Month: February 2014

Lo Siento

Lo Siento’s use of paper craft caught my eye because some of their work appears to resemble infographics with the visual aid of paper craft images. Their work inspires me greatly because of this combination of the two areas I am interested in incorporating in my own studio practice.

Their work with paper craft varies from paper cut out covers to 3d and illustrative pieces. In particular a piece that caught my eye was their ‘Barcelona Design meets London Design’ poster.  This particular piece is effective because of the image used. Through the use of paper craft, Lo Siento created an image of two hands representing two people greeting each other in this case Barcelona and London design teams.  The arm representing London is clear to the viewer because of the umbrella at the top of the arm, while the arm representing Barcelona has a shape similar to an ice- cream, showing the viewer the major differences between the two places and possibly the two design teams. While Lo Siento show these differences, the image of the shaking hands shows that despite these differences the two design teams will be working together and will do so to a high professional standard.

Another piece that got my attention was the paper shoe piece they produced for a commercial on ‘Aro Sneakers’. This particular piece of work makes the viewer really study the shoe, seeing each part of the shoe because of the intricate and delicate work that went into the making of it. The piece works well for an advertisement because of this reason. With the purpose of an advertisement being to gain attention and publicity to showcase a product or brand this piece successfully gains the attention of viewers making them aware of a brand they may not have heard of before.

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Images from – http://www.losiento.net/

Lo Siento – I want to be a soldier

Lo Siento’s poster for Italian film ‘I want to be a soldier’ (2011) directed by Christian Molina, successfully advertised the film through their images used. The cover depicts a boy who appears to be screaming with aggression not terror, holding a gun to his head. The eye-catching image grabs the viewers’ attention not only because of the age of the child in this violent image but because of the film title printed across the image in bold white lettering against a red banner ‘I want to be a soldier’ the viewer imagines the boy shouting this statement through his aggressive screaming.

The boy appears to be dressed as a stereotypical soldier, shaved head and boots the boy appears to be a violent image in himself, slightly worrying as the boy appears to be around eleven years of age. This bold image being the only image used for the poster causes the viewer to become interested in the film, this being the main aim of the poster.

When looked at even closer the viewer realises the barrel of the gun the boy is holding to his head is in fact a television remote representing the fact that in this film it is believed the boy wants to be a soldier because of inspiration from violent tv shows and video games. The subtle image not only represents this aspect of the film, but could arguably be a message to society that these images we are exposed to could have a negative effect on children of young ages, especially those used in video games and tv shows.

The poster Lo Siento designed cleverly creates an eye catching image that grabs the viewers’ attention, making them want to see the film because of its bold shocking image used to represent the message of the film. The ad is successful in communicating what the film is about with the viewer as well as sending a subtle message that could reflect on our society.

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Images from – http://www.losiento.net/entry/i-want-to-be-a-soldier

Infographics

Information graphics often known simply as infographics are graphic visual representations of information or data intended to present information quickly and clearly to the viewer. The process of creating infographics is sometimes referred to as data visualization, information design and information architecture.

Infographics are all over, we see them in newspapers displaying the weather, on social media sites such as Facebook and twitter and on the maps of the London underground, they surround us and allow important information to be communicated with the public at a speed appropriate to the surroundings in a way everyone can understand.

William Playfair born in 1759 referred to as ‘’The Birth of Infographics” in Simon Rodgers’ book ‘Facts are sacred’ (Page 12, Facts are sacred – Simon Rodgers published 2013 by Faber and Faber Limited) invented four types of diagrams: in 1786 he invented the line graph and bar chart and in 1801 the pie chart and circle graph.  Playfair argues that charts communicated better than tables of data. Playfair’s work is well respected as being the beginning of visually communicating data in this way, the charts he invented have clearly influenced the successful infographics we see everywhere today as many of his charts and graphs are used, and have shaped the way some information is recorded.

Simon Rodgers refers to infographics as data journalism in his book ‘Facts are sacred’. Rodgers   explains to the reader that the way we show information has changed, not too long ago facts, statistics and figures were only shown in very expensive books, now everyone can access facts in various different formats from their own smartphone. The way we present information has developed appropriate to the times, while we know access most information from out laptops and phones, information therefore has to be compatible in a way that infographics are. Infographics heavily been designed from computers while published in newspapers, magazines and posters can also be accessed and displayed on the internet for the public to view at any time.

