Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Communicating "Propel": The First Attempts

The project at hand challenging the BDS students once again is the project that poses the question "What does language look like?" The premise of the assignment is to chose a word, specifically a verb, and visually communicate the definition of that word utilizing space, shape, contrast, color, and composition. Being a graphic design major, I considered this my chance to really "feel" out what this area of study really entails.

The first section of this project stripped us from our technology crutches, leaving us with paper, glue, tape, scissors, and the word "propel" repeated about 150 times. With these materials, we were to cut out, arrange, and glue, making compositions that conveyed the definition of the word, in my case, propel.

The following are successful compositions that I thought simply yet directly communicated "propel".

I started out using tracing paper (that's why it's such a weird hazy tone to it). I wanted to keep it simple so I used vertical lines to make the letters and extended the L all the way to the top of the composition. 
Again, messing around with the L, I used horizontal lines this time for the letters, propelling my word forward instead of up. It was a good concept I thought, but I didn't quite think I hit the definition straight on yet. I thought it conveyed a word closer to 'acceleration', not necessarily what I was going for.
Somewhat frustrated with my lack of definition, I toyed with the tail again. This time, the composition looked like a pinball machine. And while the concept was okay, I feel like a person never says "Whoa, that tiny ball really propelled!" when playing a heated game of pinball. So it was back to the drawing boards.
This time, I went with more of a pictorial feel, which yes I know Tim, is the opposite of what the almighty-Blackboard said to do. But while it's rebellion probably isn't accurate with the assignment, I still like the idea. Stick with me, and you'll see the rocket ship idea repeated in my later compositions. It's pretty explosive (like a rocket ship of course).
This entire time, I kept opening up my little hand held dictionary (Okay, so it's not mine, it's my roommate's, but it was collecting dust so I thought I'd give it something to do), looking up the definition of propel. And the more I read it, the more the plane propeller appealed to me. But after looking at the 2-winged plane propellers, I didn't think that would contrive the amount of visual response I was looking for. I had just turned in a paper on wind farms in Australia and the image of a windmill kept popping into my head. So I thought I would give it a shot being all environmentally-friendly and such.
After stepping back and looking at that attempt, I decided I kind of liked the idea. So I continued the wind mill save-the-earth concept but arranging the letters so that they were more condense and illustrated the circular motion more articulately.
I tied up this idea with a boom. As the phrase goes, "Go big or go home" and so I arranged the letters so that this windmill of mine would hit you smack-dab in the face when you looked at it. Not exactly the appeal I'm looking for in the long run, but for now, I enjoy the ba-BAM of it.

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