Ryan Sargent    Visual Communication & Art Direction    Information    Archive

Visual Communication & Art Direction










Hello!

I’m not sure who will be reading this but just as a word of warning, I will do the majority of this writing in a complete stream of consciousness with very little if any editing as I find it to be more productive, so please bear with me!

Having never had the luxury of a live brief aimed at talking about myself before, I thought I could use this introductory exercise as an opportunity to critically assess myself and understand who I am and what it means to be me at the moment. I’m hoping that doing this may be slightly more interesting exercise than just telling you that my name is Ryan and I think I’m a designer.

What I hope it might also do is form questions and observations about me and my practice that could develop into some kind of discourse between myself and the reader. It might even generate some interesting areas for interrogation when the academic year begins.

I have decided a fun way of structuring this initial task would be to ‘re-apply’ (borrow, steal) a format often used by Jack Self of the REAL foundation (Real Estate Architecture Laboratory).

I will be implementing Self’s, frequently employed manifesto structure to make a series of short statements about who I am and what that might mean. I will then order these statements or words into 3 separate categories which I feel form the whole of my personal makeup.

Observational - Physical characteristics that can be observed 
Status - My systemic context, what I am to the world and others 
Non-Physical - Personal, abstract traits

The hope is that through this self-assessment I will generate an overall picture of me and my current environment for the reader whilst potentially discovering some truths about myself that I can reflect upon in future.










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I wil

S


Reapplying a mixture of formats used by Jack self for real foundation and Rem Koolhaas in his book S,M,L,XL. (Jack self list in middle column, Rem random uses of the word on the left, what the words mean in the wider context on the right)








                                           



I am...I a








I am...

I am
                                                     I am

Observational

Human
I take part in a daily performance defined by constructed social rules. I abide by these rules to maintain my status and avoid being cast into the abyss. 

Male
Although the myth that bell peppers are either male or female continues to spread, bell peppers do not have genders. 

White 
A divisive and complex indicator of privilege or system bias. Also the colour of various ordinary objects and natural elements.

27 years old
A number, a timer, evidence to validate my right to drink, drive, fornicate, buy a house, vote and partake in various other activities. 

182cm
According to research from The University of Manchester, being more than 182cm (6ft) doubles your chance of contracting COVID-19.

Slightly overweight
Feeling a little less than comfortable when in a bathing suit. 

Matter
I’m unsure of what really matters, but everything around us is matter. I am matter, I don’t matter, I do matter. It doesnt matter. 

Data
Each cell in the human body contains this 1.5GB of data, and there are 40 trillion cells.

This works out at 60 zettabytes of information, or 60 followed by 21 zeros.


Data breaches are rampant and many people don't appreciate the scale or frequency with which they occur.

Status


A worker
A person who contributes to ‘the system’ through labour and distribution of skills or knowledge. Usually, but not always rewarded with a tangible currency.

A designer (of sorts)
“Please can you let me know asap if that works for you and I'll send over an NDA and freelance contract for you to sign.”

A student
Kind regards, 
The Student Loans Company


A son
Unconditional love, security, pride and resposibility. I feel very priveledged to be a son. 

A brother
A unique relationship driven by conflicting emotions and ideas but rooted in love and understanding. 

A friend
Reality, sanity, mutuality, love, loyalty, experience. One of the best things in my world. 

A partner
Emotionally, mentally and physically whole or complete.

A consumer
Becoming increasingly ubiquitous. I'm constantly consuming both consciously and subconsciously. Often without interrogation or reflection. That seems quite terrifying.


C


i am...w

Non Physical

Curious
The catalyst to my investigative approach to my work and life. I want to know more and understand the world better. 
 
Anxious
A hindrance to my work but potentially major hindrance to my life when it surfaces. I am beginning to understand it more.

Optimistic
The glass IS half full.

Competitive
I hate to admit it sometimes because for some reason I sometimes see it as a bit ugly. However, It isn't and I am.

