Two graphic design students unveil recycling campaign on Earth Day

Ethan Metcalf

Nicole Smallwood, sophomore in sports and leisure studies, Shatoia Gober, junior in sports and leisure studies, and Tam Vuong, junior in marketing, decide which bin they are going to vote for at the Earth Day fair.
Nicole Smallwood, sophomore in sports and leisure studies, Shatoia Gober, junior in sports and leisure studies, and Tam Vuong, junior in marketing, decide which bin they are going to vote for at the Earth Day fair.

Graphic design seniors Royce Brock and Melody Campos unveiled their environmentally conscious design campaign on Earth Day, April 22, in front of the Fain Fine Arts building to promote the use of the six orange recycling bins located around the city. Free food, T-shirts and reusable shopping bags were given out to attendees, and Midwestern football players helped unload heavy electronics to be recycled.

Brock said Jenny Yucus, assistant professor of art, approached the two students with the idea for the recycling campaign, and they have been working on it as part of the Enhancing Undergraduate Research Endeavors and Creative Activities program since last August with funding from student government, student affairs, EURECA, a faculty research grant and Progressive Waste Solutions, the designers’ client for the campaign.

“We always knew we wanted to do something on recycling because Wichita Falls is a little behind on recycling so when we started this we were trying to think of a good time to unveil everything and Earth Day is just the natural solution for that problem,” Yucus said. “We did all of these things with Progressive Waste Solutions. They’re the people that put the orange bins around town, and they’re actually going to use the materials that we make. It’s really nice that my students had a real-world client.”

Brock said working with a client changes the process from what he was used to doing in class.

“It wasn’t exactly what I expected,” Brock said. “It’s a lot different than a school project. You work with clients, you have actual problems that you need to solve and client needs. That’s something that students don’t get to do, is working with a client.”

Yucus said experience with clients will help her students as they apply for graphic design jobs.

“It’s invaluable because you get a portfolio booster. When you go in for interviews you can say, ‘this is what I did for somebody and they used it, and all these people came out to an event.’ It’s a huge thing, it’s a good thing to use in interviews,” Yucus said.

One of the campaign’s slogans, “Nothing rhymes with orange: Recycle” comes from the orange color of the recycling bins, something Brock said started as a hurdle.

“We went with orange to pull from the orange bins. The green adds an environmental connotation and they work well together, too,” Brock said. “Wichita Falls was trying to kind of steer people away from the orange bins because when you look at an orange bin you don’t really know what’s supposed to go in it, so we used that to our advantage. We’re trying to flip it around.”

Yucus said because Wichita Falls has never had a big recycling initiative, it made her students’ job of associating the color orange with recycling a little bit easier.

“Wichita Falls is in a unique position, from my opinion to begin with because they were so far behind in recycling,” Yucus said. “Then when the orange bins came, we thought, ‘Great, well now how do we get people to know that they’re supposed to use those orange bins?’ Now it’s just changing habits in Wichita Falls.”

Campos and Yucus said middle-age homeowners are the most important demographic for their designs to reach because grade school students and college students are already exposed to pro-recycling initiatives, and the elderly grew up in a recycling-centric generation.

“At first we didn’t really know where we were going. We knew our demographic, then finally this folk kind of home feel came about. We want to go for the homes, so let’s make it feel homey,” Campos said. “Even with my own parents I’m like, ‘mom, recycle’ and she’s like, ‘I don’t got time for that!’ so it’s really just trying to hit that demographic where it counts. Most waste is coming from families and households with the parents being in charge of all that waste.”

Brock said working with Campos was a unique experience but most in-class projects are completed individually.

“Usually we don’t do projects within a group so it was kind of interesting to have me kind of pull one way and her in another and then we end up in the middle. She’s really girly with everything, so she makes everything twirly and stuff and I like to keep everything kind of looking neutral,” Brock said.

Campos agreed, saying, “He balances me. If I came up with an idea, he’d add to it.”

Read the staff editorial: Conservation doesn’t end with Earth Day