The designer must always meet the specifications of the brief. There are usually technical reasons something needs to be a certain size or format. It was with horror and confusion when I found somewhere in the mountains of text applicants were expected to read, that all entries should be created to be viewed on laptop: landscape format with an average ratio of 16:9. That is not the format of the comic book.
It was literally as I was preparing to upload images to the D&AD website that I found this out. I considered simply calling it a day and saving the £15 I would have to pay to enter the competition in the first place, but decided to take all three of my portrait pages and put them side to side. This satisfied the landscape requirements of the brief, and made my pages understandable in the process. Debrief never specified whether the posters should be stand-alone or a collective. I opted to make them a sequential narrative because I felt it was the only way to get across the significance of the wisdom being offered. I mean, if you just tell people stuff, it’s just a marketing tagline isn’t it? ‘Be yourself’, ‘think outside the box’, ‘just do it’. See what I mean?
I explained the reasons most of the comic is in black-and-white in the last post, and I stand by them, but one thing became very obvious while I was checking out last years winners. All entries were full-colour and usually quite bold. It’s hardly surprising. When you think of graphic design or illustration, you think of MasterCard adverts or some sort of pop-art portrait derivative. You know exactly what I mean when you see it. Black-and-white comics, from what little I know, were a fad in the 1980s. They gave us the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,Usagi Yojimbo and lots of other titles I don’t know about, but really should.
Perhaps the most educational thing about the process is the entrance fee. It is normal to pay to enter a competition. You pay for your lottery tickets, to enter any phone-in competitions or anything like that. But those competitions are a matter of chance: sure you pick your numbers for the lottery, but a machine picks some other numbers you have to try and match. Say what you want, but it’s not about the skills or talents of the competition entrants. With the D&AD competition, not only do you have to pay, but you also have to be objectively better (subjectively, really) than the other entrants. And while it doesn’t seem like it to me, since I’ve been spending other people’s money for the last four years, I’ve been reliably informed that £15 is a lot of money (it’s actually £20 because they add VAT when you pay).
It reminds me of people complaining about journalism being only open to those of sufficient economic means because poor people were priced out of the unpaid internships that were required for students to become professionals. I don’t want to go on a rant about the disproportionate representation of certain demographics in the design industry, but when I look at the faces on my design course, both at the students and staff, and of all of the professionals we’ve had speak to us over the years, I see it wouldn’t be difficult to if I wanted. And you thought I was here to talk about cartoon cats. Lol, joke’s on you.