Insert PDF: Create Britain – Yorkshire, Issue 1/12
Project Proposal: proposal-create-britainpdf
The Yorkshire Dictionary
Every region has its own dialect and slang, so an insiders view of a region should include some form of guide to these language changes; much like a guide abroad would contain useful phrases, a regional insider’s insert that aims to encourage tourism and in depth exploration into different cultures within the UK, should have a similar guide in each issue.
Aye – Yes
Brew – Tea
Ey up – Greeting, hello
Flaggin’ – Getting tired
Gi’oer – Give over
Mardy – Grumpy/upset/moody
Nowt – Nothing
Owt – Anything
Rest – Alright (Be Reyt, it will be alright)
Sen – Self
Summat – Something
Thissen – Yourself
Tha – You
Water – Water
Infographics are a way of packing a lot of information into a very engaging, if busy, poster-like graphic piece. They then to be engaging, informative and visually interesting and use a lot of relevant vectors and colours that keep up a constant theme. This theme is often simple shapes that are instantly recognisable and symbolic; ie. using a small sample of stick figures to represent a large sample of people in a real world setting, using small clocks to represent time, graphs for productivity, timelines for dates etc.
My core subject matter for my insert had been staggering me a little. I wanted to include music, I wanted to include history, I wanted to include an insiders look at each region and most of all I wanted to include my point about increased globalisation in the modern world that looks outwards, in turn, makes us more inward looking and increases regionalisation and our unique regional identity in micro-communities.
Using Yorkshire as a focus I began to find that commercial music, by nature, can act as a time capsule narrative for society. Yorkshire especially has a lot of examples of this being used to capture and describe this regionality. Furthermore we can look back to the 80’s to bands like Human League and see some common pioneering and relevant historical themes with bands like Arctic Monkeys and furthermore up and coming bands that come from FourthCity’s startup, a lot of which are all Yorkshire specific.
I want to create somewhat of an infographic style insert to display this mind-map like interconnectivity to tie all these points together. Perhaps incorporating some form of timeline to help with the spacing and pacing of the content. (Like above digital concept sketch with each topic coming off each vertical)
Combining this style with my (above) original digital mock ups but adopting the text in a new, continuous, interconnecting way will be the way I will move this project forwards.
I believe this in itself is true to the interconnectivity of each region that I am trying to communicate and will be the best way to appropriately represent the creativity of Britain.
I was inspired by an artist named MKEverydays to experiment with the low-poly style. He creates scenic, digital environments that mimic serene, real landscapes of his hometown.
To represent the “fractured, but whole” mentality that I want to deliver in my insert, I wanted to use the low-poly style
to divide each region that makes up Britain. The idea that the jigsaw imagery all adds to make up our eclectic, micro-community country. This follows on from the British empire mentality of collecting cultures, adopting and making them our own.
Low poly pen sketch
Adobe illustrator outline
Polygon from inside each set of lines tracked.
Region outlines (left) full map representation (right)
Re-colourised for use with each different issue (see mock-ups below)
Initial page layout ideas:
I wanted to use the low-poly visual representation outlines for each region as a basis for a consistent page thematic. This could also be consistent across all issues.
Following the continuity of the several issues, each issue will use its respective region outline as a focal point for text over most pages. Whilst not instantly recognisable, it lends itself to having a unique shape which relates to the theme of a unique Britain I’m trying to bring across; each region has its own specific values.
Using pastel tones of the red white and blue of the UK flag will split up each section. The pinky red I will use for sections on places of interest. This is a direct reference to the traditional colour that used to be used for Imperial British dominions on maps in the time of the British Empire.
I attempted to create somewhat of a sub-cover for each section that would provide a preview of some of the content over then next few pages.
However, the style I landed on didn’t strike me as being fit for purpose. Something of this nature would be more suited in Kerrang! Magazine, rather than the Guardian.
I want to keep my insert well streamlined and relevant, so sub-cover pages are going to be unnecessary bulk.
However, I wanted my insert to communicate a sense of excitement; music is exciting and should be seen as such. But I had to maintain the balance between appealing to a more sophisticated readership of the guardian’s demographic and also not falling into the trap of creating a non-fit for purpose Kerrang magazine issue.
I achieved this by keeping a quite consistent newspaper-like layout that kept to 4 columns and maintained a lot of the Guardian branding (logo by the page number at the bottom of every page and having a “G | Create Britain” subheading present on each double page spread. This maintained a Guardian appropriate consistency, but changing background colours (around the red, white/grey, blue I had chosen to use) and using large pull quotes in fairly unconventional ways (or more, ways in which a newspaper wouldn’t). They fit to the grid system I set out, but they overlap with my central image portal (the Yorkshire low-poly shape that remains consistent throughout) and the image within.
