Trash Isles - A Designer’s Perspective

LadBible and Plastic Oceans Foundation have teamed up to tackle the ever-growing amount of rubbish being dumped in the world’s oceans. In the Pacific Ocean alone, an area the size of France has collectively formed from the amount of rubbish floating around, which is why the campaign has been launched, to get the country-sized pile of junk recognised as an official nation.

By getting the UN to recognise Trash Isles as an official nation, LadBible believe this will highlight the issue and prompt action to protect our waters from plastic waste, which is expected to outweigh fish by 2050.

Al Gore, the 45th Vice President of the United States became the first citizen of Trash Isles, he has since been followed by Sir Mo Farrah and over 140,000 other citizens who joined by signing the Trash Isles petition.

Check out the video here 👇

The campaign has been well thought out from a design perspective. From the simple but clever flag design, to the passports and currency, which were created by London based designer Mario Kerkstra. Campaign posters and other content were created by designers Julia Mendez and Ashley Kitchin.

What particularly caught my eye with this campaign was the unique design material, unlike other campaigns I have ever seen. Trash Isles uses as many aspects of design as it can to communicate what the story is and how you can help to do something about it. It’s all very fun and inclusive but still manages to convey the seriousness of the worrying issue. I think people like the idea of being a part of something and making a difference - Trash Isles seems to run with that idea by allowing people to join in.     

The quirky flag is a nice piece of design, it seems to almost mock real life flags, except it is being done for a serious cause. The idea of ‘mocking’ seems to continue with the passport, currency and stamps. I also think the colour palette and illustrations really push the notion of waste pollution and some of the posters remind me of iconic campaign posters from WW2, using similar bold typography in red.

One thing that I would suggest to this campaign would be to use all this design material to get people to donate to the cause. Of course you can sign the petition for free and become a citizen of Trash Isles, but why not let people make donations to the cause and in return they get a ‘welcome pack’ of some sort with their very own Trash Isles passport, currency, stamps and posters.


(📷 Mario Kerkstra/Plastic Oceans/LadBible)

Overall I think the Trash Isles campaign was a success, as I was drawn in by it’s design but I read on because I was interested in the subject itself. It would be the type of project I would like to work on because I would be able to brand a ‘mini country’ but also be involved with a project for a good cause. Both from a designer and marketing perspective it is an impressive approach to this campaign. The people in charge of this campaign have taken a meaningful subject with significant influences by using creative and innovative concepts of design. They have been promoting this message through social media by teaming up with large influencers like LadBible to spread the word to a large audience, with the help from Ross Kemp and his audiences.

Find out more about Trash Isles here

Or you can sign the petition yourself here

Do let us know what you think of the campaign!