The final exhibition/show piece for my project on stereotypes and categories of people.
As part of my final major project on stereotypes and the categorisation of people, I decided to explore creating a campaign – allowing me to be able to group a variety of outcomes I have been developing into a clearer body of work (in the same way I’d been questioning the process of defining people – I didn’t really want to define a single outcome for my work, which had developed conceptually in a number of directions).
Inspired by the origin of the term “stereotype” – a printing process, I decided to explore ways of reproducing a kind of branding, probably logo, that would tie in nicely with my theme. Inspired by my research into categories, boxes and categorising tick-lists, I developed a bold, confining square (or box) image as a representation of the act of stereotyping – (that being the image that some of the work I had developed used overlapping images of people, denying their identity) – which, with my intention of questioning and, hopefully, breaking some of these ways of categorising, I visually broke. The broken box logo worked pretty well, but the process of stamping the logo created quite a more interesting kind of image – one that wouldn’t ever be identical. Conceptually, I kind of like the fact that, like people, the identity of my campaign was changing and subtly varied (once you start to consider it more closely, at least).
So this is part of the concept for my exhibition/campaign piece on categorising and labelling people – developed from my final major project theme on stereotypes. Inspired by the use of categorising and stereotyping in graphic design and advertising (from toilet gender symbols to Lynx adverts), I decided to question the process of categorising other people, and even ourselves, and how such a process could be considered to undermine identity as far as it attempts to create it.
The first exhibition piece was inspired by the type stamping/printing process that the term “stereotype” originates from, questioning the application of name labels to people, and confronting the viewer with the idea of labelling themselves (the centre image will be a mirror). The last two designs were inspired by tick-boxes and drop-down-list forms that deconstruct our identities, intended to be more subjective, questioning and interactive – created as a hand-out postcard format.
For my final major project in Visual Communication, I’ve decided to tackle the theme of stereotypes. Inspired by a range of artists and designers, most prominently Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek, behind the fantastic photographic collection and publication Exactitudes, I’ve been considering the role of stereotypes within graphic design and mass media – and their social and psychological effects. The concept is to question the kind of categorization of people, seen as vital in advertising especially, that is not necessarily in the best interest of the individual.
To do so, I’ve started by collecting images of people, in a less constructed-appearing process than Exactitudes – simply asking people to submit their own head and shoulders photos. From this I will begin to design pieces empowering the individual over categories and stereotypes. So I’d really love your help for the campaign (which is purely for educational, non-commercial purposes) – which will be used in my final exhibition. All it takes is e-mailing a photo that you’d like to be used, like the photos above (smiling and plainer blackgrounds are preferable) it would be greatly appreciated!
You can e-mail them here: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Or you can just comment on this post with a link)
Beautifully illustrated, bold, spacial renditions of eye-catching but clichéd, questionably imaginative and wholly inaccurate stereotypes.
These cover illustrations for Wallpaper magazine, by Noma Bar (portfolio here), have me mentally contradicting myself, and feeling rather hypocritical for liking. I have to admit, aesthetically the set are fantastic, and I’d quite like to have a copy of each – and the indoor concept plays nicely with the bold, block-colour style, which could otherwise feel generic. And, as Noma Bar’s illustrative style is quite recognized for, the shapes and images play well together, creating some optical-illusion connoting merging of images that do exhibit Bar’s visual creativity (especially with the incorporation of 3D elements). Though, visually, they’re stunning, playful and imaginative, they do prove how much designers and illustrations rely on stereotypes; there’s no way these covers would be as striking without the dominance of over-used stereotypes, but (regardless of the 3D styles) do they do much to present anything other than these rather two-dimensional, stereotypical representations of the countries referenced? Then again, they are beautifully created, and, it could be argued, intentionally playful. But personally, I much prefer his other work, that showcase a huge amount of visual creativity and double-entendres, without relying on outdated stereotypes.