By Phil McDonald

We were excited to be part of the Just Do Good Shit exhibition at Sheffield Design Week, 2015. We were asked to design a response to the question – what is the most important thing you’ve learnt. The stipulations demanded that the final poster must be A1 in size and can be either 2D or 3D. Having the time to review our list it was decided that the list was actually not very useful. But one point was very obvious – during our studio development this year we realised that no matter how many plans you had in place, things go awry. Always follow the plan, for fuck sake! Is a phrase that seems to have been used in our studio for the majority of this year. Now came the development of the poster and how it should look. Should it be type? Should be image? Should it involve augmented reality?  To get the exact point across succinctly and stylishly we opted to develop a typographic response to the brief. We decided early on that exploration of external print processes would have to make way for the process of meaning and context. The stylistic influence for our poster came from the work of Hey! Studio (Barcelona), Studio Una (Germany), Arndt Benedikt (Germany), Lundgren & Lindqvist (Sweden) and Vincent Labas. These designers and studios all have one thing in common, the typo-poster. They use typography not only as a tool or vehicle to utilise language but they treat typography as individual flexible shapes and collective compositions demonstrating expression, meaning and feeling.

Defeye Creative — Sheffield Design Week Poster

We then set off with our newfound guidelines and began to build 3 fonts, all of which ended up being ‘inline’ fonts and mono in build. This was not intentional but ended up being critical for the composition. We played around with erratic composition as a tool to decipher but quickly understood that the poster should be simple in execution but complex enough to carry a message and feeling with the fewest amount of constructed words. Our design process allowed us to create up to 350 different poster compositions, some that demonstrated wholesale differences but some that demonstrated very minuscule changes. No matter how small the ‘tweaks’ are during the design process they can and do have the biggest impact upon the overall composition and intended message as they are often overlooked in favor of language tweaks. We could go on forever about why we designed what we did - but as our poster suggests: If you have a plan and always follow that plan, then things will go according to the plan, for fuck sake! Oh, and we forgot to mention that we put the big red poster into a custom made the big red frame.


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