I had a chance to visit a really inspiring designer last weekend. A short chat gave me a refreshed perspective on how I can improve my process journal, which I was working on last week. Some updated spreads of my process journal. I really like to listen to creative people talk about their work and their working process, it almost always push my own work just a little further.
I started work on my process journal. I’ve designed the publication with a couple of key things in mind:
- to allow for addition of more spreads. This is to accommodate future documentation of the project, especially of the actual output when I begin production next month.
- to emphasise the “work-in-progress” nature of my project. For design, I am going for an industrial, tactile approach, reflecting the dual, by-hand/digital nature of my working process.
- images scanned from my notebooks will be printed b&w on newsprint paper, and accompanying screenshots will be printed (colour) on transparency film.
At this point, I’ve settled the materials for the process journal, but I don’t have a fixed outcome of the journal yet. Above points are just some of the main ideas that I want to convey through the design of the process journal. I might have to print everything and then go for a more intuitive outcome for the finishing.
Some spreads and experimentation:
I will be printing this from my home printer, for convenience and for more opportunities to experiment. Most print shops are not likely to allow me to print on newsprint because it will jam their printers. I’ve found a way to bypass the A4 limitation of my home printer and printing on an A3, although that took quite a few trials and errors that made me reconsider how I will design the publication.
If you’re wondering how that is done: I begin with a folded A3 piece of Advocate Rough (I forgot the gsm, it is the lowest one available from Fancy Paper). Pressed really hard on the crease. Exported InDesign file as Pages. Print as per usual (don’t check the double-side printing), feeding the paper twice. Best results would be on low gsm paper. I’ve changed my pagination to accomodate this printing technique. It is still perfect bind, just that it’s printed on one side and folded in half. There’s probably a name for this style of binding or something, but I honestly don’t know what it’s called…
Also tried painting on the sides of the paper. Ran a sponge from a cheap ink set along the edges. I find it works well for the newsprint I’m using, it kind of seeps into the paper in a nice way. Just need to use a more pigmented ink.
Taking design inspiration from the file that I use to keep my fyp notes.
InDesign spreads. Adding the screenshots layer in a separate document and sending it for laser printing on transparency film.
Goal for today is to complete this document.
This weekend I will be starting work on visualising my blog entries. Printing it all out on transparency film too.
Trying to get these things out before March, which I’ve designated for production on actual output.
Also writing my report at the same time. Going back and forth between writing and making refreshes my thinking and lessen the chances of feeling stuck at one thing (and then not doing anything).
Some sketches for the digital part of my work. It will be a longform scrolling website.
For the rest of February, I will be working on the written part of my work and begin production on the visuals from March to mid-April. As the report is the work itself, I will be working on the sketch of the visuals at the same time. Much of my process revolves around looking at all my source material and moving things around to tell a story, while keeping in mind the base concepts of my work: the bildungsroman as a framework and the tree as a metaphor for growth (visualisation).
Eduado Recife is a total collage god. I’ve followed his work for about ten years now, and he inspired me a lot when I was making my old websites. I tried so hard to copy his style. It was so fun to be able to make these collages on the computer.
His collages and illustrations include a lot of old-fashioned stock images and vintage magazine cut-outs. The screenshots above were older versions of his website. He used to change them quite a bit, and I look forward to visiting his website each time, and then run off to make something inspired by his new things.
What I like about his work is that, like David Carson, he really plays with type. Working so much with collaging also inspired the way he viewed type, and he created a bunch of ‘deconstructed’ typefaces. His new website is much cleaner now, and easier for people to view his works, but he used to make longform websites too. I can’t find any of that on Google now.
Collage is often a big, experimental mess. But what I learn from Eduardo Recife’s work is that white spaces and minimalism is possible too. When he shrinks down some of this collages and place them right at the edge of the screen, it becomes quite an interesting visual experience.
These are some of his new works which I also enjoy:
(images from Kinetic.sg, mute your computer if you are opening the link, the sound is a bit loud)
This is the homepage of local creative group Kinetic. I really like their approach to design, and I feel they definitely stand out from the rest of the prominent design groups in Singapore. That’s not to say that the rest are not good or anything, but I feel that Kinetic brings something different to the table.
Their homepage is a pretty excellent example of what I hope to achieve for the virtual part of my work, using the idea of longform storytelling to bring together different media in one place.
Spent the last few days looking at stuff on the internet for my WordPress theme sketch. Anyway, here’s a song that I like a lot called Together In Electric Dreams, by Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder. It’s from a film called Electric Dreams (which I’ve never seen…). The film is about a love triangle between a man, a woman and a computer. Computer becomes involved in man’s love life, and both shared a mutual love for the woman. Eventually the computer accepts the love between the humans and then self-destructs as a results.
The movie is made in 1984, when computers are still quite a new thing. I thought it is quite fascinating for the director Steve Barron to come up with such a storyline that humanizes the machine. There are definitely many films out there are does the same thing with machines and electronics, but perhaps few that envisioned the machines to mimic the emotions that we go through.
“Electric Dreams was definitely an attempt to try and weave the early eighties music video genre into a movie.”
— Steve Barron, director of Electric Dreams
After watching the video, I went to look up some of the other popular 80s music that I kind of like, and I find that there’s a very distinctive aesthetic that runs through the videos: fascination of machines and electronics, saturated colours, a glowy, blurry effect all around.
