After the initial design round went to curatorial last week, the resounding answer was no to both (bit disappointed about the ink bird idea, but that's life as a designer!).
What was interesting about the discussion was, firstly, that Leora was concerned that the idea of a bird would be insulting. I tried to explain that it's taking the idea of defining someone as a 'jail bird' and turning it on its head, instead, viewing them as a bird whose flight is interrupted, but of course, there are big cultural differences between the US and Australia, and if she thinks the bird idea is insulting, then I need to take that on board and move on.
The other good thing to come out of our discussion was the fact that we really got to speak about the design brief. For this project, I have a very basic brief, but not much curatorial direction ('no barbed wire' was one directive!). So, we talked a lot more about the visual direction the exhibition could go in, and we discussed in particular what voice should be reflected in the main text. We decided to experiment with the institutional voice and add fingerprint graphics, keeping it very simple and in black.
What's also important about this is that we decided not to go down the 'grungy' line, as we didn't want any visual connotation of crime or violence as such (or the 'seedy world of crime'), as this could undermine the testimonies of the people quoted. We also decided that, if going down the fingerprint line, that we didn't go too far back in time, but keep it contemporary.
In Gary Hurstwit's documentary, "Helvetica" (2009), there's mention of New York City's documents being set in Helvetica, so that filling out official forms is more visually approachable. I thought about this idea of 'bureaucracy-in-Helvetica' and have experimented with this typeface and a couple of other sans serif typefaces.
We have a meeting over Skype tonight, so hopefully a definite direction will be agreed on, and this project can get underway.
A booklet will also be designed for this exhibition. The design is supposed to be exactly the same, but that's a bit tough to do, as the type will need to be adjusted to the different formats. I'll have to account for extra time for that, but have lost four days on the deadline (which has been moved back from the 19th October to the 15th).