This week I feel like I’ve been a bit slower compared to Week 1 where I was go, go, go, but I’ve taken the time to review the lectures and look at other projects and to build a base. That’s just as important!
What I’ve done
Researched other projects, like Font li Beirut, Vernacular Typography and Lightboxes and Lettering
Contacted potential local partners, such as Artillery Arts and Paekakariki Press
Considered how I can promote the project in the local area (below)
What I plan to do in the future
Conduct interviews with local people, like above
Work towards first submission
Progress with the workshop and get feedback on them
We had a great peer-to-peer this week, with the group pulling together to talk through each others’ projects. We focussed on a few individuals who felt they had reached a brick wall and teased out new perspectives in their interest area to follow. I think it was a really productive meeting and know that if I feel stuck the group will help me too.
A glimpse at a community board where I have been looking at groups I can involve in the project, and promote it too.
I also spotted this addition to a piece of street art on the High Street:
Everyone has been hit hard by the pandemic, with jobs and livelihoods lost, with jobs cut from small businesses that cannot afford to compete with the big global companies, and yet those large companies have been shedding jobs too. In my project I need to be aware of the difficulties people are experiencing and not to appear to take advantage of it. I want to show Walthamstow life as it is. This is a perfect example of that: the council has asked an artist to brighten up the high street with an uplifting message. It is tolerated and even welcomed, but when life changes around it, its reception also changes, hence the addition to the piece. In contrast to the original piece, which is highly designed and in formal English, the addition is in spray paint as if it is graffitied and uses ‘4’ instead of ‘for’, highlighting its popular roots. I am not criticising the addition at all: I think it is a fair show of how people are feeling in the situation and that those feelings are so eloquently added to the existing art is very powerful.
As Ben Evan James suggested in his lecture, I have downloaded Zotero to keep track of all my resources that I use during this project. I’m also rather old school with my notes: I like writing on paper and will use paper sheets stuck to a board to keep track of my notes before writing them on here. I have three massive wardrobe doors I will use as a post it station like I did last term.
Tutorial with Susanna
I wanted to feel like I was heading in the right direction so I booked onto a tutorial with Susanna. She suggested building a panel of experts around me, probably so that I focus on people with the appropriate skillsets. Among the names were: Kelvin Smith, with worked under Alan Kitching, We Made This (Alasdair Hall), Will Hudson of The Hudson Group and The Other Box. She also recommended getting in touch with the adult voluntary services in Waltham Forest to see if they can help/promote with me,
Outside of typography and design, she suggests that I research projects outside graphic design and ones that are multi-disciplinary for public arenas such as Assemble (architecture).
I also told Susanna that I had looked into getting Fellowship Funding from Waltham Forest Council and that I had booked onto an application help session. She also advised me to formulate a project that I can run if any funding doesn’t come through, which is very wise!
People I contacted
Paekakariki Press – a local letterpress studio I am having a session there on the Sunday of Week 3 to practise letter skills. I am hoping to partner with Matt for my project.
Artillery Arts – I haven’t heard back from them yet. I don’t want to push but I should chase again.
Fellowship Funding– aims to support artists, organisations and creative freelancers to create locally relevant, ambitious and inclusive arts and culture projects in Waltham Forest.
Lightboxes and Lettering – Project by Rendezvous Lettering
First, I want to take a look at a typography project started in the past few months to raise money for people living in Lebanon whose lives were devastated in the wake of the explosion. Dr Nadine Chahine started Font Li Bierut to raise money for the city through an IndieGoGo appeal:
“The blast that rocked Beirut on August 4 resulted in more than 177 fatalities, 6000 injuries, with an estimated 300,000 people left homeless. The scale of the blast is unlike anything Beirut had seen in its turbulent history and Lebanon is already suffering from near economic collapse, a banking and currency crisis, and the pandemic. To show support and solidarity for the people of Beirut, the international type design community has come together to create a typeface that would raise funds to support the victims of the blast and the reconstruction efforts.”
The typeface Li Beirut has more than 300 glyphs drawn by 157 designers from all around the world and “includes decorative isolated Arabic letters and Latin capitals as well as Arabic numerals and a few symbols, all in one font file, together symbolising the solidarity of the international community with Beirut and its people.”
