Graphics and Icons
I love diagrams, charts, maps and info-graphics. There are many clever ways to present complex ideas in easy-to-grasp ways.
Here are some graphics I have made:
Poster and flyer for the AGM of one of Oxford’s most active low-carbon community groups, Low Carbon Oxford North. The ‘world plate’ graphic / illustration is a vegetarian re-working of an image I made decades ago. The original was quite meaty! Reducing our consumption of meat (and dairy) is a major way to reduce our carbon emissions, and also improve our health. It’s quite good for the animals too!
A series of icons for the 2016 revised (2nd edition) of the most useful ‘Food Directory for Oxford’ focusing on local, ethical and non-corporate food producers and retailers near Oxford UK. Thanks to the dedicated Martha W for meticulously updating the content, and to the decisive Hannah F for the editing, email-reading and proof-reading. If you live in (or near) Oxford UK, I thoroughly recommend you buy one (for only £1) as soon as you can. [Or you may just want the PDF of the whole booklet for free]. Entries are listed in order of their proximity to the centre of Oxford, to encourage people to walk or cycle for their food shopping. Get in touch with Good Food Oxford for more information, including bulk discounts.
A graphic 2016 postcard design for one of my favourite local businesses, Pedal and Post, who use beautiful cargo bikes (8-freights) to move goods across Oxford, and a bit beyond. This reduces the number of delivery trucks and vans off our congested roads, and reduces pollution. They also provides healthy, fun and fairly-waged employment to a small army of young people. I hope they thrive!
A summary of a very important idea – getting the UK energy sectore back into public ownership, where national and local government (and people) have control. See more on the Energy page of their website. It was fun to work with We OWn It – they do great research and campaigning on a wide range of important re-nationalisation projects.
An illustration and front cover of the new report from the ETC group examining the link between Synthetic Biology and the Fossil Fuels industry.
Download and read the report from the ETC group website. This report was produced in collaboration with the Heinrich Boell foundation. Click on this image to see a larger version.
“The extreme genetic engineering industry of Synthetic biology (Syn Bio) is shrugging off earlier pretensions that it would usher in a clean, green ‘post-petroleum’ economy. Now they are partnering with big oil, coal, gas and mining interests. As the extreme biotech industry and the extreme extraction industry move towards deeper collaboration, the safety risks and climate treats emanating from both will become ever more entangled. This report details this emerging fossil-biotech alliance.”
De-normalise Over-consumption – 2015
Poster to mock some of the world’s largest corporations who are doing so much to destroy our planet. Most folks will know many of these logos. Omnicon are one of the largest advertising / public relations groups – who spend billions trying to persuade us to buy more and more stuff that we don’t really need. LukOil are one of Russia’s largest oil companies, and are involved in drilling in the arctic.
It has been estimated that about half of the household goods we buy from shops in the UK will end up in landfill or ‘recycling’ within a year. In many parts of the western world, recycling actually involves shipping huge unsorted containers of waste across to poorer countries in Asia where it might be ‘processed’ and or just dumped or incinerated. These countries often have far weaker labour and pollution regulations that the richer northern countries, so our waste may be polluting their rivers, and sorting through our ‘recycling’ may be the full-time job for children who should be at school.
Three striking graphics on banners for the many folks campaigning for Oxford Churches, Oxford University and Oxford County Council to withdraw their investments from fossil-fuel companies. This photo was taken on Sat 14th February 2015 in the Centre of Oxford on Global divestment Day. For more info please see GoFossilFree.org and also 350.org.
Technical note: the banners have rigid bamboo canes in their top hems and in their bottom hems – this is a simple trick that keeps the cloth spread out, making the text easily readable. The side poles are simply resting inside short plastic pipes that are gaffered to the top-pole – these side-poles come out and can be rolled up inside the cloth for easy transport and storage.
Here is a graphic spoof poster from 2015 mocking Barrack Obama’s record on climate – comparing him to the statues on Easter Island. As the world’s most powerful “leader” Barack Obama has achieved very little to help society face the greatest threat to life on earth – man-made climate chaos. He often spoke well on climate change but very little policy or legislation happened on his watch.
While this piece is called “hopeless”, I do still have some hope – depending on just how fast as many of us can work, we might be able to make climate chaos more survivable for more people. But we must avoid clinging to false hope. We need to learn from our mistakes (like how the people of Easter Island over-consumed their way to collapse) and we need to rapidly de-carbonise our homes, our work, our infrastructure and our societies. We can do this: stop flying; eat local vegetables and less meat; switch to renewable energy; insulate our buildings; and generally de-normalise over-consumption.
Banner for the Oxford Disco Soup collective – a project of Abundance Oxford and Good Food Oxford. Disco Soup is a gathering of people who prepare a wholesome vegan soup using food that would otherwise go to waste. The soup is offered to anyone who wants some, for free. All this happens to bouncy live (and recorded) music in the hope that folks dance, chat and enjoy a ‘meal together’. The underlying message is that we can and should throw less food away. The next one is happening this Saturday 1st November 2014 in Bonn Square, opposite the main library in the centre of Oxford (UK). This event is part of the Pumpkin Festival, where we are asked to “squash food waste”.
