submitted are truly visually captivating, and with a slice of humor they raise awareness through their meaning.


"Unplug Yourself", by graphic designer Andrew Chapman. Image Source: http://dothegreenthing.tumblr.com/post/65040831484/thewoodentruth

“Unplug Yourself”, by graphic designer Andrew Chapman.
Image Source: http://dothegreenthing.tumblr.com/post/65040831484/thewoodentruth

The first poster that caught my attention was “Unplug Yourself”, by The Wooden Truth. The Wooden Truth is a small letterpress studio based in Lewes (UK) run by graphic designer Andrew Chapman. To encourage people to live a life less electric, he created a  design using only old wood type, which he hand inked and hand rolled. The designer believes that by switching off and unplugging at the end of the day will not only save you money and valuable resources, it will also give you the time to do something else – more natural, more calming, more rewarding things. This reaches out to my team’s first assignment, where we wanted to highlight our society’s dependance on technology, especially smartphones.


"Hot", by photographer Dean Chalkley. Image Source: http://dothegreenthing.tumblr.com/post/45900884814/deanchalkey

“Hot”, by photographer Dean Chalkley.
Image Source: http://dothegreenthing.tumblr.com/post/45900884814/deanchalkey

Another witty poster from this “Do The Green Thing” project is one that asks the question “how can one heat a home without heating?”. Photographer Dean Chalkley’s answer is urning off the heating and pulling on a jumper instead. In his mind, it is a real waste of energy to turn up the heating when the human body is fully capable of heating itself (with the help of an extra layer or two of clothing) so there’s no need for a radiator to do what a jumper can do better. In fact, according to the artist, A light long-sleeved sweater is generally worth about 2 degrees F in added warmth, while a heavy sweater adds about 4 degrees F. This is much more efficient than electric heating, with nearly two thirds of heat leaving our homes through the walls and roof. I found this a creative way of advocating the over usage of electricity in our homes. However, I wonder if these artists have experienced Canadian winters…

| Sustainable Principles and Practices

Icon Source: Entypo.

Icon Source: Entypo.

To start off the second assignment for our Collaborative Design Research class, we were asked to look at all the process PDFs for the first assignment and find three sustainable principles and practices that would be relevant to implement in the second assignment.

What was interesting in each process PDF was how sustainability was described and understood. For some, sustainability implied making objects useful without harming the future, by having a certain mindfulness to waste and an empathy towards nature and future (Infinity). Sustainability can also be seen as being a demonstration for the well-being of others, respect for the Earth and an understanding of how connected everything it (Nomad). Other people are more pessimistic, as they see sustainability as an overwhelming phenomenon, how the negative aspects human activities (especially industrialization) are having on the environment (Horse With Blinders On). However, what was recurrent in all the PDFs was the social and cultural aspects that should also be considered in every sustainable creative process.



Designers are creators of the new (Something Blurred). This seems like a very powerful statement, but in fact designers have the responsibility over the choices they make in their design process. They are the ones who can change consumers’ habits by designing for people’s true needs instead of focusing on people’s wants. This can be quite a challenge, but there is a need to make people realize what is at stake and question whether the way we do things is the best way to do it. This is why designers have to research very thoroughly about the subject they are focusing on, and rethink every step in their thinking process in order to make the right choices and the most sustainable decisions for consumers and the world around them. This is a principle that needs to be implemented in the brainstorming stage of the second assignment (and even every other project) to be able to achieve innovative sustainable works.



Another recurring principle in the majority of the concepts presented in class was the dual purpose of the project. Indeed, I found it very interesting how the objects that were created for the first assignment were both an aesthetic piece and a practical item. by doing so, designers are able to present awareness through the meaning of the object and as the same time present it as a visually beautiful piece. Therefore, consumers will be more interested in the content if the container is more appealing to their eyes. And if designers want to take a step further towards sustainability, their work should be visually captivating as well as being beneficial to the environment (Positive Littering). I find that this aesthetic dimension should be included in every project, to highlight the creative character of the designer.



