This week presented me with a few realites considering the work load at the present point in the course. Having been given a new four week personal project on Tuesday it was clear that I had to get other work finished as quickly as possible in order to keep track of my progress. I was able to make improvements to my interactive postcard and add sound to the animation but both remain incomplete. This is partly due to the need for the help of technicians who aren't always available. The animation still needs to be placed in a movie containing all the videos of the other group members along with credits but this has still not happened as certain people have chosen to go home mid-week. Being from the north, thus unable to go home every weekend, it is difficult for me not to find it irritating that people will disappear when work needs to be done.
Regarding the new project, I have had an interest in the book 'Candide' or 'Optimism' by Voltaire ever since I read it in A-level French solely for the fact that it is so full of gripping and shocking material which could be visually reproduced very effectively. It seems a shame that a film hasn't yet been made that was based on it. As I have an interest in etching, letterpress and bookbinding I intend to formulate a small collection of illustrations, possibly incorporating visually effective text, which communicate some part of the book such as the two chapters in which Candide encounters El Dorado, a city of gold, emeralds and diamonds which constitute the mud of the ground. The presentation of the drawings is currently an open decision but may be in the form of a book, broadsheet or something closely related to the story in the book. The way the audience understands the book may be different than intended if they have not read Candide, thus I may have to alter the focal point of the drawings. Maybe it will become a book of drawings of the city of El Dorado alone, forgetting Candide's personal influence or existence. Having recently studied a book on perspective this may come in handy during the drawing stages. Hopefully the paper I use will carry a sense of delicacy or some feeling conveyed by the city of El Dorado. The role of the text is as yet uncertain and maybe will not be necessary for the book pages. However if there seems a logical or useful place for text in the collection of drawings it would be worthwhile to work in letterpress to gain further experience. The book itself was written in roughly 1760 which suggests the possibility of looking at architectural drawings from this time as well as researching the idea of El Dorado as more of a universally acknowledged place. If it was necessary to involve character/s in the drawings (to bring cohesion/a sense of narrative for example) I have had the illustrative technique of Honore Daumier in my mind as the source for inspiration here.
This week I also received my mark for the first mapping project of the year which was expectedly and deservedly low. Within a few hours the next day I managed to dramatically improve the piece of work and extend its visual and informative qualities to the standard I had originally intended. Having gained a very high standard of feedback throughout A-level and foundation and now to be receiving C grades I am starting to understand how new I still am to graphic communication. My ability to draw and understand what can be aesthetically succesful has carried me until now. At this point I am beginning to understand that taking fine art would definitely have meant higher grades but I stand by my original reasons for following graphic communication and intend on learning as I am here to do. As long as I produce top grades by my third year I will know that I have learned what I wanted to with this degree. Using my drawing skills more effectively and improving my experience and knowledge on typography will surely allow more succesful work to be produced.
Zak Kyes' work was interesting in terms of the way work can be produced. The Special Ten magazine cover and back cover work proved that there are sometimes worthwhile alternatives to the originally intended method. The way they had constructed miniature representations of what would have been much larger reminded me of my most successful work in foundation when I photographed a small box covered in illustrations and photographs. A lot of the work was as I had expected - or at least not hugely surprising. The poster with large type and a yellow background was definitely similar to something I had seen before. Nonetheless, if this is the style of much of graphic design today it is not something I wish to follow. Somewhere in design there seems to be a confusion between what is successfully pushing the boundaries of typography/layout etc and what is sacrificing reason/aesthetic value just to be a piece of design that is in keeping with the bold/starck look of lots of design today. In other words I found the content of the designs fairly interesting but I lacked interest in the actual designs themselves. The one part of Kyes work which interested me was his group's typeface, drawn using the alphabets of the languages of however many nationalities of people that were living in the part of London presented to us in the talk. The reason this interested me was that it was something which required research into things potentially completely foreign to the designer, it contained a sense of liberty to experiment and explore and it was intended to unify groups of people by giving them an icon of their lingual relationship with each other.