I read the document 'Branding Biodiversity' by Futerra, which explores the different ways that environmental messages are represented in activism and advertising. 
The main focus for most material around these issues is a message of LOSS; based on extinction, destruction, powerlessness and global crisis. Futerra's research shows that people just aren't responding to these messages in the way that is intended by the environmentalists/designers;

"Doom and gloom messaging that is designed to scare people into action more often switches them into apathy" (page 10)

So in order to activate people into making changes, the next step is to approach these issues with LOVE.
image from Futerra

"Powerful Love messages trade on empathy. Their currency is awe, fascination and wonder for the natural world. Love messages are positive, built on adrenalin, not tears." (Page 12)

So after reading this I started to think about the way that most positive environmental messages end up coming across really cheesy and are not exactly 'cool' looking.... I mean, just look at the examples in the Branding Biodiversity paper...*cough cough*....
I guess it kind of sewed the seed of an idea in my head... I was interested in the idea of 'intergrating pride in local places, plants and wildlife into my message' (page 22)... so I figured I would use nature imagery, preferably my own photos that I have collected over the years as a starting point...

But I was really unsure of what text to use - I thought, as a start, I would use text that has impacted on my life in some way...
I began thinking about 'nature' texts that have inspired me, particularly quotes or lines of poetry that have stuck with me over the years.... I've collected a few that have 'stirred my soul' and this excerpt from an E.E Cummings poem seems to really sum up my feelings about nature and the beautiful world we live in.... being absolutely immersed, intoxicated, heart burstingly breathless and overwhelmingly in awe!!.
... I mean, I actually think he was possibly writing about something QUITE different (ahem)... but sex and nature are one in the same if you ask me!! haha!

Most of all, I just wanted to get started with MAKING SOMETHING, rather than just TALKING ABOUT IT!
(.... shit just realised it supposed to say 'dash against THE darkness'.. oh well....)
My photograph - taken on drive to Ruapehu, 2005
Text from the poem "I will wade Out' by E.E Cummings
NOW; I really.... I mean REALLY dont like this poster..... I feel like its still just so phoney and cheesy and not really connected to my main project idea....but I thought maybe it was a good starting point to just get some image and text down on 'paper'!!


I thought I should at least try to play around with the idea a bit before completely discarding it.... this is a poem by NZ poet, Hilaire Kirkland, that I wrote on the front of a journal in 2002.... thought I would just scan in the journal itself... spelling errors and all (oops, 'rember' is obviously supposed to be 'remember'...)
Photograph is my own, from a trip to Waiakawau Bay, 2005. Text from a poem by Hilaire Kirkland.

Oh god, haha, it reminds me of this!! 

And Emily was just talking about this exact thing last week - how nature images are so often used when talking about mental health. Whats the connection? Nature makes it easier to DIGEST!!

By the way; theres 2 more components to Futerra's approach to branding; which I will explore in more detail later....

Actually, you know what... the reason it didnt work (of course it didnt work!) is because I was only focusing on one component of the formula.... I read this post in Futerra's blog and suddenly it all made sense....I mean, I read the original article but it was the LOVE message that really stuck in my head, I totally forgot about how they combine LOVE with the other message ACTION! This was the simple equation that reminded me what it is actually all about;

Love + Action = Public Change

I guess its because it is quite hard to think of a way to make people TAKE ACTION... how do I do that?

  • these posters have NO purpose!! 
  • they DEFINITELY don't ask people to take action, they are completely pointless... purely visual.
  • they dont reflect my project
  • love + action = public change
  • I feel like I should be working with companies or organisations to generate the kind of work I want to be producing - or even just create design work based around their issues,services or products

......started brewing on another idea;
I found this advertisement and this page of quotes.... and wondered about the possibility of using humour to get the point across.... I really like this ad; it kinda even refers to the fact that the dark side is emphasised too often when promoting environmental issues...PLUS it actually ASKS people to take action! This is where I am lacking;  I need to find companies or organizations to work with so that the posters actually have a purpose? That would make sense...
WWF ad for Earth Hour - asking the public to ‘join the forces of darkness’ and shut off the lights for one hour. FOUND ON WebEcoist
looked more throughly on Futerra's wesbite for examples of how they use the Love/Action approach.... actually didnt feel like there were really strong examples on there, in fact I still found a number of 'Loss' messages.... I guess they are just too hard to avoid at times...
This advertisement was interesting .... effective though?.... 
Natural England Office Behaviours - Futerra Advertisment

There were a couple of lines in the Branding Biodiversity text that got me thinking about the way that people use and depend on natural spaces...
"Learn why they love their natural surroundings and start there" Page 22
I thought about places that people go to immerse themselves in as much 'nature' as they can within the confines of the city (running up Mt. Eden, cycling around Mission Bay, or even further; getting pout of the city to take the dog for a walk along Piha beach etc). 

People need these spaces to rejuvinate.... to connect with nature... what if these things were taken away? 

I had this idea of using barrier tape to cordon off public nature areas; parks etc.... its kind of pushing the Loss message, but I thought it could be done with an element of humour... 

If I created an appealing message on the tape, would it make people aware of how fortunate they are for having these spaces available to them? A friend even suggested I could do chalk outlines of native birds within the spaces....
It raises some issues for me though;
  • How is this relevant to my project?
  • Could this idea be part of a wider branding/marketing concept?
  • How could I make barrier tape out of recycled materials? coz buying tape seems very wasteful and not at all sustainable...
19/03/2012Started googling ideas to do with barrier or cordon tape... wanted to see if someone else had tried this idea before...
 Found this...
image and description found on

Illegal Art
"Personal Space" tape is used to cordon off areas in which pedestrians may claim their own space. Installed on 14th Street, people can use and interpret the personal space designated by the tape any way that fits their needs. The tape will also be handed out so that anyone may create his or her own personal space. Time/Location: Thursday, October 1, 8, 22. Random locations along 14th Street.
Illegal Art, started in the summer of 2001, is a collaboration of artists whose goal is to create interactive public art to inspire self-reflection, thought, and human connection. To address this goal of engaging a broad population the artists employ many different strategies including postering, performance, and one-on-one unmediated provocation.

also found this.... not quite the same but using similar materials...
originally found on
also found this... the german sector of greenpeace have made their own series of barrier tapes...

also thought I should explore; WHAT DO THESE WORDS MEAN?


  • Definition: narrow strip of material
  • Synonyms: award, band, bandeau, banderole, binding, bow,braid, cordon , corse, decoration, fillet, prize,streamer, strip, stripe, tape, trimming



too heavy?
too cheesy?
In hindsight, I kind of prefer 'Are you really gonna let this barricade stop you...."
...ugly fonts btw.... just playing with sizing etc

  • these feel like they could be part of a wider project
  • I am still struggling with the text, the message
  • I hate these fonts - need to collect more fonts for my computer
  • this idea is possibly pushing the LOSS message too much, need to inject humour.