At first, I thought, why international type designers? Why not local ones? before realising that everyone would be suffering and not in a place to contribute to a project like this whilst trying to rebuild their lives. I would like to involve the local people in my project, because although we are in the midst of a pandemic and people are suffering, the community are looking for ways to improve their area and forms of entertainment!
“The Lebanese people are suffering from massive financial difficulties with 50% of the population now under the poverty line. Small businesses are under strain, especially given the pandemic, and now with the blast many people are destitute.” The charities being supported are Plan International, Save the Children and Action Against Hunger. Chahine decided to print the goods in Beirut to support a small businesses, rather than printing elsewhere, and despite the shipping costs. She says of her decision “it meant a lot to be able to print at home, and for people around the world to get postcards that say: printed in Beirut. This way we show support to local businesses, and send the message that no matter what happens, Beirut carries on, and its renowned presses will not stop. Not for war, and not for explosions. Beirut lives on.”
As a potential contributor, I appreciate her stance to support the local businesses because work will help the communities around them. This gives me food for thought for my project: I want to support those around me as much as possible and that means local presses too. It might be expensive to print locally, but it will go back into the local economy.
On the other hand, the gifts given to the backers are being bought by people around the world, rather than the local people. Beirut is in desperate need of funding, and although Walthamstow has its problems, it is not in an emergency situation. I’d like my project outcomes to be able to be enjoyed by the local community as much as they contribute to the community.
Carrying on with the theme of local resources, I am recalling an exhibition that I visited as research for GDE720 History and Futures. Lucy Harrison and Rosa Ainsley of Rendezvous Projects started a project called Lightboxes and Lettering that focussed on people’s experiences of working in the printing presses of East London in the pre-digital age. It involved collecting oral history interviews, visiting local history archives, mapping out past and present presses, running workshops with volunteers to introduce people into ways of printing.
The area included a huge swathe of East London, including my borough Waltham Forest and the Olympic Park area which has seen huge changes over the past 20 years. In my project I would concentrate much more on just Walthamstow as I think this is more manageable.
In their own words: “The project explored how the printing industry has changed with the arrival of digital technologies, and how newer processes have transformed the everyday lives of print workers. Volunteers were engaged in oral history interviews with current and former employees, and in digitising archive material collected from existing and private collections. Members of the public took part in artist-led workshops, using some of the processes and exploring the archive material uncovered by volunteers. The project culminated in 2020 with an exhibition at the Nunnery Gallery, a publication, and an online exhibition on this website.”
It’s great to see a local project in my area of interest so that I can see the scope, outcomes and schedule of what will be reasonable in the time period. I think I need to be more realistic with my outcomes, but that will come in a different post!
Stuart put me onto Typography Summer School, run in several international cities and set up by Fraser Mudderidge
I referenced Vernacular Typography for the last module because it has a flavour of what I want to achieve with my collaborative tool: documenting typography in all its everyday form. I love the way that she has found ways to keep the blog up-to-date from the pandemic signs to protest placards.
I like the blog section of the website as it is much more what I have in mind, however the instagram feed and shop show a much more curated selection of image. While that’s fine as that is what Molly Woodward intends, I want the outward facing parts to be truly what Walthamstow represents rather than what I find the most aesthetically pleasing. How can I make results of workshops appear live so that everyone’s ideas are included?
I do like how she descibes her project:
All over the world, there are cities and towns that retain their rich traditions of vernacular signage. Unfortunately, the fate of these typographic havens is being threatened by the uniformity of corporate advertising, which ignores and subverts local history and tradition.
Vernacular Typography is … dedicated to the documentation, preservation, and promotion of vanishing examples of lettering in the everyday environment. It seeks to explore, protect, and support the typographic environment in cities around the world
All over the world, beautiful examples of vernacular lettering are in danger of being replaced by disposable signs that represent large global corporations.
Typography is a powerful marker of regional identity and has a remarkable ability to capture the local character of a particular time and place.
Unfortunately, in some places globalization has all but erased the local typographic heritage. Cities that once had a unique typescape now look like they could be anywhere in the world.
The goal is to as many images of endangered local signage before it disappears altogether; create an archive to document and share those images; and work to revive the tradition of creating new, original lettering in the built environment.
