Nostalgia in Graphic Design - Posterzines

  • James Sheard

Series of 3 posterzines as part of a research practice based project examining why nostalgia is a currency in graphic design. Each features a type specimen for a widely recognisable iconic typeface from the past, as well as tips for creative thinking. This was done as nostalgia has been found to increase creativity, therefore the posterzines are intended to be situated in a creative workplace. The research essay also found that nostalgic design only works well when used in a modern context, whilst the content is nostalgic its purpose is to encourage creativity to create new work for a modern world. The posterzine format is appropriate as it allows the reader to look through the type specimen zine, with foldout pages and foldout poster referencing the inconvenience of the old mobile phone numpads when texting. The physical nature of the outcomes is also appropriate as this is something many people are nostalgic for in our technology-focused society. It also allows the reader to experience and interact with the content in a way they normally don’t, the 3D physicality of the object means it has imperfections such as creases and folds as well as not being completely flat and 2D as the content is normally seen: it is tangible. Having the poster element of the work also allows it to fit into more of an art context, where the images could be interpreted as interesting in their own right. The posterzines, thanks to their consistent layout, format and nostalgic theme, are also recognisable when apart from eachother but also as a set when they are. In terms of production considerations, the paper stock used is thick enough to feel like a substantial quality product whilst also being thin enough to fold well instead of being clunky and being too distracting from the content. The laser printing method also is commercially viable for a run of multiple copies, as there is not a huge quantity needed to make it viable as there is with other methods. The fact that the posterzines contain a type specimen for typefaces which we instantly recognise yet are overlooked and would never be a usable font also adds a certain humour to the outcome, this is also emphasised through the informal language which is ironic in places by using modern language in these old, nostalgic fonts. The language was also chosen to match the theme of the posterzine, with some having words commonly seen in that typeface. The WordArt specimen, as an example, uses the default ‘MyText’ placeholder and heavily references the playfulness of the tool when different settings relating to kerning and shaping were used. If the outcome was too serious then it wouldn’t help creativity - the aim of the work. "I have always had a reverence for the past, I nearly did a degree in History before taking an Art Foundation instead. My research based dissertation project was centred around nostalgia, where it was refreshing to get academic proof that looking at historic elements actually can inform better design for the future in the right context."