From source to sale

‘Given the global dimension of much of our food production and processing, food miles have become a way of assessing the environmental impact of our eating habits. A campaigning organisation wants to draw attention to food miles and the excessive distances the ingredients of a fruit salad on offer in a UK supermarket have travelled. They ask you to develop a linear diagram that plots each of its ingredients from farm to transport depot to processing factory to supermarket. For this campaigning tool you’ll need to think about how to prioritise the information to show distances travelled as well as the diversity of locations and stops along the way.

Distances are as the crow flies and have been calculated using Organic Linker’s Food Miles calculator:

Your fruit salad contains:

1 Bananas from Costa Rica – 5,424 miles (8727km)
2 Strawberries from US – 3,666 miles (5898km)
3 Grapes from Egypt – 2,181 miles (3510km)
4 Apples from New Zealand – 11,690 miles (18809km)
5 Oranges from Morocco – 1,254 miles (2018km)
6 Pineapples from Ghana – 3,176 miles (5110km)
7 Sugar cane picked in Jamaica and sent to Germany for processing – 4,683 miles (7535km) – before going to London 578 miles (929km).

The salad was made and packaged in a factory outside London before being driven to depots in Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham and Glasgow, and from there to shops all over the country.

Create a design that either deals with a specific ingredient or provides an overview of where all the elements come from. As a campaigning tool, your designs need to be eye-catching as well as presenting key information. The client wants people to be shocked by the vast distance this food has travelled but doesn’t want to be accused of making false claims – so stick to the facts.’

I had a look at how the subject of food miles has been tackled. As it is a serious subject, you can see that this is a crisp and stylish chart in keeping with the subject

Combining photography and infographic style information – I think this is highly effective

Digital infogrpahic style crisp and informative

Very little text in the first image, more text heavy in the second – depends on how long you think your viewer is going to spend looking at the images

Super sleek eh.

An accurately rendered graph – livened up by lovely use of colour

I began with a good old brain storm

Having seem all these highly polished visuals, I actually felt like a change. Its tempting to produce endless vector graphics, but I wanted to try something by hand.

Here are my roughs…I was thinking about whether to use straight lines to shape each distance – but if they don’t converge, is it possible to show where they will arrive?

Focusing on one type of fruit

Flags? Signposts showing milage??

Exploded view of London

Hmm..straight lines….

This is one of my favourites, but Im not sure I was allowed such wiggly travel lines – the data says as the crow flies?!

I would need to rotate the British Isles to sit below….this has potential

Converging lines…I was getting a bit bogged down as to how to show what happens once the fruit reaches the UK. Heres three maps, showing travel stages


I decided this was the design I wanted to work up. here it is in progress

I then got a bit stuck as to what blurb to include. My hand lettering became really scruffy scrawl and I forgot that you really need to use hand or digital lettering – it really looks off to combine the two.

I originally scanned my image, but it turned the paint colour from purple to pink (not shown), so I hauled out my camera, turned it to manual to have maximum control and was able to get a reasonable copy…

I then wasted a lot of time fiddling about digitally and getting nowhere.

Then scrawled some more, re-photographing it here

In the end after yet more fussing about, I decided to simplify to the bare essentials. I quite liked the idea of producing something that is rather scruffy and very different from the examples I found. I suspect this would need to be a lot more polished for an actual client of course!

I think I have gone too far with paring things down and not really addressed the brief. I have reached ‘arrrrgh’ stage with overthinking this. Sometimes you spend hours and hours on a project, and it doesn’t necessarily show.

So. Here’s where Im stopping in order to preserve sanity…Not my best, but I tried.

 Food Miles

Note to self maybe don’t attempt to hand render anything until I have actually worked out ALL aspects of the design!!



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