research by Leslie Lawrence and Léo Ravy
This is a series of posters designed during collective workshops. Produced by artist Leslie Lawrence and graphic designer Léo Ravy, these workshops are part of a research project that takes as its starting point the desire to reinvent the relationship between graphic designer and clients through experimenting with decision-making processes. By tackling issues specific to design but also to group decision-making, two practices a priori at odds with each other if we are to believe the pejorative connotation of the saying "design by committee", our workshops seek to facilitate the creation of original posters with their own graphic language, capable of representing the diversity of the artists they advertise in a different way. If too many cooks can spoil the broth, they can also create new flavors.
with: Nicola Baratto, Alban Karsten, Leslie Lawrence, Kitty Maria, Léo Ravy, Sophia Simensky, Sun Chang
This poster is the result of our first workshop, produced in collaboration with 6 artists and a film programmer. It announces a video screening of artists at the Jersey Arts Center in Saint Helier, on the island of Jersey. During this workshop, we collectively wrote a set of rules for the design of the poster. The poster itself was made by the graphic design using this ruleset. In order to write it, the participants played an adapted version of the meta game “Nomic”. This game, created by the economist Peter Suber to model the functioning of a republic, simulates a democratic legislative process by inviting players to modify the rules of the game itself by proposing, modifying and repealing its rules by majority vote. In our adaptation of the game, the original rules were written to follow the Swiss modernist style. They were deliberately restrictive in order to encourage players to change them, and therefore to express their own vision of the poster. Thus, the rule dictating the respect of a layout grid has been repealed while the number of fonts authorized on the poster has increased from 1 to 8, for example.
Poster designed before the workshop and according to the initial ruleset.
Workshop participants making sketches for the graphic designer according to the new ruleset.
Additional ressources: - initial ruleset (.pdf) - final ruleset (.pdf)
Hermitage Sykaminea Gathering
with: Maria Christoforidou, Tomas Eyzaguirre, Walter Götsch, Anna Housiada, Leslie Lawrence, Petros Lolis, Julie Loi, Matina Nikolaidou, Léo Ravy, Leonardo Ruvolo, Andreas Sell, Dimitris Theodoropoulos, Pan Tzannetakis, Emma Williams
This poster is the result of our second workshop, produced in collaboration with 16 artists. It announces the restitution of an artist residency at the ERGO Project Space, in Athens. After a first experience where the graphic designer created the final poster from instructions written collectively (see poster n°1 of the series), we now wanted to organize a workshop which would facilitate the realization of the poster by the all the participants themselves without any creation on the part of the graphic designer. To do this, we first invited the 16 participating artists to create their own poster announcing the restitution of the residency before the workshop. During the workshop, we then organized a selection procedure with all the participants to incorporate graphic elements from these personal posters into the final poster. This procedure, based on a process of counsel decisions-making, was very lively because each participant had to take turns tracing graphic elements on the same sheet with a marker while listening to the advice of the 15 other participants, all in a limited time.
Montage of all 16 A4 posters made by the participants before the workshop, used as a background to the poster.
Poster after the tracing process.
Then, starting from the result of the tracing process, we tried to prioritize the information by using neon green paint to highlight certain elements and white paint to erase others. Since the graphic designer was forbidden to touch the poster, it was through dialogue - taking on the role of a consultant - that he could share his graphic designer know-how with the participants upon their request.
Poster after the highlighting process.
Additional ressources: - workshop brief (.pdf)
Researchers Office Public Event
with: Szymon Adamzcak, Misho Antadze, Henna Hyvärinen, Martina Raponi, Julia Sokolnicka
This poster is the result of our third workshop, produced in collaboration with 5 artists. It announces the public event of the Researchers Office studio, in Amsterdam. In this workshop, all of the decision-making processes (hierarchy, counsel, vote, consensus) were applied at different stages of the collective poster design. By varying the processes, we looked for answers to the three major problems encountered during the previous workshops: the creation of collective imagery, the management of typographic choices and the place of the graphic designer in the creative process.To do this, we divided the workshop into two sessions. A session dedicated to the creation of the graphic elements of the poster, without the graphic designer, and a second dedicated to the layout of the poster, with the possibility of consulting the graphic designer. During the first session, we invited the participants to create their own typefaces by hand and to use the artificial intelligence program DALL-E 2 to generate images from a text written collectively.
Dall-E image selected by the group using the prompt: "A byzantine icon of a slime mold core branching out like hyphae in the belly of the whale from the Moomins".
Sample of font sheets made by participants.
Then, in the second session, participants were asked to lay out the poster as a collage. The graphic designer then made the layout of the final poster according to their collage, using the fonts of the participants as well as the images generated by DALL-E 2.
Final layout sketch provided to the graphic designer.
Broth / Bouillon
with: Daniil Aleksin, Tomàs Eyzaguirre, Kelly Jang, Leslie Lawrence, Sophia Simensky and Kiran Bhatt, Maria Byck, Sun Chang.
First workshop poster.
Second workshop poster.
For the final poster we have collaborated with Tempel, Amsterdam: this is an experimental events stage set in the former theosophical temple and library; the events space sits above artist studios and workplaces. We asked participants from the previous workshops to return as well as including artists from the studios at Tempel. For the final process we decided to translate all of the necessary decisions that a group might need to make before finishing a poster into a series of appropriately ordered events as a deck of cards. This makes the workshop more clearly like a 'game' with rules that anyone can use. The goal is that the card deck is balanced so that the game achieves its goals of demonstrating decision-making theory and creating a communicative poster. The different design actions a player must take are alternatively combined with the different decision-making types to make some actions more individual and some actions more collaborative. Additionally, randomisation of the initial shuffling of the cards creates enough variety so that different play-throughs feel exciting and reflective of their groups as well as the method.
Informed by the first three posters we included successful elements such as group drawing and personalised typefaces to generate the imagery that the participants would physically layout on a board, generating a design that was finalised digitally afterward. For the 'Broth' poster, the final design was screen printed by Leslie Lawrence at AGA Lab in Amsterdam.
Research made possible by Stimulering Funds NL, Jersey Arts Center, Hermitage Sykaminea residency, Onassis AiR, Researchers Office and Tempel.