Tag Archives: upcycling

An update

I’ve been meaning to post for a while about what I’m up to at the moment.

Currently I’m working on a self-initiated minor project on the topic of consumerism. Or anti-consumerism actually. I went into it with the very vague brief of wanting to create something that encourages people to consume less.

I had a look at consumer co-operatives (including The People’s Supermarket which I just love), culture jamming, Freeganism, free stores/swapshops/The Really Really Free Market/things like Freecycle, LETS systems and I also documented everything I consumed in one day (which I might revisit later as a large-scale poster or something).

I really like the idea of swapshops as a way of  reducing the amount of stuff there is in the world without stopping acquiring new things completely, but I wanted to make something that was a level above just swapping used goods. I looked into ways that this could be done without money (member-run stores, local currency) but giving things away for free isn’t really a viable option – things like Really Really Free Markets and Freecycle work because they’re either a temporary event or don’t exist physically, whereas I want something that has a permanent physical presence. Basically a shop that a) doesn’t create waste b) cuts out the middle man of current consumerism by putting producers and consumers into direct contact with each other which means c) goods are affordable for everyone.

After a lot of thinking, what I’ve finally come up with is a shop that takes unwanted donated items and gives them a new lease of life by upcycling them and reselling them in-store. People who donate items are given tokens (the amount depends on the quantity/value of donated items) that can be spent in the store. Products are priced in token value as well as pounds, so customers can choose which currency to use. The point of the token system is that customers who contribute to the business are rewarded, and it encourages people to donate items that would otherwise go to waste. As the items are donated and all the production is done in-house, it also reduces the cost to the customer as well as the impact on the environment.

Upcycling moodboardUpcycling moodboard

Look and feel moodboardBrand look and feel moodboard

I’m at the stage now where I’m creating the visual identity. I’ve already come up with a name – The Foundry – which describes the in-house production and the way the items are created. Right now I’m working on creating a typeface that reflects the feel of the brand – found items, handmade, mixtures of textures, colours, patterns etc.

Sketchbook - typeface

I’m really enjoying this project so far. I feel like I’ve learned from my mistakes last year so it’s been going a lot easier for me.