Michael Rock in his essay on ‘Designer as Author’ suggests that:
“…authorship [in one form or another] has been a popular term in graphic design circles,
especially those at the edges of the profession: the design academies the murky territories
that exist between design and art.”
I really enjoyed listening to the podcast with Craig Oldham, [Office Of Craig], [Rough Trade Books].
Craig had loads of really interesting insights into the role of a graphic designer. I’ve made some bullet pointed notes that I’d like to remember:
– Graphic design is not a medium for self expression
– Graphic design is a service industry.
– Graphic design is for other people to other people.
– The designer doesn’t have to like what they do for the outcome to work.
My role as a designer is not to force my ideas and tastes onto other people… They might have completely different ideas in their lives.
I have gathered a bunch of other men’s flowers, and all that is mine is the cord that binds them
Michel De Montaigne
Craig asked us to ask ourselves:
[A] Am I a designer that writes?
[B] Am I a writer that designs?
It really hit a cord with me, I’ve never felt like I fully fit into the relm of graphic design (maybe that’s a weird thing to admit as I’m studying a masters in Graphic Design).
I love researching, colating and then presenting that information whether that be in print, audio or as a presentation. I really learnt that while working at Surfers Against Sewage. My role there was Education & Design Officer. It wasn’t a role that existed before and it doesn’t exist now but it suited me, and the charity at the time, completely. I’ve been wondering for years how to communicate what it is I do. I make school programmes? I like bringing together facts? haha!?
I think I love producing work.
Maybe I am a producer that designs?
I’ll keep thinking on this one.
Something that really reassured me in my eligability to be still studying Graphic Design was this:
Without something to say, and the courage to say it, the best design in the world will not save you.
Craig mentioned a few artists that he was inspired by in his lecture. Sarah Boris was someone who came up. He described her work as ‘concern first design later’. He also said that he feels like Sarah responds to things in the right way… I think he means without ego?
It’s a funny line to tread, I’m of the opinion that there are some things you just can’t stay quiet about and you by choosing to ignore major things that are happening in life actually makes you a supporter of that issue.
I may only be saying this as I am female, queer and utterly terrified about climate change… I really feel doing nothing isn’t an option.
I love Sarah’s work!
I read a great article where she describes why she visually responds to things
I felt compelled to react visually on several occasions. It’s an impulse and often it’s emotional. Back in 2015 when further NHS cuts were announced I created a union jack flag using fragile tape. It was then seen in demonstrations and shared a lot online. When the referendum happened I also created a graphic (We love EU). I shared the logo online so people could print it at home and use it. I’ve always been inspired by the collaborative spirit of May 68 too. In 2012 I was awarded a grant by Creative Scotland and did a residency at Dundee Contemporary Arts where I invited fellow artists and designers to talk, debate, create and print over a few days. The project was named the 48 Hour Splash. I also created a set of illustrations for Do the Green Thing, a platform led by Naresh Ramchandani from Pentagram. It’s becoming more important than ever that people engage and stand up. Many politicians don’t have people’s interests at heart, we need to change that. I always think about how we can make a difference however small as designers. As designers, we have the skills and means to put things together and send out messages. So using design to talk about more than just commercial products is something I find essential, especially today.
Erik Kessells was also mentioned in the lecture, I took a look at his work. He describes himself as an artist, designer and curator with great interest in photography. I loved his personal work it was funny, thought provoking and includes an extensive shop section which is relevant to this new brief. I also really enjoyed the work of his graphic design studio kessels kramer.
they have three simple rules that they work by
#1: There is no formula
#2: Make it meaningful
#3: Don’t be safe
I like them!
Enough of this (for now)
I NEED to get on with the brief. Time is a ticking.
Your challenge is to devise a product or service that makes an impact in the real world. We would like you to think about the type of designer that you are and reflect upon the type of audience that you would like to be designing for in the future. The starting point for your new, original product or service should be driven by your own personal practice, an entrepreneurial insight such as a gap in the market, or a social need within a community. Your product or service should offer your audience something new and engaging. In particular, we would like you to:
- Define exactly what your product or service is and how users will engage with it
- Explain how you would bring it to market and ensure people know about it
- Outline how the product or service is socially responsible and sustainable
Where to start?
The starting point for your new, original product or service should be driven by your own personal practice…
Ok well I guess that’s where I start!
So what is my personal practice?
