03/10/2016 – 24/10/2016
Brief: The objective of this brief was to express myself typographically through emotive type forms and lettering, this could be by conveying a mood, a feeling, an emotional state or produce a typography composition that is simply atmospheric and evocative. The aim was also to develop an appreciation of diversity through typography and hand craft lettering.
Chanel’s Feminist Protest
I began this project by brainstorming ideas about myself that I would want to express about myself. As a very opinionated person and someone with strong feminist views I decided to explore feminism within my work, specifically with the aim of conveying empowerment. I began my investigation with looking at feminist protest banners, a powerful format used for triggering reactions from the viewer and conveying ideas and concepts. From this research I noticed that most banners had their own unique style showing individuality (handwritten type, type and image, stenciled type), they all prioritised emphasis in their typography in order to catch the audiences attention (bold or underlined type), and they all tended to use black and white with red for emphasis.
Furthermore in my initial investigation I collected primary research by going around Brighton taking photographs of graffiti. I chose graffiti as it is an illegal act of rebellion and could be seen as a form of protest. Graffiti is often done in public spaces to attract attention and convey a message, similar to how protest banners are used in public protests. Furthermore there are a variety of graffiti styles as each graffiti artists is trying to personally express them self, once again like the individuality seen in protest banners.
The photograph above stood out to me the most from all of the photographs that I took as it is a very clear symbol of protest but also due to its visual qualities. The text on the poster is in the style of a typewriter and is in unaligned boxes which resembles the Punk aesthetic, a movement known for protesting against the government. The text itself reads “Another empty building and people sleep on the street. Why? Rents too high, systems fucked, too many Tory wankers,” this very clearly conveys the intended message to the audience. Furthermore the poster is covered in a texture, which could be used to represent deterioration, this texture has similar qualities to those produced through mono printing. It is unclear whether this poster was mono printed however the printing process allows for quick production so is therefore a useful tool for cheaply creating large amounts of work for a campaign.
Original Linocut Print by Paul Peter Piech
Inspired by the previous poster and its mono print like qualities I began to explore printing as a form of communication. An artist I looked at for inspiration was Peter Paul Piech whose work you can see above. His work uses print as a form of protest and often includes social issues within his work. He has used a black, white and red colour scheme which is popular in protest imagery as seen in the banners, and has utilised these colours to draw attention to the focal point of the print which is the heart. His print is also bold due to the raw hand cut type which makes the work more personal and conveys a sense of passion.
My Own Handprint
Using the feminism logo I began exploring print as a process. Initially I was applying black water based ink directly to my hands and printing my hand onto paper. I then began to try and capture the movement of my hand transferring from an open palm to a closed first, this was inspired by the closed fist imagery in the feminism logo. These prints I believe were not clear in capturing this movement, I also tried to capture this movement through mono printing but the imagery was lost even more in the textural qualities.
Through this exploration of print however I did generate the above imagery accidentally which I found to be extremely visually interesting. Whilst printing I was using old notes as a scrap paper to blot my ink and whilst doing this discovered that the ink would be distributed around the text due to the indentations in the paper from pressing down with the pen. I also found that reverse text would appear where the ink would flood into the indentations from the writing on the reverse of the sheet. Intrigued by this imagery I continued to explore it further, I began to look at how much ink is applied affects how the ink interacts with the indentations, the varying qualities of print produced by printing onto different papers, and the visibility of text through the ink when wrote with different mediums.
Kleine Dada Soiree, 1922 by Theo Van Doesburg and Kurt Schwitter
For my final design I wanted to incorporate the feminism logo as it is a very clear indication of the concept driving my work. To do this I looked towards Dada art for inspiration as I was interested in the idea of overprinting my typography with the imagery. Dada further relates to my investigations as once again black, white and red is a popular colour scheme used in their work. Below you can see my final outcome, with the logo overprinted in red to emphasis the logo yet still reveal the text. The text I used handwritten and a step away from my earlier experimentation as I found that hard to recreate. I believe that was a poor choice on my behalf as I felt my earlier work was far more successful and less naive. The type itself is the quote “feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes” this quote is from the text ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ by Chimamada Ngozi Adichie. I chose this quote as not only does it clearly indicate the concept of the piece but it informs the viewer if they are not familiar with the idea of feminism. Furthermore this quote was popularised in the song ‘Flawless’ by Beyonce, a popular song but an influential feminist icon, therefore the quote is more accessible to the audience that many other quotes I could have chosen.
The feedback that I received on this project was to think about over forms and formats that my work could be presented on. My final piece currently remains as a stand alone print however this print could be used within the context of a poster, leaflet, clothing etc. As the concept of my piece is typography finding a form that is also appropriate to that would aid it’s presentation, for example using my design on an apron or other products that are considered to be stereo typically feminine, or using my design on a poster or leaflet for a protest or activism movement. Furthermore to improve the print itself I should think about the scale and contrast of the type in order to increase legibility and also the composition. Comments from the critique made clear that the earlier experimental typography I had produced through mono printing was very successful, so the possibility of including elements of that may improve my work.
Post Critique Amendments
I aim to work further on this project as I believe my outcome was not as strong as it could have been. To do this I am going to revisit my earlier experimental typography and experiment with that, my mono print of the feminist logo and my typography as separate objects. Instead of creating one print I will digitally scan these elements in so that I can experiment with the composition, scale and contrast as suggested earlier. I will also go on to then work with this design in the context of a poster. My initial investigation stemmed from protest imagery and I was particularly interested in the protest poster I found in Brighton, therefore a poster seems fitting as a final form for my work. Although the suggestions of having my design incorporated onto an apron or juxtaposed onto other products associated with being feminine, I feel that in the time I have available I would like to focus my efforts onto improving the initial design itself and a poster would be just as successful and much faster to produce.
When revisiting my earlier mono printing onto handwritten notes I realised that the notes themselves were rough copies of my Cultural and Critical Studies notes, therefore about design. Some of the writing on design is visible within my prints therefore for my format I decided to change my print into an exhibition poster for feminism in design, I choose the V&A museum as the location for this exhibition due to it’s focus on art and design. Below is my initial revision of my final design. I scanned in my black notes monoprint and my red feminist logo monoprint and then layered them in Photoshop using the darken layer mode.
Initial revision of my design with the V&A branding and exhibition details applied. A gradient was added at the bottom in order to create a darker background for the logo and text to stand out against.
Experimenting with composition however this creates a large amount of negative space on the left.
Further simplifying my design and using just the initial print as my imagery.
Using another one of my initial prints as part of my design. The connotations with feminism however aren’t clear.
Addition of the feminist logo in order to make the link between feminism and my print clear. My final design.
Alongside the poster I designed a ticket for the branding of the fictional exhibition. This ticket compromises of one of my initial prints which a gradient applied across it, this is so that the text can be read against a blacked out background.
In conclusion I believe my final amended outcome is definitely an improvement on my initial outcome. Revisiting this project since completing several other briefs and gaining new skills has allowed me to look at it with a fresh pair of eyes and apply the knowledge I have gained through experience. Although I am not completely happy with the outcome, as I would have preferred to start the project from the beginning and implement my new skills throughout my investigation, it does accurately show my progression through semester 1 and how my creative practice has developed.