A group of our third year BA (Hons) Graphic Design Illustration & Digital Media students have used their considerable artistic talents to support local initiatives during the national Alcohol Awareness Week, which runs from the 18th to 24th October. Their involvement is part of a major campaign led by Bradford Council, which has brought together numerous organisations and agencies across the district to raise awareness of the effects of alcohol misuse and encourage sensible drinking.
Bradford Council’s Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Service workers will be providing alcohol information and advice at the Information Shop for Young People during Alcohol Awareness Week.
Senior Drugs Prevention Worker Jayce Lambert asked the final year degree students to help promote this by creating an eye catching and thought provoking window display which would stop people in their tracks. Jayce explained, “Our work at the Information Shop targets young people aged from sixteen to twenty-five, and so I wanted the input of students in the core age group to send out the message from their perspective.”
The students had only a week to devise innovative ways of expressing the issues before their designs had to be printed. Course Tutor Paul Holmes commented, “The standard of work produced in such a short space of time is comparable to work in a professional studio. As well as original photography and ideas, their writing and playful use of copy adds flavour for the viewer.”
Victoria Foggin, Lauren Ford, Mohammed Haroon, Rachel Morris, Mathew Tudor and Lucy Wileman have created a series of stunning posters and a moving image display highlighting a range of important issues for young people to consider when consuming alcohol.
Lucy Wileman devised a number of posters using a baby’s bottle with alcohol inside to highlight the dangers of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Jayce told her, “These are images with serious impact that stress what mum takes, baby takes. This work is not scaremongering but so thought-provoking that I’ll remember these images until the day I die.”
Lauren Ford focussed on the dangers of spiking drinks through chic photography and design which appeared like drink adverts. Jayce was astonished at the way she had visualised his own expressions warning young people of ways to detect if drinks had been tampered with. Victoria Foggin concentrated on losing control and not being able to remember much, from beer goggles to the night being a blur and the drink speaking. Jayce stressed, “You never want to be in this position. These are such powerful ways to ask, can you handle your drink? Rather than simply telling young people not to drink, these are open questions which make people think about their drinking.”
Gifted illustrator Mohammed Haroon did a series of stylish drawings which used dark humour to highlight the dangers of drinking in pregnancy, which Paul likened to something one might expect to see in The Guardian.
Visitors to the Information Shop will also be able to watch Mathew Tudor’s powerful moving image where the effects of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder are displayed on a baby’s ultrasound scan. The movement and the sound of the heartbeat remind young women to think about the needs of a living, breathing baby rather than their night out.
Unlike design studios with budgets for professional models, props and locations, our students had to constantly improvise. Rachel Morris photographed her sister in three very effective warnings against drink driving, vulnerability to assault and drinking whilst pregnant, for the latter using blackcurrant cordial and a rolled up towel to great effect! Jayce was greatly impressed by this and with work focussing on the dangers caused by loss of control and regrets from not being able to remember what happened the previous night. He said “These are such powerful ways to ask, can you handle your drink? Rather than simply telling young people not to drink, these are open questions which make people think about their drinking.”
Jayce said, “The thing I love about my job is that I always learn from young people. It is not about preaching but learning and sharing ideas and information, so that we can support young people in their choices. I would love to be able to have these designs printed on leaflets to give out to the young people I meet in my work. They are totally professional.” Their efforts were so well received that an additional set of posters has been printed to be displayed at Keighley Connexions.
As well as learning about all the issues surrounding alcohol, this project made the students address the best means to communicate these ideas to other students and they all felt that this informative approach would feel more relevant for young people than hardline campaigns. Victoria said, “Shock advertising of the ‘you drink, you die’ genre is just ignored as it clearly isn’t true.” Rachel added that young people would be far more responsive to the “Stay safe but have a good time” message, while Lucy concluded, “It is far better to make people think by giving them access to knowledge.”
Many other benefits were derived from completing this tight live brief to a rapid schedule. Rachel said, “The quick turnaround stretched us all but it is amazing what you can produce in a week. This sense of achievement has made me more confident.” Lucy enjoyed the working relationship that developed as the brief was realised and adapted. Vicki concluded, “It has been a great preparation for the designer/client relationships we will have when we graduate.”
The Alcohol Awareness campaign clearly had an impact on all the students who became so passionate about spreading the message that they volunteered to work with Jayce to create a similar Information Shop window display for the forthcoming Drug Awareness Week.
You can watch Mathew Tudor’s moving image here: