Andreja Brulc's Blog

Graphic Design and UK General Elections 2015

Posted in Graphic Design by andrejabrulc on 09/05/2015

As the first time voter (originally from Slovenia) in the UK General Elections 2015, I cannot resist but summarise my ‘lasting’ impressions of ‘the unique’ experience at the polling station into 5 points from the point of view of my profession as a graphic designer: ARCHITECTURE, DESIGN, TYPE, PAPER & PENCIL. The below may all seem normal to you but it somehow does not to someone with different experiences and expectations!

Architecture

As soon as the polling stations opened across the United Kingdom last Thursday, my Facebook feeds began to flood with images (due to copyright please see images directly from The Huffington Post) showing ARCHITECTURAL choices for these settings, which express, on the one hand, a positive aspect of UK’s uniqueness and eccentricity that has managed to grip on traditions for so many decades despite the globalised vision of the political elite at Westminster (let me remind you of the secret TTIP pact as discussed by Lee Williams of The Independent and why we should be scared of), while, on the other hand, The Huffington Post shows how rundown the Middle England actually still is well into the 21st century! It does not come to my surprise, really, as the examples of these settings show, at least to me as an outsider, that not much has really changed for ‘an ordinary’ British citizen since the time of Margaret Thatcher when I visited UK for the first time at a teenager back in 1986. The power and money are still centered on London and nothing will ever change unless British people are ready to do so! But who wants the change when the comfort of ‘our loos’ is just what we want it! The country – and London, for that matter – was in mid-80s so rundown in all aspects of life it gave me a real culture shock! It was so messy but I loved it for multiculturalism! Back to the point of last Thursday, even Slovenia, with 1/3 of UK GDP is ‘better off’ when it comes down to the architectural setting chosen for the election day! I wonder how many affordable accommodations will come out at the end of the 5 year period of the currently elected government! I do hope for some more comfortable settings for our polling stations, though, rather than portaloos, pliz!

Paper

The ‘grabby’ ballot PAPER you were given looked worse than a primary school print out! Fair enough, we were told – as soon as the figures from the exit poll came out and froze the drink in our hands before it reached our mouths – that the weight of the paper was especially chosen as light so that volunteers did not strain their backs when carrying ballot boxes to the counting people. Thank you, volunteers, what a great job you did, very much appreciated. And thank you local councils/constituencies to think about people’s backs! So more important now since ‘the majority’ of British people won’t be able to afford a private health care to treat our backs!

Design

The ballot paper was so poorly DESIGNED that even a pre-school kid would have done a better job of it on his/her parents’ computer! The kid would have wanted to add some colour to identify parties with as most people do so; he/she would have made the text bolder so that partially sighted people could see it better; and certainly, he/she would not have positioned the text so crookedly that on my sample it almost fell of the page! Bad design! The design is so paramount to get the right message across whatever it may be – if I am not mistaken, the last USA election, bringing Bush Junior back in power, had a flawed design that effected many voters across the States!

Type

You had to put an ‘X’ SYMBOL as the choice of your vote. Correct me if I am mistaken, the ‘X’ goes back to times when people could not write and used the ‘X’ as a form of signature. Hence, again to an outsider, to put the ‘X’ on a ballot paper – in a country with 99.7% literacy rate – in the 21st century is so patronising! More to the point, how many people who, like myself, have become British citizens at some point in their lives understand the symbol as YES! Let’s not discuss the symbol in relation to exams or homework and so on, where the symbol means as a WRONG answer, but in this instance, contrary to Britain, in many, if not most, cultures an X simply means a NO, full stop! I assume that these people have learnt their lesson by now! I would have put a TICK, had I not been warned about it just before I left home. Would my tick count? Probably not.

Pencil

The last point and what was really surprising, and please tell me if that is normal, I was given a PENCIL to make my ‘loving’ X hoping for better Britain! A pencil about 3 cms (1 inch) long! I know our local governments are on a tight budget but … Well, here is definitely something to think about. I was simply shocked when I was given the pencil! Over the years I had to work hard on learning ‘to trust’ (trustworthiness was not at the top of agenda when growing up back in ex-Yugoslavia) or ‘to accept everything is being said to be true’ but, at my age, I am not naive enough to accept the general assumption that the ‘X cannot be rubbed out’! Thumps down!

To sum up, going to a polling station seems to have been a form of entertainment for ‘many people’, a kind of ‘political tourism’ (please read ‘many people’ as those who swing between parties depending on ‘the direction of the wind’)! I really really ask myself how ‘many of these people’ really understood what policies they were voting for. Have they read manifestoes of all the parties and compared them? I know they were boring, too many promises, but still … Have they thought at all about what kind of consequences each party can have long-term on their lives, their children, their parents? It is not only about a 5 year term but many years to come! Was the election for them, for British people, or the elected few at Westminster? Tax on beer became lower at the last budget session but it is bound to go up at the next but what about the rest? Based on ‘X’ system, and to end with another typographical symbol, the answer to all my questions, in my opinion, is probably a big ‘0’!

 

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Beletrina book cover designs / September 2010

Posted in Books by andrejabrulc on 05/09/2010

France Prešeren’s New Outfit Installation / May 2010

Posted in Craft, Projects by andrejabrulc on 30/05/2010
Baptism at the River Savica

Baptism at the River Savica

Art installation in process

The monument dedicated to the most important Slovene poet, France Prešeren (1800-49), which stands in the central square of Ljubljana, was transformed for a day (21 May 2010) during the Fabula Festival, the central event of Ljubljana time as UNESCO World Book Capital 2010.  This public art installation gave the poet a new outfit covered in hand-made lettering from stanzas of his longest work in verse, Baptism at the River Savica.