The shapes, colours and layouts used in infographics aid in their quick, clear presentation. The chosen fonts used are often basic clear fonts such as Calibri (Body) or Times New Roman, fonts everyone can easily read and understand, especially in situations where they don’t have much time such as on a train station platform. The type is always clearly presented, either black on white or white on black. Chosen colours in infographics are often bright, bold colours that will get viewers’ attention and stand out against white or black backgrounds. Like everything else, the shapes used in infographics are bold clear shapes that are universally recognisable such as circles and rectangles to easily display data. While some infographics use only shapes and type to display this information, images and symbols are often used too. In magazine or newspaper spreads appropriate images to the information are often added, aiding in communicating what subject the information is about. Symbols used in infographics are other methods of representing a certain place or object to the viewer’s such as symbols for toilets or exits in an underground station.

Infographics are all around us and often go unnoticed, they help us go about our everyday lives in the forms of maps and clearly explain to us the world news in magazines and newspapers.  They are an incredibly successful form of communicating with society and are applicable to many different situations and forms.

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Images from – ‘Facts are sacred’ – Simon Rodgers

Cassandra Fernandez

Cassandra Fernandez, an artist skilled within painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking among others, created this 3d book sculpture inspired by the concept of ‘freedom’. The piece titled ‘’Among Humans’’ features pages with illustrations of birds created from lino prints in ink on the paper and wood structure.  The piece when opened reveals illustrations of birds flying free and when closed, the piece shows illustrations of birds with a wooden structure representing a cage; Fernandez even uses a chain to keep the piece closed when it is in this form so it has to be unchained to see the free birds, clearly representing freedom and slavery.

The absence of words with this piece means it is completely up to the viewer to decide how they interpret this piece, it is however hard to miss the obvious link to slavery through the images of the birds. The literal unchaining of the book to reveal the freedom of the birds represents clearly the abolishment of slavery.  The use of just the colour black could represent the racism within slavery. Maybe that’s reading too much into it? However that is the strength of this piece – it’s completely up to the viewer’s interpretation.

The aesthetically pleasing aspect of this piece is that it stands alone as a structure once opened, it does not require to be read as a book, it stands alone so it can be viewed in no particular order, the pages all becoming one large page.  When the piece is opened there is a chain at the top so it can hang as a display, representing the hanging of a birds cage it leaves the viewer’s wondering if the birds are truly free if the cage still stands, referencing once again slavery and racism, are people truly  free if racism still exists.

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Images taken from – http://www.cassa-studio.com/project/artist-book-among-humans-2/?full=1

Mariana Miseravel

Through Tumblr I came across these quirky little zines by Mariana Miseravel, the zine titled Little Miserable Book features uplifting, important advice for the pessimistic days we all experience from time to time. Each page features a quote such as ‘’don’t listen to your negative thoughts’’ accompanied by an illustration reminding the viewer to be optimistic about life when it gets tough.

Miseravel’s illustrations feature a tongue in cheek humour that makes them so much more attractive to own, the light hearted yet important messages make the viewer feel bursts of happiness and a sense of being able to overcome any situation that makes the viewer want to own the miniature zines themselves.

The illustrations, in their child like style remind the viewer of the child in themselves, creating a more care free attitude that Miseravel aims to promote through her work.

Mariana Miseravel creates these miniature zines in a concertina style of book binding making them easier to display at exhibitions so the viewer can view both sides and a fun way of revealing each important message to the viewer if they own one themselves.

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Images from – http://marianaamiseravel.com/Little-Miserable-Book 

Lo Siento – Red Battle

This particular piece by Lo Siento caught my eye because of its obvious relevance to my own studio practice. The bold shape appears to just be one big bold shape and nothing more because of the detail being so tiny and red being the only colour used, but when looked at in more detail the viewer becomes aware of these tiny intricate soldiers and tanks scattered across the mass of card. Carefully cut out of the sculpture itself, each solider stands up on the sculpture leaving what looks like a shadow behind them.

Using only one colour for this piece, Lo Siento chose red. With no explanation to the colour the viewer is left to assume for themselves that the chosen colour of red was a conscious decision based upon the colour red’s connotations of danger, blood, violence, which are all also connotations of the word war.

At the bottom of the sculpture the viewer can see a few more paper soldiers, limbs and blood splatters that are not attached to the sculpture and are scattered across the floor, representing the lives lost in war. This addition to the piece makes the viewer’s think about the soldiers’ lives lost in war and the fact that war is such a dangerous and violent place for them. While I feel it is important to think about this fact I don’t feel like the piece is an overall good representation of the danger of war as 90% of wars lives lost are civilians, it does however get the viewer’s thinking about how dangerous war is and that lives are lost which is important when seen as an ant-war piece.