She also describes her work more as vernacular lettering than vernacular typography and I want to adapt this phrase as it describes my aims. At university I studied Old and Middle English and works such as Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, of which some are written in vernacular language of the time. So, it’s close to my heart.
It’s at this point I reach the actual lectures! Ben Evan James in Academic Creative Practice gave some really good advice, even though I am not aiming for a PhD in Graphic Design.
Sometimes I have got stuck, and even though I feel more focussed now I need to keep up the momentum. Writing down issues can help us see new connections (and new problems!) and at an MA level, we are unlikely to build an entirely new ladder. However, we can look to see what ladders are out there and help to build a new rung. My research and contacts for Week 3 have expanded to look at projects in the area and in the same-ish discipline.
He suggested that just after a project we should write down answers to questions such as:
What did I do?
Why did I do it?
What remains unresolved?
To gain a full understanding of how the project went. This kind of self-evaluation I do try to do continuously through projects and can understand how answering the questions at the end can push you further forward.
Evans James also said to signpost throughout a report by using headings, chapters, and devices such as Firstly, Secondly, and to make sure that the writing is accessible. Even studying English at BA level I have found some resources out there have befuddled me so much that I put them down. However, some academic writing is dense because it wants to include as much as possible within a word count, so there is a balance between filling out to make it readable and getting a full depth within the words.
Evans James also suggested that the writing style should be critical and analytical rather than descriptive (like this sentence) and I do agree. Part of the reason that I’ve avoided doing CRJ in recent modules was because I felt that I was just spouting off what the lectures said, but now I think that I’ve found a balance that evaluates the context in which a source is found.
I’ve struggled with this module and to pin down the essentials of who I am and what I want to do. I went back to Week 1 to better articulate that because it’s up to me to show the world how to define me.
Using my wardrobes as a backdrop, I’m going to plan out projects so that I can see things ahead of me before I write them down. Three doors = three briefs. Expect those post-its to be a-fluttering in the breeze!
I’m going to go re-do a lot of work, because I’m not happy with where I started from and what I turned out.
Map a resourcing model for budget and staff allocation to deliver a project or creative initiative of your choice.
You have been asked to pitch by National Theatre for a campaign to promote a new play, to include:
Your client has not given an indication of the budget but would like to pay you fairly. There are no existing images. Please outline the time and costs required to deliver initial stage one body of work across three concepts. Also provide an indication of production costs based on your design proposals.
Whilst it is an example, I’m going to go with it: I love the National Theatre and have been to see many of its plays from when I was a teen up to now, including the example play Small Island. I’ve been on costume tours, building tours and walked along the Shearling Walkway to see the backstage production process many times.
Small Island was a gift to my mum, as she loved the book, and also My Brilliant Friend – to make the presents more special for her I used the poster materials I found on the internet to make a giftcard. Here is my one for Small Island:
So I can ape the style, can I create one of my own?
A couple of years ago I met an Art Director at the National Theatre through a mutual friend at the ABCD awards (The Academy of British Cover Design), which is an industry event to celebrate cover designs all over London. Designers submit their covers, the organisation shortlists them and on the night we all vote for our favourites in the category. It’s a great evening of meeting up with old colleagues and making new acquaintances and is of course, a very jolly evening. Emelie, the NT Art Director, has since moved on to starting her own freelance studio and I’ve given her a message to see what it was like in her role and if she would be happy to talk to me.
First, research: What kind of images have National Theatre in the past used in the past? Is there a theme and how can I do it differently?
This webpage has a thorough history of different styles, from Keven Briggs building a strong identity using typography and a Swiss style grid in 1960s from which to base most of the photos, to his abandonment of this style in early 1970s in favour of a new design for each play:
When the theatre moved to its current home on the Thames, Richard Bird took the designs further to have a strong typography with striking illustrations:
Around the same time, Michael Mayhew used photography with strong type:
More recently, Charlotte Wilkinson (2004–2014) has steered away from using photography already in existence to art directing photoshoots for the purpose of the campaign, with strong Helvetica type.
