At the other end of the technological spectrum is graphic designer Paul Sahre. He maintains a small studio in New York and shuns the digital world by creating much of his work by hand. He still uses a silkscreen to print some of his posters and prefers to construct scenes in life that could easily be created in Photoshop.
Yet his work is incredibly modern and, where he prefers to design in “analogue’, he is remarkably good at bringing it to life in the digital world.
The finest example was his promotion for the band They Might Be Giants. As part of an album’s promotion material, many recording companies send out PDFs replete with details of the new album. These are usually visually boring so Sahre added a bit of life by adding — a bit of death.
Inspired by the band’s new track, When Will You Die, Sahre portrayed a pink hearse on monster truck wheels as the album’s cover and decided to incorporate this into the PDF, the difference being that it was a scale cut out of the monster hearse that could be printed out and reconstructed in life size scale.
They didn’t believe anyone would attempt to do it, but Sahre thought it would be fun to try. What resulted was three months of work, thousands of print outs and over $10 000 spent on material such as cardboard and glue to hold the scale model together. They had no idea it would take so much effort. They recorded the construction and turned it into the bands video for the track and it is truly remarkable. The sense of irony is not lost when the only journey the paper truck makes is to a demolition yard where it is to be scrapped and, of course, recycled.
The video could be viewed as an expression of how “analogue’ is still relevant in a digital world.
Most of the presenters at the Design Indaba opened our minds to the reality that design, be it digital or not, can enhance the “real’ world and move it forward. The rate at which digital technology is growing is phenomenal, yet it seems the most successful designers look at digital just as a tool. Their ideas, philosophies and designs put people at the centre, they form their work around them, and the function flows from that.
By Anton Crone
Screen Africa magazine- May 2012