Text Block (273)



Today was the one day project. We were tasked with creating a piece in that day, that related to our main unit 7 project. I was really proud of the way I worked today, because I really threw myself into what I was doing. I cleared a large space on the floor and decided to work on an extremely large scale. This in itself is really refreshing for me because I’m used to working, especially within graphics, on a small scale - or basically on my laptop. Most of the people in my class were working on their computers. This is something I find extremely limiting, and it’s what I’ve been striving to get away from throughout this project. I’ve been trying to use mostly analogue methods, with workflow (sadly) being the only exception.


On that topic, I do find using workflow really (not physically) painful. I think it’s such an arbitrary way of writing down your thoughts, and the particular server and website is relatively frustrating to use. However, I do think it’s good to note down your daily thoughts, but I would much rather do this in a physical format. Especially for this project.


I had a lot of fun working on the floor and really getting hands on with my work, however it would have been better if I had access to all of my materials, but I can add to the pieces at home.


At the end of the day we went around the room, and looked at everyone’s pieces from the day. The breadth of work, as ever, was so great. There were many pieces that I thought were really successful.


Also, an interesting topic was broached when we were looking at one particular piece, about the successful, or appropriate use of felt in a project. Someone had made an infographic about specific rates in schooling and business, for opposing genders. I thought it was a really interesting piece, and gave a breath of fresh air for the fact that it wasn’t just a run of the mill graph made on illustrator. I find this really banal at times, and the way she’d layered the felt on top of each other was really interesting. However, lots of the critique was about how she should be using digital resources to make her graphs. Although I disagree with this, and think different materials should definitely be explored even if they’re not considered ‘appropriate’, I understand the point that there was little to no correlation between choice of material and subject matter. I think this is an interesting topic of debate.


When we, as designers, make something, we often have to think why were are using a certain material or medium. I don’t know how I feel about this. In a way, yes, sometimes I don’t think we should just use something because we feel like it. But then again, why shouldn’t we – why does everything we produce have to have such a long explanation and causation behind it?


I posed this question to my table:

‘As designers, when we create things, do you find it annoying that there has to be a reason behind everything you are doing, and your decisions about specific materials?’

  • Natasha – yes

"Because I normally feel like what I feel like doing, and I don’t have a reason for it".

  • Dom – yes

"The fact that everything needs to have a purpose is a load of bullshit, and why can’t we appreciate something just because it looks cool. Aestheticism".

  • Sam – yes

"If I wanna make something I wanna make it because it looks nice".

  • Liv - yes

"Sometimes you just want to make something because you want to make it. It doesn’t have to have a complete purpose. Sometimes you just want to make something because it looks pretty".

  • Michelle (tutor) – I don’t know

"I’m a real believer in meaning. I think it’s really important that every aspect of a project should be relevant to the meaning. I think anything they can add to the meaning can add the purpose".

Dom – "But can’t it just be a pretty picture?"

Michelle – "if the purpose is just pure entertainment and joy, then yes, perhaps".

"I think if you purely want to get to that then that’s a valid reason. But you’d surely still use materials and surfaces to convey that".


I think all of these points are valid, and in some ways I definitely agree with Michelle. The way that you can add meaning to a piece through things like material, or enhance the original meaning, is really clever.


However, with explorative and experimental work, like the work I’m creating at the moment, a lot of times there’s no real ‘reasoning’ behind the textures I’m creating. Sure, I’m being inspired by the graffiti and layering of old and new that exists throughout Berlin, but the process of layering tape onto felt and card – that specifically – has no particular meaning. And I don’t think that’s a particularly bad thing, if I’m honest.


I asked my brother, who is studying architecture.

"It's really necessary to justify what you're doing if you want other people to get involved. But it's not necessary. Sometimes things are interesting to you, but they're not immediately relevant. I don't think it's good to restrict yourself completely. It's good to make rules, then bend them, and think of new rules."


I also asked my father, who is a designer.

"I think that question kind of outlines the difference between artists and designers. An artist doesn't really have to justify decisions and processes. Most designers have to have a good reason for doing pretty much everything."

© Molly Wilhelmina Johnson, all rights reserved