i don’t bother with many contests but for some reason i like what the folks at positive posters are doing. they choose an issue each year and the competition involves designing a poster to spread awareness for that cause. the ideas are simple and the winning posters typically have been very simple. this year’s brief allowed the entrants to choose their own cause. this seems like a first world problem at first but i chose the idea of energy and its conservation, use, renewal, sourcing, impacts, etc.
anyway, a simple light bulb printed in a particular way would sort of get across all the different angles i was thinking. the bulb would be printed with glow in the dark ink. the base would be printed with some sort of reflective or metallic ink. the light bulb itself is an obvious reference to energy i think but it’s also a typical symbol of ideas or so-called light bulb moments. all of this together would foster awareness in and remind viewers about energy conservation (the bulb is “uplugged” and it’s glow is finite), use (the glow), alternatives (phospherescence “powers” the bulb), renewal (bright lights “charge” the bulb), etc.
it was nice to focus on something more conceptual considering that most of my work has been focused on the bestiary lately.
here’s a longer post to hopefully try and make up for the lack of updates. i’ve been busy but i made time to quickly work on this.
i came across this poster competition on the swiss miss blog and i thought it would be fun to enter. positive posters is a non-profit poster competition founded by nick hallam and run by volunteers. they basically just try and spread a good message through the competition. it started last year with the theme of change and this year’s is “a glass half full” from a more positive viewpoint.
i spent a few days on my daily commutes brainstorming. i won’t detail the concepts i didn’t follow through on but i decided early on that i wanted to keep things as simple as possible. the concept of polarity immediately jumped in my mind (being the nerd that i am) and so plus and minus signs were the images i wanted to use to reflect the positive and negative outlooks people can take on this classic saying.
here are some of the initial sketches. hopefully you can see some of the thought processes i (might have) had.
sidenote: to try and validate the choice of colour, i looked up magenta and i found some interesting points. it’s an extra-spectral colour, meaning that it cannot be perceived with out two wavelengths of light. so it’s got that duality thing going on right? a bit of a stretch. more interesting though is the origin of it’s name. a conflict called – what else? – the battle of magenta in – where else? – magenta, italy occurred shortly before the discovery of the dye in that region. so that was kind of relevant to me – a negative conflict may have brought about something positive in the discovery of the dye and, you know, hopefully the conflict occurred to bring about positive consequences. validation? check.
anyway, the good thing about the plus sign is that no matter what orientation, it still looks like a plus sign. here’s the same version upside-down.
in the first version the plus sign is white and blends in with the background and in the flipped version, the liquid would be white and so it blends in with the liquid at that point. it’s pretty plain that the plus sign doesn’t seem so obvious. and in the inverted version, the liquid isn’t really filling half the glass. it gets worse in either landscape format.
the other idea i thought would’ve been interesting to pursue involved patterns of plus signs. i haven’t worked too much with patterns so i thought i’d try and take that a bit further. you can sort of see two attempts in the sketches but something jumped out at me for one of them. the plus signs in the positive space started to form minus signs in the negative signs in the negative space. this idea responded well with me for obvious reasons.
so for the second attempt, the abstraction of the half filled glass would be presented as a pattern of positive or plus signs that align to form negative signs in the negative space. rather than have the positive signs just cut exactly half the page, they’re staggered but the ratio of positive space to negative space is about equal. the staggering also helps lend to a layout where the positively spaced area is just slightly larger than the negative (i actually calculated it), which biases the outlook to the positive. also, the negative or minus signs are only really perceptible in landscape layout. either way, more plus signs are always visible than minus signs. so in those ways, the poster really is more positive than negative. the result is below.
and here’s the “inverse” version:
this version is kind of interesting because the plus signs seems to occupy the negative space and the opposite is true of the minus signs – so a bit of irony there. also, the minus signs seems to resemble drops falling into the magenta liquid – at least to me.
so why a tilted liquid level? well, here it is rotated. notice also that the minus signs are a bit more obvious.