Graphic designers often get lumped together with fine artists – when the truth is that they
are almost opposites. Artists create to share something that’s uniquely theirs with the world, allowing each viewer to find their own interpretation. Designers, on the other hand, create to communicate specifically – they are visual-thinking problem solvers; specialists in reaching the masses.
Award-winning graphic designer and creative director Josie Jones of design studio Share
the Word is known for her visual communication, and while her studio certainly delivers on
their design motto of ‘making you look awesome’ – with an array of local clients, including A Mini Kitchen, Captains Bar, the Pavilion in McCrae, Rye Produce & Nursery, and Sorrento
Catering Company, to name a few – her greatest passion is the environment.
This passion was born while living and working on the island of Tahiti. “To be given a gift to
live in the islands of Polynesia and experience the culture was a life-changing event for me,” says Josie. Yet it was also an eye-opener for her, as she was taken aback by the rubbish problem that exists there. “I couldn’t keep on watching the habits of the people and just stand back and say it was okay.”
Josie began by leading by example: collecting rubbish she saw on the beaches and in drains. “I didn’t want to just walk by it knowing that if it rained that this rubbish would end up in the ocean.” This lead to the awareness that people required education to recognise the effects they had on the world around them.
This realisation continued for Josie upon her return to Australia and her move to the
Peninsula in 2011, as she became acutely aware of the fact that the littering problem was
global. “I saw rubbish on the shores of the Peninsula and the attitudes towards rubbish were universal. No one owns rubbish, yet the reality is, it belongs to everyone.”
Josie continued collecting rubbish every morning, now off the Peninsula beaches, yet she
realised that larger-scale action was required. So, this year, Josie set herself a ‘1 tonne
rubbish challenge’, with a goal collecting a tonne of rubbish from the Peninsula foreshore in the hope that her rubbish mantra – “If you see it, pick it up” – will encourage others to help clean up.
Five months in, Josie has collected an impressive 600 kilograms of rubbish. “The challenge
was created as a way of being a part of a solution, rather than complaining about something that won’t go away if we don’t change.” While her personal rubbish collecting may seem admirable, Josie stresses that collecting rubbish is our duty as a community.
‘I’m really a mermaid’ is Josie latest project. It’s a Peninsula-wide media campaign aimed at spreading the word – and who better to pull it off than a visual-communications professional.
“The mermaid has two simple aims,” says Josie. “Rubbish responsibly and aim for zero
waste.” While recycling effectively is very important, Josie explains that people also need to be mindful of what they buy. Zero waste is where all discarded materials are designed to
become resources for others to use. It only becomes ‘rubbish’ when it is no longer considered valuable. As such, people need to increase their awareness of resourceful and inventive ways to up-cycle waste.
The ‘I’m really a mermaid’ campaign reflects the local flora and marine life, with additions
to posters such as the Wondering Postman and the bulbine lily, along with the weedy sea
dragons and Australian fur seals. The messages communicated – through stickers and
posters – are a wonderful way to thank the environment and take a different perspective on life. And people love it – Josie’s message is getting through.
With profits from this initiative scheduled to go back to the environment, Josie is open to
discussing with individuals and organisations on how to share these funds with well-deserving projects.
It certainly takes a visual-thinking problem solver to get important messages across. Yet
couple this with a philanthropic soul with a love of the environment and you have an individual we all owe our thanks to – as Josie proves that the smallest of effort can change the world.
Go to www.sharetheword.com.au to find out more.