Saturday, 6 February 2010

A visual idea...

I'm working on a logo at the moment for a charity. Watching it evolve got me pondering on how people might think about the creation of visual ideas.

Do people perhaps imagine that a designer first creates an idea in their mind, and then 'realises it' through their technical skill? Watching myself, I see that this isn't really what's happening.

The idea itself is hazy. The charity (Pregnancy and Parents Centre) want a sense of community, connection, inclusiveness, openness, extended family. They don't want simply a baby or a pregnant woman. As I'm told this, the image I get is of a kid's paper chain of people, joined together at the hands. It's simple, not very original, but the only image I'm getting. So I cut out some people.

The materials strongly influence what happens; the way the scissors cut the card, the thickness of the card. Once I have the people, I realise I can move them around, so different kinds of grouping become possible.  I put the figures in a circle, then see I can reverse the colours and have something different again.

Then I realised that I need to make a template so that I can make adjustments to the figures and try out different colours. I've coloured in about three versions of the template before I realise that the template is a potential logo in itself.

I would never have imagined this image - it could only appear through the process of working the idea through time with the materials; interacting with ideas, with results, with material effects, with unexpected mistakes and accidents.

This makes me think about the idea of creativity as response again, because the next thing I do is look at the template and decide it's all got too stiff, and make a new version, freehand, in ink, trying to get away from something that's started to happen that I don't really like...

Working for the first time in any art medium, we tend to think that the result has to be known before we start. ...We don't realise that the experienced dancer or painter might begin by simply moving and making gestures with art materials. One movement leads to another... (McNiff,1998:13)

The point here, for me, is that you simply have to get on and just do it. All the cleaning and procrastination are avoidance tactics, trying to get away from an unconscious sense in your mind that soon you're going to have to sit down and 'come up with an idea'. In fact, you don't have to do any such thing. You have to release your mind just enough to let a single idea appear (as you hoover...), and then you simply get some materials and start to play. That's all. Ha! The problem seems to be getting out of the way, so that this actually very simply process can begin to happen....

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