Since 2014, National Theatre has branded its work as Graphic Studio rather than a specific Art Director, with strong branding but wide graphic styles:
After taking a look at the history, I can see it is a useful tool to be see where the brand has come from, but I can’t fall back on that. Theo Inglis mentioned in his presentation that for one pitch he went with the constraints set, but they were safe compared to the pitch that won. Emelie Chen also puts her hiring at the National Theatre as going beyond the brief:
I was sent the script for the play Ballyturk and had one week to come up with two concepts for the poster. I went beyond the brief to show how we could turn one of them into an installation for people to interact with at the NT. They loved it and offered me a 12-month contract.
Emelie Chen for Lecture in Progress
Setting myself outlines
For this brief, I am giving myself the role of Art Director, where I can hire for the roles I need and be responsible for the overall look.
This brief comes at a time when National Theatre is closed, and is doing an online series of previously filmed plays to raise money on Youtube. When lockdown can lift, what will happen? Maybe plays online will be another part of the cultural programme that the National Theatre can offer to reach more people. How will the designs be appropriate online as well as print? How can the programme be displayed online?
National Theatre have founded Public Acts initiative to involve people around the country in participatory theatre. The first Public Acts was Pericles and it involved partnerships with Body & Soul, The Bromley by Bow Centre, Coram, DABD, Faith and Belief Forum, Havering Asian Social Welfare Association (HASWA), Open Age, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, Thames Reach for a huge cast and amazing costumes. This year’s Public Acts was The Caucasian Chalk Circle and has been postponed.
My play will be an imagined 2021 Public Acts work from an existing play and from this I will have three concepts:
Illustration, using hands such as Pericles and As You Like It
Photographic, using body parts such as legs or hands so as to not single out a character in an ensemble production
Another photographic idea I have yet to decide upon.
Within those concepts, I will play around the typography. Custom or Helvetica? In a white space created by the imagery? Fitting around the imagery? Deliberately breaking the imagery?
What do I need to do right now?
On the Ideas Wall, Richard has suggested that we focus on framing the costing process as:
Costing of consultation, concept routes and pitch.
Costing design development of clients selected route.
Costing of production and implementation.
So while I need to keep in mind the deliverables to make sure that my initial stage fits I need to work on how long it will take me to
[to be posted later] Here is my final outcome, in this post.
Research the subject of your self initiated project and utilise appropriate research methodologies.
Distill your research to determine a clear rationale and the visual direction of your project outcome.
Imagine a range of concepts to inform the visual direction of your self initiated project.
Make five mood boards to demonstrate points of reference and how your self initiated project could be developed and applied.
Collaborate with experts who have relevant expertise in the field of your self initiated project, to gain a unique theory or contextual insight to establish a clear direction.
Collaborate with experts who have relevant expertise in the field of your self initiated project, to gain a unique theory or contextual insight to establish a clear direction.
Getting lost and readjusting
On Saturday, I went to Knots Arts’ Youth Club based in Mortlake to reconnect with the people who went and to see what they did in a session. The group ranges from 14 to 25, with “guys, gals, and non-binary pals”, and people who were in high school, home-schooled, or post-grad level. My aim was to attend, observe and participant with the activities without mentioning my project: first was news, where we each shared a piece of news from our week, followed by active games running around the hall. Next, was Break with healthy snacks and squash, and charades. Each person there was different and participated in different ways, but it was clear that the group allowed people to communicate and act freely without outside judgement.
Afterwards, though, I was stumped at how to progress my project and hoped that a flash of inspiration would come to me. In our tutorial, I presented a few ideas to Ben and Tony, and they provided useful feedback about what might work and what might not.
Yesterday I had an email conversation with Cassandra Yates of Knots Arts, presenting three different possible directions:
If exhibitions can be overwhelming in certain circumstances, what exactly is it that can be overwhelming, and how can they be changed? (rhetorical question) In this project, I could look at different forms of art: shop floors, public transport, perhaps: can they be sensory overload and if so, how, and what would help reduce the overload? The project would form as a primer for other designers to be able to refer to as an example of what people with autism would appreciate, with images of overwhelming situations and solutions.
The typeface brief from D&AD New Blood 2019: I do like this, but I’m not sure how I can break down your group in all their unique idiosyncrasies to a typeface that would reflect who they really are.
