The morning after Jessica Walsh’s AGDA keynote presentation, Julieann Brooker and a few fortunate Sydneysiders met to Play by Our Own Rules.
The task set by Jessica for the 2-hour workshop: Design, create and record a typographic piece within specific constraints. I recalled some of the bold typographic work Jessica Walsh and Stefan Sagmeister produce at Sagmeister & Walsh.
Clearly, time was going to be our most challenging constraint, and Jessica reminded us that limitations provide opportunities for creativity. The other three constraints were our team – we split into groups of five; the material – we scrambled to select only one set of media from the colourful range on offer; and the phrase we wrote – the shorter the better for efficacy.We dove for the reels of coloured crepe paper, spent less than two minutes on introductions, and eight minutes on brainstorming our words. We settled on Roll With It for the kinetic possibilities.
We had 20 minutes to sketch some concepts, while Jessica played with a Sharpie and some typographic art in her notebook. She was clearly in flow, and soon, so were we.
We started big and bold, on the floor, red words on black paper. Jessica advised us to work small(er), both for speed and ease of production.
We changed process. Restricted to our one media, we innovated and twisted the crepe to produce a finer ribbon.
We chose three bolder colours and complementary cardboard backgrounds. We worked fast, laying out the words and photographing intermittently in order to produce the stop-motion.
We had an hour to create it, and 20 mins to photograph it. We used every minute, hastily inverted the pic order and created a gif of the piece for the quick group presentation.
Our team was strong – all AGDA members, practicing creatives or design educators. All eager to participate and contribute, five was perhaps too many, and teams of three may’ve been enough.
One group used party poppers to illustrate the verb ‘pop’, and another ‘handle with care’ with drinking straws.
One of Jessica’s mantras is: “Just get off the computer and make shit.” And that’s what we did.
The results are raw and far from finished, but absolutely adequate to experience this innovative approach – taking chances, starting over, and experimenting with techniques not available via digital media.
Play has proven benefits for creativity, moving students – and businesses – from a ‘fixed’ to a ‘growth’ mindset. In his book Play, Stuart Brown writes, “Play is nature’s greatest tool for creating new neural networks and for reconciling cognitive difficulties.”
AGDA is the acronym for the Australian Graphic Design Association Limited, and is our design industry body. Annual membership starts at $65. Benefits include access to resources and discounts to local and international events.