PROJECT BRIEF: Students are to create an e-book/advertising poster that will be formatted as an endlessly looping GIF. The book title will be generated using a random word generator. The completed GIF poster must rhetorically evoke some aspect of the books title/story through imagery, text and motion.
This project was a really interesting one because not only was I exploring the theme of animation, but also thinking creatively based on a prompt that made no sense – Family, Minority, Ideology. When I was first generating the words, this combination really stuck out to me because I knew that if designed well, it could portray a very powerful message in relation to the context.
Coming from a First Nations family, Character A has always struggled to feel like they belong in this world and is always looking for a way to fit in. That changes when they meet Character B, the leader of an underground resistance group that plans to initiate one of the biggest uprisings for justice that society has ever seen. Believing that they have finally found their place, Character A discovers the sinister plan that Character B has and must work against the clock to stop the uprising before things take a sharp turn downhill.
The main theme that I was trying to push was the theme of manipulation and things being seen in a light that doesn’t reflect the truth. Incorporating the use of puppet strings, marionettes and blocky typography that was designed to imitate being controlled was an essential feature to the design, and even though it took quite long, I think that it really pushes the viewer to look deeper into the meaning behind the symbolism. Using the colour red in various shades helped emphasize the idea of fate and how corrupted our views of what we think is meant to be can actually become.
The rhetorical tropes used in this design are:
- Metaphor: the pair of hands that are holding each other act as a representation of friendship and unity, depicting a bond, and emphasizing the “family” aspect of the title and the story.
- Metaphor: the red strings that hold the letters and dangle from the crossbars represent the red string of fate and how easily what we believe to be our destiny can be destroyed.
- Allusion: the skin tones of the hands allude to the “minority” aspect of the title, incorporating the concept of multiple cultures and backgrounds, rather than basic white hands.
- Allusion: the design of the bracelet on the lighter-toned hand is similar to traditional Aboriginal jewelery, which connects to the main character’s background and culture.
- Hyperbole: the white line that slices through the strings and cuts them is meant to exaggerate the idea of betrayal and discovery of manipulation.
- Irony: the hands that are holding each other provide an ironic contrast to the crossbars and marionette strings that are controlling the typography, indicating a fake promise or bond that is not genuine, but just for show.
For this project, the five sets of three-word generated titles were:
- particle, moon, insistence
- false, relationship, poison
- family, minority, ideology
- oppose, model, possible
- organize, photography, lie
Particle, Moon, Insistence: In a futuristic space world, Character A works as a particle accelerator engineer. After designing a technology that allows people to go back in time to visit various space dimensions, the Character A is approved to be part of a crew that will lead a mission to the Moon and bring back elements that will allow scientists to harness the power of the now-dead space rock. Unbeknownst to the crew, the accelerator malfunctions and sends them much further back in time, forcing them to survive in the barren world that is the Moon.
False, Relationship, Poison: Character A is what you would call the perfect “good girl” – good grades, good looks, good friends, good everything, and the total opposite of Character B. Dark, mysterious and with a bad reputation, Character B is drawn to Character A and the two begin an unlikely relationship that takes a dark turn. Character A must now find a way to break away and get herself out, or risk sinking deeper into fear, insanity and pain.
Family, Minority, Ideology: Coming from a First Nations family, Character A has always struggled to feel like they belong in this world and is always looking for a way to fit in. That changes when they meet Character B, the leader of an underground resistance group that plans to initiate one of the biggest uprisings for justice that society has ever seen. Believing that they have finally found their place, Character A discovers the sinister plan that Character B has and must work against the clock to stop the uprising before things take a sharp turn downhill.
Oppose, Model, Possible: Character A has always dreamed of being a model and walking down that white runway, lights flashing and music pulsing, yet, they’ve never had the courage to do so as a result of being labelled overweight and ugly their whole life. Giving up on the dream, Character A moves on to college, where they meet Character B and form a friendship that becomes unbreakable. In this journey of self-acceptance and with the help of Character B, Character A discovers that society’s perception of them is false and finally chooses to pursue their dream, regardless of what everyone else thinks.
