You chose to create an Instagram about plastic pollution in a totally unconventional way. What made you want to create this account and why the blue and white colour scheme and the ocean theme?
A year ago when I was walking around on the beach I saw a lot of plastic laying around and I started to pick it up. When I saw how much I collected in only a few hours I started questioning my own plastic use. I became aware of how much I use plastic and that it is just everywhere you go. I started this instagram account because I wanted to create more awareness around this subject. I study graphic design for two years now, I really like to create images that communicate a certain message. And because the plastic pollution problem is something I really care about, I thought creating an instagram was a fun way to communicate the plastic problem to an audience and a way for me to keep creating images on a regular basis.
I chose to use a blue color scheme on my instagram because that’s the color of plastic I find the most laying around on the beach. I wanted an ocean theme because the first time I thought about the plastic pollution problem was on the beach. Lots of plastic ends up in the oceans and marine life suffers so much because of this and I think that’s really sad.
How did you get into graphic design?
When I was younger I always loved drawing, painting and creating little artworks so when I needed to choose a study, I opted for graphic design. I wanted to do graphic, because there are so many things you can do with it. I love to design logos, posters and websites. But what I really love to do is creating awareness with my designs. I love to learn more about how to get people interested in a subject they normally wouldn’t think about. Like a lot of people don’t really care about the plastic problem, but my goal is to make people care.
What made you want to upcycle certain plastic parts instead of recycling them? For example, you have some photos sharing upcycled bottle caps as earrings and even plastic doll parts as accessories.
When I came back with a bag full of plastic parts from the beach, I didn’t just want to throw everything away. Plastic’s usually really cheap and it’s easy to throw away, and that’s something we need to change. So when you for example take a bottle cap, that’s a piece of plastic that will be thrown away only minutes after usage. When you turn it into an earring it can be used for a longer time.
Do you practice sustainability in other areas of your life or do you mainly focus on reducing your plastic consumption?
In my daily life I try to live sustainable. I’ve been trying to be completely vegan, this hasn’t been easy for me, but I’m almost there. I do think being aware of the problem makes it a lot easier to make the better choices. Before I wasn’t thinking about the consequences of the way I lived, but now I try to be more conscious about the choices I make. I’m trying to use the printer less, which is pretty hard as a graphic designer. And whenever I go somewhere I always try to carry my own water bottle and bag, so I don’t need disposable ones. Whenever I need to buy something I’m always checking if there’s an option available without plastic. These are really small steps, but I do think if everybody does this it has a big impact on the planet.
What do you think of the promotion of consumerism of products in advertising and marketing, especially since most of the products that are being promoted are packaged in plastic?
I hate to see consumerism everywhere. Whenever I check my social media I see an ad almost every minute, they keep track of the things I searched and use it to advertise. I think the promotion of the products are usually not realistic, you don’t need products to be happy. Advertising and consumerism try to manipulate us into adopting a particular view of how we should live, we are not deciding for ourselves anymore. The advertisers ultimate goal is to create needs to make people wanting their products. They create false desires and needs by manipulating us and I really hate seeing that all around me.
Whenever I go to the supermarket there aren’t a lot of choices without plastic, for instance fruit being wrapped in plastic is just crazy, because most fruits have their own natural protection and don’t need a plastic wrapper to stay fresh. I don’t think advertising and marketing are the blame for this problem, I think if they sell the products without plastic or give them other options people will still buy it. I think the plastic packaging problem is more a subject that politicians need to discus. But I do think designers and advertisers could have a big role, they can show people they don’t need all that plastic.
If you wanna see more of Sophie or check out her Instagram, be sure to click here.