Every Friday, some of us at Stampede will hunch over our desks, designing anything we want for two hours. We thought it would be nice to share the results of each Creative Burst. All work is property of Stampede so if you want to use them, do ask nicely.
I have been sketching since I was still in school. Back then, I usually sketched cartoon characters I watched on TV. I have been sketching and drawing since then.
In this burst, I took a picture of a wolf – mostly the face area. With the picture as my reference, I started tracing the wolf’s fur, line by line.
Line is the most basic element in art after dot. Using only lines, we can create almost anything. In the wolf’s case, the lines actually made it easier for me as I could imitate the direction of the fur. As you can see, the lines help give sense of movement to the fur. It took a lot of time to work exclusively with lines. The space between lines and the length of every stroke play a big role in it.
Besides lines, I am also comfortable using other mediums, for example watercolor, acrylic, stencil, pencil, pens, collage and more. I’m looking forward to use different mediums next time.”
I’m not looking to don my heavy design-thinking cap this week. Instead, I want to share what transpired from a casual chat with a good friend.
Sometimes we forget that people around us doesn’t know the difference between Arial and Helvetica or the deep hatred towards Comic Sans. We tend to think that just because we design things and spend hours perfecting every curve, people will use them. This exclusivity can make designers appear as an elitist, out-of-reach crowd.
I am guilty of this perspective sometimes and I want to correct it. In the process, I found that it’s actually fun and enlightening to listen to how everyday people react to design.
The Case in Point
I have a Swiss Helvetica moleskine pocket notebook that I carry in my handbag. I like to pen down thoughts and prepare my to-dos for the day over breakfast. The Moleskine looks like this:
Lately I’ve been enjoying the busyness of being among people at my third place, Starbucks cafe at Cenang Mall. My friend Rady Razak, who is also the store manager, saw my notebook and asked…
Is that an ambulance notebook?
He is actually correct. As a designer, I immediately associate the white cross on red with Swiss flag and the Swiss style design movement made popular in the 50s.
Newsflash for me: the public doesn’t necessarily know that.
If this was web design, I have made the cardinal error of designing for my benefit and not the user. I never thought of the cross’s other meanings: medicine, first aid kit, health. As a designer, it is my job to know which emotions or meanings people associate with symbols. To be an efficient designer, I need to be able to disregard my role as one and immerse in the role of my users. I need to be better at doing this.
One platform that I believe both designers and non-designers share is pop culture. Pop culture is conceived by graphic designers but fueled by mass public’s love. Using the cross as a starting point, I wanted to see if there are other universally recognized symbols that, due to is close association with pop culture, will mean the same thing to everyone.
I then used these symbols on the very object that started this observation – my Moleskine notebook. I rebuild the notebook in Photoshop – it amazingly took less time that I thought it would – and then treated the cover with elements from each pop culture subject.
Geeks and non-geeks alike know about the Autobots and the Decepticons. I believe Transformers reached its point of saturation through its animated series, and then propelled forward by the success of is franchise. We may not know which robot is which (there were so many of them) or which battle ultimately belong to which faction, but the ubiquitous symbols of good and evil have amazing staying power.
Often believed to be inspired by the NASA logo, the Starfleet’s insignia has seen some evolution over the course of the series. The logo, while changing according to the era a ship is in operation, remains faithful to the asymmetrical, arrowhead-shaped pennants. What interests me is how Starfleet assigns uniform colors depending on divisions. The colors appear to have been subject to more revisions than the logo. I also found an Etsy illustration of Captain’s Log that I couldn’t resist from using as the back cover.
Of course, Man of Steel is coming out to cinema soon. We all know who Superman is. He is probably the one superhero whose backstory needs no retelling. You know where he comes from, you know the motivation behind his heroic acts. But it truly is the symbol S that made Superman, well, Superman. He may no longer flaunt his wardrobe malfunction, but there is no Superman without the S and the ever-billowing red cape.
I hope you have found the thought process useful. I have learnt that inspiration is always lurking. So go out today and strike a conversation with people who knows little about what you do. I promise, you’ll be surprised.”
I am a big fan of museums and art events. Art events promotions are usually traditional in our sense – posters with dates and time, announced through websites etc.
I figured this is because mostly art enthusiasts are traditional, Luddite people who generally mingle around their circle. I notice that not many young people are not interested in going to museums and art events. It frustrated me sometimes that my friends see museums and art events as ‘boring’. It would take a whole loads of behaviour change to drag them along with me to museums.
So, I was thinking, how to get these smartphones and tablet-toting millennials to be interested in going to the museums?
Brainstorming & Associations
Over the years we hear about subliminal messages a lot e.g Chekhov’s gun, the famous vase and face illusion and the backmasking technique in music. It has been proven that these subliminal messages can somehow deliver the messages to your subconscious mind effectively.
The other day I also came through this brilliant street ad execution by advertising agency Grey. I also thought of this app called Word Lens where you could hold it over signboards in foreign language and it could translate it for you. If you look at it, QR code might be an old idea but the the concept is worth a revisit.
Imagine a new poster advertisement of an upcoming art event. Utilising the concept of QR codes and subliminal message, every poster of the event now only show the art piece with a copy
Do you speak Art Nouveau?
In order for audience to see the real message e.g date and time of the event, they will have to encode it using a smartphone app which works along the same line as Word Lens. They will have to hold it over the poster to see the hidden message. The app icon can be placed at the far right corner of the poster, serving as a minor indicator that there is more than just a poster of a ‘boring’ art piece.
This solution hopes to serve as the first point of discovery to non-art enthusiasts so they could see that art events could also be ‘hip’ and ‘cool’, and not only frequented by old folks.
We could also have two versions of the poster – one targeted for the ready art enthusiasts which go through their traditional mediums – poster, forums etc. but this one is targeted towards
Again, this is the first step of discovery for the targeted group – the young people. What do you think?”