Changing Faces – Themes

Leading on from the heading I created (shown in my previous post) I decided it could be the basis for my theme. I need imagery to illustrate the contents of the article or at least, suggest and compliment the article’s content. The heading has been instrumental in my decision making since I made it. It’s also the case that I really liked it and didn’t want to have to change it to fit with a different theme.

I realized that despite my use of ink in water to achieve the effect. It looked rather like oily curling smoke like that of a candle. I felt that a candle would be a good metaphor for the issue of diminishing natural resources in the world. A candle is a made object that gives off heat and light which people need, but it is a finite resource. Once the candle burns down to a bass, the fire runs out of fuel and suddenly all is dark.

I pondered for a while around the choice of illustration versus photography. I finally came to the decision to use photography based on the simple logic that the article has a very serious tone. It describes a dilemma we face and the possible consequences of not acting. It also seems to scold humanity in general for our lack of foresight. In my mind, illustration is more lighthearted than photography. This is not a rule, but my drawing style is generally quite light and airy and I feel like the most powerful way of sending a message when it has so much importance is photography. It captures people’s imagination and will always be more detailed and stunning.

Process

I went out and bought different colored candles to experiment with. I also borrowed a DSLR from the studio. I wanted my images to be as crisp and high definition as possible. My experiments with my camera phone were shoddy at best. This was largely down to the low light and high contrast of the images. The idea was a light in the darkness.

Here are a few examples of my images. They were all taken in the bathroom of my halls. It was the only place I had where I could block out all other light. It wasn’t pretty. I was kneeling with my arm over bucket to catch the dripping wax with the candle burning one hand while I took the pictures with the other. I was really happy, however, with the outcome. I took over 60 photographs in total and selected 12 of the best to create my piece with.

Once I had selected the 12 final images I had to work out what to do with them. Despite my effort to block out other light, an unintended consequence of the tiny room I was in, was the single candle lit the place with orange light. As the candle burnt down, the background of each image became progressively darker. I really liked the flow this created between the images so I combined them.

Candle layered Flattened

Here is the result. I could not be happier with it. The steady transition really tells the story I was aiming to get. I really wasn’t expecting much from my attempts given the slightly weird lengths I had to go to achieve them, but it turned out great. The last image in the series was particularly difficult. I actually had to do a little Photoshop bodging as the candle I had bought just would not die down. It was still blazing, so I took the second to last image (bottom left) and adjusted it.

At this point I wandered if there was anything more I could do. I decided to try out playing with the coloration. The image is fine like this. But I wanted to maintain a consistent color scheme throughout my spreads.

Candle layered cyan

Here’s what I eventually came up with. I was absolutely thrilled with the result. I simply removed the natural color and introduced a deep cyan tint as well as fiddling with the contrast. It seems to give a richer feel to the image the light is softer but the effect of the change in light from start to end is even more profound.

Everything Will Change – Type and imagery

For this brief one of the key limitations is in the sourcing of media for my spread. All images and illustrations must be home made. This obviously constricts my ability to use spectacular wide shots of natural wanders and scenes of toxic pollution for example. But after discussing wth lecturers I realised the best option would be to use implicit imagery. The idea being to subtly add to the texture and depth of the article instead of using direct depiction of the topic to prop it up.

A really great website I took a look at is http://non-format.com/ which, among other things, contains spectacular examples of text being used in very abstract ways to suggest imagery, while maintaining its original purpose. Text is broken up, distorted or turned into negative space. It really gave me a lot of ideas.

This pice, for example, expressed the state of song visually. It conveys great excited creativity as music flows naturally and chaotically. The branches hold silhouettes of song birds. Without deviating from the typographic foundation of the page, imagery is incorporated.

This ad by Nike expresses the feeling of pushing yourself to the physical limit. The illustration of sweat pouring and being distorted by the wind as you run. The fact that the type itself is beginning to lose it’s structure also expresses the ‘red line’. The idea being to convey that you’re physically right on the edge and struggling.

 

One of my favourite aspects of these pieces is that they do not require colour. They are pure and simple, dealing in high contrast monochrome. Shape is all that is needed to convey something so powerful. It’s a case of doing more with less. Given that my resources are ‘less’, hopefully this method should give me ‘more’.

Here’s on I made earlier

 

Finished jpeg, cropped

Here’s what I came up with. I was reminded of previous projects such as the ‘Six Word Poster’ assignment at the start of my blog. I’m debating what I think of it, really. Visually I think it has a lot of depth and is very eye catching. It’s not the clearest of headings. But I’ve researched numerous designs online that were far more abstract and harder to read. I’m putting this down to artistic license.

