Turn Around Point
During this week, people begun having to self isolate due to the Corona Virus pandemic. Restaurants and other retails points were forced to close and we were strongly advised against group gatherings. At this point I realised that what I had previously wanted to achieve, wasn’t going to work anymore.
Although it’s still a project that I could see developing at another point, it was transparent that it was not possible given societies current climate. Although I already had this information, I didn’t have time to prepare a new concept in time for the group panel review, so I simply went into it with my existing presentation and an open mind.
I had previously updated my original project proposal to give the board an idea of my project aims and objectives previously (Proposal PDF here) so the only real updates I had to give them was that I was having to reconsider my projects position.
During the critical feedback, Harriet mentioned Mr.Bingo’s hate mail project, and suggested perhaps spreading joy through a series of postcards similar to he did. I really liked this idea as this would still provide me with a method of physically delivery ‘joy’ to people whilst their isolating within their homes. Bryan Clarke mentioned that it may be best to proceed with caution if I was to continue highlighting and sharing the joyful moments I had gathered through my questionnaire submissions – he thought there might be a chance that these would in fact upset people more than bring them joy as not everyone can do these joyful moments anymore (for example, have a picnic in a park). Although I do recognise his point, after speaking with several people, the chance of this is pretty unlikely, and whatever I do realistically has the chance to potentially upset someone regardless of my efforts and intentions.
With that in mind, I began playing around with digital illustrations for my postcards. I saw that Brit & Co were temporarily giving out free classes due to the current pandemic so I took up Ashley Mary’s class on Digital Illustration for Social Media. I had already been following Ashley’s work on her instagram, so getting the chance to learn her process first hand was an amazing opportunity.
This course went through the basics and well as an in depth guide into how she works – although I already knew most of the techniques she was using, I did learn an awful lot about illustration styling and how to let go of the perfectionism that comes from being a designer to let your final outcomes have a ‘home done’ feel to them. After that I riffled through the survey submissions I had received previously and dug out the ones I thought would make the best illustrations for postcards.
Rather than using a preset typeface, I became more comfortable using my own handwriting and I’m really happy with the look and feel this brought to the designs. Almost like when you receive a drawing from a child, it feels more heart felt and personal. Although these design were kept pretty simple, they do make me smile – and even if this isn’t necessarily the route I end up continuing down, this process was really worth while.
However, thinking back to the panel review, Bryan Clarke’s comment still did throw me off the scent of continuing with my postcards – so putting that idea to one side for a while, I began brainstorming other potential projects I could pursue that would produce the same outcome, to bring joy to others through design. This was a long process and it involved me talking to lots of different, non-designer, folk about potential paths I could take. This gave me an excellent opportunity to verbally think my ideas through with people, and as the majority of them has little to no design background, the feedback and reactions that I receive came from an unbiased and down to earth point of view. I then had a conversation with Susanna about my situation and potential ideas, and we began discussing the idea of creating an online space where I could conduct live streams of different skill sets for others to engage with and/or learn a new hobby. I had already formed great local contacts, such as a florist, that could potentially showcase their talents on this so it seemed ideal.
This idea had many perks, such as giving me the opportunity to directly collaborate with some small local businesses on a win-win-WIN basis (yes, three wins). They would provide the workshop or content for people to follow, I would provide a free marketed platform to find and engage with a breadth of different audiences to market their business and products and the general public would receive and array of free services for them to engage with during the current pandemic. Although this idea seems somewhat fool proof – I found that my passion for it just wasn’t there. I began to notice flaws and thinking; “how would I gain a following?”, “is there already too much going on, will this just be adding to the claustrophobic pot of things to do on the internet?”.
So again, I was back to the drawing board.
This week I receive a hard back of Ingrid Fetell Lee’s ‘Joyful’. Not only is the book an extremely uplifting read, but it contains such rich content into the research that has been conducted on joy and how we can hope to obtain it. Below are the key highlights I’ve taken from the first chapter, ‘Energy’.
environments = stimulation
colour = energy? brightness is universally understood to be joyful
children know this intuitively, who taught them the sun has a smile?
colour vision is so vital to our survival that we sacrificed other senses to have more of it – huxley
colour is life, for a world without colour appears to be dead – joannes itten
chromophobia – afraid of colour, making a choice, a mistake and having to live with it.