Caring
‘Displaying kindness and concern for others.’ I got this from my Mother.

Resentful
If the Libra absolutely hates something, it is unfairness. Treat them or any of their friends unfairly to witness the sparks fly.

Sensitive
I was once told that I am and have assumed it was correc

T








It




At this point in time it’s difficult for me to be very specific about what I’m looking to achieve at the RCA. However, I do believe I am able to break it down into three seperate areas of development.

The development of...
 






























I

1. (Maybe most importantly) A network

It’s absolutely essential to me that I leave the RCA with a diverse group of friends, collaborators, practitioners and work partners. The development of this network is crucial to me for a couple of reasons. 

- Firstly, It allows me to understand various points of views and ideas which I feel Is key to a deeper understanding of communication and life in general whilst also encouraging a development of conceptually sophisticated and diverse projects.        


   










                                                                                                                      - Secondly, It forms a mutual source of support, knowledge, opportunity, ideas and various other important aspects of life, career and practice development. 



I



2. My skillset 

The development and improvement of new and current skills is another important part of my experience. I’m keen to make use of all the facilities to explore and experiment with new disciplines and ideas. I’m hoping through this process I can add further strings to my bow and even maybe define an aesthetic or visual outcome that can turn into some kind of USP for myself and my practice. I think the idea of progression when related to knowledge and skills is something we should all strive for.  

3. A methodology

Finally, I want to be able to develop a successful methodology or way of working that I can apply to my projects or work in future. I want this methdology to be unique to my work but also to be ‘successful’. A successful methodology to me is one that encourages a rich and wholesome practice that is rooted in, and informed by, deeply important and conceptual ideas. Whilst allowing some kind of intervention that can alter or effect complex social, political and communicational issues or moments in our environment. 








   




Goldsmiths (BA) 

I think that understanding and reflecting on my time at Goldsmiths has been a good exercise that’s allowed me to outline certain parameters and goals to take forward at the RCA.

When I look back at my 3 years at Goldsmiths, I can say with some confidence that I wasn’t ready for it. I don’t think I was mature or driven enough to make the most of what the course had to offer. I fell into a trap of second-guessing what the institution and design course would want from me as one of it’s students and representatives. For that reason, I felt I tried to fit a paerticualr mould that I would argue now, wasn’t really who I am.

I have spoken to several students and alumni before about this issue and always come to the same sort of conclusion which is that, the course is very good at pushing a radical, liberal and speculative programme that, on one hand, is great, because it really breaks down boundaries associated with design, however, it doesn’t feel grounded in the real world. It encourages you to think this is the correct way to be a designer but you quickly find out after graduation that it isn't a sustainable way to live or work.

It would be unfair to say that this is wrong, because, well I feel a more mature version of myself (me now) would be able to navigate it with much mroe success. But at the time, I couldn't quite grasp it. It also seemed to be the same way for a lot of students and alumni I speak to. I essentially had no idea who I was and what kind of designer I wanted to be and the speculative nature of the course didn't really allow me to explore that.
I would argue that it prioritised a ‘way of thinking’ above technical skills which again, on one hand isn't entirely bad because I feel like I did develop a critical and conceptual way of thinking, however, I am completely self-taught with all skills and felt like i left the institution with an confused idea of what type of designer I was. 

These are however my personal views and experience. I’m not for one second blaming the course for any of my short comings.  I was just too immature to understand that it isn't a sustainable way to work. All that being said, these are the experiences and views which now shape me and will shape my RCA experience. I feel completely focused and ready to make the most of the next two years and leave everything out on the table in an attempt to pin down who I am as a designer and worker.

I could talk about this forever but am aware that I don't want these posts to be too long. 



Uncertain Times*

A Times typeface variable which structure is defined by a selection of data collected during the pandemic. 




A structurally applicable typeface/typeface builder?