I think what I’m realising through this brief is that although a lot of my work has been from clients in the environmental sector I have pretty much always also created the content.
I think that is potentially quite unique and why I struggle to find a role that suits me.
So this is a weird selection to define personal practice but I kind of think it does…
A statement or resource that informs or sparks curiosity.
I’m really into learning old crafts, even if I don’t always have the time to keep them up but at the moment traditional signwriting is something that I’ve been trying to keep ticking over in the background.
Product or Service?
Ok so here are my thoughts.
A service sounds too speculative after weeks of speculative projects.
Plus that’s essentially the same as brief two.
So product it is!
But how do I create a product that isn’t just for the sake of it?
I don’t want to create something pointless that uses resources and doesn’t have a plan for its own end of life.
… hmm, that’s a lot to take in. So I went on a walk.
It’s no wonder I’ve ended up working in the realm of plastic pollution and waste. It’s everywhere I look. However, if I reframe my view I can walk along the beach with excitement as if I’m walking through a scrapyard about to start a new project.
That’s exactly the frame of mind I want for this project.
As stated in my last brief I live in a location which has a huge fluctuation of people in the summer / winter months. It’s beautiful here so it’s no wonder people come and spend their summer holidays here.
With the influx of people comes an influx of ‘stuff’ being sold.
Badly made beach ‘stuff’
There’s loads of it.
Cheap bodyboards are perhaps the easiest culprit to identify and in the last few years a lot of shops offer really reasonable hire equipment to try and battle the tidal wave of broken bits of foam that get left by the bins at the end of each day on the beach.
However it isn’t just bodyboards, buckets, spades, wetsuit shoes, wetsuits and even surfboards are mass produced and sold cheaply which is, for some people, the only way they are able to access these activities.
I LOVE surfing
It’s been a constant in my life pretty much since I was around 11 or 12. It’s actually also the thing that first got me into graphic design. There is such a huge visual culture that surrounds surfing and I used to cover my bedroom walls in cut outs from different surf magazines and wish that I could get some of the cool t-shirts or boards that I could see in the mags.
This isn’t just a totally random outcry for my love of surfing. I thing I basically want to relate my product to waste and surfing or a surfcraft of some kind. This isn’t a mind blowingly new idea, I’ve worked on projects in the past that do this but I think this time I want to ensure that the aim of this isn’t to mass produce something but to maybe give people that new perspective I had while walking down the beach so they think “hey, I could surf that!”
A bit more research.
I love this project! I met Taylor a few years ago and the board if so impressive. It really is such a simple statement. It says so much and reaches an unique audience in doing so.
The ciggy surfboard is a great example of taking a problem and working out how you can be a part of the solution while enjoying the processJack Johnson
Rethinking how we consume
So every year Vissla (surfbrand) and the Surfrider Foundation (american NGO) collaborate and launch a competition. the ciggy surfboard was actually a product of this competition one year and it’s absolutely amazing to see the outcomes that people produce.
The brief is to create a surf craft using ‘waste’ materials. So I would like to basically do this too. But how do I make this a product that people could consume? Maybe it could be as simple as a surfshop selling the blueprint / template to the design instead of the actual outcome?
Can I surf that?
So I headed back down to the beach with my intention set… find something you could potentially surf.
This is what I found. An unassuming, very wet but decent sized bit of birch plywood. AWESOME.
The main issue I found while on the beach was that all the bits of waste were small, they had broken down and unless I was to clean, sort, shred and then remould them I wouldn’t be able to do much with them.
I also want to keep this simple.
I want to try and create something that truly anyone could do. Something that you don’t need to build a load of machinery to make.
This is where the bodysurfing idea came from…
Bodysurfing is what you may call a ‘fringe’ part of the surfing world. I think that also ties in more with my slowly forming idea of making something that isn’t mass produced. People who bodysurf often use a handplane which can be seen in the video above or in these images below.
The beauty of bodysurfing is you don’t actually need to use anything at all. The use of the handplane elevates you out of the water a little meaning you can have a longer ride and manoeuvre yourself like you would a surfboard.
It’s also small, you can fit it in your bag easily meaning you could walk for miles along the coast with just a handplane in your bag and decide to surf when you see the perfect wave.
Every aspect of standard surfing has been commercialised, even the getting to the wave part. Bodysurfing is so simple you almost can’t commercialise it. Which is super cool!