Computer Arts: How did this project come about?
Charlotte Hancock: This project is part of a whole host of briefs I was set by various design and advertising agencies, after making direct contact with the graphic design industry to request short projects. I asked an absolute ton of people who worked at those agencies for creative briefs I could respond to.
I knew I was a student, therefore low priority, so, along with the request I said that it could be a word, a phrase or anything that would act as an impetus for creativity. A lovely lady called Hollie Newton from advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy sent me 'Hello Dragon Fruit' and 'Welcome to Optimism.' This was the response to the latter.
CA: Once you received the phrase, how did you approach the project?
CH: The 'Welcome' word instantly made me want to make a big, fat banner. I thought about sarcastic phrases or ones that contrast with their environment, but in the end I wanted it to be genuinely cheerful – everybody wants to be called gorgeous.
CA: Where did you get your inspiration from?
CH: I thought about the banners I have seen lately and the fact that they are always hanging in bleak industrial parks, or advertising something grim like a closing-down sale at Mad House. I wanted mine to be an uplifting contrast to its environment.
CA: What was the most challenging part?
CH: Finding a location, for sure. I begged a guy to hang it off his 50-storey tower block apartment but the whole thing completely boggled him. When I had finally heaved it out of the window I asked my friend to take a picture. I thought... 'Wow this is going to look wicked'. It was the smallest thing you've ever seen. The other challenge was keeping the banner cheerful without being cheesy – a fine line with 'fun' projects.
CA: What's your favourite part of the project?
CH: The freedom to create ideas that reflect my character and the fact that I am directly working with industry. I asked each agency to rate my work out of 10 and give me feedback, which they did. I found this whole process really satisfying.
CA: As a recent graduate how well do you feel your course has prepared you for the real world?
CH: Our course is amazing at prepping us for the big wide world. There is a huge emphasis on presentation skills, and having to describe our ideas and pitch them as clearly and concisely as possible. Standalone graphic design sometimes goes a bit awry, so this was a great way of giving the projects more integrity. It demonstrates that we are able to collaborate with the real working environment.
I spent a lot of my teenage years being abstractly described as 'the arty one' and shading drawings of fruit, but Chelsea made me realise what I’m actually good at. I’ve always wanted my work to resonate with your average Joe and this course has allowed me to focus, build, present and pitch my ideas so I can do just that. There is a heavy emphasis on getting a client for our final major projects and the tangible possibility of a job at the end is extremely motivating.
CA: What are you doing now - what are your plans now that you've graduated?
CH: As a result of the project I’ve built up relationships with some awesome agencies and am shopping around for the perfect gig. It's all very exciting.
You can see more of Charlotte Hancock's work on her portfolio website.