For this task I wanted to look at the differences between graphic design that has been released as a part of a government campaign and graphic design that his been done by individuals not employed by the government. I found some really interesting pieces of design from something called ‘the visual art project’ which is a virtual art gallery that invites graphic designers and artists to submit original poster designs that respond visually to the Covid-19 pandemic. The project was created by Mark Kelner (a DC-based artist), Ben Ostrower (a graphic designer specialising in political campaign branding who founded (wide eye), and Zachary Levine (a historian and curator who runs throughline collaborative).
I thought this would be a good source of comparative work as the designers haven’t had to work with a specific client like the government released Designs. Obviously the two designs have different intentions in terms of sending a message about covid but I think both are effective in their own way. The government design uses a very bold sans serif type in all caps which creates an extremely legible message. The message of ‘control the virus’ is also in a larger type which creates an almost summary of the governments instruction. In comparison to the poster regarding hand washing, the governments design is much more accessible. Not only could this design be read a lot further away (impacting more people) it is just easier to read in general with the centre alligned, large type. The colours used also give this design some sense of urgency for the reader. The border of the design look almost like some kind of hazardous tape which alerts the reader to read the warning.
The hand washing poster uses an extremely small type to elaborate on the message of ’20 seconds’. The use of such a small font here could work in either one of two ways. Some people could be intrigued at the fact that they cannot read the words at first glance or alternatively, someone may simply not be bothered to read it as it requires more effort to look closer. This designer is almost allowed to take this risk as they have not been employed by the key people responsible for controlling the virus. For such an important message perhaps it is best to stick to legible type.
Another large difference between the two designs is that the hand washing poster used illustration to portray a message. A line drawing is used to resemble the washing of hands. Again this could of have varying impact. A line drawing is not something that is bold or even legible at all from a certain distance. This leads to similar implications of the small font choice.. Some may be interested by this, it looks like a piece of art.. however some may hardly notice the subtly of this design which means a failure to pass a crucial message on.
For this brief I wanted to experiment with different ways my two initials could be joined together to create a monogram. This was an interesting task as I felt as though it forced me to look closely at the specific details of letter forms. I wanted to keep my design simple and I wanted the letters still to be legible despite the brief stating that it was fine if they weren’t. I felt as though if I joined the letters in a way that made them no longer legible then the monogram would lose meaning. I developed my idea by playing around with colour and sizing of the two letters, this resulted in a few different outcomes that I was pleased with.
Sketches for Initals
After creating a replica of the penguin classics edition of ‘The Great Gatsby’ (pictured below), we were given the task to create our own book cover following the basic principles of the classic penguin format but deviating from this slightly in order to create some kind of symbology/irony within the cover.
I chose the book ‘The Handmaids Tale’ as this is a book I enjoyed reading and feel as though is an appropriate title for a classic style penguin cover. I knew that I would use the colour red as this is symbolic for the book in that the dresses the handmaids wear are red. I also wanted to use white as this is the colour of their bonnets. I wanted the book cover to resemble the identity of the books main character. My first Idea is pictured on the left below, I switched the cartouche shape, that penguin covers use, to two shapes that create the image of a face and a bonnet in the style that the handmaids wear. I wasn’t overly pleased with the outcome of this so I decided to get rid of this and return back to the cartouche shape and work within this shape to create some imagery. I created a simple eye shape within the cartouche as there is lots of imagery throughout the book to do with ‘the eye’ and being watched. I kept it all red so the eye is slightly hidden (just like it is in the book). I used three colours to represent the white bonnet, a shade of colour to represent the characters skin and red to represent the dress. I felt that this three part background didn’t work well for the cover so I eventually settled on using white for the middle and upper section to allow for contrast against the title text and also to resemble the white of the Handmaid’s Bonnet.
For this project we were asked to capture images of typography across campus and then compile them in some kind of system. I chose to compile these images in a hierarchy from top to bottom in terms of which bits of type I was most attracted to at first glance. Once i had the final compilation of images I found it really interesting to see strong differences between the top and bottom images. The type that I found most appealing tended to be more colourful with bold large letters that made the words legible. I also thought it was interesting to see that certain typography that I placed very low on the list was sometimes portraying an important message such as social distancing. It was strange to see such an important message presented so badly through type.
This task reinforced to me how crucial typography is in portraying certain messages within our environment.
Within the theme of pain I wanted to demonstrate the difference between mental and physical pain. To do this I illustrated a scene of two friends sat drinking. One is wearing a sling on his arm to represent physical pain. For the other man I drew a brain that is beaten up/ bandaged and bloody, my intentions with this was to create a metaphor for mental illness as it cannot be seen in the same way as physical illness but can often be just as painful. To represent the invisibility of mental pain I used animation so that the brain appears on and off to show how we can always see physical pain like broken bones but cannot always see mental pain.