Little Butts, Big Problems

Littered cigarette butts are becoming a serious hazard to our environment and health. Did you know cigarette butts are by far the most littered item in the world? Not only does this pose a problem for sea creatures who ingest the plastic fibers that flow into the ocean, but the toxins from the cigarettes are absorbed by the filter then get seeped into our water system. My research inspired me to create a magazine layout to deliver a powerful message that spreads awareness on the harmful effects of cigarette butts in the environment.

I wanted a to create a strong reaction from my viewers with this spread. That’s why I decided on using actual discarded cigarette butts that create the words for my headline. Each butt I personally collected from various sidewalks and planters. And trust me, it didn’t take very long before I had a large ziplock ready to go.

Here, I am constructing each letterform using the found butts. I was sure to use gloves and a mask to protect my own health on this one (the smell was overwhelming enough to make me gag). Ew. I decided on the term ‘Ban Butts’ for the cover to create awareness on the possibility of not using butts period, or at the very least moving towards a more sustainable product. The the headline ‘Little Butts’ (Big Problems) was an attempt to reframe the idea of “It’s only one tiny butt, what’s the big deal?” Because every little butt adds up to a lot of problems. 

I created the illustrations in the layout to add some humor to a pretty serious topic. I was inspired by various anti-tobacco ads that ranged from humorous to serious. Therefore, I wanted to find a nice balance in my own work. Check out some of that inspiration in my mood board.