Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Icons Final Post

During the process of producing these icons there have been big decisions to make that would inform the icons conceptually. There were three things that needed to be kept in mind while making formal decisions. Legibility, Cohesion, and Culture. I constantly asked myself during the process, "what does this formal decision do for me?" "why does this make sense with my culture?" "how does this reflect my culture?" "can a stranger tell what my culture is without context? with context?" "Is there a level of repetition with variation to create cohesion?"

To achieve legibility I tried to step back from the work as much as possible and ask studio mates and strangers if they could read the image. Some formal decisions that enhanced the readability were things like the figures being in a larger frame. The icons are based on a principle of complex figure ground relationships. By having larger ground or background framing the figures, there was more contrast, which improved the legibility. Often when the figures were not seen from a straight on view, they became too abstract and obscure. I went through many poses for each performer, trying to find an interesting front view that had a subtle hint towards depth or a 3/4 view. Through out the icons the general rule (with one exception) was to have the clothes bleed into the background color and emphasize the exposed body parts and accessories. The exception to this was the ventriloquist. because there were two figures in the frame it was hard to fully commit to the rule. In order to keep the legibility I left the ventriloquists suit white and the dummy's suit knocked out. As obvious as a decision it may seems, it was a hard decision to commit to.

Reinforcing the culture. Where to start. First off I set up a rule of organic form making. There was a very loose rendering method in the analog stage and an even more liberal method in the digital stage. There have been many words used to describe the icons aesthetic. Words such as wavy, wobbly, wonky, and blurry. I like to refer to the aesthetic as one of a "fun house mirror" effect. I tried as hard as possible to stay away from straight harsh lines where they weren't absolutely necessary. The barbell and the table have the harshest straight lines from a distance. The wobbly nature of the icon set has a feeling of oddity and freakshow-ness. The off kilter frames reinforce the idea of oddity as well. The freak show was also a time for showcase, excitement, and suspense. The angle at which the icons are drawn get at the idea of showcase. they are all set in the act of performing. The frame subtly changing each time creates excitement, visual interest, and rhythm throughout the set.

Each icon has a unique frame that is based upon the same shape and size. Each figure occupies about the same amount of space physically and visually. Each icon follows the rule of complex figure ground where the certain elements bleed into the background. Each icon breaks the frame at the bottom with either their feet or the feet of the table. Each one is equally rendered with the same amount of looseness.

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