Katherine Gressel
Innovative, Nimble, Enjoyable Retailers (complete mural)
2010
Acrylic on Canvas, enlarged to a digital banner mural
Painted as 24" X 48", enlarged to 48" X 96"
For this project, I worked closely with the client to develop specific imagery symbolizing the role of retailers in promoting a greener future. The banner contains four roads, each representing a different environmentally-sustainable retail practice (notated by the direction signs on the far left): reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions; recycling and reducing waste; designing more eco-friendly products and taking responsibility for product stewardship; and complying with environmental regulations.

Each road contains iconic symbols associated with these best practices, such as hybrid and biodiesel trucks; recycling bins for different types of household products; locally-produced food; people engaging in proper hazardous waste disposal; and a visualization of a product cycle in which recyclable goods travel through a recycling plant and to a “green products” factory. The images and color palette become progressively “greener” from left to right.

A bridge spans and converges with all four roads, symbolizing the importance of “communicating, reporting, engaging” to spread the word about sustainability to consumers and employees alike, and foster a centralized effort.

The four roads and bridge converge on the right to form a dirt path designed for pedestrians and cyclists, overlooked by four mall-like stores bearing the mural’s title, “Innovative, Nimble, Enjoyable Retailers” in green signage based on the logos of some of the world’s major retail companies. The stores themselves incorporate eco-design elements like solar panels, green roofs, bike racks, and nearby public transit. These “green” retailers’ reflection in the water takes the form of green trees and a recycling symbol, further emphasizing the pivotal and multifaceted role of retailers in our environment.

The mural was first displayed as an education piece and conversation starter at a business meeting in January 2011, and will serve a similar role at future functions.