Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Rejection: a poem

Sometimes projects just don't work out as you hoped—like anything on earth I guess.

Perhaps it was your fault,
Perhaps it was mine,
Perhaps we didn't work,
No thanks,

We won't continue from here,
We don't require your services anymore,
Pack your sketchbook and grab your coat,
Remove your reflection from this floor.

It's not vindictive,
Nor have I any anger,
We just didn't mesh,
No means no,
We needn't confer.

This is how it ends,
No fix, not amends,
We're not enemies,
The learning appends.

No money for me,
No design for you,
This sounds like David,
Blue, blue, Electric Blue.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Viva La DIY

In these BrexTrump times, we need to revive DIY—force our hot, angry breath into it's lungs and restart that post-punk heart. THUD THUD THUD!

As we look back on the not-so-distance Women's March; we see a global gathering of women's rights and a plethora of homemade signs. Despite it's international traction, I'd argue part of it's huge exposure was the constant sharing and conversation about the quality of all the signs, banners and scrawlings. DIY was living again.
Both the Women's march and the Anti-Trump marches were beacons of shining DIY greatness, shining red Sharpie ink into the sky like a Hollywood premiere of anti-establishment ideologies.

In previous years—never have broom handles, municipal photocopiers and poster boards been so popular. In a generation where voices can be twisted by images on Facebook and careers can be ruined in 170 characters or less, the physical DIY of retribution and revolution is something that wouldn't have been predicted by the smartest of horoscope writers (If such thing exists). People lining the streets, chanting, waving banners made of cloth, duct tape sans-serifs and pure anguish; who saw that coming? Not I.

If in the past DIY art movements were lead by Sniffin' Glue, I can only assume right now we're Sniffin' Fake Tan. Up, rising from the ground is the otherwise pleasant public, being driven to the surface by the red-hot pokers of ignorance—but what do you do when your voice isn't loud enough, you make it visual and what do you do when you know not the rules of visual communication? You Do It Yourself. DIY Kids, D I Y.

If you looked around above head height, you could swear it was 1984; not the dystopian future of oppression and surveillance but 1984, Northern England. As thousands of men walk and strike in solitude of their fading future, their crumbling industry—above and around them, a sea of messages, banners, flags and physical 'fuck you's to the state.

Just as we now see the DIY mentality rise it's beautifully ugly head to defy the aggravated orange man, it was called on by every miner, their wives and the people who supported them. It's a clear symbol of "I mean this words, because I made them" and when those words are a couple of feet tall, bouncing upon the sea of people like a profane bouy; they shout the words that otherwise wouldn't be heard audibly.

I originally made the connection between now and '84 because of a fantastic, if not slightly cuss riddled talk by Craig Oldham at Nicer Tuesday's where he talks about his book that covers the Miners Strike, his link to the images and stories it holds and a lot of trash talk about the conservative party in a heavily northern voice—a refreshing brush of sandpaper for a northern lad working his way into the design industry.

Though he doesn't make the link between these two events because his talk was before the Orange Tide O' Doom, I think it's only logical that he would see this as I do. Replace Donny Trump with Ms. Maggie herself, and Women with Miners and aside from a few ugly sweaters and a lot of crap weather; they are very similar indeed. He's also just written a rather swell article for It's Nice That about his book, if you're interested.

It wouldn't be much of step to say that both the Miners and the marching women are punks. Brandishing their boards, defying the conformity demanded of them. Whether they are musical or not isn't the point, Punk wasn't restricted to just the music—it was just as much about the clothing, the swearing and the hair as it was the lyrics they shouted at one another.

Looking pretty punky to me

Just as punk thrived on being accessible by rebellion, such is the state of our current time. Poster boards flying the flags of cult references and crudely drawn figures line the above head's of citizens like an angry smog; and it's not just the angry who want a piece of this Cut, Stick and Paste saga.

We need to be the punks, the miners, the women and the artists. I say we call by DIY with an almighty roar and stick those poster markers right where it hurts—into the media, into the streets into the publics ideologies. Should you want to be this punk, but haven't quite the artistic calling, then may I suggest that you grab this poster kit from O Street. A design studio saying Piss Off to London and playing by their own rules, Punks of the British Creative industry. Did I say Punk enough?

Viva La DIY.

Sunday, 5 February 2017


Everywhere you go, there are just fags everywhere. Sick of em' I am.

I think you'll find smoking indoors is illegal, sir.

If the above GIF didn't otherwise inform you, I'm not being a dirty stinking homophobe but instead referring to the constant littering of cigarettes and not any particular man who may want to have sex with another man, because that's totally fine. Unless of course either of these men may drop a cigarette before engaging in coitus with each other, then it's not cool. Litterbug! 

Recently friendly local designer with the immaculate fringe Megan posted about a pretty solid cigarette bin, spurring me into a fit of excitement—which is quite odd considering it's little more than a yellow box with two holes and a glass panel. Though it's stupidly simple, there is something rather engaging about the box, the option of choice, interactivity and luminous yellow!

I am a supporter of free choice, though not directly a supporter of smoking as although in most cases you don't harm anyone else from puffing greyish white clouds around your respiratory system, I just can't see any benefit from partaking in smoking—perhaps I'm just not cool enough.
Either way, I think these simple bins are bloody fantastic; they are a breathe of fresh air for the community that seek to not have any.

I feel too often we see cigarette butts on the ground because there is no reason for them not to be there. There is truly little incentive for anyone to seek out a bin once they've finished their smoke and I don't assume anyone that does smoke is any less socially conscious than someone who does, but if you've optionally started smoking, there is clearly a sense of rebellion and anti-conformist within you; so why would they want to hunt around for their nearest wall mounted nearly black-grey, most likely on fire cigarette bin just to dispose of something that could be just a 'cooly' flicked? 

This little lime yellow bin is the answer, an engagement of interest—a functional design that has truly taken it's audience into account. For the most part people are only using 'post-nicotine sticks' to vote whether they prefer one hop to another but it's ideology is of participation, rivalry and community; three driving factors that likely sit behind every expensive hobby.
Yes, it does seem bizarre that I would refer to smoking as a hobby, but as I see it, it's got little different from any hobby I know of—a devoted community, a sense of fulfilment and questionable productive gain.

I find these bins to be a productive, unpatronising banner for possible advancements in social awareness, both of litter and that of health; with the glass panels displaying a sort of squashed orange and white bar chart of preference and public health. To me it's tackling to revert how smokers are treated within society, the students of lifestyle choices.
I feel students and smokers are not so different in their societal roles and if university taught me anything it's that a large proportion of smokers are students—though how they afford to be so, is still a mystery. I find that both communities alike are mildly exploited and judged hegemonically.
Students give us your details for these various free goods, Smokers drink here because we've got outdoor heating, Students are always drinking, Smokers always smell etc. etc. etc.

So yeah, well done smoking bins, you did a good thing today. I realise that smoking isn't a necessary choice and that it costs our National Health Service millions each year, for what otherwise is an avoidable habit. But like everything, it's a choice and the freedom to have that choice is what empowers us—never mind the fortunes in tax we receive upon buying cigarettes.
To me, these bins are a clear indicator to how socially engaging infrastructure should work; scrap digital bus stop screens and you can burn those suggestion boxes, we want luminous yellow and iconic references.

Copyright © Vincent Walden Sucks