Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Johanne de Heus, I live in Amersfoort and I am currently studying graphic design, part–time.
Could you tell me something about your research project?
In my research assignment I analyse how people give sense to ‘a grid’. I think it’s very fascinating to observe the behavior of human beings. Especially the differences in that behavior are interesting to me, how an individual behaves in a larger group of people. People often demonstrate a certain behavior to be part of a (sub)culture, or to not be part of a group. The most fun about that is that most people seem to think they have their own identity, yet they very easily can be classified into a certain (sub)culture. I have chosen for the town house, because you can read a lot of people’s behavior from it. I analyse several part of about 40 identical town houses: in which way the path reaches the door, how much facade is covered by plants and trees and where and how much objects are placed around the front door. I translate what I see into graphic illustrations, which makes it easy to compare to each other en to be astonished about the differences and similarities.
All the front yards have the same measurements, so this is basically what is given to the inhabitant by the architecture. They can fill this grid up with whatever they like when they inhabit it.
What was the urgency for you to start this project?
Like I have said before, I find it interesting to observe people, to see in what way they are expressing themselves towards the outside world. I can really enjoy thinking of different scenarios while doing that. In this way, it gets a life of it’s own. This is exactly why I choose to show ‘The Paths to the Front Door’ in a pretty sec way. I do not literally want to tell my story because I hope people will think of their own when they see it. The art project ‘Exactitudes’ to me is very comfortable to look at. This project has had quite an influence during my research. The differences in similarities is what makes it a story of it’s own.
What were some important influences for the creation of your project the way it’s constructed currently?
Inspirational projects and designers are certainly ‘Exactitudes’ by Arie Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek, Hans Eijkelboom and the way of designing of Martijn Engelbregt.
Does this project, to you, feel as like it’s your ‘Mona Lisa’ of all of your work so far?
It is very much about myself, I guess, about my way of looking at my environment. I am very pleased with the result because I was struggling in the beginning and now I found a way to translate for what I find fascinating about it. It is not necessarily about the architecture. It is more a way to introduce other to my point of view on my fascination.
How is the whole ‘graduation experience’ doing it for you?
Very stressful, haha! The hardest thing is the total freedom you get, I think, and also that I am the one who’s deciding in all of this. I like freedom very much in such projects, however it is in my comfort zone to hold on to certain frames while shaping and deciding on things around those frames.
Could you briefly inform us on the subject of your thesis?
In my thesis I am looking for strategies of spatiality in two– and three dimensional typography. I divide typography in several groups such as dynamic typography or transboundary typography. Then, I distil strategies of spatiality based on the work of artists. Such a strategy to create spatiality in two dimensional work is for example playing with the features of the baseline or committing interaction between the black and white of a letter in interaction with the viewer.
Has your thesis had a certain influence on deciding on the research assignment?if yes, in what way?
The use of second and third dimension maybe. I translate something spatial to something flat. But maybe also the sorting and grouping of information to gain a different point of view.
To what sense would you like your research project, and it’s methodology, to correspond to your practice after graduation?
I have promised myself to use spatial elements or strategies of spatiality more often in my work, because I just think this makes a design much more interesting. And the aesthetics of grouping will probably remain to be a important part, I think.
Could you inform us on your client and type of assignment for the practical assignment?
My client is the Place de l’Opera, which is a webmagazine for people who love opera. Through news reports, reviews, interviews, announcements and background stories they sent out a report on a daily basis about the developments in the national and international opera world. I was asked to design a seasonal book in which you can find all there is to offer in field of opera, such as a agenda, several interviews, reports, and other stories. The seasonal book I made is for the coming opera.
Could you perhaps elaborate a little on your whole ‘GDA Experience’ as to how you’ve experienced over all in the last five years?
I’m very happy with the the fact that I was able to learn a lot from the teachers and that I was given new points of view on the profession of graphic design, and all the possibilities this profession provides. I do however struggle with the endlessness which silently slips into some projects sometimes. The almost overdeveloping sometimes creates unnecessary complications and it might feel like you get lost in your own project. A little bit of deeper developing is necessary of course, but when things feel right you should feel the freedom to make what you want to make and be happy with the outcome.
In 5 years, you’ll be doing what?
Hopefully I’ll be having a lot of fun projects and still have fun in designing.
Any advice for new students?