Looking at language, and create visuals letterpress to “translate” how people with autism vs people without autism interpret the same visual clues.
One idea was to present that Greta Thunberg sees her autism as a superpower. How do the people in Youth Group see theirs, or what is their superpower? I didn’t really feel completely convinced about where I was going, though.
Layouts of forms, more specifically application and information forms that are used every day. The people in Youth Group have to apply for university, for jobs, for bank accounts, and sometimes the way they are asked for information about themselves and how the forms are presented is confusing. So, my project will be researching how the forms can be worded and laid out to better help neurodiverse people understand them.
She thought that the third option would risk, with the timescale, risk overgeneralising neurodiverse people, which I definitely don’t want to do. We continued talking about shops and confusing layouts and environments, and how a project could struggle to balance accessibility with a shop’s perceived identity. Also, how could I do this in a few weeks?
The conversation followed onto the layouts of forms, more specifically application and information forms that are used every day. The people in Youth Group have to apply for university, for jobs, for bank accounts, and sometimes the way they are asked for information about themselves and how the forms are presented is confusing. So, my project will be researching how the forms can be worded and laid out to better help neurodiverse people understand them.
Research the subject of your self initiated project and utilise appropriate research methodologies.
Roughly 700,000 adults and children in the UK with autistic spectrum condition (ASC)(Autism.org.uk, 2019), however, in 2007 only 15% of these people were in full-time paid employment and in the decade since the figure has only improved by 1%. Including part-time employment, the employment rate in 2017 was 32%, compared to 80% of the general population and 47% of people with disabilities (National Autistic Society, 2019).
People an ASC have a huge range of skills, however some in employment feel that “they are in low-skilled work and employers don’t see their abilities” (National Autistic Society, 2019) and “79% of adults with autism who receive out of work benefits say they would rather work” (Hill, 2019).In the foreword to Grandin’s Developing Talents, Tony Attwood writes that “This is a remarkable waste of potential talent. The American workforce needs the benefit of the qualities of people with Asperger Syndrome and autism” (Grandin, Duffy and Attwood, 2008)
I agree with these statements: that people with ASC can greatly enrich their workplaces and communities, learn essential skills and build confidence. This project will delve into why the employment levels are so low, and how I can, in a small way, attempt to address this imbalance.
A note on vocabulary
From now on in the project, I will refer to people with autistic spectrum condition as ‘neurodiverse’, except where quoted sources differ in vocabulary. The term autistic spectrum condition is preferred to ‘disorder’ as neurodiverse people prefer not to be considered disordered. People without an autistic spectrum condition will be referred to as ‘neurotypical’, rather than ‘normal’, because this ‘others’ neurodiverse people. It should be noted that every neurodiverse person might have a preferred way in which to refer to themselves or their condition, and I am using the terms that can be considered the most inclusive and uncontentious.
What are the factors that hinder neurodiverse people from entering the workforce?
Public views of autism have come a long way since Dustin Hoffman’s depiction of a savant in Rain Man(1988): we now understand that to be autistic is to be on a wide spectrum of skills and needs, and individual to each person. The National Autistic Society reports that “employers have told us that they are worried about getting things wrong for autistic employees and that they don’t know where to go for advice”, suggesting that given the right information and support, employers would be more willing to engage with people with autism for employment (National Autistic Society, 2019).
For my project, I will be working with a small focus group from the Knots’ Arts Youth Club that runs for two hours on Saturday afternoons in south-west London. Attracting between ten and fifteen young people with high-functioning autism each session, it is a space created to allow each person to be themselves and meet new people. My housemate, Cassie Yates (to divulge our connection), and her partners Hazel East and Bex Hand formed Knots Arts in 2013 to maintain drama and social programmes for neurodiverse children and young people. Their mission is to “create inclusive, friendly and fun sessions were children and young people feel safe and supported to develop their communication skills and build friendships. By meeting others who understand the challenges that social communication difficulties can bring, children are able to work together to embrace their differences and overcome any obstacles that they may present” (Knotsarts.com, 2019).
