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Job:05-11998/12412 Title:RP-Design School Con dential
#175 Dtp:160(P) Page:134
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Job:05-11998/12412 Title:RP-Design School Con dential
#175 Dtp:160(P) Page:134
project brief
The creative act of collage can provide end-
less inspiration for graphic design students.
Everything in a graphic designer’s bag of
tricks—words, ephemera, materials, colors, and
contexts—can be recombined to create unique
visual/verbal phenomena. These visual confi gu-
rations engage both our minds and our eyes and
challenge our preconceptions. Collage is at once
a process and a result. It has been employed for
at least a century, and its potential as a creative
force shows no sign of being exhausted. As a
methodology collage is invaluable. Once a proj-
ect is underway in our studio, more often than
not, the tossed-aside pile of scraps at the edge
of the desktop is far more provocative than the
project being “designed.”
These unexpected accidents that exist be-
hind the scenes, in drawers layered with cut-up
colored paper from earlier creative activities,
have sparked and sustained our creative energy
for decades. In teaching, I have also employed
collage to make intuition a more tangible, teach-
able experience. This exercise uses thousands
of pieces of chopped-up magazines as the cata-
lyst for a liberating exercise in how content and
form can be negotiated. The fl uidity of mixing
and stirring up pieces and the resulting happy
accidents—contrast, scale shifts, and collisions—
releases an uninhibited sense of play.
Materials needed: Black construction pa-
per to make a pair of L-shaped framing pieces
approximately 8 to 10 inches (20.5 to 25.5 cm)
long in each direction. Glue stick and/or clear
tape, pencils, a black felt-tipped pen, white pa-
per, scissors or X-Acto knife, and tracing paper.
Compositions will be arranged from cut
scrap paper. Begin intuitively, sorting through
the pile with the framers to see if anything in-
teresting seems to be happening. The Ls can be
focused on a small area or a larger fi eld. Random
compositions are framed by the croppers, taped
in place, outlined with a pen and trimmed, then
glued onto a white sheet of paper. Initially, these
should be generated as quickly and with as little
calculated thought as possible. Gradually, begin
working more intentionally, looking for relation-
ships among the scrap pieces like colors and sur-
face. Be more deliberate about the alignments as
you assemble additional collages. Choose some
of your strongest compositions and photocopy
them. Observe the difference in the collage as
the color is removed and the surface becomes
more homogeneous. Keep your favorite com-
positions in a sketchbook for future reference.
Notice that even if the overall composition is
weak, there may be an inspiring detail—perhaps
the way a letter is cropped or how a piece of an
image meets a piece of type.
project goal
To encounter form and content as malleable; to
think beyond your preconceptions to activate
space and meaning; to experience the give-and-
take of a fl uid creative process.
Class: Poster Design
Level: Junior, Senior, and Graduate Elective
Faculty: Nancy Skolos
Duration of Project: Three Weeks
Rhode Island School of Design
Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Collage Poster Workshop
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