When I first heard that the first project in this class was to be a group project, I had to cringe. First it’s that initial fear of creating a group with strangers or that “being picked last for the team” kind of idea (thankfully these fears were irrational since we were assigned groups). Then comes the fear of collaboration. I have to say that throughout my academic career I have been blessed with awesome groups and fellow students who had the same drive and ambition as myself, and who I worked well with together. I’ve seen this meme or internet quote several times in which it says something along the lines of “I want my group members to carry and lower my casket, so they can let me down one more time.” Truthfully I always thought it was a bit funny and always appreciated how I had been fortunate enough to not experience it, although I could appreciate the idea. I am not being cynical nor am I referring to my group in that way. Okay, maybe just a tiny bit. A teeny tiny bit. <insert sheepish-I’m-sorry face here> The truth of the matter is this was a learning experience in a multitude of ways, especially in the area of collaboration.
The idea of a type scavenger hunt was SUPER exciting to me. I love taking pictures of just stuff and I love taking pictures of stuff that has elements of design in it. So why not type too? (Incidentally my mom has one of these collages of letters on her mantle that spells our last name out in random objects that form letters- so the idea of searching for type has crossed my mind before). Before we even found out our groups I had written down several ideas for themes and had looked up several fonts that I thought fit the categories. Unfortunately, my excitement was short lived when I realized that not everyone in my group was on the same page, or maybe we all had too many ideas, or maybe not enough ideas. We managed to hammer out a basic description and assign letters and left with the idea of going random, upper case, and to find whatever we could. Surprisingly, my group managed to find quite a few letters that fit our style perfectly and many people went above and beyond the required letters. In fact I do not even think it was really necessary to assign letters at all. I’m almost positive that only 2 of the letters I was assigned and found were actually used and probably double or triple of the letters I wasn’t assigned were used for the final presentation. I think this was because these things are all around us if we are looking for them. Maybe a G or a Q might not cross my path on a daily basis but I sure did see O’s and X’s and E’s all around me. I suppose this surprised me the most. How abundant these letters are all around us. Or just how hard it was to find some of the letters (upper case, minimal R, hello?). Even after the critique and class today, I still found myself looking for letters as I traveled from point A to point B. It might actually be hard to break this habit.
I was generally pleased with the outcome of our project, especially seeing it up on the board for critique. I think once it was laid out, cleanly, the letters looked very concise and consistent. I have to applaud Jeremy for making the decision to have all of the letters be uniformed in height. I am not sure I would have thought of this, and being that we were the only group to do this, I think it helped our letters stand out more and look like a complete set.
If I had to do this again, I really, really, really would have been interested in pursuing a theme. For instance, a lot of letters came from parks and children’s playgrounds. It may have been fun to do that across the board. I also would have encouraged my group to take better pictures, or set some standards for the pictures that needed to be taken (i.e. file type, image size). I also would have tried to deal with my impatience at some of my group members. I’ve learned that we all have different lives, schedules, and creative processes. The latter especially really conflicted with my own work processes and ethics. I always want to give my best in a group project, be reliable, and not be the one who could possibly let down the group.
All in all, this was a great learning experience in characterizing and defining something, examining type in nature, and collaborating with people who’s creative processes differ from my own. I think, however, I might try and tackle this idea on my own just to challenge myself and see if I can complete the object and goals in my own ways.