Revenge of the Graduate Portfolio 5

Another week, another stroll down the dusty corridor’s of my graduate portfolio, a place where the 21 year old designer Chris’ creative machinations are reassessed by the jaded, yet ruggedly handsome 30-something Chris, I tread where other designers fear to tread!

The big assignment set during final year was the eponymous Annual Report, another labour saver favourite of lecturers, incorporating all the aspects of Visual Communication that we (should) had learned.

The brief was open (as usual) in regards to who the report would be for. I chose the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. It seemed an obvious choice for me at the time. I’d spent a lot of hours there during my study years, it was a favourite spot to draw, photograph, mope and generally collect my thoughts from the heady pressures of student life, especially midweek when the place was virtually deserted. The old Palm House in particular was a favourite spot of mine, over a century old and in a fairly dilapidated state, it seemed to provide endless inspiration for me in drawings and a stunning ‘happy accident’ photograph that I managed to snap around sunset on afternoon. The Palm House isn’t nearly as interesting since they renovated it a couple of years ago, that’s progress for you I guess.

The Gardens have a good deal of history as far as public gardens in Australia. Of particular interest beyond the variety of exotic native and introduced flora, are the number of public art pieces, statues, fountains, even a monument to Elvis if you believe that. My concept for the visual aspect of the annual report was to merge the flora with these artworks so as to emphasise both. This was achieved by the simplest and most immediate technique available to me, taking photos as transparencies and merging the resulting slides together to produce a single print. An example of the result can be seen above.

What I wanted to achieve was a sort of ‘enchanted forest’ feel, to portray the gardens as a place of new discovery, wonder, tranquility and inspiration, as they were to me rather than just a collection of trees and flowers. I’m not sure my primitive attempts really achieved this, maybe if I has access to photoshop (and knew how to use it!) I might have been able to portray this a little better, but then, maybe I would have lost some of the spontaneity and rawness of it.

As far as a concept goes, I thought it was a good one. I really think at the time the lecturers were more concerned with style over this though (a claim that can be backed up by the uproar that erupted when Design Coordinator Cal Swann tried to get the design department to look a little deeper into their concepts choosing a ‘nice’ typeface. Overall, my shots were let down by my inability to communicate what I wanted outside of an audience who had spent as much time roaming through the gardens as I had!