I was very pleased with the final outcome of the work, which took almost a month to complete. Also, when finally installed, I was especially relieved to see that the tunic fitted the poet as if made-to-measure, when in reality I had to work with the tailor Lidija Kešnar around the measurements I made from a photograph.

Passers-by

And the hard work indeed paid off. The project was received very well by passers-by – and many of them took out their cameras! I was especially pleased with the comment by somebody from the City Museum who shared his appreciation for the project by saying that the installation was “more than culture” and that the city of Ljubljana needed projects like this.

Above all, I was particularly pleased that the media was interested in covering the project on TV Slovenia 1 as well as in print and online. For a full report of the project, photos and video of the installation showing my interview with the journalist Živa Rogelj see  RTV Slovenia, who said that “Prešeren was stoically coping with the adornment, while two other statues nearby were observing this moment in silence”.

Young typo enthusiasts, Živa and Luka

A report by the Slovene Press Agency was published in the national newspaper Dnevnik among others. Also, A.H. wrote in an article titled “Prešeren v novi preobleki” published in the national newspaper Dnevnik (22 May 2010) that Prešeren’s longest work in verse, Baptism at the River Savica, had received “a form as never seen before” and that “the project gave Ljubljana a new artistic inspiration”.

The tunic was only displayed for a day, but it is hoped that there will be other opportunities to show it for a longer period, or even that a more permanent place of display can be found.

Art installation for a day in all weather conditions

Many many thanks to the organiser, Študentska založba, who supported my project idea. A special thanks to my family for their moral support during the month and particularly to my mum who helped me with the making of the letters. And finally, thanks to the tough guys, Marko Murč and Primož Kuharič of Študentska založba, who helped me to install the new outfit, very heavy in weight indeed.

Installation team

More installation photos on Flick.

Press Release: France Prešeren’s New Outfit / May 2010

Posted in Craft, Projects by andrejabrulc on 20/05/2010

UNESCO World Book Capital 2010: France Prešeren’s New Outfit (Baptism at the River Savica)

Location: Prešeren Square, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Date and time: Friday, 21 May, from 8 am – 23 pm

Summary

The monument dedicated to the most important Slovene poet, France Prešeren (1800-49), which stands in the central square of Ljubljana, will be transformed for a day during the Fabula Festival, the central event of Ljubljana’s time as UNESCO World Book Capital 2010. A public art installation, giving Prešeren a new outfit covered in hand-made lettering from stanzas of the poet’s longest work in verse, Baptism at the River Savica, will be realised by the designer and illustrator Andreja Brulc.

Concept

The sculpture of the poet will be draped in a unique black tunic (pallerina), which is stylistically reminiscent of the cloaks fashionable during the time of the poet. The tunic will have a larger collar made out of a fine velvet, which will overhang the poet’s shoulders and will be tightened around the neck with a large bow. The tunic will then be divided into two parts at the back of the lower part of his legs and will continue in a billowing manner down each side of the pedestal to the first step of the monument. The statue is about 3 metres tall, with an additional 2 metres for the pedestal.

The selection of the text will be from the most important passages from the poem, and in particular those that are part of the school curriculum. The emphasis is especially on the connection of two vital speeches between Črtomir and Bogomila, the main protagonists of the poem. The purpose of the selection, and the execution of the whole design, is to conceptually connect the iconic status of the public monument to the work produced by the poet himself and the private voices of the speakers in the poem.

The text, executed in an experimental typographical manner, will run with the male voice on one side and the female voice on the other side of the poet’s sculptural body. The text begins at the same height as the book that the poet is holding, and this gives the impression of the letters falling from the pages. The overall design and experimental letter forms give a strong sense of the text travelling, coming closer and further away, and in this way attract the attention of readers, inviting them to read the poem.

Technique and material

The principal technique for transferring the text on the cloth is stenciling. The visual impact of the experimental typography is enhanced by the combination in the use of traditional techniques, such as sewing and stitching, knitting and crocheting, and patchwork letters made from textiles.

For more photos see on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/39890289@N05/sets/72157623978334159/

Photos of the tunic installed on the monument still to come.

Beletrina book cover designs / July 2009

Posted in Books by andrejabrulc on 04/08/2009

Days of Poetry and Wine 2009

Posted in Marketing material by andrejabrulc on 02/08/2009

Days of Poetry and wine 2009_English Tourist Guide

I created this ad to promote the prestigious international festival Days of Poetry and Wine in the English Tourist Guide to Slovenia, which will take place in Medana in August 2009 (www.poezijainvino.org). The illustration was made by Damijan Stepančič as part of the branding for the festival.

A Warning to the Curious

Posted in Marketing material by andrejabrulc on 29/06/2009

Marketing material © Andreja Brulc

Marketing material for the Nunkie Theatre Company. A Warning to the Curious is the final production of Nunkie’s M R James trilogy, following the critically acclaimed A Pleasing Terror and the prize winning Oh, Whistle . . . The first edition of M R James’s Ghost Stories of an Antiquary was published in 1904, and my designs were influenced by book designs at the turn of the century.

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