Organize, Photography, Lie: After being in a toxic and unhealthy relationship of three years, Character A is left a broken and depressed mess. Determined to see the best in the world, they take up photography and hope that seeing people smile in front of the lenses will help them find their own happiness in life, although there’s still a part of them that remains missing. It isn’t until they meet Character B and look through the viewfinder that they realize what that missing piece is – self-acceptance.
Moon, Particle, Insistence
For this design, I wanted to explore a simple, yet futuristic concept that would allow the viewer’s eye to not be overwhelmed by everything. The main focal point is the sun and the light flare that emits from it, then transitioning into the typography and to the astronaut. I wanted to give the impression of aloneness and insignificance in such a big world like the universe, which we don’t know much about.
The typography system that I used was bilateral (used in the title text, author information, release date information). The visual techniques that I used were communicate with scale (the objects on the moon are made to be bigger in comparison to the person, which causes an illusion of field of depth and size, connects to the concept of being alone in a vast world) and focus the eye (the viewer’s eye is first drawn to the sun and the bright orb in the top half of the image, then follows it down to the text in the middle and the person in the bottom half). The GIF animation would be a lens flare, which would be used to imitate an orbit or turning of the light towards the text, possibly disappearing and appearing with the illumination of the flare as it moves sideways.
Oppose, Model, Possible
For this design, I knew that I wanted a camera and a runway to be included, but I also wanted to play with the typography by using positive and negative space. I really liked how the shadow of the model was projected onto the title and the idea of having a camera made up of multiple camera fragments. I was also inspired by the vintage war propaganda posters, which often included the ray-type lines coming out from the centre.
The typography systems that I used were bilateral (used in the title text, author information, release date information), as well as little bit of grid (the text is aligned within a grid but is distorted with angles). The visual techniques used were overlap (the shadow of the model overlaps with the title, the newspaper outline around the camera overlaps the black rays) and cut and paste (the camera is a combination of multiple vintage cameras that have been broken apart to create fragments). The GIF animation would be the white circles, which represent camera flashes and would “flash” at random intervals to force the illusion of there being paparazzi or photographers taking pictures of the model.
Family, Minority, Ideology
For this design, I wanted to push my boundaries and play around with creating something that incorporated a lot of hidden messages through symbolism. When I was creating this, I was doing a lot of digital drawing and messing around with layers in order to provide the illusion of the strings being squeezed or trapped by the hands. I wanted to have the typography be linked to the strings, so I used the concept of marionettes.
The typography system that I used was bilateral (used in the title text, author information, release date information). The typographic system that I used was tell a story (the cross bar at the top acts as a metaphor for control and manipulation, the strings attached are overlayed on top of and going through the spaces in the hands to represent the battle of control, the colour of the strings is a metaphor for the red strings of fate, the hands show a union between the characters, the letters of the title are attached to the strings to represent fragility and reliance). The GIF animation would be the cross bars moving up and down, which would force the strings and letters to move based on the direction that the bars are moving (like puppet movement).
Before officially doing animations, I refined two of my designs and chose to do animations for both, since I was having difficulty choosing which one I preferred. Initially, the design for “Family, Minority, Ideology” seemed like it would be difficult to animate, but as I played around with the layers and began making adjustments, I found that I liked it a lot better than the animation for “Oppose, Model, Possible”.
The following are the comparisons between the original designs and the refined designs after being given feedback:
The following are the animations for both designs:
Since I worked with bilateral placement of the typography, the rest of the elements also ended up following that type of alignment and hierarchy. Despite being rotated or warped, they still stay within the boundaries of the middle, not favouring one side over another.
For the final design that I chose, there are both vertical and horizontal lines that make up the grid. My goal was to contrast the vertical movement of the letters falling with the horizontal placement of the hands, rather than making everything face in one direction. This was also shown in the animation, which uses depth and layering to make certain elements move both in front and behind others.
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