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Obsession.

February 10, 2011

It’s insanely terrible that I’m still thinking about this instead of the thing I SHOULD be thinking of, but I need to clear out my brain before I can take a break:

I got to meet with April Greiman and we discussed this. It was a lot of fun to speak with her one on one, but certainly it is a skill to get a crit from an outside person that I have not yet mastered (especially as a student who is interested in her own agenda of self-development rather than the absolute best solution).

I didn’t show her this exactly version but some of the others; she mentioned:

  • color
  • playing with space as it is quite flat
  • making sure that the text in the background is interesting to read if someone gets that close
  • that the background text could be different for the posters
  • reminding me that this poster would be quite large.
  • she had done a similarly themed poster for a MOMA poster competition that I haven’t been able to find online. One knows one is not orginal, but still all this stings.

While talking with her, I started questioning my whole approach, but something snapped within me and I want to hold strong. It’s not really about color, though I’m not against it. Certainly it must be incredibly simple. Gray is the color that keeps coming to mind: it is the color of the computer age, it is the color of pure brain (also part of the computer age).

About the flatness — while speaking with her I did really feel dumb about not doing more depth, but now I am definitely standing firm on this; honestly I’ve always been conflicted about this, in the sense that a poster is a flat art form and it’s a certain to lie to try to add depth. I think if there’s enough visual interest, you don’t really need depth, actually. Plus for this poster, it’s especially relevant: SCREENS FLATTEN EVERYTHING. This is a serious issue, actually; to add depth whilst speaking of the abstraction of code or of screens seems to me extremely odd. Above I added drop shadow, and I kind of like it, but I’d say it’s almost a joke — to add drop shadow to a giant block of text — so we’ll see where that stays.

My class kept saying I should ILLUSTRATE the idea rather than SAY it. They made extremely intelligent points, but I can’t help but turn inward when I hear this:

  • it’s extremely rare that I can articulate ideas better in words than in pictures; when this happens, it would be silly to ignore the words.
  • it is a certain dishonesty to have a CLEAR statement that sums everything up and purposely occlude it.
  • quite brutally: illustration is out; saying things is in.

Anyways. Despite all my smart answers to this, the point remains the same: there is something not fully connecting right now. I’ve been looking at visual references to get back to what I want — Experimental Jetset is of course one:

I’d note immediately: both are extremely flat and unafraid of saying what they mean openly. I love that. I feel like language is on the one hand encouraged with us, but still designers are afraid of: we are not writers, after all!

Anyways, the one thing of course that strikes me upon seeing these is that they’re bold and engaging and take up the space. Maybe that’s just the thing I need: to take up the space a bit more.

It makes me sad that this poster saddens me so. I haven’t a clue why it’s so personal; I think it might just be because I hit upon this expression — the poster is dead! long live the poster! — that strikes me as so apt and perfect; as I say above, it is very rare that I can articulate in words better than pictures. Plus: it has been a long time since I’ve revisited the poster format… omg just remembered a story I can tell about posters, but that will be for another post.

This reminds me of Rebecca struggling with her fainting book and finally just doing what she wants and being simple and it being great. Sigh sigh sigh.

PS. Everyone knows April Greiman for her famous Emigre poster and other computer stuff, but she’s been doing seriously beautiful work lately. Will try to find some links, but I recommend going on her site and digging it up.

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