The idea behind this is for more of a graphic outcome. The idea is that I would create a single typeface that was defined by structural data of a building. Further to this, a series of instructions or a system that would allow this to be done with any building and even further still finding a way of creating an automated, coded system that would generate them itself Posing questions of structural aesthetics, meanings and connections of buildings. Defining an automated programme would also strike up some interesting questions about automation within design and architecture as well a technology/ai connections to aesthetics and idea generation. (Architecture and design for the digital age).



tH



Cross-Programming

I have always been interested in the overlap of disciplines and the re-appropriation of skillsets unique to those displines for graphic design and art direction.

I am particularly interested in the philosphy and idealogies of architecture and often look to apply these to my communication work. Architecture to me deals with very complex social and political issues that often aren’t acknowledged in graphic design although they are as prominent. I used to define this methodology of combining two disciplines as “multi-disciplinary”, however, after hearing Rem Koolhaas speak of his idea of cross-programming, which I understand to be a combination of two or more knowledge sciences being used together to form new and interesting ideologies. I feel this is a more accurate term to use. In an interview with Koolhaas, he claimed that “In every profession you’re always the prisoner of all the parameters of that profession”. To me this means that, in order to find unique and progressive interventions or ways of thinking, you must look outside of your own profession or practice. There should be a collaboration or cross-over that happens between practices and people in order to develop truly unique outcomes. 

Having said that. I of course am not an architect. I don’t want to claim to be one or even know very much about it. However, I do seem to find inspiration from the work, thoughts and idealogies of architects or maybe more broadly, companies dealing with space and time. Rem Koolhaas and Jack Self being major influences. I find their ability to recognise opportunity for intervention in the mundane/everyday super interesting and the clarity in which they deliver these sometimes hugely complex, abstract ideas to be nothing short of genius. This type of clarity of communication is something I’m attempting to develop currently and will continue to develop during my time at the RCA.

I’m convinced there are some really interesting projects surrounding the idea of a cross-programming between architecture and visual communication. I began to explore some of these ideas quite loosely during my BA and have continued to explore them since.. I believe there is space to challenge what architecture and graphic design is and how they can be combined or crossed-over and will look to continue this investigation over the next couple of years and maybe even beyond. 



Eastbourne to London 

I’m currently splitting my time between London and my home town Eastbourne, a small town in Sussex. Sadly, lockdown effected my ability to travel back to Eastbourne for a little while meaning I couldnt see family and friends, it also meant I couldn’t experience thecoast and countryside I have been lucky enough to grow up with. It’s something I often took for granted but since COVID will never take it for granted again.























The Window*

What is a window?

A mundane/everyday object? Yes.

I would argue it’s also a moment of transparency, an object of contradiction, surveillance and power. They are also viable objects of communication. Like stained glass windows, they tell stories and document histories. I see them as an opportunity for intervention. An opportunity to alter a mundane and everyday object to define a new idea.


Why do I find them interesting? Well, I could argue that the very fabric of them is confusing and contradicting.

They are security but fragility, they are used to display performance but also reality. They are sociable yet private, they open, they close, flood rooms with light and darkness. They are concerned with sanity and insanity, luxury and poverty, power and control. These contradictions and opposing characteristics to me are worthy of investigation. 


I have wanted to explore the process of making stained glass windows for some time now. Creating a series of windows that document the histories power and political issues that relate to space. To use them as a communicative tool for criticism and alteration of space. It’s something I would like to get out of my system and create as soon as possible.


Jack Self claims that “Style is essentially a way of dressing up power.” Which often leads to that power being uninvestigated or criticised. Could displaying the power or control a space houses for all to see change how space is used, navigated and treated? I would suggest yet as this stage but hopefully, through the process of making these windows, I can understand this theory further and in more depth.














Lockdown 

I thought as it was so prominent in my current life and society in general it was worth briefly thinking about lockdown and how it has effected me and what it has meant for me. I am lucky enough to be able to say that overall, lockdown for me personally hasn’t been too bad. I understand how lucky I am to be able to say that. 

