Ad blockers always sound more appealing than they really are. Sure, you might block an ad, but in its wake web pages are left with gaping holes–and some are broken entirely. What if, instead of blocking the visual noise with the equivalent of silence, you could replace the noise with a symphony?
That’s the promise behind Green Screen, created by the online magazine The Green Gallery (which, factoid, is actually commissioned by the Flower Council of Holland). It’s a free Chrome extension that lets you obscure banner ads with illustrations of flowers by artists Henk Schiffmacher and Loco Dice x Hoxxoh, along with designer Geraldine Wharry and the studio Pigalle.
It’s art as ad blocker. The premise? Silence is nice, but flowers have all sorts of studied benefits. They can actually improve your mood, and make you think both sharper and more creatively. People are just all around better when plants are around, which is why we intuitively bring flowers to patients in the hospital: Their blood pressure, anxiousness, and need for pain medication are all measurably lowered, thanks to a few pretty clippings.
Who knows if such benefits carry to your web browser, when a flower is squeezed into a 728-x-90-pixel leaderboard. But Green Screen is a superb reminder that the most minimal designs aren’t always the best. And that we should all take a moment in our day to, quite literally, stop and smell the roses.