Notes and initial reflection on Part Three – Visual Communications:
In 2013-14, I completed a certificate in Visual Communications at École Supérieur des Arts Modernes (ESAM). I was hoping to come away with a solid set of graphic design skills. Unfortunately, the course wasn’t mature or thorough enough to afford me mastery in that domaine, but I did learn a lot about brand identity, type and logo design, and the process of making and defending graphic decisions. I also learned how I can use technology to enhance, colour, back up or resolve problems in my own illustrations.
Since that time, I’ve designed two complete wedding stationary kits, advised a photographer friend on cleaning up her brand identity online and across social media, designed internal corporate marketing and training templates, collaborated with teams of graphic designers for international corporate marketing projects, designed album covers for a couple friends, and, more generally, just kept drawing. I’m certainly not an expert in this subject, but visual culture and the expression of what we now call “personal brands” across social media, fascinates me.
In short, I’m coming to this section with a comfortable foundation, I think, but looking forward to exploring and decoding media outside my comfort zone (moving image including animations and video games, for example), applying my learning to the course themes and material.
As the introductory notes point out, visual communications cannot be separated from their cultural moment/context, which is why 50s ads for household cleaning products featuring dazzling, dressed and made-up, ecstatic-looking housewives today would be shocking, not to mention contextually inappropriate.
Visual communications are necessarily rooted in time and place so that people can make some sense of them. The degree to which this is true is what shifts, depending on what kind of communication we’re talking about.