I was really inspired by this weeks lecture…
I think it’s re-igniting that passion and curiosity for communication and type that I’ve maybe been searching for a little bit. Both case studies touched on the notion of type design or communication design for a global audience that communicates and champions the country of origin.

I was really inspired by the work of Lance Wyman and the lengths that the visual language went too.
It’s really cool to see that it all started with this ’68 and built from there.
I hadn’t heard of the student protests surrounding the ’68 olympics before or the killings that took place, but it was very moving to see the protest graphics that came out of all of that heartbreak and turmoil used the visual language Lance had created. It was so strong that you would instantly know what the graphic is relating too.

I was also impressed with the signage system developed for the games which didn’t use any words to avoid having to print everything in three languages.
The ticket and matching signage systems used colour and simple graphics to determine which day you would be at the games, what sport you will be watching and where you will be sat.

I’m very interested in protest graphics and campaign graphics. It’s a realm I have worked in, have contradicted myself in and have really tried to understand. I feel that in recent years protest and the visual language surrounding it has almost become fashionable. However this feeling could be driven by brands using the visual language of protests to sell something. It felt very moving and symbolic to hear Lance talk about the use of his visual language in protest graphics made by students at the time.

This story illustrates so clearly why graphic design is so important. Visual identity communicates so much, and Lance’s identity went on to be a voice not just for the olympics but for injustices surrounding the ’68 games.
There are no words here.
But this is a powerful piece of communication.

Research Task

  • Gather a range of pressing issues that are being discussed in your local area.
  • Consider the forms of communication that are being used to raise awareness about these problems, what methods are working and what could be done better?

When considering the forms of communication that are being used to raise awareness about problems in the local area I decided to grab a copy of the local paper which claims to reach 71% of adults in Pembrokeshire.
In fairness I do use the paper’s online platform to find out things like road closures and other local news but I haven’t bought a copy of the paper for many years so it was pretty interesting to see a few of the areas I had thought about researching were present in this paper.

The empty home and humpback whale articles were ones I expected to see present in the paper. The final image is a VERY dry round up of the different council carparks and how much they will cost to park in this year. Parking came up in a number of articles throughout the paper so I thought it worth mentioning although… I really don’t think it’s a subject I want to delve into.
I’ve been thinking of working on a larger project encompassing second homes for my final major project so I may give that a miss for now but it was really good to see the topic in the paper, it’s still, and probably always will be a relevant topic of conversation.

The recent surge in interest in a humpback whale which has been spotted for the last two weeks around ten miles from where I live was also a topic I had been thinking of exploring and touched on in last weeks blog.
Is this a cultural narrative?

Finally after looking through the ideas wall and seeing the direction in which some of my peers are going I thought more about what are the real hidden narratives in my community?
Looking at the Welsh typographic project at the start of the week was really inspiring, fellow classmate Beccy is thinking of looking into witches and witchcraft and it got me thinking of the rich history and cultural traditions that come from the place I live.
– I want to talk about monosurf / tourism culture and how to avoid that

© Cas Smith© Llantrisant Mari Lwyd 

One topical tradition from South Wales is the Mari Lwyd.
One of the most well-known Welsh customs is the Mari Lwyd, meaning ‘Grey Mare’, a horse-figure carried from door to door by wassail-singing groups during the Christmas season.” [1]

In the last couple of years I have become more aware of Mari Lwyd events happening where I live. The tradition is seeing a bit of a resurgence and I think in a community like mine which has lost a lot of its ‘Welshness’ that could be a really interesting topic to research.

Design Intervention topic options:

Topic #1:
Welsh Tradition (lost traditions)

I am passionate about Welsh culture and heritage, I find the deep history really interesting and think it is a really important story and narrative to keep alive.
There are many traditions, words and stories which are not widely known of and I wonder whether I could use this brief to shed light on some of those stories?

Weird Walk // Jack Whitefield // Folklore

What is currently in place to engage people in Welsh traditions in my community?:
Check out what is on at Oriel Y Parc, Ancient Connections project. Welsh Language signs

Who are the new audience you need to present this idea too?:
Tourists interested in design and historical culture. This is a huge way to actually draw more people to the area and show the differences between Wales and other coastal towns.

What benefit would working on a project like this have for the community?
This would help build cultural narratives!
I have travelled a fair bit in different parts of the world and am always most drawn in by strong cultural narratives.