We cannot speak of sustainability without mentioning the product life cycle. The life cycle of a product include material extraction, manufacturing and production, transportation, use and reuse, and finally disposal and recycling. It is mostly in this last step that designers need to work on, in order to make consumers not want to dispose of their objects. In fact, the ultimate challenge of the designer is to create an fully designed, whole product that will defy the notion of time, and be intangible, indefinite and infinite (Infinity). Designers should strive towards the next big thing in sustainability, which is to practice a design that focuses on refusing, reducing, reusing, recycling and recovering the product in order to extend the life cycle of the product (Blank Slate). What would be ideal would be to create a product that is infinite, a product that defies its own life expectancy.



As part of our preliminary research was to brainstorm on a production question for the second assignment. This was a challenge since I still do not know the precise subject on what my future team will be working on, but here are a couple preliminary production questions:

“How could one extract design and sustainability principles from the past and apply them to the creation of something sustainably responsible that would answer people’s needs rather than people’s wants ?”

” How could a designer tell to consumers that just like designers who have responsibility over over the choices they make in their design process, consumers actually do have a responsibility over technology ?”



Projects cited:

  • Infinity, by Louise Heng, Eliza Nguyen, Mylinh Nguyen and Melanie Palapuz.
  • Blank Slate, by Laurence Baril, Bruno Lariviere, Melissa Noack, Julia Panchyzhna and Sarah Pilgrim.
  • Something Blurred, by  John Bigsby, Celeste Nakai, Véronique Pelletier and Paula Youwakim.
  • Positive Littering, by Sydney Cornett, Oliver Houston, Cameron Morse, and Sandy Spink.
  • Horse With Blinders On, by Alex Pelchat-White, Anne Dehn, Chloe Belisle and Tatev Yesayan.
  • Nomad, by Gustavo Lopez, Eric Mackay, Daniel Martinez and Steven Steffen.

| [Assignment 01] Presentation & Critique

Cracking Reality, mounted on wall. Photo by Roxanne Desrosiers.

Cracking Reality, paper prints mounted on wall.
Photo by Roxanne Desrosiers.

Cracking reality, velum prints on table. Photo by Roxanne Desrosiers.

Cracking reality, velum prints on table.
Photo by Roxanne Desrosiers.

This past Wednesday was our class presentation and critique for our first assignments.

Our team project aimed to see how we could use screen printing to comment on sustainable living by comparing technological cracks that are undesirable and annoying, to the metaphorical cracks of our society in which real life and virtual life are intrinsically linked.

By doing so, we tried to take a more sustainable social and cultural approach to our very materialistic theme. The material cracks of a call phone screen are a stepping stone to something deeper. In fact, we wanted to show what hides behind our material cracks and ask the viewer “where do you stand?” amidst all this technological confusion. We hope that through our project, we were able to reach our viewers’ different narratives and make them realize that social interactions have gone rare in our society of technology. They need to look away from their screen, and into the world that surrounds them. We were very happy with the final result, and even more so that our project received a positive critique !

Overall, the other projects really impressed me; I was not disappointed by a single one. Every team worked hard to tie in sustainability with their project, and we could see that as much energy was put into the conceptual aspect of the project than on the production of the finished work.


| 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



"Diva Kiki", an experiment with screenprinting.

“Diva Kiki”, an experiment with screenprinting.

A student screenprinting.

A student screenprinting.

As part of our screenprinting learning process in DART 391, we went to attend a workshop at Atelier CINQUNQUATRE, located in Montreal’s Mile End. Needless to say it was quite a fun experience !

The class got the chance to see the whole screenprinting process, from burning the screens to actually printing different images. Then, we got the chance to do our own prints: 5 prints that were part of a numbered series, and 5 monoprints (for a total of ten prints per team).

| Sexe, solitude et mensonges

Illustration by Francis Léveillée (La Presse, Sept. 25 2010).

Illustration by Francis Léveillée (La Presse, Sept. 25 2010).

