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Welcome to rachelsays... The blog of Rachel Lewis, containing my thoughts and musings on illustration, design, fashion, music, cakey-bakey goodness, culture and things that I generally find cool. There's also a good chance my own illustration work will pop up on here.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

ChickenOut! Label Competition - My entry

This has taken me a while to post this. Anyway, the charity Chickenout! and Compassion in World Farming ran a competition a few weeks back, to redesign the Standard Chicken label for Tesco.

"Pick up a standard chicken in most supermarkets and the package is unlikely to tell you much about how that chicken was produced.

Around 90% of chickens in the UK are farmed in intensive systems in conditions like those shown in the video here.

By law, egg boxes must be labelled with the farming method and this has decreased sales of battery eggs. So why can't chicken be honestly labelled too? "

That was the basic premise. Come up with a chicken label that depicts honestly the lives of the chickens that most people buy: the standard ones. This is so that consumers can make a more informed choice about where the food they eat comes from; but making sure it's not a high-horse 'you should eat free range you're so bad' type of thing, because some people (myself included, being a student) can't afford to eat free range chicken. I wish I could, and I aspire too, but it simple is too expensive.

This was my entry :) It's not the most amazingly beautiful piece of work I have ever created, but I think it did the job.

Anyway I didn't win. You can see the winning entry here. There are also some 'highly commended' ones up there. I disagree wdith the winning choice for 'best design work' but there you go... design is opinion after all, and just because I didn't like it, doesn't mean I'm right I suppose. That's not the point really, the point is to get the message across to Tesco, the other supermarkets, and eventually you and me, exactly how our chickens are kept before slaughter, so are choices are clearer.

It's catch 22 really though because as I said earlier, I can't afford to buy free range all the time. I'm a poor student. But if everyone bought free range, there'd be more demand and it'd be cheaper. Something to think about... consumer deman can be a powerful thing. It's just getting that message across to consumers that there are alternatives to the fast-grown, barn-reared chickens that most of us eat - it's sad, when you see it, they have such poor life qualities. Watch this video, it's only a couple of minutes long, but it explains exactly what I mean:

From the Chickenout.tv website

And that's the job of design, I think. That's our responsibility, not just to design stuff to sell to consumers, but to design stuff to make consumers more aware. The power of design is huge and it's in our hands to do something about causes and topics such as animal welfare. The same goes for environmental issues and sustainability - I wrote my Dissertation on this exact topic, and it's so important that designers and artists of all types recognise their responsibility when it comes to environmental issues. We are probably in a greater position of power than anyone, including government, to change attitudes towards the environment - images and words can be extremely powerful things.

I want to post more about this subject in the future - possibly bits from my dissertation, and my opinion on the whole environment/sustainability debate. Watch this space (or blog ;)

On the subject of competitions, I'm entering the Penguin Design Award again this year, so I'll be posting my work in progress for that this weekend I hope. It's going well ^.^

1 comment:

Dave said...

Hi Rachel,

I loved your design for the Tesco chicken label. As the Web Manager at Chicken Out I did have some sway over the short list and your lovely illustration went in two categories.

The final decision wasn't mine to make I'm afraid :-(

Thanks for entering though and for posting about chicken welfare today!

Best regards,
Dave