This summer, Nike challenged four teams of University of the Arts London graduates to come up with a T-shirt inspired by the journeys athletes must endure to get to the very top. Here’s how the London College of Communication grads got on…
For their design, the LCC team became interested in how the different elements of the training process fit together and how there’s an inexplicable, alchemical process that turns the sum of these parts into an unpredictable final outcome. The theme of becoming addicted to their discipline was a common thread from the athletes’ interview sessions and so the team also wanted to include this into their final piece.
“These ideas of determination, addiction and repetitiveness excited us and they formed the basis of our concept,” they say. “We went through an extensive research and development stage touching on viscous circles, spirographs, kaleidoscopes and stroboscopic photography. We also knew we wanted to use information design for our final piece so that was a thread throughout our conceptual phase.
“After our first interim crit we decided to look for more unconventional ways of data visualisation, something that was more unpredictable and organic and that reflected our initial inspirations of determination, addiction and repetitiveness. That’s how we found the automated drawing machine by Robert Howsare – we rebuilt his machine made up of old turntable decks, made a few tweaks and started experimenting with it.”
To get the data to be used in the final design, one of the team ran from Niketown in central London to the LCC campus in Elephant and Castle with his heart-rate, speed, time and location fed back to his colleagues in real-time. This was then programmed into the drawing machine which did the rest.
“You should have seen our faces when the machine made its first drawing – we were as excited (and relieved) as a parent would be to see their child’s first steps!
“There are two levels of looking at it: you can see it as an expressive abstract form or you can see it as an informative form, knowing the background and the concept, which clarifies a lot.”