Thursday, 16 February 2012

London Transport Museum - My Bliss

Today I went to the London Transport Museum and was widely impressed. I was overwhelmed, but impressed nonetheless. The biggest shock of my visit was when approaching the museum, there was an actual line to get in. The museum was quite crowded, extremely actually. There were many children and strollers - kids running around. At a few points, it was even difficult to navigate through exhibits from the overcrowding.

Though it was slightly aggravating, I did enjoy seeing the large interest in public transport. At first, I was confused about the overcrowding. It's not often you hear good words about public transport, so why would people take time out of their busy days to pay to visit a museum revolved around it? It was then I remembered: Oh yeah, little boys like trains. I had forgotten about the playfulness of trains and vehicles.

The first exhibit at the museum was the least crowded, people breezed through the World Cities Walk to get to the next exhibit: the old buses and trains. Victorian era displays. 

I still found the World Cities Walk to be quite interesting, it displayed maps and videos of people on public transport from all over the world.

Though I was interested in seeing actual old carriages, my main interest was that of original posters and artwork for the Tube and trains. There were many cases with pull out drawers to view original documents: posters, tickets, flyers, postcards, etc. To me this was the most fascinating part of the exhibit. Yes, it was enjoyable climbing in and out of old trains and buses - but I found my joy in the poster artwork.

Poster design by Theyre Lee-Elliott

By far, the busiest portions of the museum are the trains and buses. Parents and children alike are smiling and enjoying their interaction with such historical objects.

What I've taken away from this exhibit is the need for my degree show to be interactive, educational slightly, but interactive at most. Here people have found joy in the 'old' and 'historical' aspect of public transport. Similar to my work, the London Transport Museum has created a marriage between the old and the new. Historical and Modern. Encouraging and Educational.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Pause. Re-examine.

We love our space. We love isolation, we don't love the random elbow rub from sitting on a bus. Eye contact is usually prohibited. I came upon this product design, it is extremely creative. I do enjoy the playfulness behind the idea, but of course the meaning for this design is somewhat uneasy.

In essence, this is the exact opposite of my subject. Encourage isolation. The message is the same of encouraging those to find joy in public transport, but by complete opposite methods as my own.

While listening to Spotify the other day, an advert for Audible kept playing. Audible is from Amazon, it is an application you can download to your phone, and then download audio books for listening purposes. This particular advert speaks of the joy and peace you find when you put your headphones on and get lost in Audible during your morning commute. Encouraging you to cut off from the rest of the world and surroundings.

It is no secret that I'm not a fan of Amazon. Their main goal it seems is to promote the death of printed books my any means, whether it be through the kindle or through audible. Since they have become publishers on their own, they are able to completely bypass the printed editions of books, encouraging new means of 'reading.'

What these products essentially are doing is creating the environment one has in a car during their commute and transforming that to public transport. Isolation, withdrawal, privacy, reclusion. No opportunities for interaction, for conversation, for new experiences. Sit on your own, don't look up.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Go big or go home right?

That's the American way. We're not used to doing things on a small term basis, for proof just take a look at our cars, bathrooms, and roads. Even our plates of food.

I have a large idea for my degree show, whether it will be possible or not is still up in the air. But if I shoot high, aim for a large idea, I can always cut back if it ends up being out of reach. Better than working from little and trying to add more ideas.

Bus shelters are disgusting. They are cold and uninviting. My goal is to take that idea and 'reinvent' it to something welcoming and loveable. This is directly tied to finding joy in public transport as well, make something that is old and dull and exhibit in a positive light. Finding joys in what would normally be ignored.

There are many examples of bus shelter art. Whether it's an aesthetically pleasing design:

Or whether it's designs that are a bit more playful:

IKEA has also dived into the creative bus shelter world for advertising purposes:

It's a large idea: getting a hold of a bus shelter, perhaps one that is not so used and grotesque, and incorporating my artwork in and around the bus. Clearly, it would be too simple to just attach my posters to the windowed sections - but it's a simple mock up.
I do know that I want my exhibit to be interactive, I don't want it to simply be a display of work that people walk by and only look at. My subject is to encourage interaction on public transport, so why would I create an exhibit that doesn't possess the same quality?

Create interaction, peace, joy, smiles, enlightenment.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Happiness is a Warm Cushion

 It's rare to come across random acts of kindness. My classmate sent me this link:

I am quite impressed and amazed by the minds of graphic design students Lizzy Showman and Kathleen Fitzgerald. They created bus seat cushions for NYC bus drivers on the M15 line. Every bus driver.

As commuters, we rarely think of the patience required of bus drivers. People aren't too cheery on their commute, we're grumpy, we're tired - we're thinking about how warm our bed was just 30 minutes ago. But one person has to deal with the our bitterness, one person absorbs the weight of everyone's frustration and continues to do their job - the driver.

Smiles are contagious, happiness spreads. As designers, we have the power to spread joy through these simple little movements.