Information Design Summer Intensive

The past month has seen momentous changes in the landscape of post-secondary art and design education and research; our institutions have responded to the threat of COVID-19 with force, and in turn our communities have had to shift to working virtually, something that is a real challenge in the case of studio-based disciplines such as design. The Graphic Research Unit at Emily Carr has redirected and re-envisioned projects to conform to the present goals of COVID-19 prevention and we are proud to announce the Information Design Summer Intensive, a remote format summer school that will be running over July and August 2020. Please see this page for more information.

An update and forecast

This site has become a record for some of the major steps in our projects, without getting into too much detail about all the nitty gritty. It seems sensible, therefore, to post an update with broad strokes for some of our projects ahead!

The Stationery Project has just completed a large commission of course materials (a run of 270 nature journals), for Emily Carr’s 2nd year course Ecological Perspectives in Design. This sets a precedent for us in terms of our flexibility and adaptability to meeting everyday course needs, which we are very pleased about! We’re also looking forward to continuing our very popular weekly pop-up shop this spring.

The Superlab project continues to expand with the development of the Sunshine Coast Summer School, an intensive format exploring expanded approaches to studio practice in information design. Registration is upcoming and updates about the summer intensive itself can be found on the Superlab page!

Graphic Lab featured following the UBC MURC 2019 Conference

The Graphic Lab for Teens project continues to gain visibility with a feature on the Emily Carr Website, COMD Researchers Bring a Graphic Lab for Teens to the Sunshine Coast . This feature follows on GRU researcher Sam Talbot’s successful presentation of the Graphic Lab project at UBC’s Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference on March 16! Sam is also a coordinator of the Gibsons YMCA youth centre, follow their work on Instagram through the youth centre and the graphic research accounts.

Activating the Graphic Lab!

After more than a year of work, the Graphic Lab for teens is almost ready. Research, consultation, acquisition, prototyping, exploration… a lot of preparatory work has been done. It is now time to gather it all together and activate the space. 

On March 7 and April 12, members of the Graphic Research Unit (GRU) will travel to the Sunshine Coast to help re-envision and activate the Graphic Lab at Gibsons YMCA Youth Centre. Members of the GRU will deploy their design skills to help draw traffic to the youth centre and demonstrate to youth some of the great possibilities and potential held within the space. During the site visits, the GRU Master of Design students will also hold small workshops, collaborating with youth around their specific areas of design research. What better way to showcase the potential of a Graphic Lab than to give the space a little design makeover, and then put it all to use? 

Many lessons can be learned from adapting design resources to the specific needs and skill sets of teenagers. Those lessons can be applied to make mainstream design resources more accessible, safer, easier to understand, less expensive, and more impactful. By engaging with teenagers (our edge case), we learn how to make design practices more accessible and empowering for everyone.

Many thanks to the YMCA of the Greater Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast Regional District and the Gibsons Area Community Centre without whom this collaboration would not have been possible. Many thanks also to the Master of Design student members of the Graphic Research Unit: Medha Mistry, Devansh Parikh and Laura Caceres Rivero. This project is made possible by a grant from the President’s Office at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. 

The Stationery Project: A Year in Review

2018 was a big year for The Stationery Project. We grew from an idea and a goal into a functional, nationwide stationery producer.

Our research project began back in early 2018 with Katherine Gillieson, faculty lead and Julia Pepler, research assistant lead. Our goal was to assess issues of paper waste at Emily Carr and find effective ways to divert scrap paper from the waste-stream, and into functional stationery.

In the early months of 2018 we focused on exploration. We worked out how to use the found paper in the most effective ways, to give a second life to something considered to be garbage, and to do so with as little energy or resource waste as possible. In these months we also implemented various systems to collect scrap paper, and we received a large donation of discarded file-folders from the ECUAD library.

By the end of April we had settled on 2 styles of notebooks and 1 style of notepad that used our sourced paper in useful and low-impact ways. We held a project launch event in  pop-up in April to showcase our work, and received lots of helpful and constructive feedback.

Thanks to two Ian Gillespie Research Grants we were able to expand our tools of production and were able to acquire a new soy-based Risograph printer as well as various binding tools for the COMD lab at Emily Carr. With the new school year we were also able to bring on some extra hands in preparation for the Vancouver Art Book Fair (VABF) in October, and had our project featured in a piece entitled Design Thinking for Sustainability on Campus on the Emily Carr website. 

We were thrilled to be a part of the VABF and to bring our stationery to a wider audience. At the fair, we got a chance to discuss paper waste issues with variety of people, and spit-ball ways to reduce and reuse, before recycling.

The Stationery Project was also featured at the École Rose-Des-Vents Christmas Market, and our own Holiday Workshop and Sale in December. At these events we showcased a new notebook form, as well as our 2019 calendar.

Finally, at the end of December we partnered with Halifax’s The Tare Shop and began to sell our notebooks there. This zero-waste grocery store/cafe is a great place for people who are already interested finding new ways to reduce their personal waste.

2018 has been an incredibly transformative year for our project. We’ve grown in size, we’ve evolved our notebooks based off feedback and we’ve welcomed new opportunities. It’s difficult to know what 2019 will hold for us, but we do know that more transformation and change is on the way! We hope to reach more people, continue to improve our stationery as well as develop new forms and types of products. Thanks for following along on our wild journey, and have a very happy new year.

All the best from The Stationery Project team.
Katherine Gillieson, Julia Pepler, Medha Mistry, Jaz Halloran, Cameron Neat & Kathleen Jacques