This illustration accompanied a special series of articles in La Presse about erotic phone lines. Despite its controversial subject matter, I find the illustration is visually interesting mainly because of the blend of bright, bold colors and the play with transparency and opacity. Even though the illustration was done on the computer rather than with screenprinting, it would be graphically stunning to play with these kinds of color compositions in by experimenting with the different layers and graphic images.

| Blexbolex

Another fascinating screenprinting artist is Blexbolex, a multi-award winning French book illustrator working in Berlin. His experimental approach to combining illustration with industrial printing techniques and book production is what makes up his unique style. Blexbolex entered art school with the intention of becoming a painter, but left having discovered his talent as a screen printing artist. Since then, he has worked regularly with book publishers in France and Germany, as well as for the press. In 2009 he received the prestegious Golden Letter award for best book design throughout the world. His most famous book is undoubtedly Seasons, published in 2010 by Enchanted Lion Books. In this graphically stunning picture book, Blexbolex explores the cyclical nature of time by looking at the seasons. Using objects, landscapes, activities, and different types of people that are associated with each season (such as a skier, a swimmer, a roasted chestnut seller), Blexbolex evokes the sense of permanency given to life by its cyclical nature, despite the fact that time is always passing (Barnes and Nobles). It is classified as a picture book for kids, but I find it suits a much older audience. Many adults would want to add this beautifully illustrated book to their personal library !

| Dan McCarthy

Night Air – 5 color screen print (glows in the dark) Source: http://www.escapeintolife.com/interviews/dan-mccarthy-celebrated-screen-print-artist/

Night Air – 5 color screen print (glows in the dark)
Source: http://www.escapeintolife.com/interviews/dan-mccarthy-celebrated-screen-print-artist/

When I think of screenprinting, what comes to mind first are often bright, bold colors. I was surprised to find artist Dan McCarthy’s work rather dark, mostly representing night scenes. In fact, there are recurring images in paintings, art prints, drawings and posters: the viewer often sees telephone poles, wires, silhouettes of forests at night, houses with the lights on in the dead of night. In an interview, McCarthy mentions that he is attracted to telephone poles and wires because he likes the idea of drawing attention to something that is generally overlooked or ignored. Also, he finds that the variety of intersecting lines are a lot of fun to draw. Also, all of his prints share a similar, dominant style, a style that is very much graphic.

In the same interview, he also explains his technique when it comes to creating his posters and prints, which are mostly screen printed. He stars with a pen and ink drawing, and then scans the drawing into Photoshop and add the color on different layers. He rarely uses more that four or five colors. From Photoshop, he prints out films of each color layer and expose each layer onto a screen. After that, he begins the printing process.

The poster below is a poster that McCarthy did for ABC’s teleseries LOST as part of a fan appreciation project.




– McCarthy, Dan. “Interview With Dan McCarthy: Celebrated Screen Print Artist.” Interview with Lara Cory. Escape Into Life. 

| Seripop

Seripop was one of the artists that had been mentioned during our first screenprinting class. I had heard of the name, but had never seen any of their artworks before. This is why I decided to choose them as part of my research on screenprinters. Seripop is composed of two Montreal-based artists, Yannick Desranleau and Chloe Yum. They have worked together since 2000. Their collaborative projects have touched the fields of visual arts, music and graphic design. They have exhibited both in Canada and abroad, notably at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal. Also, their work is part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s public collection in London. They are probably the most recognizable print artists in Montreal. I find their work very appealing to the eye of the viewer. Seeing the image of the artwork below, it made me realize that screenprinting can also be used not only as a series of prints, but also as part of an entire installation. Indeed, the artist duo considers their art as being “site-responsive”, which means that the art might consider a space as a skeleton or frame, opening itself up to interventions, adjustments and alterations. Seripop highlight their target site, embellishing each location with a experimental and perceptual design (Joseph Henry, “Paper Planes: Seripop Takes Over YYZ”). In an interview with The National Post (interview with Leah Sandals), Seripop mentioned that the try to be playful in their installations and posters, because it keeps them from being bored. They also say that their installations are a nod to the idea that the poster is one of the only ways for people to express themselves in an urban context. This is why the artist duo especially likes working with the ephemeral aspect of posters; their work is ultimately made to be destroyed. Even with their paper exhibitions, there are elements that are left on the floor that the visitors will walk on, which get more and more destroyed as people visit.



– seripop.com – Desranleau, Yannick and Chloe Lum. “Hardly Paper Thin.” Interview with Leah Sandals. National Post [Toronto]. March 1 2012.

– Henry, Joseph. “Paper Planes: Seripop Takes Over YYZ.” Blouin ArtInfo, August 16 2013.