I found the idea of problem solving a good one  and I wanted to highlight it as an aide memoir so I made a list of the flow:process

The Problem “Carrier bags at Beauty Spot”

A problem to the locals; unhappy at rubbish,

A problem to businesses; adverse publicity

A “problem” to newspaper; good copy

Problem to graphic designer: who is the client? Is it one business or many, who will pay for any work? Are they all in agreement? Is a budget agreed?



Go to beauty spot, take photos of rubbish, get idea of demographic of users. Speak to people there, get their views. Look at facilities at spot. Speak to local council / owners of site, ask how they see the issue.


Look on line for similar areas and how they have tackled rubbish issue.

Research into anti-littering campaigns, anti-plastic bag campaigns.

carriers2Divergent range of ideas based on areas to tackle:

  1. 1. SHOPS

Could use bio degradable bags or containers, print anti litter messages on bags.


identify groups that may be littering, families, couples, foreign visitors, teenagers, homeless.

Could use posters / notices in shops or at spot, to target specific groups


improve facilities, could the shops sponsor a recycling area, rubbish bins, rubbish collection? (Positive publicity)


could the shops run a recycling scheme where they give a reward, financial or badges / stickers for returning rubbish.

Could the newspaper be involved in a “feel good” story about the work of local businesses working on clearing area?


At this stage it might be a good idea to feedback the research and findings to the original contact and discuss the various issues.

Convergent thinking

in focusing down on any posters, notices and leaflets, I would be thinking about the tone of the message. Should it be “carrot or stick”, threats or inducements, using shame, nudges, virtue signalling or the warm glow effect?

Larger issues

I felt from the beginning this was more about rubbish in general than specific carrier bags. It might be helpful to try and link it to any local or national anti litter campaigns. Also there have been lots of incentives with regards to single use carrier bags and this could be a focus. Additionally, is the beauty spot being used inappropriately for example as an area where teenagers are congregating in the absence of anywhere better to go. Is it a place where homeless people are going? What facilities are available for their support?

Radical solutions

Threatening people with prosecution for littering

CCTV cameras

Having an organised “litter pick” as a family fun day, sponsored by shops.

Tieing it in with an Eco, Green awareness event.

Financial rewards for “bring your own bag”.

Newspaper/radio/social media campaigns.


The exercise has highlighted for me that it is helpful to have a framework for working through graphic design problems. It helped me think of more solutions in a logical way.


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