The Collective Noun: Making of The Poster

Last time, in the collections project: me and Tasha had been tasked with designing the poster for our exhibition for the collections project. In the meeting, Tasha had suggested that we do a mosaic of everyone's work.

I think it was a good idea to do a mosaic.  It means everyone is emotionally invested in the poster because they have had a visible input into it. Part of the challenge in a project like this is keeping 17 people motivated and spreading the workload evenly, and I hope that we managed to reinforce this through our design.

We knew that no one would have final pieces at this stage so we decided that we'd ask people to submit developmental work for their sketchbooks, or if they were a bit behind that they do a quick drawing. We set a deadline of 4pm Thursday, which is the day we are timetabled to work on this project and two days after the meeting. It's funny that I'm working with Tasha on this poster when we also worked together on the #legitartdirector project, because this has definitely helped me empathise with anyone's whose job is to collect art from people.

I think maybe everyone who submitted images late didn't realise that they were part of a silent majority, rather than an exception. Mildly frustrating, but I can see the funny side. As illustrators, we have a lot of things running simultaneously, and me and Tasha have specific points in the week when we can work on this exhibition. If we miss these windows, which are often only a few hours, it can push everything back by days. Although we had the large majority of images by mid Friday morning, by that point we couldn't get together until Monday.

We decided to use InDesign, as I'd used it to print my playing card set and I knew it was good for placing external images within the one document. Tasha has graphic design experience and she agreed that it was the best software for the job. As I started laying out the grid and cropping and moving everyone's work, Tasha sorted out the typography. Even though we were still waiting on four images, we managed to get a draft to the group that day.

Although there's no definite split between what I did and what Tasha did, we leaned towards certain jobs. For example, Tasha confirmed information and ran decisions past our tutor, whereas I did the bulk of chasing the other students up for images. I definitely felt that the bulk of the work lay in these social jobs rather than the actual design.

I think the toughest decision we had to make was to set a second deadline for students to submit images, with the warning that if they didn't meet it, they weren't getting on the poster. I was worried that this would begin to put a strain back on our group, but because everyone understood why we'd made the decision, it didn't cause any drama.

Once we got the final draft completed, our roles moving forward became more independent of each other. Tasha continued to negotiate and confirm information between staff about getting the flyers printed and I sorted the press release.