The complete assignment report after the break, references at the bottom of the post :)
“Nothing is more applicable than the potato.” The first thing that struck me when I read through the first task was that it had to be Ola Normann (The John Doe of Norway) was the “potato”, the reason for that was the connection I made was that I through knowledge of people from some Eastern European countries have been hearing that we Norwegians are often called for potatoes. Now why are we called potatoes you might ask? Well I did ask when I first heard this, the answer was that the Norwegians are generally very good at very much and can often take on many responsibilities at work. Ok, but how do I use it in the assignment then? …
A week later and I still had no good idea of how to solve this. Then it’s time to read the assignment description again and find a different approach in interpretation. The potato can actually be used for many things and that’s what I’m going to show, as products, food, and people or in other manners. The assignment states that I must use an item from the history of art, which I interpret as I should either use the methods and / or style that may be related to an art movement or that I must put in something that is familiar from the history of art in one way or otherwise. How to solve the assignment as an result seems to be completely open and I can do really whatever I want.
Well as mentioned in the previous section of the report I had an idea to build on the idea that people can be like potatoes, an approach which I dropped and instead visited ideas like Flowchart (potato crop – harvesting – … Branching into products – to earth), the potato itself (only a potato, the potato can be used for so much that it can also function as a full-fledged essay/assignment submission in itself).
The concept I came to after a long process was to make things (plastic, metal and other technical stuff) out of potatoes, or modify existing things so that they are essentially mostly made of potatoes. I also decided not to go so deep into it that I had to make things work, they just need to look like whatever they should emulate (although it would have been cool if they actually worked). I would put the items into an advertisement, promotional ad or product catalog.
I decided to make my submission two pages from an product catalog from a big “known” manufacturer with a potato as the logo, the products should have names that began with a lowercase ‘p’ to make an play on an existing company that has a fruit as a logo. The products I produced potato versions off were: mouse, memory stick, vibrating egg, cd-rack, pen holder, juggling balls and headphones. Products that did not make the final selection were products from other vegetables, as well as a potato mobile charger.
Well my design choices were really driven by the fact that I wanted to use a specific method / idea like many others in post-modernism, but also in pop-art movements has done. Make products into vintage or retro style (and this is my connection to art history). I did search (read: Research) on how advertising and products was 40-70 years ago and found much good inspiration , but finally found a specific page from a product catalog for clothing that I have largely taken a lot of layout and text design from.
I took the photos at my”home product-photo studio” (Ikea table with inset frosted glass plate, really intended for cartoonists and artists, a lamp, flash and reflector). To process the images I chose to develop a PS action with a vintage effect, an action I am very happy with.
To obtain the desired text style I found a font (Bookman Old Style), which resembled much of what I saw the commercials and texts from the 40-50s.
One of the products I made was specifically aimed at women and I chose to use part of the two sides as an advertising space with slightly different design than the rest, with a focus on the product. I produced a vintage drawing of a woman with a sexy look in Photoshop (original image from stock photo website and used a retro tutorial to create the effect). This drawing was to be used together with the product. I tried to write the text for this section so that it would offend and stereotyped the housewife and the woman.
After this, most work were done in InDesign, where I made a conscious choice not to follow some rules for the layout, or legibility, since the source material were lacking in these fields. A retro-paper effect is added as an overlay on the pages to create the final effect (This effect I will not include in the physical copy, and then I’d rather find a paper with a slightly vintage or retro effect to print it on). The text is very closely based on the text from the source material with some modifications; a little humor and references to other products were brought in to create a greater illusion that this can be a real product catalog.
The logo was inspired by a large multi-corporation that is known for its products that have names starting with a vowel, and hence got a lot of inspiration and also an interest to actually play on a form of plagiarism and caricature.
I was overall satisfied with the results, with the exception of some small things like there are a couple of the outlines around the potatoes on one of the pictures that I am not really happy about. And then there is the mouth and eyes of the drawn woman. The latter’s just something-I-am-not-good-at thus; I am pleased I got it as “good” as I did.
The logo and naming game were really spot on as well as the idea of making the products as physical items and not using the “easy” way of manipulating photos.
I acquired a few more skills in Photoshop through the process and became better acquainted with the art movements in recent times since I had trouble finding the right connection to the history of art, but I have managed that part of the assignment very well I think.
I wanted to spend more time drawing more in the style of the woman, but this was so time consuming to produce since I had not really learned the process at heart yet, I think I made the right choice not to make more. If I get enough feedback on the assignment and pictures when I post it at my blog and at devianart, then I think I could make more pages for the product catalog or even make it into a larger project.
Stockphoto for ”sexy woman”
Tutorial to draw ”sexy woman”
Source material, clothes product catalog