For our first project of the second year we were asked to design a fictional poster campaign to support an independent Dorset movement. We initially found the task to be quite challenging as Dorset in quite a small county both in terms of landmass and population, and it was hard to think of many unique traits associated with it. The town of Bournemouth had only very recently (in the 1970s) been incorporated into the county which made the reality of an independent Dorset was also quite hard to imagine. Given the size of the county so it was hard to define a group who the poster would be targeting. A stipulation of the brief was that the designs had to be serious, which was hard given the subject matter could be easily interpreted into a comedic.
Straight away we decided not to use the Dorset flag on our poster as we decided it was a rather obvious solution to the problem. It also has very little history behind it, only being designed in 2008. We also surmised that the colour scheme of the flag might be quite hard to work with as the colours are very bold and very dominant.
First image by Sam Pothecary
Initially we looked into the demographics and statistics of the county to get a better idea of the kind of imagery we could use. After finding out that traditionally a lot of the economy was based around agriculture we played with the idea of using farmland as a visual motif, with layers of rolling hills providing a background to the poster. One thing that we did learn from looking at the flag was the county’s association with sunshine (represented on the flag by the use of yellow) and incorporated this into the designs. We also looked at the idea of using family groups in the poster as conservatism is the dominant political view of the county. However in the end we felt these designs were fairly generic and also were leaning into the field of parody.
First image by Sam Pothecary
We then began to look into the history of the area, in order to find some different imagery to use in our poster. During our research we came across the history of the famous Tolpuddle Martyrs, a group of farm labourers who established the first worker’s union.
More information on the Tolpuddle Martyrs can be found at the link below:
The martyrs had a protest chant and from the last few lines we decided to take a slogan.
“We will, we will, we will, be free!”
We thought that this was a very powerful and moving statement and work well in rousing people to join an independence movement. People from the area are also likely to know the history behind the phrase.
We also tried to incorporate some of Dorset’s famous landmarks (such as Durdle Door) into our preliminary designs however when we tested these against an audience we gathered feedback that using the scenery by itself made the posters seem like a tourism advert and the strong message about a rally for independence did not come acoss.
We found in our further research that appealing to historical symbols had worked well for posters of the independence movement for Scotland (see examples in the link below) so we decided to look further into the history of the area.
In the past Dorset was part of a larger area called Wessex and people still feel attachment to this area today. We found that a popular symbol and part of the heraldry for Wessex is the wyvern, a mythical winged serpentine creature. The symbolism is still widely used today, (see below links for examlpes) and so we decided to incorporate this creature onto our flag.
Above is a rough sketch of the design of our poster, we willk continue to tweak the design based on further feedback from others.
In order to make our poster stand out we also wanted to try making it more 3D, by constructing it using layers of printed acetate. We will also experiment with the layout and construction of this to see if it is possible.
Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum, 2014.Welcome to the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Museum and Festival Website [online]. Available from: http://www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk/ [Accessed 06.10.14]
Wyvern Cargo, 2014. Wyvern Cargo [online]. Available from: http://www.wyverncargo.com/ [Accessed 06.10.14]
British County Flags, 2014. Wessex Flag [online] . Available from: http://britishcountyflags.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/wessex-flag/ [Accessed 06.10.14]
Bella Caledonia, 2014. The Top 20 Indy Posters are.. [online]. Available from: http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2014/08/29/the-top-20-indy-posters-are/ [Accessed 06.10.14]