Words – Juxtapose research

For this blog post I will be looking into the word ‘juxtapose’, looking at the meanings and origins of the word as well as research into how best the word can be represented. This will build on the ‘mood board’ I created for the interim crit and respond to the feedback I received.

Meaning of the word:

juxtapose  Place or deal with close together for contrasting effect. ORIGIN: mid 19th cent.: from French juxtaposer, from Latin juxta ‘next’ + French poser ‘to place.’

So here we can see the meaning is rather simple, unlike the other word ‘cosmonaut‘ that I am looking into for this project, hence less space taken here looking into the meanings and origins of this word.

What creates suitable connotations for the audience?

For the interim crit, I found a few images that contained juxtapositions:

  • Supercar vs. Train (Small, light, fast vs. Large, heavy, slow)
  • Colour wheel vs. Grayscale wheel (Colour vs. Monochrome)
  • Sun vs. Moon (Light, daytime vs. Dark, night-time)
  • City vs. Park (Urban, polluted, congested vs. Rural, clean, spacious)
  • Bentley vs. Smart (Large, luxurious vs. Small, spartan)
  • Eiffel Tower vs. surroundings (Tall, artificial vs. Short, natural)

From the feedback I got from several fellow members of the Graphic Design group we agreed that the two juxtapositions that worked the best were the city skyline juxtaposed against the park, and the sun juxtaposed against the moon. The others were felt to not be so effective in conveying the meaning of the word. As can be seen in a page from my sketchbook below, I sketched several ideas to see what could work in a layout format.

Sketches for juxtapose

The good news with this is that both images could easily be illustrated to fit into the format of the book, as they are landscape.

Style of illustration:

It was suggested to me in the interim crit that a very suitable style would be collage/montage. This would add to the knowledge I gained from the photomontage presentation I collaborated on. I have spent some time thinking about how best this could be realised, and as I did it dawned on me I have possibly missed the most common juxtaposition of all, old vs. new, which can be played out in a variety of different styles, one of many examples being the image I took last year whilst visiting Margate with the old information centre set against the new Turner Contemporary museum.

The old vs. new juxtaposition would play in very well with photomontage/collage as it was most popular near the end of the Victorian era through to World War II so the base image could be either something extremely new or extremely old. This thought process then brings me to the final point that was raised of taking something out of context. This is something I have struggled to implement in my thought process for the other juxtapositions I was looking into, but for old vs. new, it makes more sense. To this extent I created a very quick ‘mood board’ looking into what could potentially be done.

Juxtapose mood board 2

Two ideas that sprung up from this was to maybe have an image of having some contemporary today placed into a late 19th/early 20th century scenario, such as a Victorian person holding an iPhone in an aged photo or a photo of a Victorian photographer using a modern digital camera or to have a modern, extremely expensive car positioned outside of a poor, old house in London during the Victorian era. You can see my very quick, rough sketches below:

Victorian photographer with modern camera idea

juxtapose ideas-4

The problem was that I reached a stage in the project where I had several ideas of juxtapositions that I thought would work well, but no thought process into how I could realise them successfully. Therefore I decided to discuss this project with one of the tutors in the form of a discussion to raise new points. What resulted from this was:

  • The style of illustration should also contain juxtapositions such as style and texture.
  • Do not get too focused on creating a scene that could be too realistic.
  • Really random factors should be placed together to cause surprise in the audience.
  • Look into the works of Patrick Caulfield, Hannah Hoch and Max Ernst in order to gain inspiration for the design.

Overall this has helped enormously, and I will now turn my attention towards researching the works of these people, which is likely to influence my ideas, this process will form the next blog post for the word ‘juxtapose’