Eat Less Plastic visualises a disgusting fact involving the climate emergency

The campaign by the Lisbon and London studio How & How depicts the credit card-sized amount of plastic we individually ingest every week.

21 July 2020


A number of creatives have helped spread awareness of Plastic Free July this year, including Tia Grazette’s online exhibition featuring Sarah Maple and Lois Winstone. But for London- and Lisbon-based studio How & How, its approach made one of the greatest impacts by focusing on a tiny (and disgusting) detail. Centring on one fact about the climate crisis, that we individually eat a credit card-sized amount of plastic every week, the studio created a campaign to draw people in to find out more about the wider issues.

“Living in Lisbon means we’re in daily contact with the moods, majesty… and misery of our Ocean,” explains studio creative director Cat How. “The plastic washing up on our beaches is a very real and obvious threat. But there’s an awful hidden danger we barely notice – the degraded plastic particles we’re all ingesting through water, which have infiltrated the system. And we’re ingesting these at an alarming scale: a credit card-sized amount of them, per person each week,” she says, citing The Guardian article Plastic superhighway: the awful truth of our hidden ocean waste.

The team has given a name to the studio’s in-house projects: BeHalf, denoting that said projects are “on behalf of the planet” and have a 50/50 theme, because the team believes “we all have an equal responsibility in tackling the climate emergency”. For 2020, the studio is focusing on ocean plastic through a series of mini projects – Eat Less Plastic being one of them – created in a four-day sprint. The results are akin to a pop art piece, showing vibrantly coloured plastic bottles alongside seemingly innocuous white credit cards, aiming to draw attention to an alarming health effect of the plastic in our oceans. “It had to be arresting but not shock; dark in tone but colourful in nature,” How says. “A challenge was making the credit card not seem as if it had been made from recycled plastic, and instead communicate what we consume from the broken down particles of other products such as plastic bags, bottles, containers, etc.”

How cites “illustration idols James Joyce, Stephen Cheetham, Rob Bailey, Dom Kesterton, Adrian Johnson and Giacomo Bagnara,” as inspiration, for their “pop colours, clean and bold object outlines, and ‘frosting’ effect”.

“Our main design challenge was to make the objects of plastic fit within, or form part of, the credit card in order to keep the focus on the size of plastic we consume via a relatable object,” she continues. “So the need to simplify, and flatten these objects down was a key consideration.”

How & How is running the campaign on social media.

Ocean plastic was the visual inspiration behind Lovers’ Greenpeace campaign in 2018, wherein the designers created a typeface channeling the aesthetic of eroded and crumpled packaging in the sea.

GalleryHow & How: Eat Less Plastic

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Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

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