Ian Anderson’s workshop

Ian Anderson’s workshops are always thought-provokingly challenging yet fun nonetheless. This week’s brief was to creative narrative using basic elements of design, the first part only using type and the second part shapes. Although relatively straightforward, there were a few constraints. For the typography part of the brief we could only use Helvetica, in black or white, for an A2 poster, with the words ‘me’ and ‘you’. Therefore we had to create any narrative with these systems in place. I explored the notion of conformity of an individual trying to become something else, trying to fit into society.

For the final design I used repetition with each stage of the phrase ‘me’ evolving slightly, turning into ‘you’. I have awkwardly stretched the type to create an uneasy atmosphere relating to the discomfort of conforming. During the pitch I asked people in the room to guess the narrative I was aiming to portray, and the most of the people who spoke guess right! I found this really pleasing as I feel design should speak for itself and need no explanation. Some individuals had created really complex narratives that anybody viewing would have no clue what the piece was trying to say. I felt that they tried so hard to be unique and impressive, that they forgot about the communicative reason we were doing this task. They may have looked aesthetically pleasing but the communication of the message was miles away. Sometimes the simplest answers are the most effective!
The next day we designed the exact same narrative that we chose the day before, but this time only using the triangles, squares and circles; with the primary colours. I could have used the exact same principles for the type, and warp the shape to become another shape, but I felt more repetition and manipulation could be used on this simpler form.

I find these workshops really refreshing from the serious briefs we normally work to, because they are a quick turnaround but also strip back all the extras so that we focus on the challenge at hand. The believe the aim is for us to learn to be aware of the conscious decisions we make as designers and what the most effective way  is for us to communicate the message.