Today with Nick we started off by looking at the context behind the workshop. Our focus was May 1968 “May68” – “The volatile period of civil unrest in France during May 1968 was punctuated by demonstrations and massive general strikes as well as the occupation of universities and factories across France. In Paris, on the 16 May, students and faculty staff took over the Ecole des Beaux Arts to establish the Atelier Populaire (the Popular Workshop). The organisation went on to produce hundreds of silkscreen posters.”

May68 Posters

The posters offer a two-tone colour scheme and appear to offer a human feel to them. It is evident that the posters are created by hand and this has a really nice effect on the context behind them. I choose these two because I really liked the difference between them both even though they offer the same style of imagery. The first image shows the illustration to not even be touching the bottom of the page and appears to be slightly floating and offers bolder typography that becomes more fulfilling however the second image allows the illustration to become more framed due to where it is situated and the use of the long thin typography at the bottom of the page, this is well balanced out with the use of the bold clenching fist at the top left of the imagery. I really like how well balanced out both of these designs are and the simplicity behind them.


At a similar period, artist Bart Van Der Leck uses a similar feel to his images by working with the term Bricoler – where the artist uses what they have to hand using geometrical shapes and cutouts mimicking the idea of cubism to create a similar feel. The artist uses the primary colours which offer a childlike simplistic feel. It is really interesting to see between the two how both designs are from the same period and the same technique and both imagery follow a simplistic composition. I like the idea of this as it is really understandable and offers more than one interpretation which I think is really important in our everyday society now. Our society has evolved only in recent years to allow everyone to have their own opinion and to also include politics in designs. It is really unique to see such beautiful abstract imagery that makes sense, I always find myself in my course overcomplicating my imagery and then going back and restricting parts of the design a way to take it back to the core and create a minimal message. It would be great to work with the same technique as these artists as it is so effective and speaks for itself. I would love to try working with this idea of minimal more often.

The workshop

In the workshop with Nick we used the same style and technique as the May68 posters. We had paint, rollers, A3 sheets and would pull out a word and picture at random that we would have to create just by memory in our heads.

Image 1

For my first image my sentence was “Choke me, smoke the air” and my picture was a TV. I was inspired to create an old style TV with the antenna coming out at the top. I decided to use an old style as modern TVs now aren’t as interesting to illustrate and if I was it would look like a boring rectangle. I decided to situate the typography inside the TV to frame it and the context of this would be to show the idea that we watch what is inside the TV. For my colour scheme I did the typography in yellow and the TV red but looking back now I would of done this the other way around as the red is so dominant it starts to loose the focus on the typography. I also capitalised the “ME” and “AIR” as I wanted these to be important key words.

Image 2

For my next poster my sentence was “ends it all” and the picture was a factory. When I think about a factory I think about what I drew above. However looking back it is really stimulating to see the fact the May68 imagery uses the same idea of the triangles and a rectangle at the end. At this point, I had not seen the imagery of the posters until now so it is interesting to see the similarities between the two. It could be questioned is this through a social or political view of the design of factories in the illustration world. I am unsure what made me become drawn to this style of thinking but I am really happy to see others think of the same idea and it becomes instantly recognisable. For the typography, I decided to have it in the left corner as due to the iconic shape of the factory, I didn’t want it to become too crowded on the page. It was really interesting as after I printed this, Nick questioned why I had put the factory at the bottom of the sheet and not in the middle like everyone else. I answered this by saying that a factory doesn’t float in the air and when taking a picture through a camera it would be sat on a piece of land. This to me suggested I had considered the ethics of where a factory would be and what it would actually look like.

What surprised me:

I was really interested in the context behind the workshop and even looked at this after just to give myself a bit more knowledge. I also found through the extra research that this actually has some relevance to my essay question and will be something I will explore and can add some extra context too. I really enjoyed the detail behind the workshop and how everything makes sense and has a purpose.

What I found hard:

I found drawing the typography out quite hard, hand-drawn typography is not something I enjoy or work with but it was really engaging to try something I wouldn’t normally do and make me consider some new alternatives to design through the technique and materials we created.

Overall outcome:

I am really happy we did this workshop, not only did I enjoy the context behind it, it also helped me in my essay question for some extra context but also made me consider a new alternative way of looking at design and using the idea of the term Bricoler myself and not just researching about the technique. I really enjoyed the workshop as a whole.