Design Iterations: Dorset Independence

The aim for the first project in second year is to create an interactive information graphic using Processing. The graphic will go on one of the in the main foyer for the media building which has a lot of people passing through it every day. In order to get us started thinking about how to make an eye-catching display for this place we’ve been tasked to come up with a poster to be displayed in the area to promote an imaginary vote for Dorset to go independent (much like the Scottish referendum).

A good starting point was looking at posters and flyers which were used for the referendum which promoted the idea of independence. One of the best examples (shown below) uses a lot of familiar Scottish imagery. The female figure in the image has bright orange hair which is stereotypically associated with people from Scotland and is dressed in traditional Scottish garb, be it a traditional male outfit. She is holding bagpipes which again is another symbol associated with Scotland as their national instrument. The call to action is short and sweet, getting the message across in the simplest way possible to get people to vote ‘yes’ for the independence of Scotland. The use of the word ‘Brave’ is a play on Braveheart, a film which is centred around a Scottish revolution against the English; a similar but more brutal circumstance to the revolution.

The first plan of action was to research about Dorset as a county and find out as much information about it as we could. Learning about its history and stereotypes associated with the area formed a good platform to build upon and combine ideas to make a similar call to action poster.

The design process involved brainstorming ideas of how we can combine certain symbols and stereotypes to get the message across that we want. We ended up focusing on the agricultural side of the Dorset area, and the natural hilly landscape that it is so famous for. We also want to include use of the Flag of Dorset as flag are a very good symbol to incite pride in people for their homeland.

Initially we sketched a few ideas on paper while we still had time in the seminar, coming up with two main ideas. They both focused on the rolling hill imagery often associated with the county of Dorset and also incorporated a farmer figure to highlight the agricultural connotations. We felt that the loan farmer helped convey the ‘independence’ imagery we were going for, placing a lone, powerful looking figure connoting power and strength to protect Dorset and its independence.

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Everyone in the group (4 of us) came up with their own individual interpretations of our brainstorm and went away to design a poster or two at home. I’m just going to talk about my own work as I know my own design process behind the idea. My first point of inspiration was Nazi propaganda. Initially this might seem a bit extreme but if you think about it, the propaganda they used did a great job as promoting Nazi pride and amassed a large following, which is exactly the kind of thing we’re trying to do. I based my idea around the poster below as it has good use of nazi imagery. The figure is stereotypical of a nazi soldier, which were seen everywhere so it would’ve been a familiar sight and he is holding a flag which again, helps to incite pride and familiarity of the flag and message.

So, this is my take on a Dorset independence poster (below). The character I used is a young looking farmer which utilises the agricultural imagery we brainstormed about. The location where the poster is to be displayed influenced my choice of image for the farmer. As most of the people passing through the building are students (young adults) it made sense for the poster to be relatable for them. With the farmer looking straight forward it will hopefully draw in people’s attention, as the gaze could make people feel intrigued or uncomfortable and go in for a closer look to see what the poster is about. The chicken in the image adds a sense of humour so the poster isn’t too serious or boring (as I’m sure people love chickens). Originally the farmer was holding a pitchfork but I used a little photoshop wizardry to change it into the Dorset flag, similar to that of the image above. The flag is used to increase familiarity with the imagery and instil a sense of pride about the flag as the intended audience all live in the Dorset area. The background of the image was also changed to an iconic Dorset landscape. People who pay attention to the poster may recognise the image on the hillside to the left of the poster as the Cerne Abbas Giant. The giant is a large part of Dorset history and lore, with records dating back to the 17th century. It is also one of England’s best known hill figures and is a major visitor attraction in the region.

This version isn’t yet completed as we haven’t decided on a good tagline/call to action to put on it. This version was also a very quick mockup so some of the photoshopping is a bit dodgy and will be improved in further iterations as we decide on what works and what can be improved with the idea.

farmer-with-flag

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