Sunday, 10 July 2011

'Music' Project

In April we were given a live brief which had come from a design agency in Manchester called Music. The have a meeting room in their studio which is encased in glass and they invited students to put together a proposal for a design to cover the glass.
The brief they wrote is as follows: Create and install an illustrated interpretation of a music track of your choice to adorn a series of connecting glass panels to create an installation at the studio of Music.
The song I chose to illustrate was 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' by The Beatles. I'd wanted to choose a song from the 60s as I love the whole flower power/psychedelic idea. In my work I love to use colour and when I listened to this song I imagined a bright, happy and crazy world. It's a really descriptive song full of lots of quirky elements and has a dreamlike feel to it so I thought it would fit hand in hand with my illustration style. Here's the lyrics if you want a looksee:

Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.

Cellophane flowers of yellow and green,
Towering over your head.
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes,
And she's gone.

Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Ah... Ah...

Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain,
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies.
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers,
That grow so incredibly high.

Newspaper taxis appear on the shore,
Waiting to take you away.
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds,
And you're gone.


Picture yourself on a train in a station,
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties.
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile,
The girl with kaleidoscope eyes.


Right from the start I wanted to create a strip of patterned elements across the glass. I had recently completed the Wellspring project where I had arranged lots of elements together in a jigsaw style. I wanted to continue this ides by creating a playful mural that was fairly simple but eye-catching.
Many of the images in my design feature in the song but I've also added some other elements that I imagined would feature in this weird world. There are also some smaller diamonds, flowers and stars drifting off in a dreamlike way to give balance to the piece.
I created the design with vinyl as I wanted the images to be very crisp and clean and the vinyl cutter allowed me this accuracy. Vinyl is also easy to remove and it doesn't mark glass. I simply had to create my design on Illustrator and I could transfer it to the vinyl cutter.

A few weeks later...

Ed and Craig (who were co-ordinating the project) from Music contacted me to say they really liked my design and invited me to the studio to meet them. When I went in they basically said they loved the design and as there wasn't anything they wanted to change with it, could I be the first person to install it. I was more than happy to do this so set about organising everything.
I had to order 5m rolls of vinyl from the website that supplies Uni as students aren't allowed more than 2m of vinyl (bit silly if you ask me!) I had eight colours in my design so I had to create 8 Illustrator files with each colour's pieces on. This took quite a while as everything had to be numbered to make it easier to put up. I then took the rolls into Uni to get it all cut - this was very slow and took up the entire day!
Last monday I went into Music to begin putting my design up. My sister Lucy came with me, which helped a lot - much easier with two pairs of hands! When we got to Music we were greeted my Ed and Craig and shown round the studio, which is over three floors. We then met Adam who deals with the production side of things. He had been experimenting with some samples of vinyl I'd sent in and showed me how to put the vinyl up with water. I'd never heard of this technique before and was just going to put it up with application tape, but I'm so glad Adam had discovered the water idea as it made things much easier! Firstly, you spray some water on the glass and onto the sticky side of the vinyl. You then place it on the glass and the water allows you to move the piece of vinyl all over the place until it's in the right position. Using a squeegee you then squeeze the water out from behind the vinyl and your left with a piece of bubble-free vinyl stuck to the glass! It took us about two and a half days to put the design up - quicker than I expected but once we got into the rhythm of things it was fairly straightforward.
Everyone at Music really liked the design and kept singing the song to match it to the images. All the staff were so lovely and welcoming and we even got taken out for lunch as a thank you! It was a great experience and I'm really grateful to Craig and Ed for the opportunity.

Penguin Design Awards

The last few weeks have been pretty busy and I haven't posted anything since we broke up for the holiday, oops! So here's what's being going on....
On the tuesday after we finished I discovered I'd been shortlisted for the Penguin Design Award. I was totally gobsmacked as close to 700 people entered the Puffin category so wasn't expecting much!
Subsequently, all the shortlisted entrants were invited to resubmit their designs following advice given by Anna Billson, the Puffin Art Director. I changed a number of things in my design included the characters, the spine and the blurb - the later two involved tying them in more with the overall design.
I also had to wrap my design around a book, complete a research board, put my design on a board and a CD and write a short synopsis. This was all then shipped off to London to be judged.
On 22nd June my mum and I went down to London for the presentation ceremony. The Penguin offices were on the Strand and were very snazzy! There was a great view of the Thames from the balcony so it was really nice.
Unfortunately I wasn't placed anywhere but we had great day anyway and the winner was very deserving - check out all the shortlisted and winners here.
Here's my final design, the flap in detail and some photos of the ceremony: