Sunday, 11 December 2011

Unfinished projects

Of course it's the end of the semester and I feel it's ironic that this is when most ideas pop into my head. Why couldn't these have shown up a bit earlier in the semester? But moving on, here are ideas in my mind and now on here but are not created YET. Yet being the most important word. Truth is, time ran out for this semester's deadline. Though they're not created yet, they're still in my mind with an intention of exploring and creating.

First project targeting walking commuters and encouraging them to look up whilst they walk. Not look down and into their own world. It mimics slightly that of a scavenger hunt, allowing your eyes to follow such words.

This being a simplified mock-up, but stenciled in the sidewalk the words LOOK UP followed by a sign that says SMILE pointing to IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY. Whether people would agree it's a beautiful day or not, hopefully they would at least look up and enjoy something new and peculiar to their morning commute.

The next unfinished idea involves making grips for bus handles and poles. It's odd, comfy grips are made for so many things, but why not public transportation? Cars have comfy steering wheels, bikes too. Even brush handles are now made for comfort.

Of course in all honesty, this idea did spark much from being on crutches this semester. The palms of our hands are important, give them a break every once in awhile.

The third unfinished project is somewhat more simplified, it is that of creating possibly humorous messages on bus stops. Messages that encourage bus transport. The example provided is simple at most, but I see bus stops as a canvas. A canvas that is not taken advantaged of.

The final unfinished idea would be to convey comfort on bus stop seats. Bus stop seats are uncomfortable, hard, and unwelcoming. Of course they're meant to be temporary seats, but we've all waited for a delayed bus before, and the customer shouldn't have to suffer because the bus is late.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

"Failed" Projects

I'm not always a fan of using the word 'fail,' I hope that fail could be replaced by 'pending' projects. The truth is, I do think it is vital to document your successes along with projects that don't quite work out. Here are two examples of such.

The first being how I wanted to explore outside the printed world. I wanted to send a happy random message to commuters outside of posters, billboards, etc. With this project I imagined a walking commuter, whether he or she was about to cross a street or maybe simply walking down the sidewalk to look up and find this wired word that said "SMILE." Why wire? Well because wire might tie into the urban scene more effectively, whether this be hanging from a the cross walk walking signal, or on a random Edinburgh iron fence, or a bus stop.

I'm almost embarrassed to mention just how long it took me to create this horrid looking 'S.' Let me just say much longer than it should have. *cough cough* (more than a days work). I assumed that taking that jewelry making class when I was 13 would have helped a bit when it came to bending and working with wire, but the truth is...I was far more talented with wire in my early teens than I am now. Though this is something I would like to explore more in the future, I had to make a decision: I don't have the time to perfect this at this time, especially when it's not something I'm really all that passionate about. Perhaps on free time, over break, when a deadline is not hanging in the back of my mind I could conquer this task - but not when there are other projects/subjects pending in my mind.

The second 'failed' project came from our Investigation Task with our tutor Jeanette. Well the idea came, but the fail came from my follow through. Our task was to look into [in a sense] symbols of our subject. We had to find or create images that match our subject to: Presentative, Metonymy, Synecdoche, and Metaphor/simile. The inspiration came when Sofia and I were trying to come up with a simile to bus transport and I joked about it being that of a kangaroo - sit back, relax, enjoy the'll get to your destination. Like that of kangaroo's joeys sitting in their mother's pouches, just relaxing on the journey. A bus is like a kangaroo. We found too much joy in this, probably more than the average person should - but that could be from our lack of sleep and over tend to get loopy.

We then thought how much fun it would be to create a bus campaign in form of a kangaroo, emphasizing comfort and relaxing. How often do you see that message in bus campaigns? Never...exactly! So I went to drawing...

Okay, it was getting there...but it hit me hard - there is no drawing a kangaroo and joey without seeing a phallic symbol. I understand sex sells, but this was just ridiculous. From here on out, I could not draw or trace a kangaroo/joey image without seeing a phallic symbol, no matter what position the kangaroo was in. Hopping, standing, laying down...nope! It was not going to work! Again faced with the issue of time, I do think this could work if I spent much time trying stylize the kangaroo/joey and make them not so realistic. But of course with this idea coming to me at the end of the semester, time is not my friend. So yet another project that could be pending.

