Cora McKenzie

Cora McKenzie is a Seattle-based graphic designer and researcher working at the intersection of communication design and science. She holds an MFA in graphic design from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

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Cora McKenzie
raphic Design + Research

Anthropocene Icons
As part of my thesis research, I learned that the Anthropocene does not have an official start—rather, it has multiple proposed dates. I used this detail as a prompt to create a set of  icons for each proposed start date, ranging from the invention of farming to the atomic age. With their hard, striking appearance, these icons demand attention to be directed towards the Anthropocene. 


Lasting global changes—ice ages and major extinction events, for example—alter the Earth as we know it. Sometimes these changes are vast enough to reveal themselves in the layers of rock beneath our feet. These major shifts are marked by geologists with a metal disk—also known as a golden spike—a geological marker that indicates a time division. With the iconography I created, I then translated each graphic into my own version of a  golden spike. These spikes were then placed in spaces that humans have built, such as gas stations. Though each disk and icon reflect a different start date, the lasting global change our species has brought to planet Earth cannot be ignored.