What benefit would working on a project like this have for me and my practice?
I feel that this project would lend itself nicely to editorial and potentially exhibition design which are areas I would like to develop in my practice

Topic #2:
Citation spotting

While looking into cultural narratives in my local area I have come across online communities of ‘citation spotters’ that give each other tip off’s on citation locations. This is a very niche community but when thinking further about these people it felt really reassuring that there is a modern day community of people still struck by the awe and wonder of marine mammals and who give up their time to go and watch or monitor them.

What is currently in place to engage people in citation spotting in my community?:
Apart from the online community there is a visitor centre in Fishguard which educates the public on marine wildlife and organises monitoring sessions.

What is the critical path / emerging narrative I could take this project on?
What interests me about this topic is why people choose to do it. There are many people researching into the lack of nature connection in our society and yet these animals still stop people in their tracks and evoke a sense of awe and wonder.

What benefit would working on a project like this have for me and my practice?
This is the big one for me…
Do I go down this route as it is very much in the areas in which I have worked in the past?

Topic #3:
Second Homes
*This is a project I am thinking of developing for my Final Major Project. I would like to work on a project that uses design to build community between second home owners and people that live in a location year round.

What is currently in place to connect people with second homes with people from the community?:

Who are the new audience you need to present this idea too?:

How / why does this not currently have enough attention:

What benefit would working on a project like this have for the community?

What benefit would working on a project like this have for me and my practice?

Topic #4:
Queer narratives

To be queer is a cultural narrative.
To be queer can split opinion.

Queer, the book.
Showing historical examples of queerness throughout history.

What story would I want to tell?
Do I tell a story of people in the community? Do I let voices be heard?
Do I create a story of queer surf culture?

Who is the audience I want to present this idea to?:
If this is a designed outcome I would like it to breakthrough the clipart and visually dated image I associate with queer imagery I see in my community. As such I would like this to speak to a community interested in design, not connected to a city queer scene.

How / why does this not currently have enough attention:
I think this topic does have a lot of attention, yet, like many things in the world it could be stuck in an echo chamber.

What benefit would working on a project like this have for the community?

What benefit would working on a project like this have for me and my practice?

Exploring emerging queer surf scenes and the culture / narratives they are building

This summer at Whitesands beach the Lifeguards flew a LGBTQ+ flag. When the season ended they raised the flag up onto the flag pole and left it up until the wind finally shredded it to pieces.

Initially this flag was flown on LGBTQIA+ visibility month, when asked why they left it up or kept flying it a lifeguard had responded by saying they wanted to annoy people.

To me, a gay women, I was so suprised at how included and happy seeing this flag flying made me feel. I’m not a part of a gay scene as such, I don’t live in a city where there are strong gay scenes and so I sometimes feel a bit detached from the whole thing.

Where to head next with my research?

  • Flags! There’s something in the vernacular of flags locally and when it comes to the sea / surfing. Could this be one of the final outcomes of this project?
  • Look up the impact of gay flags
  • Look up the impact of flags in surf culture and their global impact
  • Queer surf clubs – Reach out! Think of what I want to ask them…
  • Surf magazines, this was potentially what got me into graphic design especially the early 2000’s Surfers Against Sewage campaigns. It would be cool to make a supplement for a major surf mag!
  • Surf culture – in general, research cultural differences UK wide, Wales wide. Surfing is a highly commercial industry that can become a bit mono – culture vibes. It’s important to keep the vernacular of a local surf scene within what I am creating.

Who are the thinkers and practitioners in this area?

  • Dr. Elly PhillipsWays of Being: A Thematic Analysis of Queer Identities in the Heteronormative Surf Space
  • https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10894160.2013.731873
  • Karen Graaff – Surfing as a space for activism and change
  • Cori Schumacher: world champion surfer, social justice advocate, author, and former American politician
  • Queer Surfclub UK
  • Grayson Perry
  • Easky Britton?

Initial visual reference points that are coming to mind

Grayson Perry
Lesbian and gay groups famously joined Welsh miners on marches.
Amanda Wright, Textile artist from St Davids (where I live)
David Carson – Surf culture

How has my topic not garnered the attention it deserves?

  • Invisibility of queerness within the surf. Could that be because of wetsuits? There is no element of expression.
  • Bottom of board decoration – the only way to express yourself in the sea, the board used as a canvas for protest.


[1] Christmas Traditions: The Mari Lwyd (no date). https://museum.wales/articles/1187/Christmas-Traditions-The-Mari-Lwyd/.

[2] The Mari Lwyd (no date). https://www.wales.com/about/culture/mari-lwyd.

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