By A Welby BA Design for Art Direction
My main self-initiated project throughout the beginning of the DPS term has been officially designing and developing my long term ongoing project ‘In The Land of The Long White Cloud’.
The project first unravelled when I was travelling in New Zealand last December, but with the priority of university work over the coming months, the project never quite managed to make much progress. I’m taking DPS as an opportunity to fully develop and finish the publication, with the hope to ultimately also arrange an exhibition in collaboration with artists addressing a similar theme to mine.
‘IN THE LAND OF THE LONG WHITE CLOUD’ explores the relationship between what is natural and what is artificial, and how these two elements coexist within the world. The project began from the collection of roughly 100 objects sourced throughout various coastlines across New Zealand’s North Island, with these objects being a combination of natural debris as well as artificial plastic, glass and miscellaneous materials.
Elements of the ephemeral and the permanent are explored through three inter-connected series in which different creative mediums are practised as an experimental platform for development. The project depicts the fleeting collisions in our natural landscapes, as well as exploring the individual’s fluctuating relationship with the natural environment, and the permanent obstruction of non-biodegradable plastic objects. This reflects how such artificial objects are used for such a momentary time, but its effects are everlasting. It attempts to highlight the quantity of artificial objects obstructing even our earth’s most natural and untouched lands.
During my DPS year so far, I have begun compiling together all of the imagery and content to start designing the publication layout on In Design, with the publication now being almost complete with 66 spreads in total. I’m finding it challenging working to a project at my own pace, with no set deadline from a client or from university at all, which is resulting in my being rather perfectionist and fussy about the project and never quite accepting when the design is finished. In recent weeks however, I have made extensive progress in designing the book layout, cover, and an exhibition poster concept, as well as making decisions on paper choices for the book and visiting paper stores.
I began to set myself a print deadline in order to motivate myself to keep working on the project and ensure the project continues to keep moving forward. There is always room for improvement and always ways to develop projects, especially when there’s no deadline or no commercial purpose- the projects aim was partly to develop my own creative practice and to work with bolder and stronger editorial design for my portfolio.
With a print deadline set to produce a dummy copy, I started thinking in more depth about paper choices for the publication. Researching with multiple references and pulling out my own personal collection of hoarded publications, I decided it was definitely important to use recycled papers, and to also combine multiple papers throughout the publication to give it a tactile and intimate reading experience. Browsing through the Pimlico based paper store, I narrowed down my choices and began test prints.
Seeing your publication in print, and away from the digital screen really makes a difference in how you see your work. Everything looks better in print, when you can feel the roughness of the paper. It also helps me to notice mistakes and areas that need tweaking when its physically infant of my eyes, held in my hands rather than looking at the same screen. I also used this period to ask for a second opinion from other creatives I work closely with, in the hope to get advice for changes to make in preparation for printing the final outcome.
Having printed out the dummy copy, I was able to physically see areas that could be improved in terms of editorial design and paper choice. Having shown the dummy copy to my peers, I also collected some constructive criticism, being told by one peer that the project's concept could be portrayed more clearly and with a stronger and more understandable story line. She questioned me on what I was trying to say and what my purpose for creating the book was for, and mentioned that I could spend some more time gathering research, reading and references, in order to strengthen its concept and give it a clearer purpose to finish the project altogether. This would also mean adding more text to support the high quantity of visual imagery. By adding more text would strengthen the project and make its concept stronger and portray a direct message forward.
Taking on this feedback, I will continue to strengthen the projects concept through more research and creating more written content to add inside the publication. It may be interesting to come back to designing the publication later on in the DPS year after having completed further internship experiences and see if my editorial skills and style has developed in any way.