David Attenborough Typographic Portrait

David3sm

Continuing with my aim of re-engaging myself with design and learning some new skills I started thinking about a relationship between social design and expressive art.

Although I am hugely interested in and supportive of social design in general, I think designers far too often focus on making our lives easier and more enjoyable without dealing often enough with the bigger global issues that affect us all as a species. I’m not suggesting that nothing is being done, but to me the immediate and catastrophic threat of global climate change far outweighs the effort that is being made to communicate the threat and change our behaviour accordingly. Nor am I claiming it isn’t my problem – unless you live in a shack in the woods foraging for food, you and I are a part of the problem.

One of the most admired and revered advocates of tackling climate change (not you Gore!) is David Attenborough, also considered one of the most respected ‘voices’ in the Western world. Even if we’re stupid enough to ignore the advice and evidence of scientists, we should at least be listening to this man! It got me thinking about how his words could be used to form the spine of a social design project – something that I would like to explore in depth in future.

While bouncing these thoughts around in my head I stumbled across a typographical portrait of Martin Luther King and decided to try one myself for Sir Attenborough! I won’t bore you with the details of the process but it basically involved taking words that I felt defined his outlook and using them as brushes in varying sizes to create tones in the image of his face!

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