I had done all this research into smear tests but I still felt in a rut not knowing which direction to take it. I asked David to have a quick one to one tutorial, hoping he could push me in some direction which thankfully helped a lot. Once I had regurgitated all the information I had found on smear tests, David referred back to my first year editorial project which he felt was one of my most successful pieces of work to date. He talked about my use of visual metaphors I used in that project and tasked me with using visual metaphors in this project. I had been thinking too much about the final product that had boxed my thought process, so was advised to start on something small and once I find my direction I can build upon this, playing with cliches could be a way to develop my ideas. I scrapped all my original designs and started research into visual metaphors.
‘A visual metaphor is the representation of a person, place, thing, or idea by means of a visual image that suggests a particular association or point of similarity. It’s also known as pictorial metaphor and analogical juxtaposition.’ For centuries, artists have used visual metaphors to subtly communicate the subject of their works. For example, rather than paint Jesus Christ walking through Renaissance Florence, many 16th century Italian artists would use symbols that represented Christ, like a lamb or dove. These symbols were metaphors of Christ’s presence that audiences of the time would have understood. Over the centuries, artists in the Western canon have built up their own lexicon of visual metaphors, symbols that have been passed through art for generations and that are still used today.
Visual metaphors are helpful as a persuasive tool in advertising and often used in successfully communitiating the comparison of one thing to another.
These posters above are good examples of the way visual metaphors can be used in getting a point across. to the left is a poser for surprisingly an insurance company. the message here is that an unbuckled helmet is just as dangerous as no helmet at all. The company has achieved this message by designing the helmet to look like the head of the man, to express how there is no protection. I think this works well, it is simple but effective, not complicated to understand, which is exactly what I want to achieve in my work. To the right is an advert for WWF which shows the delicate ecosystem compared to a game of Jenga: When one piece is removed, the whole structure comes tumbling down.
Above are some of visual metaphors which I think work really well in being simple but effective and helped to inspire the look I want to achieve with my work. The don’t over complicate the message and are effective in there metaphors. I began to sketch out ideas of what a visual metaphor could look like when thinking about smear test and normalising periods.
My first initial thought was a playing with the representation of the vagina. Unfortunately this has been done in many ways by many people before and I struggled to find something that differed from using fruit as a representation of a vagina. the image on the bottom left however did spark my interest due to the flat vector design style it is in, stripping the objects down to the minimal and using abstract colours instead.
When focusing on what direction I wanted to aim my project, I wanted to push for the normalisation of smear tests by using these ‘silly’ reasons to why women don’t go, making the outcomes fun and lighthearted. My aim isn’t to educate but was to normalise the conversation. I began by sketching some ideas of what these metaphors could look like; unshaved: I immediately thought of cactus, however these could be an issue with its constant link to the shape of a penis. vagina; I played with the idea of a cat in replacement for a vagina to play on words to ‘pussy’. I also had an idea of using a peach to symbolise a vagina however was unsure if this was too cliché.