By Fiona Clark
I have a drawer in my room that is filled to the brim with random items that contain some kind of design element. Any of these elements could be image, type, composition, colour, etc. But these items also hold certain nostalgia for me. Where ever I go I pick up things intentionally or not and as a result, I have odd documentation of my life and who I was/am. Here are some things from the past year:
Last summer, I had been working at Five Below (essentially a store filled with useless junk for kids/teenagers) and thus, I was surrounded by the David and Goliath Collection.
I decided to pick up a package of magnets before heading off to school. This is one of the many magnets that hung on the fridge of my on-campus apartment. The girls I lived with appreciated the humor and we referenced the magnets everytime we felt our IQ drop because of male friends.
I spent quite a bit of time in Oakland, New Jersey the past year preparing for my exhibition. Amongst all of panic Maria Doering
and I experienced, her father called us wondering if we wanted to go through a few boxes of junk at his work (they had been preparing to the move company and wanted to get rid of it all). The pirate in me took over and we decided to go search for potential treasure. When we got there we found cute plate sets, plastic martini glasses and a broken toaster oven. The toaster oven got chucked out but I kept the cheesy 70’s instruction pamphlet.
Montreal, Canada is probably one of my favorite cities that I have visited so far. I have been quite a few times but usually make it out there for a spring break trip with friends (due to age restrictions and lack of cash flow to go to Cancun…right…). Everytime I visit I make sure to attend McLean’s pub on Peel Street, Juice Nightclub on St. Laurent and Brutopia on Crescent Street (they make the best raspberry beer). This years spring break landed on St. Patty’s day so the entire weekend was filled with drunken antics. One of which resulted in my owning this poster. I was chatting with someone at the bar and mentioned how I liked the silk-screened poster. He called the bartender over (who had had a few himself), asked if we could have it, the bartender produced what was probably the largest switch blade I had ever seen and we cut it down.
Every birthday I will expect a certain type of birthday card from certain people. Something hand crafted from art school friends, something so sweet that it is a tear-jerker from Grandma, and something hilariously stupid from my brother, Gordon. Take a guess who this is from. By the way the inside says “Thit”.
(Connecticut Art Directors Club) was kind enough to come to my school to review students portfolios, provide lecturers in different fields and give us plenty of free goodies. A particularly passionate woman spoke to us about Mohawk paper and provided us all with these sample books. She said “You will call Mohawk, ask for me and I will provide you with the best paper out there!” and she gave out her business card insisting we contact her for a tour of their facilities. Here is a spread from one the books.
You may be wondering after all this-what are the particular design elements in these that interested me. The “Stupid Factory” magnet’s imagery is so basic and childish that it makes a good system. David and Goliath’s use of the same little boy’s head throughout their entire system allows the viewer to recognize the character as the “stupid boy”. The toaster pamphlet’s silhouetting is actually appealing to me (plus those little sparkles-how could you not love it? …just kidding). I will give them credit on the details though because their text actually aligns perfectly. The Brutopia poster was produced through what is an attractive technique to me (silk-screening). It makes great use of the text by adding little symbols (the spade, etc), using hierarchy by making the headers bolder and by putting the text on a slight diagonal. The silly birthday card doesn’t have an incredible amount of design appeal but it all goes together. The picture is goofy and the text is comical. The Mohawk book has beautiful photos, enticing colour, nice typography and little surprises (did you see the “?” between the bat’s feet?).
Part of the joy of being a “visual person” is that you find inspiration and beauty almost anywhere. This is just a little reminder to keep your eyes and mind open.