Greenpeace Design Awards 2009

Melbourne designer Sam Dickson was the winner of the inaugural Greenpeace Design Awards in July this year, taking the top spot with his poster design. “Be Part of the Action”, the theme for the competition, attracted entries from 1500 creatives from 77 different countries. 29 finalists had their work exhibited at the award ceremony in Adelaide, Australia, and are featured on the Greenpeace Australia blog.

Greenpeace Superman poster by Sam Dickson


Dickson, a design student, came up with the concept for the poster while listening to a climate change expert on the radio. He noticed himself switching off mentally, thinking that someone else should be working on the problem. Later he reflected on the need to connect with and motivate people who think that climate change is not their problem, who think the problem is too hard, or who think that if they ignore climate change the problem will resolve itself. “I wanted to tell them that there is no superhero that’s going to swoop down from above and rescue us from it all.”

From the Greenpeace blog

“The toughest part of this project was probably taking the photo. I don’t own a good camera or a tripod. So, I ended up using the digital camera that came free with my parents’ TV and an Eski sitting on top of an old speakerbox as a tripod. I stood in my backyard with the auto-timer on, my shirt ripped open and a Superman ‘S’ painted on my chest in jungle green oil paint – all while tradies working on the two-storey house next door stared at me like I was an escaped mental patient. That’s how I took that photograph you see in the poster.”

“Cause-related posters are a real toughie. You’ve only got about two or three seconds to impart the entire weight of your cause on the viewer, and then hope that they don’t forget it in the following two or three seconds after they walk away. One of the best I’ve seen was created by The Foundry. It was an anti-racism campaign that depicted three brains, two of which were the same size and one tiny one marked ‘racist’ – great poster.”

Editor’s note: The poster, which featured four brains, was actually developed at Saatchi & Saatchi, London, by a team including Adam Hunt who later worked for The Foundry.

“As a member of the generation that will probably bear the brunt of global warming, I would urge everybody to actually start doing all the little things that you tell your neighbours you do while you’re at dinner parties: get energy saving bulbs, have shorter showers, get on the green power grid, take public transport, recycle, use grey water, use recycled paper and timber products … get sustainable. My biggest concern is that people aren’t making these simple changes in their lifestyle because it doesn’t affect them right now and they figure somebody else will do it for them.”

Second And Third Places

Denis Popenkov from Russia and Spencer Harrison won second and third places.

Sign to Save Greenpeace poster

Greenpeace Bird poster