Nowadays we think of Def Leppard as an AOR band with a sound airbrushed for American radio by Robert John “Mutt” Lange on the albums Pyromania and Hysteria. It’s as if they had the same sort of relationship with metal as Blondie had with punk. But they didn’t start out like that, and their debut single on their own label, Bludgeon Riffola, helped kickstart the whole NWOBHM movement. https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2016/sep/07/the-new-wave-of-british-heavy-metal-10-of-the-best (Tim Hall)
Formed in 1977 in Sheffield, Def Leppard achieved medium success with their early releases. In 1987 their critically acclaimed album Hysteria topped album charts in the USA thus proving that bands from Yorkshire could translate beyond their hometown.
And it’s interesting to see how, when a band like Def Leppard who started out with a sound very true to themselves, slowly disregarded that to appeal to a wider audience. This becomes the point where we have to look at the effect increased globalisation has on our British identity.
We become very self aware and begin to realise that our culture is not our own. A history of appropriation of culture and invasion from the British empire, leaves us with a history of mass globalisation with a compilation of cultures which then leads us to our fear of not belonging, which in turn results in an increased, quite introspective, sense of regionalisation.
We seek to find something within our immediate surroundings that makes us who we are, beyond what our small, but seemingly large, country has stolen and made ours. We then drive to identify ourselves as being from micro-communities, within Britain. For example, many from Sheffield, when asked, won’t describe themselves as “British” they will identify themselves as “from Yorkshire” and therein is our national sense of pride and patriotism. Be it political or historical, “British” has become somewhat of a taboo, especially recently due to events such as Brexit and the scandal dating back to the British Empire, our identity comes from our immediate, social and regional celebration of identity
Now in their 33rd year, the Cult went through several metamorphoses in their first five years, as they hurtled from Love’s psychedelic goth to Electric’s Rick Rubin-produced hard rock. The reinventions aren’t as dramatic now, but they’re still not standing still. Their 10th album darts from brooding postpunk to old-fashioned heavy metal and back again. At the heart is still the curious chemistry between gruff-toned, cosmically inclined singer Ian Astbury and his polar opposite, down-to-earth Mancunian guitarist Billy Duffy, the Cult’s own human riff. Duffy’s glorious, free-flowing playing fires Dark Energy and Avalanche of Light, two of the strongest Cult songs in years. Not all tracks hit such bullseyes, but Birds of Paradise finds Astbury unexpectedly and emotionally crooning, Tony Bennett style. He takes this approach further with confessional closer Sound and Fury, an epic voice-and-piano ballad that echoes Bowie’s Wild Is the Wind. As ever in Cultworld, ch-ch-ch-changes find them at their best.
A Yorkshireman’s Guide To Arctic Monkeys
“On the verge of being five albums old, it’s easy enough to brush over the prolific career that has taken the Arctic Monkeys from being the first ‘Myspace band’ to Mercury winners, to where they are now: comfortably the best British guitar band for a generation.
There was nothing spectacular about their sudden rise in popularity in Yorkshire, seeing local boys turn good is something we take immense pride in around these parts. However, via the internet, word of mouth and largely their undeniable ability to endear, it wasn’t long before the band were popular in every corner of the country.
Over the past eight years since their debut record was released, my generation’s Fab Four have grown as both men and musicians. The shy teenage boys that once reluctantly faced the media now take Glastonbury headline bookings in their stride. A uniform of Fred Perry polos and bootcut jeans have been replaced by leather trousers with sequined jackets and their Sheffield homes may well have been vacated for mansions in America, but the charismatic personality that propelled the Arctic Monkeys onwards has never been lost.”
Everly Pregnant Brothers:
Describing themselves as “a power house of parody fuelled on best bitter, pork pies and raucous gigs”, the Everly Pregnant Brothers regularly play to sell out crowds in their native south yorkshire and are rapidly growing a cult following far and wide. They are an 8 piece ukulele parody band that cover well known songs but add a Yorkshire twist.
They boast a lot of what Yorkshire is about, singing in a broad Yorkshire accent, including all the regional slang where appropriate and illustrating the honesty the people of Yorkshire.
Their humour and language is as broad as their lead singer Big Shaun which is all part of their charm as is the sing-a-long nature of their gigs. They manage to evoke nostalgia and a genuine emotional impact on Yorkshire crowds by reminding them of many of the unique quirks of Yorkshire in years gone by.
“Our song ‘Oyl Int Road’ can be an emotional subject, singing about walking through town with your nan as a youngster. It’s certainly enough to get a lump in your throat. We try and encourage as much singing along/chanting at gigs because it can be a real cathartic experience.” – Pete McKee
They draw their inspiration from classic Yorkshire imagery like the old Hole In The Road, pies and Henderson’s Relish.
