The creative process never ceases to enchant and fascinate me. What I've found about my own creative inspirations is that usually I mash up two (or more) disparate ideas until something new emerges. So it has been with Wonderland Cafe, my mash-up of the worlds of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "The Matrix." More or less…
Let's Go Down The Rabbit Hole
I wrote a bit about the concept of it here in my proposal for my unit of instruction for EdTech 506. Here's a bit about it…
Internet cafes, or cybercafes, are places that have computers available, usually for a fee, that you can use to go online. Internet cafes can be set up in actual eating/drinking establishments, cruise ships, or other types of locations.
Wonderland Cafe - A fictional cafe that exists in the mind and on the web. A place that brings together the coolest stuff that geek culture has to offer.
Step Through The Looking Glass
What I have not yet said is that there have been some visual inspirations, too. Primarily, I encountered a visual mash-up of the chessboard in "Through the Looking Glass," the second "Alice in Wonderland" book and the black and white tiled floors of those roadside diners you see along the highways and byways of the U.S. It was this visual of the black and white checked pattern that allowed me to bring these two concepts together. Design can be a great unifier.
I bring all of this up, because as a designer I tend to get inspired by visual elements that already exist, but that I want to make new somehow. This worked very well as I worked through this week's assignment in typography.
Basically, we learned from our reading in "Creating Graphics for Learning and Performance," that there's a lot you can do with just fonts to add a decorative and educational element to your designs (Lohr). I'm all for that being someone who loves to use fonts as a design element.
But I also had some visual advantages due to the subject matter of my lessons. The stories of "Alice in Wonderland" have been done and redone. As such, there is a visual history that I could draw from to create my work this week.
Using Fonts As A Decorative Element
Here's the dealio: I chose the assignment that asked me to use fonts to express a visual idea. More specifically, the assignment asked me to use fonts as visual/ decorative elements to help express the words' meaning. These had to be related to the concept of Wonderland Cafe in my case.
The advantage of this assignment was that I could draw from the work of people like John Tenniel, a famous Alice illustrator as well as from Tim Burton. It also gave me the opportunity to work more with the black and white motif, a key design element in Wonderland Cafe.
The question is could I make you, the audience, see the correlation between the visuals I created using only fonts and the story of "Alice in Wonderland?"
We're about to find out.
First a bit of setting up. Our assignment asked us to create four graphics. Just so that you don't get confused, I'm putting them all here in one place so that you can see them. I do this, because I created some additional font graphics that I'll use down the road when I start developing lesson plans and the website that is part of this semester-long project. I think you'll understand why I did what I did by the time you finish reading the whole post.
A Look At The Graphics For This Assignment
Here's the four graphics that I created to fulfill the assignment that Dr. Parlin gave us:
Now to break them up so I can explain why I made them and to offer a bit of background or juxtaposition so that you can see them in context.
The first graphic "Wonderland" used a fun font and pulled the letter "A" from the line-up and placed it on top of the "L" to create a mushroom look. This graphic was intended to express the whimsical, sometimes crazy nature of Wonderland. However, it could be said that the Internet is also whimsical and a little crazy.
Here's the graphic I created for that:
It was in part inspired by the photo at the top of the page.
How Juxtaposition Helps Tell A Visual Story
Truth be told, the photo also inspired the following two graphics:
The first one, of course, is reminiscent of the Cheshire Cat's smile in the dark. While there is a bit of a decorative element to the "smile," it will also serve to set up the audience when I introduce the cyber-predator unit, using these graphics.
Here's the graphic I created for class by itself:
Here are two more that I created to provide a visual juxtaposition between the positive image and the images I created for the lessons:
This second image isn't intended to ruin the Alice story. Rather its point will be that predators online often pose as friends as the Cheshire Cat would be to Alice. (This is the case offline, too, where predators pose as friends.) Hopefully, it will remind the people reading my lessons to double check to ensure that the person behind the screen is indeed a friend and not someone posing as one.
The juxtaposition between the friendly smile of the true Cheshire Cat and the impostors is supposed to drive this point home or in the case of the third graphic, shed light on the person.
Bullying Moves Beyond The Red Queen
I'll use the same type of juxtaposition to each users how to spot real versus fake accounts on Twitter and Facebook. This will hopefully drive the point home that you want real friends on these social media sites (like the Hatter is a real friend to Alice).
Here's the graphic I created for class:
Here is the juxtaposition graphic I'll use later as I build the site.
Finally, I am dealing with cyberbullying in my lessons, so I created this graphic. It pulls from the black and white chessboard theme, using these two elements as a frame for the word "cyberbully." I broke the word up for visual interest and also to hopefully get the point across.
The "cyber" and "B" are together and for the visual "bully." The "ully" portion of the word "bully" is leaning against the wall, just as a kid might he was literally being backed against the wall by a bully.
I purposely played with the framing of this graphic as well. By pushing everything over to the right-hand side of the graphic, I wanted to convey the claustrophobia and fear that comes with being bullied.
Here's that graphic:
Before We Leave Wonderland Cafe...
Again, here are the four graphics I created specifically to fulfill this assignment (as a recap since I presented some additional graphics). The additional graphics will be used later.
Overall, I felt challenged by this assignment, but once I got into the groove, I was pleased with how much I got from it. That I was able to create additional graphics for later assignments and/ or graphics that I'll use as I put the site together is a bonus!
Burton, T. (Director), & Woolverton (Writer). (n.d.). Alice in Wonderland [Video file]. In IMDb. Retrieved September 15, 2016, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1014759/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_7
Carroll, L., Tenniel, J., Gardner, M., & Carroll, L. (2000). The annotated Alice: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass. New York: Norton.
Lohr, L. (2003). Creating Graphics for Learning and Performance: Lessons in Visual Literacy. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.
Wachowski, L., & Wachowski, L. (Directors). (n.d.). The Matrix [Video file]. In IMDb. Retrieved September 15, 2016, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133093/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
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