First Two Compositions – Forest of Signs

I really struggled when designing my first two compositions for this project. I was so excited to get started, but once I started working I realized that I had no real direction. I didn’t know what the project should look like stylistically (we’d just finished a large abstract project, so stylistically I felt as thought I was stuck in that mindset), and I found my grid to be very restricting. This is the result of my struggles:

bandaid1                          bandaids2

I really like certain aspects of both compositions.

The first composition is supposed to be the “first aid” aspect. The skin texture in the background was one of my favorite aspects, and it also went over very well in class. I actually really like all of the aspects of the compositions individually – I just think they need to be positioned differently. In class we talked about grouping, which was an important aspect in abstract pieces as well. Grouping helps create a sense of hierarchy, which makes the pieces more visually interesting. Scale is something else we talked about, which will help with hierarchy as well.

Another problem I had with the first compositions was working with my grid for the first time. I found myself even more constrained by the grid than what my pieces show – the text pieces in the center and upper left, that are making a backwards L shape, were originally creating the “T” shape. Aesthetically it made the piece look messy and really took away from the other elements.

The second composition is supposed to give off the idea of “youth.” I love the legs dangling from the top – they feel very youthful to me, and they are more unique than a full body photo of some kid. I don’t like the teddy bears – I felt like the composition needed something else, but couldn’t decide what, so I just kind of tossed the bears in because stuffed animals make me think of children.

Before class, I showed Jenni, an older graphic design major at Carthage, these two pieces. She also liked the elements in the first composition, and suggested some type of filter to help tie everything together. She also suggested making the stuffed animals their own composition.

Along from the class notes already mentioned for each composition, I received a lengthy critique regarding my object choice. One of my classmates spent a very long time trying to tell me that my object should be “bandage” not “bandaid” because when she thinks of bandaids she doesn’t think of first aid, she only thinks of children and “dinky little bandaids.” This critique really frustrated me for a few reasons:

  • This kind of critique should have come up when we were initially discussing what objects we would be doing. When I spoke to the class about my thoughts on bandaids, and youth, and first aid, and false security, that would have been a great time for her to suggest bandages and give her reasoning.
  • I didn’t feel like it was helping me with my actual compositions. She was criticizing my choice of object, but I don’t think that helps me better design the actual compositions, or make them more clear.
  • I really didn’t see where she was coming from, and quite a few of my classmates didn’t see it either. There are tons of bandaids in your basic first aid kit, and in doctors’ offices. Heck, they put bandaids over my cuts when I had my gallbladder removed!
  • And finally, all of the things I chose to demonstrate in my compositions came from bandaid, not bandage. I chose bandaid on purpose because I wanted to work with that youthful aspect. When I think bandage, I think of big wounds, and war – not of youth or first aid kits. I feel like these two compositions, as well as the ideas I brought up at the beginning of the project, all really go with bandaid, and switching to bandage would mean completely rethinking my project.

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