No Oven No Pie (No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley)
Hendo’s (Yellow – Coldplay)
Sheffield Calling (London Calling – The Clash)
The Human League were formed in 1977 and are to this day one of the most influential synth-pop bands to come out of Yorkshire. “Founder members Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware, both computer operators from Sheffield, originally found little success with their brand of atmospheric sounds but upon hiring Phil Oakey as a singer the band found both single and album success with 1980 LP Travelogue.”(http://www.bbc.co.uk/southyorkshire/sense_of_place/sy_people/human_league.shtm)
It was around this time in the UK, Yorkshire in particular and Sheffield where The Human League hailed from that Margaret Thatcher was closing thousands of steel works and coal mines; important job opportunities for
Modern Relevant/Places/Event/CURRENT AND NOW
When it comes to music in Yorkshire, you don’t have to look much further than a small, faux-Tudor looking building on Sheffield’s West Street. Independent company Fourth City have almost single handedly revived the Yorkshire music scene for up and coming bands at the venue West Street Live, by hosting unsigned, breakthrough acts of every genre from rock to grime to acoustic almost every night for the past 4 years.
Since founded in 2012 they have become a fiercely independent promotions company, record label, apparel company & art collective. CEO Mat Hume has become a renowned figure at the centre of most of these eclectic nights. By embellishing them with his Yorkshire sense of sarcasm and wit, he creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere which has brought together the Sheffield music scene to its most promising since the 80’s electronic boom of bands like the Human League and the early 2000’s phenomenon Arctic Monkeys’ broke onto the scene.
“Once a tacky 80s bar, now arguably the odd pub out on Sheffield’s main thrust of white shirts and short skirts. Behind the mock Tudor façade lurks the stripped brick styling of a New York hang-out. Take your eyes off the corner stage where you’ll find unsigned talent playing free gigs most nights of the week and the walls are littered with enough signed plectrums, famous rock props and drum skins to keep eBay’s servers busy for a good while.” – David Dunn
I wanted to look into slightly alternative city guides and came across the “Our Favourite Places – Sheffield” issue of “Informed Travel Guides for Curious Folk” which catalogues local shops, artworks, areas of interest, restaurants, pubs and day trips.
The design comes across as rather laid back and minimalist, allowing bold and straightforward symbols – like the road sign front cover above – to give an appropriate, fit to purpose, for the attitude brought across by Yorkshire folk.
The contrast of location photos, vector style illustrations and artistic overlain sketches illustrate the point without patronising the reader. It simply presents them with information and allows the reader to be drawn to what they are interested in with well used hierarchy of type.
Occasionally different coloured pages (still bold, and easy on the eyes) change the pacing of the booklet and allow for some suggestions for certain, more specific events.
The consistent diamond shaped numbered key system allows for simple links to photos, different pages and different businesses.
Frequent photos of the people give a more personal feel, adding empathy and a more friendly approach to the businesses – they aren’t faceless like many chains feel, these are independent businesses doing what they love.
I began thinking about subject matter and, with my theme of regional identity, I wanted to cover a range of topics to try and flesh out a big picture of a small place.
There were two main ways I could see to look at this: The historical and formative figures, ideas and creations that brought the local culture to where it was. The advantage of this approach is it allows people not from the region (and maybe even those not “in the know” from the region) to gain a respect and understanding of why these regions have their own micro-communities and cultures.
My issue with solely using this historical format is that, whilst gaining an appreciation or how a culture is formed, that appreciation amounts to very little if the reader is unaware of the current culture. But describing this current culture alone may leave the reader a little dumbfounded and ungrounded in an unfamiliar environment.
The two ideas in tow – giving a brief historical background, highlighting the key creative figures, then following this with a more contextualised and educated view of the current culture, events, exhibitions, concerts, plays, creative performances and new experiences – should appeal to a Guardian readership; a mostly educated and cultured demographic, who tend to spend their money on going out to concerts, plays and going for meals out.
A layout that encompasses the historical and the current, whilst also potentially leading the way to events and insider info on places to go, things to do so as to explore and enjoy the region’s creativity.
Companies like NowThen Magazine and Informed Travel Guides For Curious Folk are two examples of companies that do an excellent job of collating less obvious bars, nightclubs, art galleries, music venues, and other places and areas of interest in and around Sheffield. NowThen even offer a mobile app offering discounts and freebies at businesses upon presentation of the app whilst at each “Trader”. This provides a mutually beneficial relationship between NowThen magazine and the “Traders” boosting each others profile and overall adding to the community feel of a large city.
NowThen’s website updates readers on events happening regularly, adding more incentive to go out and find something new in a region readers may have thought they already knew a lot about: http://nowthenmagazine.com/sheffield/issue-104/supporters/
Whilst providing readers with new places to go, it is important to remember that the tendency with the Guardian’s demographic is people who are probably already familiar with some interesting/offbeat places to go. Presenting them with more options may bring about too much choice, so a “dice roll” system of some sort may aid with the idea of trying something new and exploring more sides of a region’s culture.
An app to accompany my insert that keeps people up to date with events, or flags up areas of interest with push notifications when the user is nearby would allow the readers of the Guardian to gain a more insider perspective of each region.