The only way it effected me was that it stopped what was my current freelance contract at an agency called SUPERIMPOSE and forced another one I had lined up at Hypebeasts creative agency to cancel. So I have been pretty low on work and income the last few months.  This in the grand scheme of things is a minor issue so I cant complain too much.

One thing it has done however, has effected relationships and social situations. I have kind of boiled this down to the idea of control. It feels as if people feel comfortable enough with restrictions and guidelinees when in control of them. It’s only when somebody else strips that control away by coming within 2 metres, not wearing a mask or not locking down that it becomes a problem or effects relationships. 














...I hope these entries don’t come across as pretentious.

It’s the most honest I have ever been in terms of trying to write down my ideas in some kind of language for people to read and criticise. They have often been internalised through fear of criticism but I don’t think I fear criticism anymore though. Maybe that means I have grown up.






























The Mundane/The Everyday

One of the suggested ideas at Goldsmiths and potentially many other speculative art schools is that designers are expected to sort of save the world. I have always been scepticle of this idea or atleast the language. used to convey this idea. I would argue that it’s a sort of quasi-utopian way of thinking and it could actually have a negative effect on the design process. It could encourage an anxiety and pressure that isn;t necessary. 

To be given a superhuman/superhero type status kind of doesn’t feel right. It feels easier and more important to think smaller, in smaller spaces for smaller moments. It makes more sense to change the mundane and the everyday as these smaller changes that are easier to accomplish will make a greater difference on mass and are more likely to permiate through a society which will hopefully in turn make a more significant change to the world. 







Facade
  1. A structurally applicable typeface or typeface builder*

    To create typefaces that are defined by structural data of a building. Further to this, a series of instructions or a system that would allow this to be done with any building and even further still finding a way of creating an automated, coded system that would generate them itself. 


    the principal front of a building, that faces on to a street or open space.
  2. This poses interesting questions of structural aesthetics, meanings and connections of buildings. Defining an automated programme would also form questions about automation within design and architecture as well a technology/ai connections to aesthetics.
    (Architecture and typography for the digital age).



  1. I got hit by a car yesterday!


    the principal front of a building, that faces on to a street or open space.
  2. I got hit by a car whilst cycling through crystal palace yesterday. I have always wondered when watching movies and tv shows what it might feel like to have you body hit and dent a car bonnet. Turns out that in my case it wasn’t very serious and It was surprisingly ok. I felt a little groggy for the rest of the day and have a few scrapes on my body but all in all, I’m ok. 


  3. Pretty lucky to get away with that one I guess. 









"the house has a half-timbered facade"

2. a deceptive outward appearance.
"her flawless public facade masked private despair.”







1. the principal front of a building, that faces on to a street or open space.
"It’s flawless public facade masked private despair.”

2. A deceptive outward appearance.


"the house has a half-timbered facade"

Facade

  1. the principal front of a building, that faces on to a street or open space.

"the house has a half-timbered facade"

2. a deceptive outward appearance.
"her flawless public facade masked private despair.”







1. the principal front of a building, that faces on to a street or open space.
"It’s flawless public facade masked private despair.”

2. A deceptive outward appearance.


"the house has a half-timbered facade"

A structurally applicable typeface or typeface builder? *

To create typefaces that are defined by structural data of a building. Further to this, a series of instructions or a system that would allow this to be done with any building and even further still finding a way of creating an automated, coded system that would generate them itself.
This poses interesting questions of structural aesthetics, meanings and connections of buildings. Defining an automated programme would also form questions about automation within design and architecture as well a technology/ai connections to aesthetics.
(Architecture and typography for the digital age).
  1. Facade

    the principal front of a building, that faces on to a street or open space.
    "the house has a half-timbered facade"

    2. a deceptive outward appearance.
    "her flawless public facade masked private despair.”



    1. the principal front of a building, that faces on to a street or open space.
    "It’s flawless public facade masked private despair.”

