Why being creatively uncomfortable is a good thing
Story by Associate Design Director, Amber Goedegebuure
I worked with a client recently who said what they do is boring… And then they spoke passionately for fifteen minutes about why responsible packaging and the circular economy is so important to the environment and the next generation.
I was hooked.
It feels a bit like plastic is the ‘necessary evil’ we’ve all come to accept. Sure, it protects food and conveniently bundles our items. The flip side is it’s often wasteful—remember those bananas wrapped in plastic? If only they came encased in some natural protective coating! On top of that, recycling can be a confusing and difficult process, even with the best of intentions.
This is where Cyclpac comes in. They’re a company creating renewable, recyclable and compostable packaging. They describe themselves as a little tugboat throwing stones at the big ship to turn it around. It takes a while for the ship to turn, but things are moving. Like David Attenborough said in his recent documentary ‘A Life On Our Planet’, “If we act now, we can yet get it right.” That’s why we were excited to work with them.
Even though packaging is Cyclpac’s bread and butter, so many conversations we had were around things that don’t actually need packaging. They were passionate about their product, but even more passionate about not overusing it. What was important to them was using packaging in a way that would increase shelf life and reduce food waste, not just selling their products. It was refreshing.
The brand was coming along nicely, simple and strong. Factually, it was all there. But the more we got to know the founders Edward and James, the more we talked to them, the more it felt like something was missing. Something that was a natural extension of them, that would make a proud statement. The thing that would clearly communicate that they’re looking at things differently.
So we went back to the drawing board.
We talked about it as a team. We had a sip of whisky (or two), and we stared deep into our recycling bins. Luke, our senior copywriter, cracked it. ‘Positive Plastic.’ I loved it. Not two words you’d usually utter as a pair, but strong, passionate and not confrontational. My mind ticked along and I figured out how it could work visually. Then we talked to Edward and James, all guns blazing.
There’d be extra costs—yes. But there would also be this great statement piece they could really own. It’d be the start of conversations, a visual for articles, and most importantly, something people would think about twice. Something unusual. We’d get it animated, make it move like it was wrapped in plastic, but breathing. Alive, not dead.
They sat there quietly thinking before Edward broke the silence.
“It makes me a bit uncomfortable. Let’s do it.”