Specialist Professional Practice
For this first part of the unit I have completed two projects. The first project was a short project where we were asked to create an A3 poster that demonstrates the significance of numbers. The way I interpreted this brief was to discover something that wouldn’t exist, work or make sense without numbers. This in my opinion would be why numbers are significant. I explored different avenues for example what happens when we dream, symbols, fashion and dress sizes and some more obvious or literal concepts including height, weight, time, and door numbers.
I eventually decided upon the idea of the significance of number in colours. I felt this had some relevance to myself as a designer and those I would be presenting my poster. I also thought it was an interesting topic to explore as absolutely everyone uses colour in some way whether they are in the art world or not. I explored avenues of different paints, colouring pencils, web safe colours and the graph that is associated with that. I also looked at R G B and C M Y K values and how they are significant. These ideas then led me to Pantone colours. After researching how, where, when Pantone colours are used and having looked at the visuals associated with Pantone colour swatches, I was drawn to notice how each Pantone colour is assigned a name that is displayed underneath it along with the numeric values of colours that make up the Pantone. I thought it could be thought-provoking to try and create a visual image of what a Pantone swatch with no numeric values defining its name and colour appearance would look like. I played around with a few ideas and decided to communicate this loss of identity without numbers by displaying a wide range of different Pantone colours all together within one Pantone swatch but without the numbers and as a result for that no name. By using the recognisable Pantone swatch layout it would communicate with the viewer who would know what the image is supposed to resemble and make them notice the differences, no name and no numbers.
For the second part I chose to work from one of the ISTD competition briefs. I originally chose to work on the ‘Everything about one thing’ brief as I enjoy designing and creating books and was excited by the possibility to perhaps use illustration or photography forming a book about one thing. Throughout my ideas development stages for this brief I was continuously indecisive and kept finding myself drawn to the ‘Paper Messengers’ brief. I have a huge collection of stamps and have found them extremely interesting and beautiful for many years. I finally, perhaps a bit far into the project, decided to switch briefs to the ‘Paper Messengers’ brief, applying some of my ideas from the ‘Everything about one thing’ brief to it. I felt this brief would be a challenge for me and would put me out of my comfort zone, which should benefit me for future work in the design industry after university. I also believed it would provide me with a different piece of portfolio work that differs from the work I currently have that mainly consists of books and photography and illustration.
The key points I took from this brief and understood the expected outcomes to be were to design a set of at least 5 stamps that reconsider the expressive and communicative power of stamps, paying attention to the visual potential offered by typographic forms and an idea of what the future might hold for stamps. Along side this the brief asks for a first day cover and presentation pack for the stamps. With this in mind I began to explore ideas and ways to push the boundaries of stamps and step away from the conventional stamps that have been around for years.
My research led me to discover that stamps with a solely typographic design are rare, stamps predominantly consist of imagery traditionally and today. I researched how existing current stamps are beginning to break the mould and discovered the slight change in shapes and sizes has been used on occasion. I considered this to be something I could push even further in my designs. Continuing from my research on the ‘Everything about one thing’ brief I thought it would be interesting, and relevant to postage stamps, to explore how people communicate. More specifically how we speak to one another. I studied regional dialects, slang and common phrases in different areas of the UK. This led me to consider how we talk to different people not depending on just where they are from but depending who they are, for example your grandparents and your friends would be very different. I decided to focus on this and express my stamps in different ways of greeting one another dependant on whom it is, providing a personal and interactive touch to stamps. To express this concept through my stamps I decided they would be interactive where the user would be able to create their own personal message and choose the words they find most appropriate or personal to whom ever they are sending the post, or for whatever occasion. I also considered how this would be an engaging way to keep people communicating through post so that the art of letter writing isn’t lost in the digital world of today. The fun and interactive aspect would create a personal interaction between people, encouraging them to post and also aiding people in better, fun and thoughtful communication.
I decided to base the shape of my designs on a speech bubble to enforce the idea of communication and how we actually speak to each other as well as breaking the traditional shape of stamps, bringing in the idea of the stamps of the future. I wanted to leave the stamps predominately blank and provide stickers of words, individual letters of the alphabet and symbols as part of a tool kit to create personal messages. The words I decided to use reflected different tones, (formal, informal, playful) of the same greeting, saying hello or greetings. They also included ‘happy birthday’. Through primary research I conducted asking a range of people if they send post, and what do they send if they do, I discovered that the most common reason people send post today is for birthdays.
The overall concept for the design of the stamps, first day cover and presentation pack with tool kit was to be entertaining, enjoyable and a way of expressing your personality and connecting with people on a personal level. I wanted to target a wide target audience from ten year olds as by that age the average ten year old has a sound understanding of language, communication and ability to write, to around fifty year olds. I tested the product on my peers who found it fun being able to create their own personal message that expanded off the stamp enabling design on the envelope too. I also asked my mother who is in her late forties and I knew would give me her honest opinion! She found the ability to add a personal message depending on the occasion you are sending the card for brilliant and said the range of words were good as she would use the ‘Dearest’ to send a letter to her aunty and the ‘Wotcha’ to her cousin or friend. I also asked my little brother aged 6 to have a go at creating a stamp. Although he found it very amusing and created a nice stamp and envelope the concept was perhaps lost on him as her may be too young to understand how different occasions and different people could require different tones of communication. My grandmother found it too fussy to create the stamps herself however enjoyed the idea of a personal touch to the stamps. Se also felt the words I had chosen are less relevant to her and she would only use a few and mainly maybe the alphabet letters. This is how I gaged my target audience.
I feel satisfied with the overall outcome of my designs and believe I have communicated my concept well meeting the requirements of the brief. I do however feel with no time constraints I could have produced more finished and crisp designs. I feel I set myself back by being indecisive and changing briefs. I feel if I had made this decision earlier it would have given me the extra time I needed to ensure my designs reflect the idea I have in my head of what they could or should look like. I do however commend myself for chucking myself in the deep end with my designs. I have very rarely ever used Illustrator, only ever for my personal identity logo and small pieces of work. I wanted to broaden my knowledge of the software and enable myself to have the skills to work in a wider range of mediums. I designed the words for my stickers and illustration my hand, scanned them into the computer and reproduced them all as digital images or type on Illustrator. This process took me a long time, sometimes four hours per word. I look at this two ways, one that it was perhaps not the best idea for me to do this as I underestimated how long it would take me and resulted in eating away at time I needed to complete the project to a higher standard, and on the other hand I feel it was worth it to gain these new skills, to challenge myself, broaden my knowledge and achieve a different style of portfolio work. As a student, learning and developing new skills is the key thing. I do believe despite my challenges and difficulties I was able to produce and interesting concept reflected well through my design work. So in that sense I so feel this was a successful project.