Brief 02: Yoke
Yoke has been the longest and strongest brief throughout the whole year for me personally. This was a collaborative brief with Eve Warren. We decided to create an exhibition because we are both ambitious designers, the idea of the exhibition was to base it around screen-printed artwork as we both had a passion for this.
Creating a concept and theme for the exhibition was done fairly easily and quickly between the two of us. We decided that the theme should be dialogue, because we wanted to create an exhibition space that spur dialogue between creative like-minded people. The concept was to have the exhibition submission based and once all the submission had come in we would match two prints through a match making process and the two prints would be joined and printed together to create a two layer, two colour screen-print. We both contributed to the concept and agreed that this should be the way forward, which I was definatly behind, as I liked the idea of bringing other into the exhibition. As we were being ambitious with the exhibition we wanted to showcase this and make it more than just a student exhibition, opening it to submissions achieves this and would make it international wide if people saw it.
At the beginning of the brief I felt that it was dragging on a little and that we weren’t actually producing anything for it, each time we took the brief to a crit it seemed that people wanted to see more than what we had done, but this was because there was a lot of organisation and admin things to start with, which I never really thought about before doing this brief. We wanted to get a venue sorted and preliminary dates so we had a deadline to aim for. We both felt that doing this would give us something to aim for and we would have to have things in place and sorted for that date as it would need to be there an up for the week of the rent of the space.
A massive part of this brief was time management and teamwork. I feel that we challenged this at times, but the majority of the project went really smoothly and we both worked really well together. The best example of this was when we were printing all the prints for the artwork. We had two weeks to produce around 80 two-colour screen-prints which varied in format from A6 to A3. For the whole two weeks we lived down in the print studios from 9 till 6 everyday, this was a test for us and pushed us to meet the deadline. Throughout the two weeks it was up and down, with some days producing lots of prints and other not so many, but through working together and keeping each other positive we managed to get everything printed with some to spare. This should what team work could do and if Eve wasn’t there it wouldn’t have been possible, this is the advantage of working as a collaboration.
As said the exhibition was based on screen-printing, this was something that I was comfortable with anyway, but spending so time in the print studio was great for me as I love being down there and getting hands on with the process. After doing the two-week stint, it taught me a lot about printing and screen-printing technique, it felt as though we were doing a crash course in it because by the end I was really confident with producing the prints. This was defiantly a great advantage for me and improved my knowledge and skill basis of the printing technique. I enjoyed it so much, that since the exhibition and spending time down in the print room it has had a massive affect on my practice and made me think about taking it more serious and working within screen-print after uni has finished. I never thought about this when starting the project, but I guess spending time on something you really enjoy and find engaging you want to keep at it. I was glad that this happened as it put more of a positive on the success of the project.
The brand and identity was an important factor to design within the brief, for this we wanted to create a logo and name for both our collaboration and for the exhibition. The reasoning for naming and branding the collaboration was to make us seem more than just two students putting on a exhibition, it made it seem as though it was a real company that was doing it and we hoped we would be taken more serious because of this. As with the majority of the brief we worked on the branding together and came up with several variations, in the end we opted for a simple logo for the collaboration that represented the idea of spaces and walls and a logo type for the exhibition, which we named after the theme dialogue. Creating the two identities and making them work together was crucial for the visual aesthetics of the event. I think the branding that we did create was very relevant to the exhibition and within the design of todays industry, they were both bold logo’s that would stand out and be recognisable, which is just what we needed for the advertising of the event .
Finally the last major factor of the project was the curation of the event. Neither me or Eve had ever curated an exhibition before, so this part of the brief was a big learning curve. We did a lot of research into the curation side of the exhibition and looked for inspiration and interesting ways to hand work, as we felt that exhibition recently had taken the same aesthetic and all use bull dog clips, we wanted to move away from this and create a better way of showcasing the work. With the help from family we managed to create three wooden frames in which the A3 prints would hang from and be suspended on metal wire. This was to be the focal point of the exhibition and thus take up the majority of the space. When it came to actually putting up the prints, we defiantly underestimated the time and effort this would take. We had help from family and friends, which was much appreciated and very much needed. Time management was a big part within the day of the hanging, we found that it took a lot longer than we anticipated, but we did eventually get it all up in time for the opening night. I really enjoyed the process of curating the event; we painted the floors, put up fake walls and frames and installed lights, to create a better exhibition space to showcase all the prints. I feel that this element of the brief was again playing to the hands on side of me and I naturally got stuck in and made sure everything was going right and smoothly on the hanging day.
We both had strengths within the briefs, but I felt that the printing of the artwork and curating of the exhibition was defiantly the areas that best suited me and were probably the ones which I took lead in. I think that Eve took control of the social media / advertising and the videoing and documentation of the project. We both worked on the design elements of the event and project together so this was an equal element and the one part, which we did need to agree and work on together to make sure we were both happy with what we created. I think we did work well together and when it came down to it we both made decisions and got on with the work to make it was done in time.
As a whole the brief entailed a lot of different design areas, the one described and analysed above are the key areas to the brief, but we learnt so much about the management of an event, contacting and dealing with management and other designers / studios, the outsourcing of certain elements within the brief and also other design areas. I learnt lots about screen-printing and furthered my knowledge in the design area, along with learning things off Eve within generally designing for print and web.
I think this brief for me encapsulated so many elements of graphic design and print making that it suited me so well and that’s the reason that I enjoyed it so much. The printing of the artwork and curating of the exhibition were defiantly the highlights for myself and the areas, which I was surprised, are now the ones, which I feel I could work within the most after university. This project has put a massive twist on my practice, the amount of print we undertook and produced was phenomenal, but I enjoyed every second of printing it, which when we went back to designing on computers after, I felt lost and couldn’t get engaged with anything else, I think this shows and proves to myself where I stand within the design industry.
Aside to the improvements within my design skills, I have learnt a lot bout myself. I didn’t think I would work as well with somebody else, but this proved wrong and actually it was a really good experience working with Eve, with us both being passionate about print, we urged each other on all the time and created a great team. Other things I learnt about myself was I am good at time management, socially I have a good way of speaking and meeting new people and I think I can deal with clients / management quite well in tough situations.
Overall this brief has been the biggest challenge I have undertaken throughout the year and it was a massive risk we took in doing it, but as students I feel that we have worked really hard on creating an event that didn’t have the student stigma hanging over it. This is because we approach the brief right from the start in a professional manor and carried that through right till the very last day of the exhibition. It has been great working with Eve on this collaboration and possibly one of the best collaborations to date, I think we surprised everyone with what we produced and I surprised myself when I saw it finished, although as being so close to the project and knowing everything about it and how we wanted to create it, I don’t think we could appreciate it for how good and well put together it actually was, because we had done it. Seeing the amount of people turn up on the opening night and having other blogs and designers interested in the whole project did prove that we had created a brilliant project and event. I hope that we will work together in the future and carry on our new adventure as curators.