The idea behind this is to subtly convey the imminent threat discussed in the article. The type as it stood original (Bodoni 72 Oldstyle) would be the norm. What you would expect. But the idea of this was to take something everyday and corrupt it. The idea being that the reader comfortable day to day existence is being slowly eroded and will eventually be unrecognisable and just a distant memory.

The lion’s share of the page of which my heading will sit is clean and white. The expanding pool of black is to represent contamination. A mark or imperfection denoting the beginning of something bigger. I found that Ink in water made for a much better image than oil. It is in the nature of ink that when dropped into water that it will spread and consume the pristine clear water until the whole thing is dark and dirty.

I made the image monochrome before adding just a touch of cyan to define the ink and bring a touch of colour to the page. I also took the image of the spreading ink and created a reverse colour version to sit within the letter forms that would be covered by the ink. This was my best way of making sure they would be distinct from the ink.

My Thoughts

I’m really happy with the way this turned out. I went into it with only the vaguest notion of what I wanted and numerous bits of ideas from different projects that I was unsure would work in conjunction. But happily the outcome was good.

Research on the Environment

Good News

(source)  – UK’s first coal free day since the industrial revolution

April 21st 2017, for a whole 24 hours. No coal was burned to power the United Kingdom’s National Grid.

(source) Paris Climate Change Agreement

As of April 2017, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the treaty. These countries make up well over half of the world’s emission output. The Paris agreement, successor the Kyoto Protocols, aims to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system“.

(source) Arctic And Atlantic Protected From Drilling

The Obama administration removed the Arctic and Atlantic from five-year offshore gas and drilling plans. In December of 2016, President Obama and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau banned drilling in 118.8 million acres of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. The Sierra Club explains that Obama utilized “a provision in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act that should make the withdrawal permanent.”

(source) Swedes recycle almost 100% of household waste

  • Sweden is almost there. More than 99 per cent of all household waste is recycled in one way or another.
  • 50 per cent of the household waste that is burnt to produce energy at incineration plants.
  • In 2014, Sweden even imported 2.7 million tonnes of waste from other countries.

(source) To tackle pollution, China to drop pursuit of growth at all costs

 Mon November 18, 2013

China will steer local governments away from the pursuit of economic growth at all costs and beef up their powers to punish polluters as part of a campaign to reverse the damage done by three decades of unchecked expansion.

(source) CO2 Emissions Flatline in 2014, Even as Global Economy Grows

 Sat March 14, 2015

A key stumbling block in the effort to combat global warming has been the intimate link between greenhouse gas emissions and economic growth. When times are good and industries are thriving, global energy use traditionally increases and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions also go up.

(source) 20 year old Dutch student devises method for removing plastic from the ocean.

  • 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans every year
  • This passive system which will be deployed in full by 2020 will potentially clear half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years

Bad News

(source) Arctic ice melt could trigger uncontrollable climate change at global level

  • Arctic scientists have warned that the increasingly rapid melting of the ice cap risks triggering 19 “tipping points” in the region that could have catastrophic consequences around the globe.
  • Temperatures in the Arctic are currently about 20C above what would be expected for the time of year,
  • (source) Since 1995, arctic ice covers have reduced by as much as 40%. At this rate, it’s estimated that Arctic regions will be without ice caps in the next few decades. Some scientists project that the Arctic will be ice-free by 2040.

(source) The world is warming and isn’t slowing down

  • For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected
  • If current rates of emissions remain equal or increase this could increase by a further 0.1°C per decade

(source) We’re running out of Bees

15 June 2013 –  Things that require Bee pollination –  Here’s a short list: apples, onions, avocados, carrots, mangoes, lemons, limes, honeydew, cantaloupe, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, cucumbers, green onions, cauliflower, leeks, bok choy, kale, broccoli, broccoli rabe, mustard greens.

(source) Sea Level Rise

  • According to Climate Central estimates, 150 million or more people are currently living on land that will either be submerged or exposed to chronic flooding by 2100.data graph

 

 

 

‘Everything Will Change’ – Research

My new article discusses the issue of climate change and the perplexing disinterest and lack of will to act by governments and populations as a whole. It looks at human nature, in particular the shortsightedness of people, this is evidenced by the success of popular mobilizations of the past in response to dire threats such as war and nuclear annihilation. This is shown in sharp contrast to the apathy and inaction in regards to climate change.

