Designing Systems

Project 2


For this next project in my main Communications Studio we are learning to design for a whole system. Each group of two people have a topic to work within. John and I are working with the topic of screen printing. Our end deliverable is one physical, digital, and environmental thing that all communicate as a whole about screen printing.

We started off by simply jotting down as many ideas we have and started to organize them. Currently we are trying to figure out who our audience is and why these people would want to learn (or are interested) in screen printing in the first place.


We are trying to break down our issues and what exactly we want to address. Our general process so far is gaining interest, finding supporting “evidence”, then allowing people to act upon this activity. Our big question is: How and why do we get people to screen print?


Through further research, we came across multiple problems. We realized that we needed to choose between inspiring designers to screen print or teach them how to print. We decided to inspire designers because teaching people how to screen print requires doing it in person and we don’t have open facilities for designers to do so. Our concentration is on the senses. We want to enhance specific qualities of screen printing to inspire designers.


We decided to make a series of posters that concentrate around the experience and senses of screen printing. Screen printing is really a physical activity and requires a lot of different movements. John and I wanted to encapsulate some of these movements and sounds into our work. We came up with five catch phrases that our posters would be inspired by. Our catches include gooey goodness (emulsion), super suction (transferring image to screen), creamy concoctions (mixing inks), squeegee sensations (printing), and wailing wetness (cleaning screen). These phrases are meant to target the senses and hopefully have the viewer react viscerally.

I attempted the gooey goodness poster. Our goal for our poster is to visually portray the specific sense we are targeting. Along with the poster, I thought it’d be interesting to have to poster move as well. I think having a poster move gives it more life and makes it more visceral.

Image vs Moving Image

4.27.17 — — onwards

Since the gooey goodness posters, John and I had a fun time playing with the 3D function on photoshop. I thought that adding another dimension to the 2d posters was an interesting concept. Who says 2D posters should be stagnant or flat? I really wanted to play this concept of pushing the 2D medium into something new.

We wanted as much individual play as possible with our poster series. In order to pull this off, John and I had to design a visual system that was both playful for our individual explorations but also coherent enough for the audience to know that our pieces exists as one whole. We did this through our consistent type and template. By keeping the type, type sizes, and composition the same for all of the posters, people were able to tell that the posters were a set.

These are my set of 5
These are the moving versions

Once we had our designs finished we prepared to screen print them. We mocked what they would look like by bitmapping our designs and printing them on newsprint. This helped us decide how big we wanted our ellipses to be. We decided on 30. We decided to use newsprint because of the color and how the ink sat on the paper. The paper kind of absorbed the ink a bit and looked nice. News print is also really cheap and one of the fun things about screen printing is the fact that you can print on pretty much anything. It’s almost like we were using something known to be cheap and adding meaning as well as value to it. So I really liked that concept as well.

Preparation took a bit of time because all of our posters had two layers. We also decided to laser print the definition ahead of time onto our papers, so feeding each sheet took some time. We started by cutting all of our news print into tabloid size and printing the definition onto all of them. I decided to make a set of 50 (10 of each design). We were lucky because it was the end of the school year and a lot of the screens in the printing room were not being used. I coated all of the screens, we burned them, and printed all day. It was exhausting but super fun! You can see the human error in the posters which adds a nice touch of personality. It’s really difficult to make the perfect print.

Our final set of 10


For our environments project we decided to attend Sunsmash. Sunsmash is a design event where students can sell things they’ve made, clothing, artworks, etc. It’s like a student-run flea market. John and I wanted to create an environment where people can come and actually experience screen printing. If the posters were to inform and inspire, Sunsmash was the actual experience. People could come and screen print a set of stickers. We marketed the event with the posters we’ve designed and used social media to advertise our stand.

For our digital pieces we made a series of short videos that encapsulate the feeling of the part of the process. By also using the same type and composition, the videos were consistent with our visual vocabulary. The videos also have sound that tap into those senses as well. The pixelated look went well with the use of newsprint. They are both cheap-looking aesthetics.