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Images from – http://www.losiento.net/entry/red-battle

Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai – Thai anti-smoking ad

Labelled ‘’The best anti-smoking ad ever”, viewers can easily see why when watching this advert. The powerful ad created by Ogilvy & Mather for the Thai Health Promotion Foundation really hits home with its emotive message. The video sees various young adults smoking outside office blocks and shops, when approached by two very young children asking for ‘’a light’’, the adults, all unaware that they are being filmed, all react in the same horrified way, shocked that a child could be smoking and each one proceeds to tell the children why they shouldn’t ‘’you’ll die faster ’’ , “Smoking is bad, you have to stop” without stopping to realise that they are doing the exact same thing. Once they have finished talking the children hand the adults a piece of paper with the words ‘’If you care about me, why not yourselves’’ and an anti-smoking helpline number. Each adult appears to be shocked by the emotive force of this message, realising that the children were not actually smokers but were in fact aiming to promote anti-smoking awareness, each adult seems touched.  The real people and emotions used in this campaign are what make it so much more powerful, there are no models or actors involved, these are regular everyday people who do smoke and are all genuinely touched by the message behind this campaign.

The lack of professional lighting, camera work and models or actors makes this advert so much more powerful because it is real, the camera filming people smoking outside office blocks creates images that the public are used to seeing on a regular basis, when approached by children asking for ‘’a light’’ the smokers all react in the same horrified way, that a child could possibly be doing something so dangerous and harmful to themselves seems impossible to believe, but it’s this that sends the powerful message to the viewers – Why, if these adults know how dangerous this habit is and are willing to warn children of their health would they themselves smoke?

This advert uses emotive techniques to get the viewers’ attention.  While I usually feel emotive advertisements don’t have a strong effect as there are so many of them society has almost become immune to seeing them, this advertisement does it in a different way. Emotive techniques in advertisements are often to make the viewer feel sorry for a victim, making the viewer mirror the victim’s feelings aiming to encourage them to help a cause. This advertisement however uses positive emotive techniques. Anti-smoking campaigns often show the effect smokers have on other people, their children, people on the street, very rarely themselves. This advert however shows children encouraging adults to look after themselves. When the children walk away, the smokers are left touched by the gesture which encourages the viewers to either think about themselves if they smoke or to encourage a loved one to stop smoking if they themselves do not.

The use of real people in the streets makes it more believable, it grabs the viewer’s attention more than a child model breathing in photo-shopped smoke. There are no actors, lighting, camera equipment or Photoshop techniques in this campaign which cause the viewer’s to relate more, they can see themselves or people they know in this ad as it is so realistic, prompting the viewers to think about ways to help themselves or people they know.

Su Blackwell

Su Blackwell is a British artist, she studied textiles at the Royal College of Art and is well known for her delicate sculptures created out of books. Blackwell gained her inspiration for using books in her work when traveling in south-east Asia, “I came across rituals and ceremonies where paper was used so I started experimenting with that” (Su Blackwell 2011 – http://www.ideastap.com/IdeasMag/The-Knowledge/su-blackwell-interview  )

Once questioned on her use of material, Blackwell responded “When I first started making the sculptures it was quite difficult to cut into the books – especially making the first cut. But I don’t use first editions or very rare books. Most of the books I use would end up being thrown away or sitting in old bookshops anyway.”(Su Blackwell 2011 – http://www.ideastap.com/IdeasMag/The-Knowledge/su-blackwell-interview )  I find this use of medium interesting; it is not “destroying a work of art to create another type of art” (Ruth Stokes 2011 – http://www.ideastap.com/IdeasMag/The-Knowledge/su-blackwell-interview ) but rather creating works of art inspired by literature, books are quite often left unread, and there are millions of copies of millions of books in the world so using books as a medium to work with, to me does not seem like a waste. I find that the words from a book, when well-chosen can add something to the piece of art rather than the piece of art taking something away from the book.  “When I work with books, I start by reading the stories and then creating the works from the stories themselves. I veer towards books with illustrations that I liked reading as a child, such as Alice in Wonderland. And I keep going back to fairy tales – especially Hans Christian Andersen. I find the multi-faceted aspect of fairy tales quite interesting.” (Su Blackwell 2011 – http://www.ideastap.com/IdeasMag/The-Knowledge/su-blackwell-interview) Blackwell herself says she gains a lot of inspiration for her work from the books she works with, using this as inspiration can reinforce in the importance of literature in book form to a very technology focused society, the pieces can remind viewers of the importance of the written word.

