If you’re a graphic design buff on Instagram, you’ll be well versed in some of the formulaic, throw-away poster designs that saturate our screens. While these posters reflect the zeitgeist of design, they often lack context and focus, instead, on style. For Dan, the founder of Take Two, this is an all-too familiar notion. He tells It’s Nice That, “In my free time, I created contemporary, abstract posters and uploaded them on Instagram. One day, my friend who has no interest in graphic design, told me he didn’t understand the posters. It then dawned on me that these posters didn’t have any meaning or context.”
Dan felt like he needed a brief, “something that would give me constraint but also direction”, he explains. He wanted to create something meaningful with a place in the world, rather than creating purely aesthetic work, favoured by an Instagram algorithm. He also wanted to create something “quick and easily available” or “something you could find as you walk down the street”.
Following this line of thought, Dan came up with the idea of redesigning everyday posters. “When you start looking out for posters,” he adds, “it’s funny how many poorly designed ones are around.” Consequently, he came up with Take Two where anyone can find a poster in the public sphere, redesign it and then replace it with a new design. “This meant I was creating real pieces with meaning and relevance to everyday life."
“I didn’t start Take Two with any expectations, other than I knew that it was an idea that people could get involved with”, says Dan. “Even now, I get so excited when I see a submission from somewhere like Singapore or Argentina,” proving the spirit of collaboration that is sparked by the Instagram-based project. For Dan, it’s this sense of international collaboration that has become central to the work. “Hopefully Take Two can show people who aren’t usually interested in design the possibilities of what graphic designers can create.”
Two designers, Lucia Garza and Thomas Conroix, share their Take Two submissions and the ideas behind them. Lucia found an old ad that she wanted to recreate amongst some unwanted newspapers her mother collected over the years. She wanted to recreate the travel agent advertisement as she had come across the actual place as a child near where she grew up. “It brought back childhood memories for me,” says Lucia, recalling how she would pass the travel agency as she looked out the car window as a child.
Alternatively, Thomas recreates a roadside poster for computer repairs, keeping to the original design format of the poster that consists of a simple title, picture, and hierarchy of information. Though his redesign may seem simple, the design mimics the first computer interfaces with its monochromatic composition and a bitmapped sans serif. “I loved the original poster’s approach to communication,” says Thomas. Drawing out the simple elegance of the information, his redesign focuses on the “digital dimensions” of the subject through the typographic headline and vector-drawn sphere.
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