I will research all of the hypotheses posed in the article to help refine my work. I also want to understand other perspectives and ideas in regard to possible action to take in order to avoid further degradation of the environment, other explanations as to peoples apathy etc.

Articles

A psychologist explains why people don’t really give a shit about climate change – ‘https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/a-psychologist-explains-why-people-dont-really-give-a-shit-about-climate-change-608

  • Per Espen Stoknes – Psychologist and Economist behind these findings
  • “point of no return” is 450ppm (atmospheric CO2 concentration). We’ve just reached 400ppm
  • Despite ever increasing consensus on climate change, public interest is still waning
  •  Telling people they need to change only increases resistance “don’t tell me what to do”.
  • “We [should] tell new stories of the dream, not the nightmares. We must describe where we want to go, such as smarter green growth, happier lives, and better cities.”
  • The issue has become politically polarized because people want to defend their way of living. They are drawn to those who tell them comfortable lies instead of painful truths. (climate change deniers)
  • Change causes a shake up in business. Those already doing well will struggle if new markets are introduced that compete with theirs. It suits them to keep things the same as they are sitting pretty on top of a lot of income.
  • Those at the top have a lot of financial capital which directly translates to political capital.
  • “Neither technology by itself, escaping to other planets in Star Trek mode, nor waiting for Jesus to return will quite cut it.”
  • “Why bother? That one question reveals a simple fact: The most fundamental obstacles to averting dangerous climate disruption are not mainly physical or technological or even institutional—they have to do with how we align our thinking and doing with our being. This missing alignment shows clearly in the current lack of courage, determination, and imagination to carry through the necessary actions to combat climate disruption.”
  • People will act courageously and selflessly when the problem presents itself as immediate and unavoidable. – Make climate-considerate courses of action the societal norm and people will do it unthinkingly.

‘Here’s the secret to making people care about climate change – https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/01/04/psychologists-have-discovered-the-secret-to-making-people-care-about-climate-change/?utm_term=.edb5c18f26c0

There are two paths to getting people to care

  • Self Interest – It’ll cost you eventually
  • Better Nature – Think of future generations

The article claims that the way to convince people to change is by combining these paths. Simply asking people ‘how would you like to be remembered?’ has been found to consistently compel people to act more ‘green’. The theory being that humans are social animals and being seen as ‘green’ is socially desirable and virtuous. Thus people are compelled by self interest and regard for future generations.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/old-people-dont-care-about-climate-change_us_571a910ce4b0d4d3f7236a07

 

  • It’s an “after I’m dead” problem, I still have “while I’m alive” problems.
  • “Poll after poll has shown that young people care the most about action on climate than any other age group,”

Statistics

https://climate.nasa.gov/

  • Sea levels rising 3.4mm annually
  • Arctic Ice shrinking 13.3% per decade

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/climate-change-cheat-sheet

  • The 21st century has seen the most temperature records broken in recorded history.
  • Ninety-seven percent of researchers believe global warming is happening, and 82 percent agree that it is strongly linked to human behavior.
  • Sea levels rose 19cm between 1900 and 2000
  • Climate change will displace 250 million people by 2050 according to the  UNHCR
  • The ocean is 26 percent more acidic than before the Industrial Revolution
  • Global flooding could triple by 2030
  • More greenhouse gases are in our atmosphere than any time in human history
  • Earth could warm by 6 degrees this century

My Thoughts

I’m satisfied that this research will give me a solid basis from which to begin fulfilling the brief. The research of the psychology behind changing perceptions and attitudes to global warming will allow me to pick an editorial angle from which to approach the task. Clearly, simply telling people ‘change of you’ll be sorry’ is a tried and tested path to failure. I had originally been turned off this subject because It’s been pretty widely covered. Ironically that’s the same reason people are so disinterested in the issues itself. I’ll try to approach the task with a better understanding and a method that will better change peoples minds. After all that is the job of a Graphic Communicator.

The statistics I’ve gathered could be useful as imagery, graphics and charts etc. Possible illustrations conveying to them. It’s clear to me that simply throwing a bunch of scary sounding numbers and figures at people is no way to get them to take your message on board. But they will help my argument seem more solid and researched, thus I hope to be taken more seriously.  I’m going to try for a ‘look how great it would be if we changed’ rather than a ‘change or you’re in trouble’ approach.

