Post Tutorial To-Do list

The best way to sum up how this felt was like being congratulated on reaching Base Camp, but then being reminded that you’ve got a whole freakin’ mountain to climb yet so you should put the party banners away before you injure yourself with delusions of sufficiency. They key idea from this group tute was making the scope of the project sufficient in volume and challenge, as to accurately reflect a third year project. Being the last one in the group to speak, I was more than well aware that my project was lacking in many ways before we got stuck in and the sensation I described had just begun to sink it.

But I’ve had a bit of time to think about it and actually, Base Camp is an important stage in its own right, right? You’re on the road and you’ve put one foot forward. So with this in mind, I will scrub what I was planning to do (as I customarily do these days) and step out again. Into the rain.

A new plan appears!

When I presented my type fiddling mockups of the red boxes to the group and explained my project, something interesting happened that I hadn’t even considered (click first to enlarge)


On reflection I can now understand why without scale references, the people in the group assumed that each box was a shop front in its entirety. While a mixup in my original plans, this presents an interesting spin on the concept I am working with by reframing the desired goods encased within the box, to include the entire contents of the shop itself. The whole unit is something to be broached and entered when there is a need for its contents. In terms of purpose to my design this dramatically shifts how I am portraying the act of shopping, crossing the consumer thresholds and how we view our relationship with the goods within. By shifting the scale of the work and working with more generous sized imagery that would not get lost amongst the already busy sights of a shopping/town centre, I might be able to make a more powerful statement about consumerism in-particular.

Points to work on

1. Work on a larger scale to visually compete with the surrounding environment and attract more attention

2. Make a take-away piece of information that would allow people to pick up a reminder of the message to take with them


All of this decided I had a post tutorial slump that had little to do with the soporific effect that my earlier dose of paracetamol normally has on me. I knew that I eventually had to get scribbling, even if it was to work it out the start of this new approach.

By using a new premises with a 2 window and shutter combination, I could quite happily sandwich a written message or statement with 2 visual ones. So I got thinking about what  I was trying to achieve and what message I was trying to achieve when an offhand thought and comment about the material I could include in my freebie material, gave me an answer to something that has been irking me for a while now. If I could make my work part of a larger movement or campaign, it would have much more purpose and weight than a designer deciding to have a rant on the highstreet.

Enter: Buy Nothing Day link

Saturday November 26th 2011 will be the next Buy Nothing Day (UK). It’s a day where you challenge yourself, your family and friends to switch off from shopping and tune into life. The rules are simple, for 24 hours you will detox from shopping and anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending!

Everything we buy has an impact on the environment, Buy Nothing Day highlights the environmental and ethical consequences of consumerism. The developed countries – only 20% of the world population are consuming over 80% of the earth’s natural resources, causing a disproportionate level of environmental damage, and an unfair distribution of wealth.

As consumers we need to question the products we buy and challenge the companies who produce them. What are the true risks to the environment and developing countries? We all know recycling is OK for the the environment, but consuming less is better and Buy Nothing Day is a great way to start.              + Press Release of 2008 via Adbusters

I need to get to grips with this campaign and what it wants to achieve, because the last 3 people I spoke to had no idea it existed. In an empty unit of a busy shopping centre, amidst the notion of tightening our collective belts and how much we needlessly consume, this campaign could be the subject of a week/few day long stunt to raise awareness of the event. Having previously thought it was a child of Adbusters, where I had seen it advertised at length, I feel this is perhaps a more appropriate choice of subject to breech with an audience in this location. This would be instead of the money-saving nature of my previous ideas.

The resulting scribbles looked a little like this:


The initial ideas are better explained in the notes, but to sum up: a 3/4 day stunt that would involve the apparent setup of high end products on shelves within the shop, as a way to tempt people into breaking the glass. Over the period of time after BNDay has come and passed, the shop shelves would slowly empty and the window would become more cracked until a hole appears in the window and the shelves are bare. After the date has passed, people will have supposedly gone back to their excessive consumer ways and have given in to the goods within.

To me, an interesting idea is the format in which the printed freebie could take, where a rolled up A3/4 sheet is made to appear from the outside as a baseball bat- tying neatly into the idea that when people take a poster they possess the means to break the window. Alternatively, they could unroll it and read the Buy Nothing Day information, which may change their minds… In any case, their appearance in contrary to their message. This may backfire as a neatly coherent set of instructions and tools (ie. BYDay encouraging people to smash windows by having it printed on the material?), but I love the idea of having a stand of faux baseball bats outside of a shop with this display…

I have a few concerns about how I would replicate the shelving- the disappearing products would have to be computer aided but for this to be done effectively, I would need an appropriate looking empty set of shelves to work with first. An alternative to this would be plinths for the items to sit on, but I like the effect of having stocked shelves up for grabs.

I suspect it’ll all change in the next week anyway, but I’d like to concentrate on the freebie at some point, as it’ll have to tie in with the larger presentation at some point!

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