Design Studies

In the studio we have just begun exploring ways of translating the inspiration of sport through graphic design working with both physical collage and in Illustrator. More experiments (with materials, visual inspiration and motion) will follow this summer (when I return in July from South Africa and World Cup 2010.)

I am interested in ways of capturing graphically both the “flow” athletes experience and the overall inspiration sport provides to people across the world. What does an athlete (child or adult) feel when experiencing supreme moments of physical performance? How can this be expressed visually? What is the physical and emotional beauty of sport that moves people and how can this be made visible? How can graphic design communicate the inspiration and power sport provides to children across the world and developing athletes and communities?

Physical performance involves aesthetics, emotional growth and a power that graphic design can display poetically. The goal is to find new and creative ways to express these elements and to then apply these new visual strategies to concrete situations outside of the corporate world. Many corporate sports companies work to successfully express sport in new and exciting visual ways, yet their mission is primarily to sell products or market themselves through athletes. I am seeking to look at what can be expressed visually about sport in new ways outside of the corporate realm.

While researching ways in which graphic designers have experimented to discover new modes of expressing emotional abstraction I came across a recent post on about the design process behind the title sequence for HBO’s The Pacific. For this TV piece about war, Steve Fuller formerly of Imaginary Force’s New York office and Ahmet Ahmet of Imaginary Force’s Los Angeles office arrived at a visual concept that used drawing with charcoal to capture the grit and violence of war. They looked at paintings by Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell and mention “We tried to make the charcoal feel explosive and capture the violence of war. We also tried to connect the charcoal dust to the black sand found on the islands in the south Pacific.” The end result is a powerful, unexpected dive into a rich and gritty expression of the destructive and emotional aspects of war. The discussion of their design process behind the title sequence on is inspiring as here in the studio we begin to think of ways to creatively experiment with capturing the emotion and energy of SCORE’s work in South Africa with children and communities in the impoverished townships and rural areas. Although in contrast to design work for The Pacific, our project and experiments will be about capturing the abstract emotional aspects of a positive and joyful experience through sport.


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