Student’s artwork used in McDonald’s straw campaign

Inspiration comes from nature’s landscape

7/4/2022 11:14:16 AM

ST. JOHN’S, NL – One of College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) own is creating art for McDonald’s Canada.
Bella Seonyoung Heo, a first-year Graphic Design program student at Prince Philip Drive campus in St. John’s, was recently selected by McDonald’s Canada, along with 14 other artists, to create a work of art using plastic straws.

Bella Seonyoung Heo, a first-year Graphic Design student at Prince Philip Drive campus in St. John’s, was recently selected, along with 14 other artists, to create a work of art using plastic straws.

“McDonald's restaurants in Canada transitioned to paper straws in late 2021, and a portion of the remaining plastic straws have been upcycled to create a limited number of trays, like the ones used in restaurants,” she said.

Heo is part of a group of artists from across the country that McDonald's Canada commissioned to create an original work of art to be displayed on the upcycled trays as part of an environmental program called “The Last Straw.”

“McDonald's saw my art and loved my style. I was selected along with 14 other artists to share and create a piece of art to reflect my perspective on sustainability based on my lived experience.”

The artists were given three themes to choose from: a sustainable future, an upcycled world, or a landscape worth saving. Heo chose a sustainable future for her design.

“In this project, I conveyed what it might look like if everyone respected the environment and lived a sustainable life through my artwork inspired by beautiful local birds and the birdfeeder from my neighbour’s backyard,” she explained.
Bella Seonyoung Heo, a first-year Graphic Design program student at Prince Philip Drive campus in St. John’s, says her artwork was inspired by the beautiful local birds and the birdfeeder in her neighbour's backyard.

Heo is originally from South Korea, and says recycling and sustainability is something she is passionate about.

“I believe making a homemade birdfeeder is a great repurposing idea as we don't need to throw away our old kitchen items; instead, we can recycle them as one way of living in harmony with nature,” she said. “We can learn many things from observing the birds coming to our garden and backyard, and it just lets us know how harmonious life can be and offers some perspective on how our actions affect the environment.”

To have her work chosen by such a large company was an honour, Heo says.

“It is just a fantastic opportunity for me as I am able to showcase my art with a big brand like McDonald's, while also focusing on bringing our awareness to an important cause like the environment.”

Other achievements
And the recognition for her work doesn’t stop there.

Heo was also recently awarded the 2022 Pinnacle Award of Excellence from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in the student category for her project Quoth the Raven, which is a reference from the popular Edgar Allen Poe poem, The Raven.

“I didn’t really expect that I would win any of these awards, but luckily, I did!” she exclaimed. “Without our instructors, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve it. Now I feel more confident in myself and will try other awards or competitions too!”

In addition, Quoth the Raven has garnered her an Indigo Design award for the book design.

“It’s incredible, and I still can’t believe I have achieved these fantastic experiences,” said Heo. “The Indigo Design award was my first try at an international level design competition, it was my dream. The instructor of the Graphic Design program encouraged me to try as many things as I could and supported me with literally everything.”

Currently living in Mount Pearl, Heo says she has always been interested in art and design and the Graphic Design program has been a great learning opportunity for her.
A close-up view of Heo's winning artwork.

“Before I started studying the Graphic Design program at CNA, I was in the art teaching industry for a long time. I then realized that I wanted to do more creative work than teach students. The more students I met, the stronger my thirst for getting into the field of graphic design became. Thus, I decided to go to college to study Graphic Design, and it ended up being one of the best choices I have ever made.”

The program has taught her many skillsets, and she highly recommends it to others considering a career in Graphic Design.

“What I like the most about this program are the instructors; J, Beth and Craig were extremely knowledgeable, patient, and fun during all aspects of the course. In addition, Craig helped me a lot with technical stuff during this creative process, such as accurate scanning tips and digital editing methods, etc.,” she noted.

Between being selected by McDonald’s Canada and her great experience at CNA, Heo says she is feeling fortunate these days.

“I have learned tonnes of things from this program. Not only academic things or practical skills, but I also got a chance to meet amazing and inspiring people and the opportunities that guided me to widen my perspective. I am very happy with my school and feel lucky to be a student of theirs.”

For more information about Graphic Design and other CNA programs, visit

Media contact:
Ryanne McIsaac
Content Specialist
College of the North Atlantic