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How & How’s ‘Eat Less Plastic’ campaign visualises the alarming amount of plastic we ingest

Living in the Portuguese coastal city of Lisbon, digital design agency How & How have become well aware of the genuine and obvious threat plastic is to the ocean. But through an article published by The Guardian, they discovered another peril that’s far less publicised: the microplastic particles we’re ingesting every time we eat or drink from single-use plastic products, as well as when we consume fish, shellfish, sugar, salt, beer and more. Microplastic particles are even in the air we breath. According to a 2019 report from the University of Newcastle in Australia, “the average person swallows a credit card-sized amount of plastic each week”.

In response to that extremely troubling statistic, How & How decided to launch BeHalf, a series of mini in-house campaigns with Mother Nature as their client. “Riffing on a 50/50 theme we have running through the agency, we believe we all have an equal responsibility in tackling the climate emergency”, explains Creative Director Cat How.

The first in the series is ‘Use Less Plastic, Eat Less Plastic’, which was developed over a three-day sprint to coincide with the 2020 edition of #plasticfreejuly. The result is a vibrant and direct graphic representation of plastic ingestion, inspired by the pop colours and simple 2D forms used by illustrators such as James JoyceStephen CheethamRob Bailey and Dom Kesterton. Through a tight, gridded approach, several colourful plastic containers are contrasted with a stark, untouched credit card and the related, harrowing message.

Speaking on how the graphic design industry can cut down on plastic use in general, How tells that us that “at the moment, our linear economy requires we make, use and dispose of packaging. But perhaps we should look at it differently. A circular economy – where materials are kept within a closed-loop – will mean that we can be more creative with how we use plastic. For example, brands could design beautiful, durable bottles that are kept, cherished, and ideally, refilled. Where there is less budget, sticker packs could be designed to cover existing bottles or be used by consumers to customise their own chosen vessels. My favourite plastic-free initiative is Who Gives a Crap, who have replaced the plastic packaging around toilet paper with cool… recycled paper. It’s all about keeping it simple”.

Stay tuned for more of How & How’s BeHalf campaigns. They’re already working on one about tyre microplastics, which is “already emerging as something of horrific beauty!”

Typefaces: Sharp Grotesk by Sharp Type / Mabry by Colophon Foundry

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