‘Everything will Change’ – Themes

Climate change

  • Universal problem that requires universal action
  • Affects everyone in the end
  • Catastrophic potential

Apathy

  • The Nature of truth – People are good at compartmentalizing and ignoring things that are troubling
  • Political Will – Governments (democratic ones, anyway) are made up of people elected by popular vote. If you make someone suffer financially of otherwise to reduce emissions. They may well vote you out.
  • The problem is distant and unimaginable therefore not mine.
  • People think in short term

Examples of populous mobilizing for a cause

  • Dig for Britain
  • Nuclear Proliferation (Nukes can blow you up, they are an imminent danger and therefore worth removing)
  • Rationing

Technology

  • Reluctance for countries to invest in green energy (the UK is SUPER guilty of this) – we’re paying for China to do it. If we just invested in it we could sell the technology to other countries win-win-win!
  • The excuse that fossil fuels are easier to produce is looking weaker all the time as supplies run low and low and zero emission design is becoming more mainstream.

Other Insights – some from the article, some I derived

  • People don’t like change. Change is fine as long as it doesn’t cost me anything (comfort, money, security)
  • Immediate threats are understandable, with understandable consequences. People are unimaginative.
  • An economy driven by profit and consumption is absolutely opposed to reduction of consumption. “Grow or Die”
  • The only thing stopping us from monumental change is lack of will
  • The problem is getting worse with emissions increasing annually.
  • It would be so easy to change things. Just encourage low carbon and green industries

Everything WILL Change, Including my article choice

Everything has changed. I worked for a decent while on the article ‘Can Trump Handle the Truth?’. But I  simply couldn’t be inspired. The article is very speculative and inconclusive. I understood that the subject was more about the nature of truth in society and Politics especially. And there’s a whole bunch of metaphorical imagery available there. But I’ve been interested in American politics and I feel like the topic has been covered and covered too many times. Partisan thinking relegates truth to a back seat. You believe what suits your narrative and the other side will do the same. But of course that’s idiotic at its core. The whole subject just irritates me.

After hearing about other people’s progress thus far I’ve heard some really amazing ideas being thrown around. Especially for the ‘About a Boy’ article, dealing with transgender issues. I had written that topic off. But I have since realized the powerful aspect of that article is the human element. It follows (at least partially) the experiences of transgender person called Skyler. An article like that can inspire empathy in the audience. People are drawn to human stories as they think in a common way. The Trump article just makes everyone apathetic.

My Hopefully final, final choice

Since ‘About a Boy’ is already the article of choice for so many. I sort of took a stab in the dark and went with ‘Everything Will Change’. After reading through it several times. I really like the imploring nature of the author. They explore the psychology behind the lack of momentum and will for social change and emission reduction. Citing examples of times in the past that people have sacrificed personal luxury for the greater good of society. The underlying message is also quite cool (in a morbid kind of way). It’s that if nothing is done, our own apathy and disinterest could be catastrophic for future generation or possibly current ones depending on how things turn out.

I know this fundamental change is putting me at a pretty severe disadvantage. But I was unable to progress with my original topic and if you’re not enjoying your work you may well turn in a piece of garbage. I may do that anyway, but at least it will have been something I enjoyed creating.

Zines Brief – #Selfie Culture

Today we were given the task of essentially doing our current ‘Changing faces’ brief. But in groups of three (Me, Celestin and Ben) and with just two hours to generate something legible. We were asked to create three double page spreads and each group blindly selected a topic from which to work. Ours was ‘Selfie culture’.

The content of the article we would be putting together was not what we were being judged on. But more our ability to create a fluid and dynamic layout in a short space of time. We quickly divided the workload. I would do the first piece exploring the history of selfies. Celestin would do work on its pro and cons (people have been known to die taking risky selfies for example). And Ben would look to the future of seflies and their place in society.

20170428_124614

Here’s our completed piece, in order from top to bottom. We worked on three separate machines but worked from several rules to keep some level of uniformity. We wanted the pieces to clearly belong together, but not be too similar.

20170428_124621

My Thoughts

I think it’s in the nature of designers to be self deprecating. But the moment I put my work side by side with other people’s. The floors in my own work are so clear to me. One of my main concerns with my piece is the lack of negative space. I have a tendency to fill a page to the bring and try and cram as much in as possible as if I’m paying by the page and trying to get value for money. I think possibly I have too many conflicting ideas and I want to use them all.

In all honesty I think in the rush to get this done I forgot that text was not a main focus and so I kept copying and pasting more and more and fitting it in. I very much like Celestin’s piece (center spread). It’s pace is clean and easy to follow. The text is in neat chunks with a decent gap defining each as seperate from the others. The volume of text is not overwhelming to the aesthetic of the page. The inverted colour of the camera view finder over his page wide image also have a very pleasing look which I was quite envious of.