Having been to some of these sessions, the people are delightful and interesting and would be an asset to a workplace. What is stopping them? Cassie offers her insight: One of the main challenges that the members of Knots Arts Youth Group face is transitioning to independence. By working, even part-time they are able to not only learn to manage their own money but also timekeeping, travel and decision making. Neurotypical people make thousands of small decisions every day without realising it. For those with a neurodiversity such as autism, those small decisions can feel overwhelming, from simple things like where to sit on their break, to asking someone if they need some help with a task. Being in the workplace allows them to experience a new environment and develop their social communication skills further with a wider variety of people. They are not always in an environment where people know they have a neurodiversity and they have to navigate complicated social and professional situations often with unsympathetic or understanding participants.”
Members of the youth group have got part-time and full-time employment, so how does it help them? Cassie says that “they have grown in confidence, they feel they have something to offer and some have made friends. Employment makes them feel like they are part of society, and to quote the group: ‘It’s what normal people do, so why can’t I?’.”
The HealthTalk website offers another insight into how neurodiverse people find employment and the application process. Oliver thinks “that people with [ASC] fail in normal human resource, hiring situations where it’s ‘please put your name here’ and it’s in a fairly basic form and people would, because the questions are obviously going to filter certain things out and I think this is where people on the spectrum or with [ASC] fail. Because it’s not necessarily that they can’t do the job. It’s they don’t understand what’s been asked of them, because I’ve had this with quite a few situations.” (Healthtalk.org, 2016)
At Knots’ Arts, Cassie has noticed that application forms “cause a lot of stress for the members as they do not understand how to answer them… They can be too vague, too long, they can cause sensory overload due to colour and formatting. They often bring them to the group so we can help fill them out, for example, explain what the questions mean and show them where to write things.” For me, this is a clear indication that application forms can be redesigned to take away the first hurdle that neurodiverse people face when applying for work.
What can I do to help?
It would be too wide an issue for this project to include the many issues that neurodiverse people face in the entirety of employment. There are government-run schemes that can help and coach people into work, however, I feel that the impetus should be led by companies. The National Autistic Society agrees, stating that “if companies are serious about being disability confident, they should explore alternative forms of recruitment or adjustments to the interview process” (National Autistic Society, 2019).
Employment application processes typically revolve around two parts: a job application form (or a CV and covering letter) and an interview. This project, and course, revolves around design and therefore the subject shouldn’t revolve around an oral process. Similarly, CVs and covering letters are very personal and are entirely self-constructed, making it a very large scope to cover. On the other hand, job application forms are a standard for part-time employment, which all sectors of society tend to start with alongside education as an avenue into a career.
List of Resources
Cassandra Yates and Hazel East from Knots Arts: running arts sessions for neurodiverse people
The National Autistic Society created a Virtual Reality project called “Too Much Information” where the viewer can experience the sensory overload that a person with autism can experience in an everyday situation. The noises louden, lights grow brighter, vision blurs. I think it is a great demonstration to educate people on why situations can be overwhelming for people with autism. It would have been great to create a project like this, however, I could use the information and experience to inform my own.
Hennessey, B. and Watson, J. (2019). An Aspie Life. EnderLost Studios. (Hennessey and Watson, 2019)
Forelya, E. (2019). Eyla Forelya Portfolio. [online] Elyaforelya.tumblr.com. Available at: https://elyaforelya.tumblr.com/ [Accessed 2 Oct. 2019]. (Forelya, 2019)
Distil your research to determine a clear rationale and the visual direction of your project outcome.
‘If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.’
This is a phrase I want to keep in mind through my project, as the central aim is to create a way through which barriers that inhibit neuro-diverse people from joining communities can be broken down.
Redesigning a form for education, for employment, for activities might seem small, considering the education.
For people and companies who create application and information forms.
A presentation of the research I have conducted, with process images and original data, along with an “ideal” form that neurodiverse people have created together, with a discussion on individual preferences.
Gather forms for applications as examples for a range of situations
Conduct research with the Youth Group What is confusing
If a web form was to be created, personalisation options for background colour and font could be included. This has the option to be expanded for people with dyslexia too.
Imagine a range of concepts to inform the visual direction of your self initiated project. Make five mood boards to demonstrate points of reference and how your self initiated project could be developed and applied.