    2. A deceptive outward appearance.
    "the house has a half-timbered facade"



  2. Stained Glass 


  3. I have started with my first stained glass attempt.

    the principal front of a building, that faces on to a street or open space.
     
  4. ‘POWER’ set in an altered version of the ABC Dinamo typeface ‘Monument’. 




  5. .














  1. It’s not easy. 

  2. I will document my progress on here as I go. I’m interested in replicating a visually contemporary and graphic style using what is a skill-set that is centuries old. There is something interesting in the process of altering modern graphic imagery and typefaces to work within the parameters of stained glass art. 

  3. I
  4. I









  1. Language


  2. Understanding language and the etymology of words is an important way of developing a project or brief. Analysing the meaning of the words and allowing those findings to define a form. They can drive how a project. is communicated and delivered.

...”to exist in a world totally fabricated by man, ie. to live inside fantasy...”





“Once you get used to things, they no longer look like chaos”

“Once you get used to things, they no longer look like chaos”

“Once you get used to things, they no longer look like chaos”

“Once you get used to things, they no longer look like chaos”



“Once you get used to things, they no longer look like chaos”

  1. I’m currently working on multiple projects and wondering if. it will be possible to find a balance between design/commercial work and university work. 

  2. I’m aware that ideally. At this stage, not working alongside the MA and working alongside the MA both seem to be unsustainable and unrealistic. 

Form defined by history


Form defined by etymology


Form defined by moments of rich cultural/historical relevance 

  1. I took a personality test on 16personalities. It’s strangely accurate so it might lead to further understanding of me.

  2. Results >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 


  3. I think 16personalities and other similar tests are heavily influenced by Carl Jungs work on typologies. I have read a little bit about this work but would like to know more.














  1.  




  2. To be a human today is to consume

    It doesn’t matter who you are, your environment, home, class, social standing. These are just factors that define the speed and amount of which the consumption occurs. We consume energy and fuel for ourselves and our material/engineered objects. We consume data, imagery, language, media, products but in its purest form we consume data. We then use that data to form an opinion, idea and stance. But to also construct our physical world. 


  3. To be a human today is to interpret


  4. Interaction and communication whether that’s with people and other living entities or with technology, nature and material is key to defining human.

    This interaction has the potential to be physical, mental or linguistic. But ultimately an interaction forms an interpretation. Humans can interpret ideas or concepts by using personal experience and knowledge. Does our consciousness recognise an object that doesn’t interact? Maybe in a physical and abstract way but not in a living way.




    This recognition isn’t exclusive to humans however. Machines and computers interact and learn too. However,  the difference is computers and other technologies learn by consuming data and defining clear outputs with more often than not an extremely precise and definitive idea/outcome. However humans are able interpret for themselves and this interpretation of ideas suggests a consciousness that as far as I understand is another key to being a human. The ability to interpret information, data, imagery, language and reappropriate it into new ideas. Computers cannot use gaps or grey area but we can and do use that tool of interpretation is another criteria of being human today.
















  1. r
  1. Type

  2. “The Campaigner” (ENFP-A)














  1. Stained Glass Update 



  2. I have just begun the ‘foiling’ and tinning process. This process I believe is to form a soldable surface in order to connect all pieces together. This process is also called the tiffany technique and was developed to accomodate small peices of glass and curves of Art Nouveau shades like those designed by Tiffany.







  3. .









  4. I have also made a smaller version of the piece to see if it might be easier to handle smaller pieces. I kind of felt like it did but im not sure if maybe I have become more confident with my cutting or actually the different glass had a slightly different structure which made it easier to cut. 







  1. Traits 

  2. Extraverted 79%

  3. Intuitive  59%
    Feeling 69%
    Prospecting 69%

  4. Assertive 57%











  1. First Solder*

    Insanely messy and insanely difficult.
    I feel like this is never going to match up because of my shoddy glass cuttign skills but kind of cool to see my first little stained glass artifact.



  2. Intuitive



  1. Role

Diplomat
Strategy
People Mastery
Mastery