For my BFA Graphic Design thesis project in the spring of 2012, I used my father, MCA Sign Company where he is employed, and my hometown of Massillon, OH to further examine and question the vernacular of "Industry Standard" in the silk screen print industry. This project developed while I spent summer and winter breaks throughout college at MCA working for minimum wage with my brother and father who both were working there full time. In my process, I used film, photography, typography, and expressive creative writing to document, explore, and express my experiences and feelings of MCA.
Film was an excellent medium to give viewers a deeper look into the social construct and context. It also showed multi-faceted skills and problem solving techniques that my father has had to juggle with after intensive lay-offs within his department- a department which has dwindled immensely in the past decade of his now 30+ years of service. The short film also gives insight of the post-industry torn town of Massillon, raising awareness of the cultural context and hopefully imposing some sort of positive attention to the economically devastated community that I was raised in.
Accompanying this video in the thesis show was a book I created with a collection of photographs shot from fellow Massillonian and Ohio University BFA Photography major, Matthew Lafferty. I gave Matt an explanation of my concept and showed him around MCA and let him loose. I couldn't be happier with the results, which really shine light on the unimaginable working conditions and atmosphere. If only the viewers could experience the smell and headaches from using the chemicals and solvents used in the processes (namely a highly concentrated solvent used break down the oils of the inks to clean out the screens).
To bring further emphasis on my own personal feelings about the conditions my father and family has perservered, I deconstructed letterforms visually translating and echoing the breakdown of the printing and manufacturing industry in my perspective. I wrote freely one morning while working on the project. The first word that came to mind was emancipate, and the rest followed to eventually bring this poetic essay into being.
make no mistakes
or they'll eliminate
as they manipulate
fail to communicate
paying the lowest rate
on your children's plate
we must demonstrate
ourselves from this
industrial prison state
Both these phrases as well as the letterform compositions were used with Matt's images to create a complete story for the viewers. Please note that I also created the typeface, Rubio, used throughout the book. This was also used for the fragmented type compositions.