Banner for the folks at BP-or-not-BP and ShellOutSounds who invaded the launch party of the new Rembrandt exhibition at London’s National Gallery yesterday (14 October 2014). They performed a short and fun ‘faustian’ theatrical show with masks and costumes criticising the National Gallery for accepting Shell sponsorship and for planning to privatise about two-thirds of their staff. G4S and Serco, infamous for ‘running’ prisons and refugee-detention-centres, are likely bidders for the contracts. This action was done in solidarity with PCS union, who today are on strike over the proposed privatisation / sackings. See a full description of the stunt HERE – including a short video, and the script from the performance. Below is a great photo by Kristian Buus of the banner with the show’s cast, and a close-up of the spoof Shell logo. Well done to all involved!
A graphic from 2014 (for my friend Scilla) quoting a snippet of a poem by Charlotte Tall Mountain that seemed very apt. The image is inspired by a play on the Celtic idea of the Addanc – a great serpent that slumbers under the hills and must be placated (fed sacrifices) or else he may waken, rise up and eat us all up! I like to see the great Addanc as a dragon who represents the natural world, including the people and animals and plants that live in harmony with the earth and with each other, mostly sleeping, but now beginning to stir and awaken to take on the threat to all life: the machines of corporations! EARTH WAKE – Grrraaaaarrrrrr!!!
Here is a small poster showing a batch of 12 shields I helped to make, that were hung off the port and starboard sides of the Viking long-boat that invaded the British Museum in London on June 15th 2014. The shields illustrate some of the darkest sins of BP (British Petroleum), from their treatment of workers, union-busting, oil-spills, tar-sands, contributing to climate chaos, etc. Did you know that BP has managed to dodge taxes in the UK to the value of over £700 million!
The event was incredible and a film of it will be released very soon. Security was tight and one viking got arrested simply for having a small cardboard shield in his bag. But this did not stop the determined folks from BP-or-not-BP! They got in with all their props, enacted a moving theatrical show, and then rowed their boat around the vast hall a few times chanting viking curses at BP. I wish I was there, but I had to make a windmill instead (see more recent post above). Please visit the BP-or-not-BP website for more details.
A stark 2014 graphic, poking fun at the operators of drones – or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). According to an excellent anti-drones campaigner from Texas who gave a talk in Oxford recently, the drone-operators are not considered ‘real soldiers’ by other members of the armed forces and have earned the nickname ‘Chair Force’ as they do not have to leave their seats to ‘engage the enemy’. The phrase “Creating enemies faster than we can kill them” also comes from the military – several leading military officers, both US and British, have publicly stated similar thoughts. For more information on Drones, and what we can do to stop them, please visit DroneWars UK and the Drones Campaign Network.
Logo for the fabulous Pizza Midwife! My pal Kirsten is a midwife and also a lecturer of midwifery at Oxford Brookes University. On some weekends she takes out her mobile pizza kitchen with a portable wood-fired pizza-oven that fits in the back of her car. The setup is simple yet cunningly original: visitors to her stall are invited to make their own pizza, from scratch, learning how to do it in the process. So the Pizza Midwife does not do it for you – you have to make and deliver your own pizza, with her professional support. Her stove is beautiful and wood-fired – hence the axe in the logo. The Pizza Midwife can be booked for festivals, community fayres and other outdoor events.Seven ‘R’s: A lovely new interpretation of the three ‘R’s, from 2013 for the Gaia Foundation‘s report on gadgets Short Circuit.
Bitter & Twisted 3-fruit jam label
Logo and jam-jar label for my friend Deborah, who makes and sells amazing jams at the South Oxford Farmers and Community Market.
This 2013 diagram shows the strong link between rises in CO2 and rises in global Temperature. CO2 has now exceeded 400 parts per million by volume (pppmv) which has not happened in the last half a million years. The last time CO2 was this high, the world’s oceans were approximately 20meters higher – that’s 66 feet! Coca-cola adverts used to start “I’d like to teach the world to sing”. I now say “I’d like to teach the world to SWIM!” – as a symbol of the need to learn new ways to survive the many changes that climate chaos will bring us. See more of my climate art on my old website.
We need to stop adding to the problem: shut down the fossil fuel industry, stop flying, eat local vegetables and learn to live simply. The so-called 1% are responsible for about half of human CO2 emissions yet it’s the poorest people who suffer most and first from climate chaos – therefore we need to demand Climate Justice. And we also need to prepare for a very tough future: reskill for a low-carbon economy, help front-line communities prepare for the worst and help people and animals prepare for a changing habitat.
As Ralph Nader so aptly put it:
“We need to learn to be good ancestors”
Open-cast footprint: A clever graphic of the ‘footprint’ of an open-cast mine, from 2012 for the Gaia Foundation‘s report “Opening Pandora’s Box“. NB: The toes are the multi-coloured ‘tailings’ pools that contain various dodgy chemicals, and ‘waste products’.