Most importantly, the outcome I produce should place clarity and form over art. The language itself should be simple and easily understood, and the hierarchy of the form should be clearly signposted.
The project should have the user at its heart. From the forms already designed, I intend to research what works best for neurodiverse people and be inspired by these elements.
To ensure clarity, and to stop the form from being overwhelming, I will ensure that the form has breathing space and clear graphic signposting.
I will research which typefaces will work better for neurodiverse people and make the text as clear as possible so that legibility does not get in the way of comprehension.
The function should come before form, and so I need to make sure that the form is clear, using colour and contrast to guide the user through. It should be helpful rather than distracting.
Oliver: “I think that people with AS fail in normal human resource, hiring situations where it’s ‘please put your name here’ and it’s in a fairly basic form and people would, because the questions are obviously going to filter certain things out and I think this is where people on the spectrum or with AS fail. Because it’s not necessarily that they can’t do the job. It’s they don’t understand what’s been asked of them, because I’ve had this with quite a few situations.”
What is the need? (Show forms and ask why they are hard)
Walker Art Centre (2011) Graphic Design: Now in Production.
The back story
Communities have traditionally been defined by geographical borders, but the way we identify community is ever changing. There is a whole host of different types of communities out there. These generally fit under five different headings: interest, action,
place, practice and circumstance.
What’s the challenge?
Language is often strongly engrained in the nature of a community from the language we speak to how and where we communicate. How could this translate across to typography becoming an identifier for community as well? Create a typography-led integrated graphic design campaign that:
• uses type to celebrate a community of your choice (maybe your own?) and showcase what makes it unique
• explores communities beyond the usual expectations. Such as online communities,
those with shared interests, groups trying to bring about change or even communities
brought together by circumstance. It’s up to you.
Who are we talking to?
Those within your chosen community. Those who might not know about your community but want to become a part of it. Or even those who simply have no idea that the community exists.
Things to think about
How to identify uniqueness You’ll need to do your research and be inquisitive. This isn’t about enforcing stereotypes or making assumptions. Explore a fully rounded view of what makes your community different and have a solid understanding as to why.
How to celebrate community
The community you choose should have a positive message. It mustn’t discriminate,
alienate or degrade other communities.
How to find inspiration
Your inspiration can come from anywhere; you just need to sell it. So why look at obvious sources? Consider the typography in the heritage of your community. Or maybe look at things within it that provide stimulation and symbolism?
How to avoid assumptions
Your audience may not already know the community you’ve chosen. How can you
express its essence to someone who’s never encountered it before?
The important stuff
Your campaign must include:
• at least one poster
• at least one digital element
• at least one other touchpoint.
Your touchpoints could be anything: a publication, digital experience, OOH, banners, moving image ads or other online promotions, for instance. Think beyond the obvious but think about what’s relevant to the community – and what would sell
it the best. The more innovative, the better. Show how your output is relevant to your
community alongside your execution. Whatever applications you choose, type must be the major creative expression.
What to submit and how: Read Preparing Your Entries before you get started for full format guidelines – we won’t accept work that doesn’t meet these specs.
Either a presentation video (max. 2 min) OR JPEG slides (max. 8), showing your solution.
Optional (judges may view this if they wish):
Interactive work (brands websites, apps, etc); physical supporting material; if your mainpiece is JPEGs, you can also submit video (max. 1 min total); if your main piece is video, you can also submit JPEGs (max. 4).
List four key evolutionary design steps that contributed to the identity of your design culture today in your country in your opinion.
Movable type originated in China around 1040 AD and made its way to Europe in subsequent centuries. The Latin alphabet, with its much more limited character set, was more suited to movable type than Chinese characters. Gutenberg held a short monopoly on the movable type and printing process in Mainz, Germany, until disagreements with investors meant that the process was in the public domain. His first major print work was the 42-line Bible in Latin, printed probably between 1452 and 1454.
William Caxton brought the printing process to England and set up his printing press in Westminster, London. According to one estimate, “by 1500, 1000 printing presses were in operation throughout Western Europe and had produced 8 million books” (Eisenstein, 1993)
From linotype and monotype machines to photo-print presses to desktop publishing, the industry has seen a remarkable move from a very specialist and labour-intensive process to a widespread and easier role that mostly happens in offices, in a relatively short time span. This has had a knock-on effect on the dissemination and reliability of information produced. My second uncle trained as a print apprentice for six years and was a type compositor in Bedford before he had to diversify his work to manage the changing industry.
