I made bunting for use at comics workshops and events. It’s home-made and welcoming. It’s part of developing Applied Comics Etc as an organisation that’s participative and professional, about people enjoying making comics, not a corporate behemoth making business. It’s also made me pay far too much attention to other people’s marketing materials. So here’s a blog post on how to make heavy-duty bunting, mixed with thoughts on bearable marketing.
Bunting is colourful, flexible to fit different event spaces, and inherently daft. It’s not yet another pull-up banner stand. A few artists use these effectively, but they’re rare exceptions in a plastic forests of high-resolution single images and bad corporate design.
But is there still bunting to bunt? I thought that, as a world, we’d agreed that the great bunting overload of 2012-ish was finally over and it’s safe to go back to uncool village fete bunting. Alas, no. Since making some 45 metres of home-sewn bunting, I see mass-produced corporate bunting is everywhere. Mass-produced, yet clinging to homey concepts. This bothers me.
There’s a lingering trend for big businesses to use cutesy, naive-ish art styles for branding and marketing. Sometimes through big advertising agencies, sometimes through young illustrators. There’s a worrying trend for individuals and small organisations to mimic the branding practices of big businesses, rather than making their own decisions.
Cut the PVC into flags. Some cuts need a craft knife, steel rule, and cutting mat; others need scissors. Some flags are logo-shaped, others are triangles cut from comics pages with lots of overlapping. Artwork credits are at the bottom of this blog post.
I care about working with people and information, with a business side to facilitate this. Not the other way round.
So far this means working with different comics creators and subject specialists for specific projects. It means learning from each project, and doing each project differently. The comics we’ve made through Applied Comics Etc and Newcastle Science Comic are all different sizes, art styles, paper types, bindings, and print runs. And working out what this means for digital comics. It’s good news for good comics. It’s a headache for distribution and planning, but right now I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It means doing it ourselves and being proud of it. Homemade bunting is the way to go.
See Newcastlesciencecomic.blogspot.com for more on Spineless: The Newcastle Science Comic. The comics on the triangular bunting flags are by our awesome team of Spineless artists:
- Jess Bradley introduces us to invertebrates
- Terry Wiley, with guest curator Irene Brown, explores coral reefs
- Emily Rose Lambert, with guest curator Dan Skerritt, has fun at the seaside and underwater
- Samuel C Williams, with guest curators Vivek Nityananda and Erica McAllister, goes to the rainforests
- Sigmund Reimann, with guest curator Fiona Ware, drops into caves
- John Gatehouse and Dave Windett, with the Environmental Records Centre North East, adventure into the back garden
The Newcastle Science Comic logo was designed by Paul Thompson, who’s recently curated an exhibition called Invisible Beasts – worth a look, like.