Every now and then, an opportunity will come along to work on a project that you get to do just for yourself, just because you’re interested or passionate, just because you care. That opportunity came along the other day when the ADCO Creative team was asked to create and submit a design for a new South Carolina license plate. The concept or focus or reason behind the plate? Promote recycling.
To begin the creative process, our team got together for some good ole fashioned brainstorming. As we were throwing out ideas, we realized the opportunity that was before us. We could create a vanity tag that would blow all other vanity tags out of the water. I mean, let’s face it. Most tags are not very imaginative. They’re simple, which isn’t necessarily bad (as designers, we know that sometimes simple is best), but they aren’t a good simple. Most plates utilize one, often very basic, design element to the left with numbers to the right–and nothing else. No background and little use of creative typography. Not very exciting.
In that moment, we decided that we would try to create a plate that was different, that stood out from the rest. Of course, we had lots of impossible ideas–like plates made out of recycled wood or cardboard or plastic bottles–that we loved but had to let go of since plates are aluminum and would stay that way. But even though the plate had to be made of aluminum, it didn’t have to look aluminum. It could look like recycled material (even if it wasn’t actually recycled material).
So we asked ourselves: what’s the most common material that’s recycled and reused? Newspaper. We don’t just throw it in the recycling bin (which many of us do); we reuse it on our own. We use it as packing material; we lay it down to protect against spills; we line litter boxes with it; we paper train the puppy with it; and more.
It was decided. We would design a plate that looked like newspaper so that, on first glance, you’d know the plate was about recycling. You wouldn’t have to decipher some strange, complex graphic to the left of the numbers. You’d just know the minute you saw it.
Speaking of seeing it, do you want to? Okay, drum role, please–bongos will do nicely.
Here’s the creative rationale:
• Design demonstrates recyclable items.
• Design reinforces the three “Rs.”
• Design communicates the message of recycling, even if “reduce reuse and recycle” was not written on the plate.
• Design could be strengthened by creating a fictitious newspaper to include articles and charts that relate to the three “Rs,” such as “South Carolina Believes in Recycling” or “Tips on the Three Rs.”