Blackwell uses incredible detail in her work, it is impossible to take it all in at once, “I’m struck by the beauty of Su’s work. Her pieces are fragile and ephemeral, and the more you look, the more you see … It’s as if she’s weaving with words” (Justin Croft Antiquarian Book seller – http://www.sublackwell.co.uk/profile/ ) This creates the fairy tale world that she admires so much and aims to recreate through her work, the delicate interesting pieces of woodland scenes remind the viewers of fairy-tale worlds, and the detail such as castles and owls creates the mysterious night time that people associate with the beauty of a fairy-tale.

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Images from – http://www.sublackwell.co.uk/portfolio-book-cut-sculpture/

Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai – Domestic Abuse campaign

A poster campaigning against domestic abuse, created by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, uses powerful a powerful image to communicate with the viewer. The image shows a woman in a burka with a black eye, the bruise being hidden slightly by her burka showing the viewers that domestic abuse is a serious issue that is kept hidden, in all countries domestic violence is hidden from society, women too scared to come forward about the abuse they are suffering, and in developing countries domestic violence is not only hidden but quite often ignored and accepted. The image is supposed to show the viewer how this issue is hidden from society but not completely as people are aware of the issue and willing to stand up against domestic abuse.

The text “Some things can’t be covered. Fighting women’s abuse together” while visible is small and hard to read from a distance making the image the focus of the advertisement rather than the text, this gives the image a chance to shock the viewer as they notice the woman’s bruise before reading what cause the advertisement is for. The image is also powerful because of her eyes, they do not show fear, and this makes the viewer aware that women all over the world are tolerating this abuse because people are not being made aware of the issue and that it needs to stop. She does not look like she is begging for help she appears to the viewers to be an image of a strong powerful woman making the viewer want to stand up against this issue rather than mirroring the actual emotions of a woman facing domestic abuse and feeling helpless.

The advertisement is effective because of the way Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai  hide the woman’s black eye as if to represent the way the issue is hidden from society, it also brings awareness to the fact that often if a woman is being abused she will hide this from people rather than coming forward and telling people about this issue. This image aims to make the viewer more aware that domestic violence is going on all over the world and that society are not as aware of it as they should be.

I think this advertisement is effective because of the use of a bold attention grabbing image with a clear message that both shows the importance of the issue and that it is a worldwide issue but also raises awareness that it is happening and being hidden.

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Image from – http://www.memacogilvy.com/casestudy/womens-domestic-abuse-in-ksa/

Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai – Un Women’s rights campaign

A series of advertisements created by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, for UN Women were created to reveal widespread sexism through real google auto-searches (dated 9 March, 2013) these ads reveal both the stereotyping of women and the outright denial of women’s rights.  The google search boxes were placed over images of women’s faces and positioned over women’s mouths as if to silence their voices. The positing of the search boxes literally covering the women’s mouths shows the viewer how serious the issue is and how when women speak up about it they can often be silenced and not taken seriously especially in countries where women have very few basic rights.

“The ads are shocking because they show just how far we still have to go to achieve gender equality. They are a wake up call, and we hope that the message will travel far,” (Kareem Shuhaibarhttp://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2013/10/women-should-ads) these advertisements aim to communicate the serious, important message that this kind of sexism and inequality still exists and how it needs to be stopped. The advertisements are effective because of the shocking statements that come up in the google search bars showing that some people actually have and still do feel this way about women and women having basic human rights. The statements aim to make the viewer feel encouraged to act on this issue as some of the statements promote such a denial of basic human rights “Women need to be controlled” , the aim is to make viewers so shocked by these blatantly sexist statements that they want to stand up and fight against sexism. Another way these ads successfully communicate this message is through the facial expressions of the women, they do not look sad, vulnerable or in pain. The emotive image of someone crying or in pain is really effective for a child abuse or animal abuse campaign as people feel the need to protect and help them as they are not as capable of protecting themselves, whereas for a women’s rights campaign a vulnerable image of women is not what Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai  want to communicate through their advertisement as that projects an image of someone who cannot look after themselves as well as others which is the exact opposite of what needs to be said. The message should be that women are as powerful and strong as men and deserve the same rights. The images of these women communicate a sense of power through the emotionless facial expressions as they are not shown as weak or vulnerable tackling the statements shown in the google search bars such as “women shouldn’t drive” and “women need to be put in their place”.

The video advertisement connected with this campaign aims to show the things women have achieved and how far we have come with women’s rights. Such as women getting the right to vote and when during World War II when women took on roles of work that were previously seen as ‘male jobs’ proving that women are just as capable as men. The video aims to show how far we have come with the achievements of women’s rights to drive people to be encouraged to keep going as we have proved that when issues are protested against and when people speak up they can create a positive outcome.

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Images and video from – http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2013/10/women-should-ads