Updates from December, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Matt Johnson 12:47 on December 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    What Happened To The Dreams? 

    The 60’s were a time of change, with an expanding youth culture and many new and potentially revolutionary ideas becoming more prevalent. For example, the hippy ideals of peace and love became very popular in the early 60’s as the children of WWII grew up and began to think for themselves. The consumerist influence of America also began to effect the culture of young people in this country.

    The changing culture was emphasised by the music of the period, with bands like The Who trying to establish a voice that represented their contemporaries in songs such as ‘My Generation’.

    The 60’s were a time of hope and of new beginnings, but what happened to these ideas? 50 years on and we’re still fighting wars which many argue are unjust and unnecessary, there is intolerance and prejudice in within our societies and the consumerism that sparked the rise of the youth subculture and modern convenience has taken over our lives to the extent where our economy threatens to collapse when this consumerism recedes.

    We are moving into a new decade again, can we regain some of the hope that was abundant in the 60’s.

  • Matt Johnson 19:50 on November 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Music As Inspiration: Punk 

    I really enjoy music, all types of music. I’m quite proud of the variety of different types of music I have on my iPod. I am not, however, a musician. I can’t play any instruments or sing particularly well, but I can appreciate the skill in doing both, and I find great interest in tracing the influential history of different types of music to discover where they came from. I find music inspirational because of the ideas reflected in the music. Music is perhaps the most public form of art today, with massive record sales, internet downloading and the popularity of MP3 players. It is used to sell products and create interest on television programmes. I believe that any art form can inspire another, and so music can inspire an illustration or a sculpture could inspire a video.

    Recently I have been listening to early punk and post-punk music and getting an appreciation for what they were trying to achieve. Bands such as the Sex Pistols and The Clash are examples of what can happen when people strike out against an established order. The whole punk movement was meant to shock, but not necessarily for shock’s sake. It gave a platform for people to express radical views such as anarchism and nihilism and to gain a following.

    What punk represents is a music genre’s ability to kick start or drive a subculture. The music is someones voice and through their popularity the musician can become a voice for the masses. Other subcultures such as the Hippy movement and Black Metal movements have given different groups the same opportunities with varying degrees of success, but what get’s me about punk is the rawness of it. It was meant to be easy and accessible and that is definitely something I want to explore in my work. My work doesn’t have to be difficult for someone else to reproduce, it’s not about that. it’s not about showcasing a talent, but expressing an idea and getting it out there to the wider world. In the same way that John Lydon of The Sex Pistols couldn’t really sing by conventional standards, it was more about getting the ideas in the lyrics across.

  • Matt Johnson 19:49 on November 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply  


    Today we had a lecture from one of the members of Fuel design agency. I liked some of the work and some of it I wasn’t so keen on, but what struck me most about the talk was how they got started.

    Together at art college in London, four friends decided that they didn’t like the briefs that were being set by their lecturers so they set about doing their own work. They produced self initiated work that appealed to them and fitted their way of working and what they wanted to do when they left university. From this they developed a magazine, and eventually formed the design agency.

    Recently I’ve been having some problems with my work. Whilst I’ve been enjoying my work so far this year I hit a kind of block, but instead of struggling for ideas I have been struggling for motivation and direction.I have felt that although my work within one brief has had a direction, my work as an overall whole has been disjointed. This talk set me thinking that what I need and would benefit from is a personal target. Something that I can work towards that compliments my way of working and the work I’m doing, but gives me drive as it is also independent and has longevity for me. At the moment I don’t have any desire to stop doing set briefs like the Fuel guys did, but maybe if I had some format to display my work it would help to keep my work relevant to itself as well as the brief.

    I’m not sure if I want to do a magazine by myself because to be honest at the moment I can’t be bothered with the hassle of publishing on my meager budget. My other options that I had thought about were a website or exhibitions. Exhibitions would obviously require space I don’t necessarily have and a fully functioning website may require expertise I don’t have. From this I thought about speaking to other students, friends who may be able to help and would like to be involved in this self directed format. This would alleviate the hassle of producing a zine by myself, or may lend me the expertise to be able to run a website. Now all I need are like minded people…

    Watch this space…

  • Matt Johnson 19:48 on November 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Design Process 

    The standard design process is normally described in four stages that basically work like this:

    Research –> Ideas –> Development –> Final Piece

    The process is intended to be fluid so that you can return to previous stages if necessary and rework your ideas or do more research if needed. The point, as I understand it, is to give a process and structure that you can work to so as not to miss out any of these important stages.

    However, whilst I do feel the four stages are relevant and important, I think the structure of the process is far to linear to properly allow for creativity. I have, therefore worked out my own, more organic process that i feel suits my personal way of working better and seems to make more sense to me.

    My idea is that a design process is like a tree. You are trying to get from point A to point B, or in other words from the cause (a brief or inspiration) to your final solution (whether it be a finished product or not). To do so you have a direct line like the trunk of a tree. This represents the methodical, logical research process that is structured around your subject matter. From this structure can form your ideas which, like the branches of a tree, can sprout from any part of the trunk. They are ultimately trying to get to the final point, but the route they take may go off in a completely different initial direction. they may lead to separate ideas, lead back to the research, prove to be successful or fail to reach the final target. Together these form a framework for experimentation and work, which are like the leaves of a tree. While it is important for the ideas and research to be solid, like a tree in winter it is bare without the leaves that represent the experimentation and work that results from the ideas and research.

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