cardboard

A sign I made help up by my mother to show the effectiveness of the cardboard sign.

Cardboard a semisimple material; it is typically made up of stacked recycled paper, sandwiched between two liners of card. It is now common for these liners to also be made up of a considerable proportion of recycled content, sourced from old cardboard or recycled paper. In the modern age of mass production and a global economy, this is a very reliable and popularly used material, used in a wide range of outputs such as playing cards and voting slips.

Greta Thunberg outside of the Swedish parliament (Sveriges Riksdag)
August 2018 _ Photograph _ Adam Johanasson

However, the most relevant and desirable qualities of cardboard are its accessibility and reusability. Since the beginning of the industrial era, paper and card now have another use as a communicative tool: The wide availability and permeable nature of paper and cardboard allows inclusivity in that anyone regardless of social position to quickly draft and communicate their message.

‘I am a man’
Feb 1968 _ Photograph _ Richard L. Copley

The message loud and clear, ‘I am a man’. After the deaths of 2 sanitation workers, the city refused to compensate their families due to their ethnicity. 11 days later, more than 1,300 black sanitation workers in Memphis walked off the job, protesting horrible working conditions and discrimination by the city. 

“We felt we would have to let the city know that because we were sanitation workers, we were human beings. The signs we were carrying said ‘I Am a Man’ ” 

James Douglas, a sanitation worker, recalled in an American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees documentary. “And we were going to demand to have the same dignity and the same courtesy any other citizen of Memphis has.” Within 11 days, this group of people had organised and figured out what they want to say, using the medium of paper here the message reads loudly and clearly. 

This is what is magical to me, the power and uplifting nature of paper and card. Due to its wide availability, anyone can use it no matter their social position to communicate a message, where otherwise the message would be ignored or unheard. You cannot ignore a message written loudly and shouted loudly.

The modern era of social networking has some similarities in its accessibility, however, as shown recently in world wide events, the message is often clouded by thousands of opposing opinions as well as well-funded robots automated with an agenda. This is where cardboard again shines through, you cannot ‘dislike’ or ‘downvote’ a cardboard sign.

Black Lives Matter Protest in Washington DC _ March 2020 _ Koshu Kunii

America and moreover the World has progressed slowly in social change in the last century. Without protest I feel this would have been even less; protest is pressure on the observer. George Floyd, 46, died after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Footage of the arrest on the 25th of May shows a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck while he was pinned to the floor. Mr. Chauvin, 44, has since been charged with murder. Transcripts of police bodycam footage show Mr. Floyd said more than 20 times he could not breathe as he was restrained by the officers. Institutionalised racism has not increased, as said by Will Smith;

“Racism Is Not Getting Worse, It’s Getting Filmed”

People have had enough of this paradigm, governments purposely failing to act in order to personally profit. From the BlackLivesMatter movement to Greta Thunberg, cardboard has allowed the voices of the unheard to no longer be avoided or ignored. This is thanks to the graphic clarity and bold voice of the hand-rendered text on a universal material. This re-affirms the message written on it, giving it a universal appeal and understanding as a message of communication from the holder of the card to you, the observer. The effectivity of a message written on card is shown through the example of Greta, a normal girl striking from a school to protest Climate Change outside her local government office. She has since visited the United Nations Headquarters to address world leaders about their failure and inaction on climate change.

Youth Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks during the UN Climate Action Summit _ September 2019 _ United Nations Headquarters in New York City. _ Photograph _ TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

References;

  1. Greta Thunberg _ Striking outside Swedish Parliment _ Photograph Adam Johansson _ https://medium.com/wedonthavetime/this-15-year-old-girl-breaks-swedish-law-for-the-climate-d1a48ab97e3a
  2. How a cardboard box is made _ Tim Brown _ https://www.themanufacturer.com/articles/how-a-cardboard-box-is-made/
  3. Memphis Sanitation Workers strike _ https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/memphis-sanitation-workers-strike
  4. James Douglas _ American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees documentary _ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vTqVspySE4
  5. The strike that bought MLK to Memphis _ https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/revisiting-sanitation-workers-strike-180967512/
  6. Black Lives Matter Protest in Washington DC _ Koshu Kunii _ https://unsplash.com/photos/8kQB07RYaAc
  7. George Floyd: What Happened _ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-52861726
  8. Will Smith on Racism _ https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/will-smith-right-everything-not-getting-worse
  9. Greta Thenberg at the UN _ TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP _ https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/greta-thunberg-call-un-speech-new-york-2019-888824/

Further reading;

  1. 5 protest signs that changed history _ woocontent _ https://woocontent.com/5-protest-signs-that-changed-history/
  2. An emergency guide to writing protest signs _ Marketingsociety _ https://www.marketingsociety.com/the-gym/emergency-guide-writing-protest-signs
  3. The signs protesters carry _ Ryan Bort _ RollingStone _ https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/george-floyd-protest-signs-photos-1012560/
  4. How to design a protest sign _ 99designs _ https://99designs.co.uk/blog/design-other/how-to-design-a-great-protest-sign/

a future?

