Words – Decision and Initial Sketches

After doing some initial research, I realised I had not yet made a final decision on the words and as the task for the session at college was to ‘Choose words and sketch ideas of them’ I needed to think a bit quicker and decide, especially with an interim crit soon, where there is an important opportunity to get valuable feedback.

Here’s the shortlist with a very short definition.

  • Juxtapose – place or deal with close together for contrasting effect.
  • Cosmonaut – a Russian astronaut.
  • Fluorescence – the radiation produced from certain substances.
  • Crystalline – having the structure and form of a crystal; composed of crystals.
  • Igneous – (of rock) having solidified from lava or magma.
  • Topography – the arrangement of the physical features of an area.
  • Vista – a pleasing view.

This push led to me choosing the two words I wanted to progress with which were cosmonaut and juxtapose. I chose these because personally I find them to have interesting meanings and are interesting in terms of the arrangements of characters. I also wanted something that I could pronounce, spell, and know the meaning of, as I know it will make my life easier throughout this project! Having two words not related to each other will also help me to diverge my thought process, hopefully leading to greater levels of creativity for this project.

As for the sketches I only had a limited timeframe, but that did not stop me creating some, which I have shown below. I will go into more detail about this in a future post, once I have had the interim crit.

My notes for ‘cosmonaut’ go in a clockwise format, starting at the top left corner.

  1. Rocket Launch. Aimed at looking into the impact the Soviet Union had on the space race by showing rocket launchpads in this region, as well as highlighting the distance between the Earth and Moon. It should lead to a dramatic illustration showcasing the ‘mood’ of the word.
  2. Looking to the Moon. Featuring a cosmonaut looking towards the Moon, this focuses more on the actual cosmonaut rather than just the Soviet space program. The cosmonaut will need identifying features to mark them out as a cosmonaut, rather than an astronaut or taikonaut. Placing Sputnik into the illustration should help the connotations towards the Soviet Union.
  3. Propaganda. A far more political take on it, taking inspiration from the famous propaganda poster ‘Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge’ by El Lissitzky highlighting the communism present in Russia after the Russian Revolution, and reminding the audience that the achievement of a cosmonaut was an achievement by the country, not just an individual.
  4. Cosmonaut. Moving back to looking far more at a cosmonaut, this idea is very plainly showing what a cosmonaut is. To make it more intriguing elements such as lighting could be bought into play for the illustration.

My ideas for the word ‘juxtapose’ are below this image:

  1. Experimentation with typography. With the double spread there is a great opportunity to use the pages as a juxtaposition and here I have used a serif typeface for one half of the word (think Times New Roman), and a sans-serif typeface for the other (think Gill Sans).
  2. Experimentation with illustration. Highlighting juxtaposition by the use of a set of small illustrations would also work well I think, an example being colour against monochrome or large against small.

Conclusion: Here you have seen the starting point to my ideas, now I shall be developing them as well as creating more initial ideas ready for the interim crit where I shall decide which proposals need a stronger focus.

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