Every year, nine million tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans — and National Geographic isn’t going to sit idly by while those garbage patches continue to grow.

The iconic issue of National Geographic focused on single-use plastic and its devastating impact on the environment, particularly our oceans and waterways. With nine million tons of plastic waste entering the ocean each year, NatGeo felt compelled to act. Their approach? Planet or Plastic, a multiyear effort to raise awareness about the global plastic trash crisis.

Artemis Ward joined National Geographic in this mission by designing and developing the digital extension of a public engagement campaign that would live well beyond the publication date of the print magazine. Our work culminated in the Planet or Plastic Pledge, a website where users define and declare their own commitments to help reduce single-use plastics. Built to accommodate an array of region-specific pages, the site allows NatGeo to deploy targeted content strategies in countries around the world in order to inspire change at a truly global scale.

Engaging Across the Globe

Because the environmental impacts of plastics know no boundaries, we designed an adaptable digital ecosystem (and some nifty iconography that crosses cultures) so that on-the-ground NatGeo team members can put nuanced strategies into practice.

Wireframes for the Planet or Plast
National Geographic's Planet or Plastics iconography
Set of five icons representing each of the following single use plastic items: plastic bottle, plastic bag, straws, eating utensils and disposable coffee cups.

Sharing Shows Caring

Through a series of social cards that combine simple, motivational language and the inspirational photography that audiences expect from National Geographic, we encouraged campaign participants to broadcast their efforts.

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