Cities and Nature: A Visionary Leap in Environmental Awareness

GraphisMarch 21, 2024

Championing environmental advocacy through their compelling ad, Kai Yi Wen Hua (Kehin Culture), led by art director Lu Ye, secured a prestigious Graphis Advertising Gold Award for their "Cities and Nature" project for The Light of China campaign. This project, encompassing print and environmental advertisements, emanates from China and raises awareness of today's potent blend of creativity and ecological consciousness. Drawing from the alarming deforestation rates that jeopardize the "lungs of the Earth," Lu Ye and their team embarked on a mission to harmonize the dialogue between urban development and nature preservation. Through their evocative work, they highlight China's environmental challenges and strides toward afforestation and offer a global reminder of the delicate balance between human advancement and ecological stewardship.

By: Lu Ye

Background and Inspiration

Deforestation in tropical rainforests, known as damaging the “lungs of the Earth,” may be more detrimental to the environment than any other form of destruction. We were deeply moved by a report on the gradual disappearance of tropical rainforests due to logging. Like other creative teams internationally, we are also concerned about environmental issues and thus decided to create a themed design related to the “Light of China.” Having experienced similar logging and remedial efforts, we want to remind those who are engaged in deforestation to not follow the old idea of “log first, remediate later.” Finding the balance between urban development, economic growth, and environmental protection is the better choice.

In the early stages of China’s modernization, there was a weak awareness of environmental protection, resulting in widespread deforestation and water pollution. I remember participating in tree-planting activities when I was around eight or nine years old, starting from elementary school. The school would lead students in tree-planting activities each year, which perhaps served as compensation to nature. Various institutions and organizations also collaborated to promote these activities. After nearly 40 years, China’s forest coverage and afforestation areas are leading the world, showcasing significant environmental improvements. These achievements have been acknowledged in relevant reports by the United Nations. However, only those who have experienced environmental destruction truly understand that “remediation” is not the best choice and that people have paid a great price for it.

Creative Orientation

In the initial design phase, we intentionally avoided purely graphic expressions and aimed to present the work in a “more realistic” form. Finding a suitable form of expression was harder. Later, we were inspired by a close-up shot of a cross-section of a tree stump.

For the design, the poster takes the tree stump as the main element, and a miniature city is built against the growth rings, indicating that the urban expansion is all at the expense of nature. It is expected to challenge people to protect forests and nature and to balance the relationship between urban expansion and protecting nature.

Challenges and Solutions

During the creative process, we compared architectural forms with the details of the tree stump. We considered where slender structures were needed and where large buildings were required; for the latter, we had to isomorph many images taken from the same angle. Part of the buildings depicted in the artwork can be found in reality. 

Results and Impact

The work has received multiple international awards and has been featured in numerous exhibitions. This has been very encouraging to our team. In the future, we will continue to focus on environmental themes together with “Light of China” and passionately raise awareness for environmental protection. Our planet is our home, and modern human civilization should consider the restraint of urban expansion and the importance of sustainable development.

Kai Yi Wen Hua Co., Ltd.'s English name is Kehin Culture. We offer integrated design services to many brands. The current key members of the team include Wu Lujun and Lu Ye. We have multiple awards, including the Red Dot Design Award, the Graphis Advertising Annual Gold and Silver Awards, the Graphis Poster Annual Silver Award, and the International Design Gold and Silver Awards. We have also placed in competitions such as the International Poster Biennale (IPB) in Warsaw, the Shanghai Biennial of Asian Graphic Design, the Bienal del cartel Bolivia, the Italian Poster Biennial, the Hong Kong International Poster Triennial (HKIPT), the International Biennial of Social-Political Posters, the Graphic Design in China Award, the International Biennial of Trademarks and Logotypes, and so on.

To see more Advertising 2024 competition winners, click here.

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