Designers for Japan

Designers for Japan is a collaborative effort between designers, photographers, and imagemakers from around the world to create posters for sale in aid of relief efforts in Japan. The brief for the artworks was written by Creative Review magazine. Designers were asked to create something that had influenced or touched them taken from Japanese culture.

“Up until this point there had been lots of images on blogs and Flickr of red dots with cracks or sticking plasters or images of waves, which felt totally wrong and they were visual clichés we wanted to avoid, I think when you look at the final images there is a lot of black, white and red colour palette going on,” says Mark Blamire (Blam) who is part of Designers for Japan and founder of graphic design online art shop Print-Process.

For his piece Blam decided to base his images around the Sony Walkman.
“As Sony used to be a very big client for me and hence they were a huge influence on my life for a long while, it felt like a natural connection for me to take this direction.”
“For me it was all about making something attractive or appealing that somebody would want to own and keep for ever. If you don’t want to own any of the images then its a failure of our time in doing it and we don’t make any money for the charity” explains Blam.

An auction of design and art-related items is planned for the near future. In the meantime, the giclée prints are on sale via Print-Process at £30 for A2 or £60 for A1.
“I think we approached about 100 artists to contribute and we got about 50 artists involved at the last count. Some of the artists who couldn’t donate time to create a piece of work to sell are donating one-off pieces to sell at auction.”
All proceeds from the sale of Designers for Japan posters, after production and postage costs, will be donated to the Red Cross and ShelterBox.

“When you are working on a project for disaster relief you have to get the job done and delivered very quickly, the luxury of time to consider at great length isn’t an option. It’s down to rolling your sleeves up and doing something quickly to the best of your ability in the hope that it is well received. It’s not a process that designers are entirely comfortable with as rushing at a problem as it is doesn’t always deliver the best considered response, a few artists opted out in the end probably because of this very reason,” says Blam.

Whereas in the past major relief efforts focussed on music concerts, in the future expect more relief efforts to be art focused with designers churning out one-off pieces in aid of charity.
“The template is now in place with what we have done already to react again quicker next time and get it out there sooner, designers don’t have the skills to affect disaster directly at source, the same I guess with the response that musicians have made to give up their skills and time for free to raise money, it’s just better to do something than nothing in the hope it makes a difference to the outcome of making people’s lives better, says Print-Process’ Blam.

[pictured above] prints from Mark Blamire (left) and Simon Taylor. To purchase prints go to Print-Process.com.  This is an edited version of a commissioned feature.
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