As I prepared for my Senior Art Exhibition, I thought a lot about the digital aspects of graphic arts and design, and how digital works are presented for viewers. It got me thinking: If I design a poster but it never gets printed, is it still a poster or is it just an 11×17 Photoshop file?
As a senior graphic design student preparing my artwork for the exhibition, I had a lot of great pieces that I designed specifically for web. Notably, I have been working with Lackawanna College Football as I created a branding for their Instagram page, gaining 400+ followers over the six months I had control of @lackawannafootball. How was I going to display an Instagram page and all the accomplishments I had during that time? More-so, I had an interactive article for STAAR Ovarian Cancer that spread awareness and raised money for the cause but I cant print and frame animated elements, so what does a designer do with that?
I knew I had to get creative. With the Instagram content for Lackawanna, I was inspired by some photo frames that my roommate had, she got them from this company called Mixtiles, which offers photo prints and collages specifically in square framing. Using 12 prints to create a 3-across and 4-down grid, I curated my best pieces to not only make sense chronologically, but also pieces that best showed my photography, design and branding aesthetic for the Falcons. However, even with the grid it was not “Instagram-y” enough, it just looked like a photo grid. Thinking about how I can further drive this point of social media, I decided to use my resources (thank you to my professor, Christine Medley, for letting me use her Cricut) and print vinyl elements that displayed the fan engagement, followers gained and how many posts I’ve made for the page. Now, it was finally all coming together and I was becoming increasingly excited about this show piece.
However, this got me thinking about the earlier question I proposed, about the poster. It stemmed from the track poster that I designed and never printed last year, even though I was so proud of it. To me, it did not feel real until I was holding the printed, matted and framed version of it, that it felt real and felt like an actual poster.
I feel that many graphic artists might feel the same way, but I encourage designers to print, display or frame their work, even if its meant for the web. Picking out a nice frame, or getting creative with it’s display brings another 3-dimensional aspect to your 2-dimensional designs. To hold, feel and see them without a computer screen is a feeling that I haven’t felt about my work since I was painting in high school.
With my interactive article, I ended up printing a cover of the spread and adding a QR code that allowed you to view and interact with the animations and transitions that I programmed into the PDF. While this was a simple solution, it still added another element to my work that made it feel more real and added to its existence in space.