Monday, 5 December 2011

No need to reinvent the wheel

1. Where has this semester gone? It only felt like yesterday when I was presenting to MFA/MA 1 students. 2. Why do the most inspirational ideas come to me at the end of the semesters? It's a conundrum I'm not a fan of, same with that of why are porcupines and hedgehogs so cute but have an anti-cuddling layer around them.

 What I'm trying to do is get public transportation commuters to enjoy the journey, not the destination. How similar is that to my postgraduate journey? Quite. I did a few brainstorming exercises and the word that kept popping up was 'wheel.'

The wheel was invented to transport heavy objects from one location to another; of course in the early to late Neolithic era, I doubt such 'heavy objects' were people. In any form of transport today, this is what we rely on. We rely on the action of an axle overcoming friction to produce a 'rolling' motion, to get us to our destination. But take away the mechanics of a vehicle, the invention of a car, go back to the beginning. The origin. While we're on our journeys, it's the essence of the wheel that moves us. Gets us to where we need to be.

There is no arguing that the current Lothian bus pass design is obnoxious - it is busy, has bright obnoxious colours and by no need encourages a message of joy. Rather it encourages commercial work for Lothian buses. That boggles me, if someone has already purchased a bus pass, why advertise to them more? Clearly they are already going to be riding on the bus more, due to this purchase so there is no need to send a vibe of BIG BRIGHT LOOK AT US!

Now at this moment, feel free to tease me about my photo. In my defense, it was pouring down rain that day and I had no intention of looking good...but yes, moving on.

I got excited over the idea: what if I owned a bus company and I was to design for myself - what would it look like? I went through many designs, often it looked like someone threw up on my Illustrator artboard.

Many ideas popped up incorporating the theme of the wheel, but also working as best as I could to keep a clean cut feel, oh how that's hell for me.

The idea I finally settled on combined a simple wheel feel with that of a cool blue relaxing idea.

The logo was taken from the similar geometric objects found in my earlier helvetica explorations. The text on the back says: "Research has proven that human touch improves pulmonary function, reduces stress, lowers blood glucose and improves immune function. So next time someone bumps into you on the bus know you're better for it." Cheeky? Probably.

The hand was a random thought that popped into my head. Something for bus commuters to use and WAVE to car commuters. When they're at a traffic signal, of course. Don't want to cause an accident. On the back of the hand, it says: Sit back, relax, enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Beyond the companion

I received an email from Lothian buses saying that they cannot put my publications on their buses due to a contract they currently have with Metro newspaper. This wasn't solely bad news, in fact after much thinking and head banging against my desk for new ideas - they finally popped up! It was sort of a release, a bit of freedom. I can now design without having thinking I will have to 'sell' this work/idea to a company. I can finally design for myself and my audience!

For context, we have to create an event where we receive feedback on our work from our target audience. I threw away the idea of the Lothian companion and came up with these 'gifts' to give to commuters. These gifts continue with activities, quotes and newly....hand sanitizer.

I want people to interact with things outside what they're used to! Put down their book and pick up with gift that has a page for them to pass a note to a neighbour. Or a page that is just to wrap up their up, because we all know buses need to be cleaner. Or perhaps a page to draw. Why not? 

I've been forced to think about other ways to communicate my message, I am always influenced by Stefan Sagmeister and truth be told...every piece of work he creates. He always goes beyond the norm and of course there is a large part of me that's truly jealous of his mind. In his work 'my life' (trying to look good limits my life, he creates words that aren't on printed media, aren't posters but could be found in everyday objects.

Though my event is still on printed materials, I know this to be the next step to exploring other areas of communicating my message. Now to get my hands dirty...

Monday, 28 November 2011

Messages of Joy

I started exploring other ways to reach the minds of bus commuters - things that they can enjoy whilst waiting for their bus. In continuation of my Helvetica explorations, I created cards and envelopes for readers to find on bus stops. These cards include activities, a story, and a simple message of SMILE.

I took the helvetica explorations images and added text to the back.

 The text varied. One card had an exercise routine, yet another activity to do while on the bus.
The next a story about LA, encouraging bus commuters to communicate with one another.
And the third encouraging the commuter to take notice of his/her surroundings while on the bus.
In addition, another 'card' was created. This one being slightly more interactive. This one relied on the mood of the commuter, truth be told I can't assume how everyone is feeling so it encourages one to address their mood and then find some possible useful activity. On the front, you find your mood, turn the card over and find your activity - each activity matching the mood of the commuter.

