“If I’m lucky Mr. Talent will rub his tentacles on my art.” -Spongebob Squarepants
Most people call me Fran. I pride myself on being forthright and dependable. I am drawn to diverse materials and methods of experimentation in design. In the future I hope to take on leadership roles within my career and expand my knowledge of other creative disciplines. I’m always looking to learn from those around me and experience new things. Aside from design, you could catch me buying lipstick, petting cats, watching documentaries (even the boring ones) and listening to anything from black metal to French house.
Favourite or most effective re-brand you can think of?
What is your favourite typeface?
Univers 45 Light
Other than design, what creative fields interest you most?
If you could learn any new skill or talent, what would it be?
When Is A Place
When Is A Place is a book of experiences not based on lived experience. As a millennial, I chose to explore the concept of ‘austerity nostalgia’ for the war and post-war times of the 1930’s-1970’s as something that is romanticized and present in media and culture today. We are able to blend the past with the present by resurfacing aesthetics or ideals of the past. Thus, the novelty of nostalgia can invoke memories that are not based on real, lived experience, including in audiences too young to have experienced these times first-hand. By combining memories shared by older generations, nostalgic pop-culture and drawing from lived experience, anyone can create their own sense of the past. These vast varieties of nostalgic influences make it hard for one not to relate fictional experience to ‘real’ experience; the two may become indistinguishable at times, leaving it to imagination to fill-in the blanks.
This book is meant to create an experience through a combination of writings, collage and physical artifacts. The prologue presents a brief overview of the concept of austerity nostalgia and its contemporary appeal as well as a personal reflection on nostalgia. Following the prologue is Joan Didion’s 1968 essay titled “On Keeping A Notebook” interlaced with collage and ephemera to touch and analyze.
“On Keeping A Notebook” is an inquisitive exploration of both real and fabricated memories recorded in the author’s notebook. Brief notes which recount scenes or characters allow her to look back and create her own meaning. The idea of collecting fragmented pieces, like Didion does, struck a chord with my perception of memory and nostalgia. The author accepts and embraces her self-deception and finds comfort in it solely for the fact that reality seems to bore her. By inserting herself into a past life she reconnects with past iterations of herself. Ultimately, Didion’s fascination with the idealized imagery that comes with her fabricated memories is an example of using nostalgia as escapism.
Collage is the most direct result of critique and nostalgia, which made it the most appropriate method for my visual research. Sourcing imagery from 1930’s-1970’s magazines connects the past to the present by repurposing the familiar. The images are representative of the sensationalized banality of the past and flirt with the idea that utopia is, or once was, attainable.
Old and obsolete ephemera from my father’s antique collection are dispersed throughout the book, without any description or history, leaving it to the reader to create meaning from old artifacts which they have no personal connection to. An old letter from a soldier addressed to his mother in 1942 connotes sentimental value, but without real context of who the sender or receiver is, one’s own account of it when viewing it for the first time today would be essentially invalid. Delving past the surface-level charm of nostalgia can lead one to consider that memories can be borrowed and are not fact; they are simply an account which can change or distort over time.
In a way, the book started to become a collection of collections: my own paper materials, my father’s antiques and Joan’s hazy memories. Things fell into place as I researched, visualized and reflected on the experience of nostalgia and eventually led me to designing a process that designed itself.
Watch a flip-through of the book here.