For my Graphic Design 2 class this semester, our first major project was to catalogue our journey to campus with five non-geographical methods and make a set of atlases reflecting the data we collected.
Shortly before the start of the project I had switched from commuting by Vespa to commuting by bike, in the interest of not being so darn sedentary. This switch heavily influenced the data I chose to collect, as I was now a lot more in touch with my commute. On the Vespa, all I needed to do to summit a hill was give it a little more gas; now though, I could feel even the slightest change in incline— and there are some monstrous hills in the Bay Area. This increased awareness of my surroundings ultimately provided me with (what I believe to be) a much more interesting dataset than I would have gotten simply scooting to and fro about town.
The visual language of the atlases is based on a patch that is sewn to my Chrome messenger bag. The patch features Chrome's logo, as well as the phrase "Anniversary 1995-2010". Building off of this existing sample, I created a typeface influenced by the Chrome logotype and applied it to the title of each atlas.
The five atlases are:
Ground (Cold, Hard):
A 30" x 44" (originally designed to be 44" x 65") poster that could be folded up to pocket size with pictures taken every time my front wheel went over any painted street marking. The pictures are organized chronologically.
Get a Grip (A Clenchin' Collection):
A 58 page booklet containing 81 pictures of my hands on the handlebars. The pictures are actually stills from a video I took with a GoPro, every picture marks a moment when my hands changed positions. This is the only set of data not organized chronologically; instead it is organized into chapters featuring each different hand position.
Sky (Look Up, Calm Down):
A 26" x 44" poster made up of pictures haphazardly taken of the sky as I biked along. Organized chronologically to document the various turns I make along the way (visible in how the sun moves around in each frame).
Uphill Battle (If You Feel So Inclined):
A stack of 61 unbound sheets of 8.5" x 6.5" paper. Each piece features one picture of the street along my route to school taken with a tripod. Because of the fact that the tripod aligned the bottom of each frame to be parallel with the street, I straightened the photos so that the vertical lines appear on the page as they do in reality. The resulting effect is that the picture is angled to show the true angle of each hill.
Heavy Metal (Cars: Heavier than Bikes):
A 4" x 2.65" flipbook containing 79 photos of all of the cars parked on the right side of the road along my route. I took these photos while biking, and was initially dismayed at the fact that each car didn't line up from photo to photo— some of them having been missed almost entirely, but then I realized that this was a perfect way to convey what it is actually like to commute on a fixed-gear bicycle: chaotic and fast without much time for properly aiming a camera. Again, these photos were organized chronologically in an attempt to best represent the journey.
When time came to present these atlases, I sought a way to wrap it all up in a neat, unifying manner, as well as present it in a way that actually engaged the audience (a common problem with 3 hour critiques is that by the end of the crit everybody's eyes are pretty glossed over). I decided to take a page from my bike messenger roommate's life and treat all of these atlases as things I'd be delivering to somebody. I rolled Sky up into a cardboard tube (that I have actually used to transport projects in the past), packed Uphill Battle and Get a Grip into small envelopes and threw them into a bigger envelope along with Heavy Metal, and folded Ground up like a map (much to the protest of my roommate: "A REAL MESSENGER DOESN'T NEED A MAP!") and kept it in my back pocket while I commuted for a week, in order to add a realistic amount of damage to it.
I then designed a title patch (seen above) to be attached to my backpack, addressed the envelope to CCA, and "hand delivered" my backpack containing all of the elements to campus, even bringing my bike into the class.