Sunday, 15 November 2009

No News Is Good News - Message & Interpretation (OUGD101)

As a reaction to the previous No News Is Good News brief where we were instructed to research a topic relating to a newspaper article, I produced the following work in the blog post. Here is my topic and my fact:

TOPIC - The MPs Expenses scandal.

FACT - Ex Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's list of expenses included adult videos.

So working with this information that I managed to dwindle down through my research into the MPs expenses scandal, we were instructed to produce three posters to communicate this message. One with solely text, one with text and image and one with just image.

These were my rough initial thumbnails:

Text Only Ideas

Text & Image Ideas (Left) And Image Ideas (Right)

For my process of working I decided to work at the sole text poster first. I produced 6 potential posters for this poster. Here they are:


Text Idea 1

Text Idea 2

Text Idea 3

Text Idea 4

Text Idea 5

Text Idea 6

The poster I chose in the end was Idea 6. The posters were intended to develop as I produced each one and after a mini crit with Matt, Dutch and Jack, they all seemed to agree with Idea 6 being the strongest. Luckily for me it too happened to be my favourite. Matt, Dutch and Jack pointed out how they liked the 'XXX' on the end of the word 'tax'. This appeared to be what they thought was the strongest element in terms of communication of the message.
  • I chose the red background to make the poster apt with the Labour Party of whom Jacqui Smith is an MP for. In this sense the poster becomes slightly Anit-Labour Party with a secondary intention of subconsciously making people have a negative view of the Labour party.
  • The black text highlights the important and most eye-catching aspects of the text in order to draw people in.
  • The text was intentionally chosen to have a slight Cyrillic aesthetic to it as it ties with the whole idea of Socialism what with Communism being an extreme form of left wing politics.
  • The actual fact is that Jacqui Smith's husband purchased and watched the adult videos, however they were purchased on Jacqui Smith's parliamentary expenses which she failed to cross check. This is important in the fact that I was careful with the lexis to make sure I don't insinuate that she watched the adult videos. It is still a fact that she was responsible for taxpayers money going on them.
  • The composition was a reaction to recent Visual Language sessions where we explored composition of text. I feel it works it making the message more vibrant and dynamic. However, the actual intention for me was to imply the notion of censoring something by cutting bits of the text off in the composition as censoring is something highly associated with adult videos.
It should be pointed out at this point that I do not dislike the Labour Party. My views do tend to be more Conservative but I am doing this for the purposes of the brief. If Jacqui Smith was a Conservative MP I would have done exactly the same regardless of my political opinions.

The bullet points I just made are relevant to the text in the text & image ideas I also produced. I went on to produce three ideas for the text and image poster. They all relate in some way to the thumbnails I produced for the text & image poster. Here they are:


Text & Image Idea 1

Text & Image Idea 2

Text & Image Idea 3

Out of the three posters I decided to go along with the third one purely on the basis of how well it related with the sole text and sole image posters. I felt each poster communicated the intended message successfully so it was just a case of how well it worked in the set. Idea 2 didn't work as I agreed with tutor Amber's opinion that the Labour rose seemed out of place. As with the logo on Idea 1. So I went with 2.
  • In order for this poster to work I had to keep the same theme with text but I wanted to rephrase the message which is what I have done.
  • I wanted to use Jacqui Smith's face as the poster was about her. Although I was aware of the risks of people not recognising her, my logic was the people would read the text and the realise.
  • The whole idea of the 'XXX' over Jacqui Smith's eye is simply playing around with the notion of censoring again with the XXX's intention of making it more obvious that it is Jacqui Smith in the image.
  • This is the weakest poster in my opinion.
I went along with the second sole image poster thumbnail for this poster. Unfortunately, I only managed to produce one poster for the sole image one and this was simply down to time management. This poster took me a long time to design as it was a little more intricate that the others and not being that great on Adobe Illustrator I was having to figure some things out as I went! Nevertheless, here is the image poster to accompany the others:


Image Poster
  • The poster depicts two hands representing the taxpayers dropping pound coins which represent tax money onto a television with Jacqui Smith's head inside censored with 'XXX' over her eyes which represents the notion that her expenses paid for adult videos.
  • I kept the same colour scheme for the same reasons that have already been explained.
  • I used Jacqui Smith's head from the text & image poster intentionally so that the posters could relate to each other and work as a set as the brief stated. The posters concept essentially build around the head image from the text & image posters.
  • I am very aware that this poster does not not necessarily do itself justice in terms of direct communication. But this it not what I was going for with it. I knew the brief stated that the posters had to work as a set so I worked more with the idea of suggestion than direct communication. This is something that has inspired me since last year when I was emailing Illustrator Nick Dewar in relation to a previous project and he told me that, (I paraphrase here) "sometimes it can be far more powerful to suggest something than to directly say it in terms of an image accompanying text". This is the approach I was going for seeing as this image poster is accompanied by two other posters with text in which directly communicate the message.
So here are the three posters working together:

Jacqui Smith's Expense

And that's it!


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