Consensus Decision Making: A very useful idea expressed in a cute spiral of converging attitudes and social processes for Rhizome Coop in 2012. Rhizome do all kinds of training and also have a range of great hand-outs and briefings on their website under ‘Resources’ free to use. They cover: Facilitation, Organising and facilitating Open Space, Conflict resolution and mediation, Consensus decision-making, Working in groups, Campaigning, nonviolent direct action and consensus on actions.
Four from a set of 15 icons for the ETC Group‘s 2011 report “Who will control the Green Economy”. Download the 60-page report as a PDF.
Agri-Quest: Simple drawing for a book on the corporate take-over of agriculture in Africa from 2011.
Logo from 2011 for the wonderful Rebellious Media Conference. On the right is the painted version as it appeared on the very long banner I made for the event. This conference was originally called the Radical Media Conference. Just as the organisers were committing to venues and producing publicity they were threatened with legal action by a small PR company from London called “Radical Media”. Reality is often more ridiculous than fiction! After a short exchange of letters a protest took the debate to the street outside this PR firm. A classic banner was dropped from two trees outside reading “We make radical media. You make adverts”. Wonderful. The conference was a major success bringing many people together for two days of discussions, talks and workshops.
Bar-code tree: graphic for the ETC Group in 2011, used in the Earth Grab book, showing the corporate take-over of agriculture through patents on genetically modified DNA in plants.
Shoes of Empathy: a graphic for my friend Emily from 2011 to explain the different aspects of empathy – learning to appreciate another person’s perspective. Empathy is a great quality. I am often shocked at how little of it seems to be going around. Can empathy be learned? I hope so. I do think it is contagious.
Bincinerate: A 2008 spoof of the “Keep Britain Tidy” graphic – this time criticising the short-term thinking behind burning waste. There are health risks associated with incineration, including dioxins, carcinogens and other dangerous particulates found in the smoke. Investment in incineration will also mean less funding for greener alternatives. In some places, incineration centres are renamed “Energy from Waste” as a cunning PR trick to shake off public scrutiny. Sadly, this ploy works! Burning waste is a bad way to deal with our wasteful linear economy. For more on incineration see the No-Burn website. Instead we need to learn to re-use our limited resources, and to generate LESS waste in the first place. See the inspiring “Story of Stuff” series of short films.
Corporate take-over of Organic: A scary chart for Corporate Watch from 2008 showing just some of the UK “organic” brands that have been swallowed up by multinational agri-food corporations.
Dismantle Globally – Rebuild Locally: A cheeky doodle from 2007 inspired by the writings and speeches of Derrick Jensen. The phrase shown here is his new version of the classic environmental ‘slogan’ – “think global, act local”. The big red “fire-cracker” is a somewhat uncomfortable symbol of ‘urgent action’ – but many, including Derrick, suggest that it’s quite normal and justified to feel the need to ‘do more than sign petitions’ when you see the scale of the corporate-led threat to our planet and its ecosystems. Derrick and his friends at Deep Green Resistance ask some very important questions, and have added many good ideas to the debate.
Get in Lane: A simple idea from around 2006 that came from my realisation that the lanes of our motorways are closely mirrored in the class structure of modern society. Or is it the other way around. So the rich drive in their sports car in the fast lane, the middle class are cruising in their family cars, then there are coaches and trucks and finally the cyclists and hitch-hikers.
Logo from 2006 for Oxford Women’s Aid, who are no longer active due to funding cuts. They used to run several shelters for women (and their kids) who were suffering from domestic abuse. There is still a national Women’s Aid group based in Bristol who do similar work and might be able to help. They run a Free phone 24 hr National Domestic Violence Help-line: 0808 2000 247.
Who’s an Ostrich? A set of cartoony icons from 2006 playing with the idea of the “Ostrich with its head in the sand” and Climate Denial. by the way, do ostrich’s actually bury their heads? Apparently it’s a myth!
Corp-o-laugh: Graphic from 2006 criticising the idea of “Corporate Responsibility”. In the UK, “You’re having a laugh” roughly means “You must be joking”. This graphic was used in a number of places, including in a flyer by the inspiring London-based network Art not Oil, who campaign against corporate sponsorship of the Arts.
Car World: Very rough drawing from 2002 for Corporate Watch, coloured in years later, that has been used in many places.
Lamb bar-code: A bar-code made from the shadows of a row of lambs, from 2002 for Corporate Watch.
Parody of the logo of Shell (AKA Royal and Dutch Shell) from around 1999, drawn for Corporate Watch UK, and used many times over the years by many campaigns around the world.
Bin Air: Simple spoof from around 1999 of the classic “Keep Britain Tidy” graphic, telling people to bin everything. Here I have an air-traffic controller asking his plane to park in the bin, as civil aviation is the fasted growing source of greenhouse emissions – the planet simply cannot cope with all this wasteful flying. Did you know that making one long distance flight will probably double your annual CO2 emissions? The fabulous Choose Climate interactive website is a great way to see what impact flights have on the climate.
One of the first graphics I made on a computer, around 1997. Variations of this logo have been used in many countries. It is a good example of how a simple idea can be very effective.
Checkered Mate: A graphic illustration to a love poem from 1993.