Holly Rigby

Sonic Waves

Bachelor of Design Illustration Identity Activism Aotearoa
Holly Rigby (2020). Sonic Waves primary logo
AD20 Award
Semi Permanent Award
For resilience and creativity in Visual Communication 

An organisation creating awareness of underwater noise pollution in New Zealand

This project focuses on my passion for the environment on the creation and branding of Sonic Waves, an organisation that creates awareness of noise pollution in New Zealand waters. It targets New Zealanders aged 18-24 year olds who are finding their voice in the world and have connections to the environment and nature. This organisation aims to provide information on the impacts that underwater noise pollution has on marine life, what it is caused by, and how it is generated through the use of social media campaigns. It will make people aware of the issue and provide knowledge on the importance of sounds for Marine Life.

The term 'underwater noise pollution' refers to man-made noise that is produced by activities at sea. This includes transportation such as boats and ships, dredging, seismic surveys, sonars, oil drilling and gas drilling. These man-made noises interfere with marine life's ability to hear natural sounds in the ocean and disrupts their communication with each other. This is an issue that is not well known or publicised as it is 'out of sight and out of mind'. While this is a global issue, Sonic Waves focuses on New Zealand's people and its waters as it's an increasing issue here in New Zealand with more cruise ships visiting and more motorboats out on the water. This organisation targets a demographic of young adults aged 18 to 24 years old who are finding their voice/opinions in the world and have connections to the environment and nature. It also aims to create awareness in young engineers and designers who could develop quieter boats and motorboat engines. This project was inspired by my own experience of watching all the boats in the Hauraki Gulf and not knowing how much these vessels impact marine animals' ability to hear.

The process of developing this organisation has involved the creation and development of the Sonic Waves brand and the creation of emojis for social networking platforms. Sonic Waves' branding focuses on using a colour palette that consists of vibrant colours and darker shades; the former shows the creativity of campaigns and the youthfulness and freshness of Sonic Waves' audience, while the darker shades indicate the matureness developing as an emerging adult. The use of wavy lines throughout the brand design reflects the meaning of the name 'Sonic Waves' meaning the speed of sound waves or audible sound.

Sonic Waves' emojis were composed as part of a social media campaign to raise awareness of underwater noise pollution and the marine life that is currently affected by noise in the Hauraki Gulf.  These emojis can be used on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. The idea was to not only illustrate the animals affected but also to illustrate how it affects their lives. This included illustrating how the animals use sound to navigate and find partners, along with illustrations of earmuffs on the animals to show that human noise decreases their ability to hear.

This project is important to the wider community/world as it raises awareness to a significant issue that has not been vocally made aware. There are currently no other organisations like Sonic Waves in New Zealand that focuses solely on the issue of noise pollution in marine environments.