Caution! Polluted Water


In colaboration with:
Julia Sanahujes Anguela
Lale Yavuz
Laurie Stierum
Nadine Ritzema

A Branding project on the topic of “Water Everywhere”. This project is a set of multiple platforms including a final installation as well as digital and print media. The focus comes from research into the how the aesthetics of water affect how we think and react to the issue of water pollution.


Research on algae, microplastic lithium, toxins and more show the effect of human consumption but the colors that appear as a result are sometimes beautiful. How does aesthetics and a problem as big as climate change affect how we react to the problem?

On one hand, it can make us ignore the problem. This is shown by tourism around the world where water makes beautiful pictures, but doesn’t create an effort to reduce pollution. Is there a way where we can use the visual of beautiful water to spread awareness about the ugliness that causes it?

Waters that are not aesthetically pleasing don’t capture our attention. With exploring the contrasting ways water pollution can look and bringing it to light, people will be able to understand what pollution really does look like: a combination of ugly and beautiful all around us.

Visual map - created to first see where our interests lay. We found similarities in the color/aesthetics of water, and how pollution plays a part.

Short individually created video on the narrative in Venice, Italy during a field lab with the European Cultural Center


Our deliverables included social media, print, and experiential design. We saw our audience as reachable through instagram, and to use the platform to better understand and introduce the concept of questioning what we think about the color of water.

Meme where we found inspiration.

We wanted to have a main object to be the focus, and an exhibition for an immersive experience. This meme that went viral on the internet perfectly embodied the irony of beautiful and polluted water, and inspired our main object.

Printing "beautiful water" and "polluted water" on opposite sides connects with irony of a caution sign floating on water. This sign was placed in a local bay for the public to observe. This object creates the oppurtunity for people to redefine what they think polluted water looks like.


An instagram was created where each post had an image of water, some photoshopped and some real. We simply asked if it was beautiful or scary and saw people’s reactions. 


The installation was the final piece for the project. We printed thoughtful postcards and posters to promote and be incorporated into the immersive experience. 
In the experience, a long sheet with a gradient was printed with each color in it coordinating to a body of water around the world. Around it, information about the place was written, including the reasons for each color. 
We asked participants to write on the gradient, marking an O where they find it beautiful and an X for what they think is the color of polluted water. The results were a mkix of X’s and O’s all over the paper. In the back of the space was a color changing lamp to illuminate the space while music that changed gradually played in the background.