Here’s another one I found by The Buggles, Video Killed the Radio Star
I personally enjoy the aesthetics of these music videos. They are comparably low-fi music videos, unlike much of modern music videos. (Do people still watch those stuff?) And these musicians are all singing about this new form of technology with a kind of wide eyed wonder. I thought maybe for my WordPress theme sketch and my final illustration piece, I could try and dig out what are the aspects of the Internet world that I was acquainted with that strikes me with the same feelings. I think that would help bolster my concept for the theme creation.
The introduction and success of the personal computer allowed for designers to take the clean design of modernism, destroy it and reassemble it in a new visual language. Most associated with the ideas of deconstruction was the designer David Carson whose work for the magazines Ray Gun and Beach Culture helped develop the aesthetic commonly referred to simply as deconstruction. Wolfgang Weingart‘s approach to typography and design was being carried on by April Greiman and labeled as New Wave. Emigre exploded onto the scene in 1984 with a host of new approaches to, and uses for, typography. All while students from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, such as Ed Fella and Andrew Blauvelt were allowed the freedom to explore and develop these, and many other design aesthetics.
I really like David Carson’s design approach and I feel that my work will have some elements of his style.
Thematically, it pairs well with this concept of remixing that I am exploring in my work. I think what I want to do is not just to simply present whatever I have on hand as it is, but to give it a new meaning.
I feel that the style of deconstruction and dirty type has never been fully explored by students in ADM. In my VC classes, we are constantly exposed to very particular kinds of aesthetic, which one of my VC prof finally addressed in our final critique some time ago by picking up a couple of publications and saying quite simply that “these are all the same”. What I can observe from this is that orderly layouts inspired by the grid and clean typefaces are making a comeback. In the past, minimalist, clean layouts were just as popular as it is today, revered for its timeless quality. Before this, grunge typography and dirty type like what Carson had made here had been considered inspiring and revolutionary. Designers, armed with the computer, are able to digitally manipulate the clean design of modernism, destroy it and reassemble it in a new visual language.
Using the glitch experiment tool I shared in my previous post, I’ll glitch up body of texts for fascinating results, and then use that as a starting point for my typographical and layout exploration.
Recipes I Love by Leanna Perry
Came across this project and I love the style of it. I’m still interested in this whole idea of using low-fi, analog methods to create a good piece of publication and this is another good example. Leanna Perry came across an old-school cookbook in her local bookstore, and she decided to ‘remix the book’, by giving it her magical kitschy touch. This reminds me of these Barbie magazines I kept when I was a little girl. I wish I still kept them now. Those magazines were made up of activities, like teaching you how to throw a slumber party, complete with some kid-friendly recipes, and even included some floral/Barbie logo templates you could trace and cut out as decoratives. Those were brilliant. Similarly in Leanna’s project, there’s this fun, DIY quality that is more nostalgic than Pinteresting.
Here’s another zine made by Perry. Again, there’s a childlike, nostalgic quality to this style of design, photocopied mistakes, large areas of ink and gradient, cut & pasting, and those colourful motifs seem like stickers. Love it!
Dye Cocktail Citron by Tu Sai Quis
Great combination of black and white + big hit of neon. Love the use of gradient.
HITIME by Nora Demeczky
Absolutely dreamy paper texture. I like the noisy pattern too. Remind me of a QR code. Perhaps that can be remixed into a pattern.
Looking at ideas to redesign the CD thing I made last semester, possibly expanding on it. I’m really into the idea of the bookshelf as an installation, so I’m also thinking about the possible objects I can design so that they form this concept of identity and documentation.
I forgot the name of the artist who did these boxes, but I think this gives me an idea of how i can store the blog-rolls that I made last semester. One of the things that I would like to get started on and finish this semester is to think about how I can improve on that work.
Peter Friedl’s The Diaries, 1981-2014
More than 300 closed notebooks are displayed in piles within specially designed museum showcases. The Diaries is an epic staging of real time, memory, volume, and text on paper. Thousands upon thousands of densely filled pages covering a period of over 30 years testify to the impossibility of capturing bare life in words. His diary installation is a study in narration and is open to change. As private books and authentic documents authored equally by professional writers and amateurs, diaries sit ambivalently on the threshold of literature and history. Their centuries-long tradition has given rise to many ways of constructing, documenting and revoking subjectivity. By blocking access to the contents of his enshrined, closed diaries, Peter Friedl invites the viewer to contemplate the multi-layered meaning of how aesthetic experience and imagination work. In an era of open access and ubiquitous surveillance, overabundant communication and information, the artist’s “real allegory” takes on critically new importance. It questions the power of display and imagination, the drama of form and content as well as the fragility of autonomy.
The Diaries plays with notions of the anachronistic, precarious, and unfinished. Yet Friedl’s installation subverts the myth of immediacy in order to offer an alternative composed of withdrawal, silence, and introspection. Simple, mundane activities such as reading and writing become tools and aids for potential resistance and emancipation.
As a visual prologue to the diary project, the exhibition will include a selection of Friedl’s own childhood drawings from the 1960s. Like the notebooks, the authenticating medium of the drawing can be experienced as a piece of material culture. — e-flux journal
This work is particularly relevant to my own work, definitely. The printed archive of my blog could be seen as the technological counterpart of collecting journals. Will be referencing this work in my report.
I have no real idea what this work is about. But I like the presentation of this one. Framed pictures are purposefully installed on the wall, against the text (an angry letter which was written quite humorously).