Through Form®, Paula and I have been lucky enough to visit Mexico a number of times giving lectures and setting workshops to students in Monterrey, Mexico City and Guadalajara. In 2008 we were approached by the design college CEDIM in Monterrey to create a new look for their 2009/10 prospectus, print and digital communications. I’ve always liked the ‘brand fit’ of CEDIM-Form so when I was asked to participate in this years ‘Summer Stars’ workshop I jumped at the chance. I headed the week long ‘Branding and corporate identity’ module and decided on setting a fictitional “live” project: Marco (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey) wished to promote a four year arts programme titled “Hoy, Ahora, Para Siempre” (“Today, now, always/forever”) covering all aspects of visual culture exploring the theme of “life in 21st Century Mexico”, developing a positive celebration of the arts and Mexico’s contribution to global creativity.
A number of requirements were set: Designing a ‘primary’ stand-alone logo/stamp, ‘secondary’ supporting imagery, a poster, a story board for an online banner ad, and a basic style guide detailing CMYK / RGB / Mono colour breakdowns and logo ‘exclusion zones’.
On Monday the day began with a pick up at 8 to get to the college, get some breakfast and begin at 9. From the start I knew it was going to be a challenging – but fun – rollercoaster ride with 24 lively and inspiring students, staff, and professionals, answering a brief (which would usually last 3-4 weeks) in just 5 days.
We started each morning with brain excercises including discussing national sterotypes (how one country percieves another country through visual cliches), the semiotics of logotype design (with examples as diverse as Plessey and Kraftwerk’s Autobahn), exploring successful poster design, and analysing online banner ads. I also showed some case studies on Form’s way of problem solving a brief.
Possibly the most difficult day was Monday. After discussing the idea of creating ‘worlds’ with imagery from magazines and books (AVOIDING the scourge of creative thinking – blog hopping), I found myself in the library realising I had no idea how the day / week – would go. After chatting to the students, I soon discovered they really ‘got it’, and how this mentality would dictate the course of the week.
Perhaps the most rewarding aspect was helping the students think about their solutions in a different way through the correct choice of typeface, creating their own illustrations, setting up photo shoots and basically having fun in producing highly individual campaigns, with references they created for inspiration.
Friday morning saw the Mexico-South Africa World cup kick off (we all watched) so from 11am till 4.30pm, upstairs was a hive of activity finishing the brief and printing out for the final crit. I think we were all pretty amazed at the diversity in output and after many congratulations and best wishes, the week was over before it began.
I hope the students learnt a lot about their capabilities, the creative process, teamwork, and effective time management skills. With all of this pulled together in such a small amount of time, I’m not sure anyone could ask for more…