In our last seminar we showed our final posters that we had created over the past week. We made some progress over the week and people in the group had started to develop the idea of the hands further. Although we were only obliged to create one poster it seemed more valuable for us to all try and have a go at a design instead of sitting around watching over each other’s shoulders whilst one of us designed a poster, this way we would be able to reflect on how each of the designs did or didn’t work and we could try different techniques. I feel that this was really interesting to see the different designs of the group based around an idea we had originally developed together. It also meant that there was both an element of group collaboration and individual development and if we have to choose one poster we can choose the one that worked most effectively.
Tom worked on the original idea of having land and water (which represents Dorset) in some hands. Along with the tag line “Keep Dorset in your Hands”, the idea suggests that the UK is turning Dorset into a place that doesn’t suit what the people of Dorset want and if they don’t act now the changes will be irreversible. The twitter tag Don’t Drop Dorset is also a play on words and suggests that it is the people who are “supporting”i.e. keeping hold of Dorset. It also allows people to express their opinions using the hashtag #DontDropDorset, which is catchy (because of the alliteration) and also allows them to identify with and contribute to the political process.
Becky and Claudia discussed another idea of having a hand with the palm spread out on a poster and placing it on the door so that when somebody goes to push the door they have an automatic reaction with the poster. This is an interesting idea because instead of the audience being observers they have a part to play in the process in order for the poster to work. If people put their hands in the same place as the hand on the poster it will have achieved its aim. But if they do not put their hand on the poster then the idea will not get the response that was intended.
Claudia’s idea focused on a crack in the glass with dotted lines forming the shape of a hand around the hole. The idea was a variation of the high five idea and relied on the audience to place their hand inside the lines to stop the water spilling out. The idea is clever in that it suggests that the audience have a role to play in not letting Dorset ‘drain away’ which suggests that the UK is draining Dorset. The idea may be a bit too overcomplicated for an audience to understand in a short period of time but I also think that the idea (like becky’s) would work really well on the people who did interact with the poster. I think the main problem tat both Becky and Claudia ad with this idea was that people were reluctant to place their hand on the poster when opening the door as the didn’t want to knock it down and also because the glass panels in the door were in the way which meant that the poster couldn’t be placed in the suitable position that people would place their hands to open the door.
With Becky’s poster it didn’t totally rely on someone placing the hand on the poster. I think the tag line “High Five for Dorset” could be effective because it suggests a mutual agreement (i.e. when two people high five they usually have some sort of accord). So in some ways the poster is saying, “let’s work together to make Dorset independent”. However it was quite hard to make out the words at a quick glance as they were placed vertically on the page and overlapped with the image of the hands. I think if the hand had been clearer and possibly if “High Five for Dorset” was the main tag line it may have worked better, but it was a really good idea and also like Tom’s poster the use of the colours of the Dorset flag separates Dorset from the United Kingdom and appeals to people who identify with Dorest.
What I tried to achieve with my poster was to give it a satirical vibe. After looking at the ideas of Artists such as Paul Kuczinski and Banksy and the UKIP campaign poster, which all use satire, I felt that it was a good technique for conveying political ideas. Because we were working around the themes of water and hands I came up with the idea of using a tap. In my design water is coming out of the tap and overflowing out of some hands. In order for me to get the message across that the tap represents Britain I decided to make it the colours of the British flag. My hope was that this would help people associate the tap with Britain and then after reading the tag line “It’s in your Hands” they would have a clear idea of the intended meaning of the poster.
I used the tag line “Don’t Let Dorset Slip Through your Hands” because I felt that it applied to the meaning of the images in the poster more than “Its in your hands” as the water is falling through the hands. But I also think it’s in your hands, or it’s in our hands, would have worked, but as the water is ‘slipping’ through the gap of the hands I felt that it was cleverer wordplay.
I feel that my idea was quite ambiguous and could mean several things. I think that the water flowing over the hands could represent waste, lack of green energy (i.e. contribution to global warming), immigration, or debt. The tap is supposed to represent the British Government. So the poster is saying (or at least trying to say) that Dorset is carrying the weight of Britain and it is becoming a burden, and Dorset can’t contain the burden which being connected to Britain causes any longer.
After talking to the rest of the group about the idea and stopping some people to ask them what they thought of the poster some of the answers I got were preferred responses and some negotiated responses. When I asked people what they thought the hands represented one person said waste, which I think is the most obvious conclusion to come to because leaving the taps on is associated with waste. Another person said “Industrialism” which wasn’t the response I intended but was still interesting how they came to that conclusion and in a way relates to the idea and shows that the poster is ambiguous in its intention.
When I asked people what they thought the tap represented some of them answered nationalism and patriotism. This was not necessarily what I intended it to be about unless you are talking about patriotism for Dorset. I think the reason behind this is that using a British flag on a political poster automatically makes people think of nationalism because of parties such as UKIP and BNP, so the symbolism in political posters is for national pride, which in a way is the opposite of what my poster is about, but I also think this is because the idea is hypothetical. I think that if the situation of Dorset trying to be Independent was actually real the poster would be understood easier as instead of people trying to work out what the poster is about they would have previous knowledge that Dorset wants to be independent through current affairs so they would make a quicker connection to the idea.
This exercise of publicly displaying our posters was really useful for me because it made me understand how important it is to know the space that you’re going to be using. For example I wanted to put my poster up on the pillar next to the coffee counter but the woman working there wasn’t happy with this so I decided to put the poster in a less obvious place which made it less noticeable. The poster also made me understand the importance of colour as I found that even in the place I had originally intended to place the poster, the background colour of the poster was too similar to the colour behind it, this didn’t make the poster stand out very well to passers by which meant that they only really noticed the poster if I stopped them to ask questions which is not very good if you’re wanting people to notice something at a glance.
In retrospect the process of designing a poster and seeing how the audience reacted to it was extremely useful for my iterative process as it made me realise how important it is to take the surroundings in to consideration. Also it made me more considerate of responses of the audience and that I should not only focus on the space around but also their perception of connotation, semiotics and culture.