As part of my Week 10 CRJ I went to St Bride’s Foundation and learnt how to set movable type and print on an Adana press.
Reference: E. L. Eisenstein: “The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe”, Cambridge, 1993, pp. 13–17, quoted in: Angus Maddison: “Growth and Interaction in the World Economy: The Roots of Modernity”, Washington 2005, p.17f.
Designs for the London Underground Map
Having lived in London for six years, and been a visitor for many more, how I move around the city is just as important as the places I travel to. London Underground has a brand that has become so strong that it is as much a part of London’s identity as physical landmarks such as St Paul’s and Big Ben. The map has to keep London’s residents informed of new lines and services (such as step-free access) in a clear and concise way, but also all of its millions of visitors who may not be used to cities or to English.
The first maps were drawn as early as 1907, and were the first to give equal weight to each line as well as giving each line its own colour. At this point, the lines were overlaying a geographical map of London and appear twisted and confusing compared to the current map.
In 1931, an employee of the London Underground, Harry Beck, realised that the physical locations of the stations did not matter so much as how they were related to each other. This led him to create a schematic map of the lines with the appearance similar to the layout of electrical circuits, although apparently, this was unintentional. The base of the lines is 45 degrees, compared to the 22.5 of other underground systems such as the Paris Metro, and by keeping this angle modern maps look visually very similar to the original map Beck designed.
Subsequent redesigns have retained the schematic plan, although some were better received than others as the spacing was more consistent over the map. Lines have been added in and the main tube map is free from the mainline railways not operated by TfL.
Station symbols have altered through the years: the original symbol for an interchange was a square and this was changed to a circle by Garbutt in 1963. In 2002, fare zones were added to the maps to clearly convey the ticket prices between stations for travellers.
The tube maps have inspired many alternatives, such as the walking tube map and the average rent tube map, and a good listicle of them can be seen on the TimeOut website.
Arts and Crafts Movement 1850–1915
The Arts and Crafts movement was borne from a reaction to the effects of industrialisation and reformed the design and manufacture across the design world, from architecture to books. For all the excitement in new technologies emerging from the industrial revolution, to some, it felt like a dehumanisation of the creative process, especially because the quality of manufacturing was not particularly good.
The Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, founded in 1887, was the naming inspiration for the movement, which was made up of many different arts organisations celebrating ceramic, textiles and furniture. It hosted exhibitions that were the only public platform for the decorative arts at this time.
The movement’s most notable practitioner is William Morris, who believed “passionately in the importance of creating beautiful, well-made objects that could be used in everyday life, and that was produced in a way that allowed their makers to remain connected both with their product and with other people.” (*)
William Morris is an inspiration to me because he reportedly learnt the techniques, such as Persian knotting for carpets, himself before teaching his employees the same techniques. This, to me, is a positive action of creativity and leadership and how I would like to lead the people that I work with.
Punk Graphics and Fanzines
Punk Graphics and Fanzines are a new area for me to research into, and I feel that they have contributed greatly to the British design aesthetic. Mark Perry is credited with creating the first punk fanzine, Sniffin Glue, in 1976 to report on what was happening as it was happening.
It feels essential to British humour to subvert the official communication channels, such as newspapers and books, and to create material that is irreverent and bold, because people didn’t feel as if they were represented in the traditional press.
The cut and glue, handwritten aesthetic reproduced on a photocopier allows for bold, unapologetic mistakes, and its accessibility to produce mean that everyone could create their own fanzine and to share their views with the world. In modern times, we have social media and young generations take advantage of the channels available to them to promote themselves and share issues that are important to them. However, the effort that it took to produce a zine is much more than the time taken to post online, and I think we are circling back to placing value on the time taken to produce work such as fanzines, or similar forms. From a cynical viewpoint, although people are making digital channels work for them, large publishers of content (such as Google and Facebook) make the most profit from these channels, whereas the punk graphics and fanzine movement did not have the overarching companies behind them. Except, perhaps, Xerox.