Orangesoadas was created and used primarily to document my progression and reflection of my learning experience at the University of Cardiff School of Art & Design. Now that I have completed my degree I face a crossroads where I must choose what to do with this, I feel although it cannot go to waste because I love the name so much. It also gave me a way to express myself that no medium has done before, a chance to vent and reflect and observe my experiences from a 3rd person point of view, that of the blog.

The decision I have made is to continue using the blog, I am in no way committing to a regular schedule or drastic increase in the number of posts. I choose to continue due to the benefits of expression, as it also helps me better retain and understand the information I am sifting through. I am unsure what my blog will contain but I am sure it will be a reflection of my thoughts and interests. Before I begin I would firstly like to say thank you to all my peers during University and thank you to my lecturers who I felt I did not appreciate enough at the time. That is it for now, Onward.

diss print

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Finally after so much toil and trouble I was lucky enough for a printers locally to answer my call and print this dissertation design for me, However due to their lack of staff because of the current global pandemic. I was not able to get the exact print format I had envisioned, a perfectly bound book was my optimal goal but I think this turned out beuaitful anyways.

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Thanks to my family for helping me capture the imagry for the final printed designs.

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updated designs

Following feedback from Ian on my final itteration I experimented with colours and the refreshing of the colour pallet, as although the design was minimal It did lack some visual flair to encorage the reader to read further and refresh the pace and flow of the document.

Not all of the suggestions were followed to the letter though, as Ian suggested I rethink the body text. I didnt want to do this as my document is meant to be for the modern age and I feel like sticking to the tradition of serif fonts for body text. Although in some peoples view makes it more legible, in the information age people are now trained to read sans-serif fonts all day digitally. And i wanted to take advantage of the time and the user expertise by sticking to the sans-serif fonts already chosen.

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However I did rethink the cover imagry and font choice, this still reveals the open source nature of the content. I also followed Ians advice and added a red highlight colour, I choose red as it is alarming and appealing. By design it is meant to encorage the reader to understand why is it highlighted and what is revealed within.

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Dissertation Design

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I really loved writing my dissertation and found it an incredibly valuable teaching tool, in how to academically look at an idea and research and understand the idea from all angles. When converting my dissertation to design format I was confident in my design ideals, I wanted a stripped back document that didnt overpower the body text as this was the whole purpose of the document.

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For the cover image the intial designs were extremly minimal to follow the design inside. Both designs play on the ‘open’ idealology of the open source model.

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Penguin final updates

Although now long past the deadline I still had some things id like to change, so I did. Also I needed to create a mockup for my Portfolio. The changes made were very minimal because I enjoyed the original so much, I ensured everything was aligned correctly and ensured the boxes had space around the lettering, again ensuring the alignments were perfect.

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observation posted

After my some feedback on my posters it was clear the idea was solid but the excecution needed work, they didnt give enough context and didnt reveal any underlying message. I toiled over the posters for a while and struggled to grip this underlying message.

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I did some sketches in my notebook of some icon or imagry which could be revealed underneath.This lead me to develop two icons which then became focal points of both the posters and my editorial design. They are both meant to be slightly off of perfection so as to upset the brain and make the user realise by viewing them they are unperfect.

Poster eyes

For the editorial outcome, I went around Cardiff to photograph the cameras I saw and attempted to make each photograph a unique pallet composition and style. I really loved this part of the project and I am incredibly proud of the photographs taken. David agreed and said their should be more use for the photography and asked me to introduce another element to the project. This is where the photography became posters that would intrudce the observer to the project. The intial posters are shown above but feedback revealed they lacked context and meaning beyond the camera imagry.

The idea of the posters is that the black image is shown first then upon interaction the full image is revealed beneath, thus showing the viewer the affect of observation first hand. This idea then blossomed into a Virtual Reality theory, after learning the basic functions and tools of Unity 3d a working prototype was developed but due to COVID the posters were never able to be produced.

Instead David suggested I develop an animation.