Settler Environments

This project explores what the colonial literature of New Zealand and Australia can tell us about the human dimensions of environmental change.


Specialist in Antipodean colonial-era literature, Dr Philip Steer’s project will provide a new account of colonial culture in Australia and New Zealand. By examining creative writing of the era in the context of specific environmental changes and debates, he explores insights into how societies define the limits of their environmental responsibility.

Our goal was to showcase this colonial literature in a modern exhibition that allowed the artefacts to become the heroes. Historical images overlayed with large typography and a non-traditional colour palette strengthened the modern vision. This was then juxtaposed with an olde English style serif typeface to create a unique visual tension between our modern environmental understanding and the old ways. We implemented a spatial functionality into the design through the use of an interactive map. Users can engage and explore the relationships between multiple artefacts and their corresponding case study – creating a nonlinear narrative in the way users discover the curated research. 


The visual identity played on the idea of a woodblock stamp and took the form of a tree stump. Both the brand mark and typography was organically presented while the stump had roughly cut edges and age-defining rings to visually reinforce the dramatic disrespect most settlers had on our natural environment.