In exploring 'joy,' I came across the idea of these oh so random cards. They simply have a goofy photo on front with the word SMILE on the back. My intention for these cards are to be found in either the envelopes or perhaps left on the bus. I picture someone sitting there and seeing the photo of the crazy chicken and not help but chuckle. Upon showing the images to friends and classmates, I saw that they got a here's to hoping the same effect happens with bus commuters.

To spread cheer, to spread awareness.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

I have an inkling...

2 colds/flus, 1 food poisoning, 1 sprained knee, 1 laptop crash has all equaled one hell of a semester. Perhaps I'm getting it all out this semester? That it's nothing but clear blue skies from here on's to hoping!

Moving on, designing my pitch for the ECA Fashion Show was a great experience. The idea definitely progressed and developed much throughout the passed month - but the concept remained the same. The concept sprouted through the idea of fluidity found in ink and water, how fashion shows must remain fluid. It's one piece after another, it must continue and keep moving. There are no pauses, there is no stopping, keep going, keep moving, keep progressing.

From this I played around with photographing ink in water. I found it to be beautiful in the way that I had no control in the shapes made and created. It was a challenge I enjoyed.

Through this, my first design developed. High contrast between the bright orange and strong black. My idea for ticket would have been a postable 'perfume/ink' like liquid. Continuing with the concept of fluidity. After critique of this work, I was told that perhaps the ink looked a bit like 'bodily fluid' or something that could be found within one's body...something that perhaps isn't so attractive.

My next design consisted of changing the bright appearance of the orange ink and masking it through the black ink shape.

After I finished this revision, I had realized that perhaps Halloween was on my mind too much...seeing the colours and also how the 'Rorschach' mirrored effect made it look somewhat like a skull. Sinister? Perhaps. Again, the criticism of this revision was that it still reminded others of bodily fluids. At this point, I still didn't see it. After looking at it extensively, it appeared! From here on out, I couldn't look at this image without thinking, 'semen, semen, semen, semen...'

At this point I knew I still wanted to continue with the concept of ink in water and fluidity...but how can I do that without creating a design that looks like..well you get the point by now.

Having just read up on Gustav Klimt, my new design came alive.

I created a new image made from only 3 images of ink in water. I took geometric shapes from these images to create a new image. I fell in love with the contrast of ink being fluid and smooth, and these geometric shapes having hard edges, it was an ironic marriage formed. I started working on this image and worked the whole night through, it was after this night that flu #2 attacked me, I guess that's what lack of sleep does.

Details of the dress/body being made ^

Final design of the poster ^

Final design of the inside spread for the brochure, conveying a mirrored 'Rorschach' like concept. ^

And just as a sidenote: This should have been my first sign that my laptop was about to give way - Every time I hit save, this is what my image looked like as it was saving. Step one in how to give a graphic designer a heart attack...

Monday, 21 November 2011

Oh Helvetica...

It is no secret that I'm not a fan of Helvetica. My not being a fan of it isn't nearly in the same category of Papyrus or Comic Sans - being that I don't think it's obnoxious. But rather I know the history of Helvetica, I know its influence and because of that there has always been a stubborn side of me thinking, "I DON'T HAVE TO CONFORM!" or "I CAN GET BY WITHOUT IT!" Giving fonts a personality I thought, "Why not give the others a chance to shine?" Almost like Helvetica is the big kid on campus, and instead I should give attention to the nerdy kids in the corner.

That being said, I challenged myself. I challenged myself to use Helvetica in my work and see if I can appreciate it. I stepped out of my boundaries, my comfort zone by using a font I usually just shrug to. I took this into consideration with the studying of Jan Tschichold, and his aesthetic.

 Finding a balance between collage and clean/cut font. Of course when you look at my previous works, you find montages with heavy imagery, shapes and found phrases. My challenge to myself was to cut down the heavy imagery and incorporate the clean/cut font - Helvetica.

Of course this was a slow process, I am not used to using only a few images in my work, so the first step wasn't simplistic at all: 

But do I like it? Yes...I do. But this wasn't challenging enough. It was a step. Through much deletion and forcing myself to go easy on imagery I came up with new designs:

These images I am very pleased with. I felt I was still able to keep the geometric shapes you often see in my work and incorporate that with a simplistic aesthetic...incorporating Helvetica.