Nikki Gonnissen Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht The Netherlands – I Used to Be a Design Student

DUTCH

Nikki Gonnissen

STUDENT YEARS

6

A PIECE OF SOUND ADVICE + A SINGLE WARNING TO A DESIGN STUDENT

Set some goals and try to reach them + No warnings

FAVOURITE FOOD THEN

Indonesian (my mother comes from Indonesia)

YOUR MOST VALUED POSSESSION THEN

If family is a possession, my family

YEAR OF PROJECT

1993

STUDENT PROJECT BRIEF

The Knee was my final exam project. It was a self-initiated project

COLLEGE

Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht (The Netherlands)

TUTOR(S)

Wim Wal

TECHNOLOGY

Silkscreen printing

TIME SPENT

6 months

TYPEFACE

Joanna

WHY DO YOU LIKE THIS PROJECT?

It was a private project, and I therefore created my own private world.

WHAT DO YOU DISLIKE ABOUT IT?

Certain spreads didn’t come out so well.

OUTCOMES

It was very difficult to get my own thoughts clear.

FEEDBACK

I got my diploma.

PROJECT SIMILARITIES THEN AND NOW

I think it starts with ambition. Both projects are very ambitious. In 1993 there were no colour printers, and I wanted to make a real publication, not one with sticky Letraset type. So I made a big effort to silkscreen the book. I found a publisher who sponsored the project. Like all students, I wanted to show my complete self within this book. I would never try this again; it was horrible. Now when I look back at the project I think I already identified with social issues. The whole ‘knee’ book is about falling, being over-thrown, being a failure. It’s about hierarchy, and I had a deep sympathy for the fallen person and the lower social classes. I used pictures and texts from books and newspapers, and made some myself, of workmen on their knees, praying men, pilgrims, a shot-down man, wounded people, etc.

The nrc (professional) project was ambitious because we approached it from a designer’s and not an advertisement agency’s perspective. The brief was to make a new advertising campaign, and we did, but for us it was important also to rebrand all forms of communication – business cards, commercials, the newspaper itself, radio spots, the Internet, etc.

There is a similarity in content between the two projects also. I have read this newspaper for years now, so I was already personally engaged. It publishes news in an independent but critical way, it is forward-looking, it approaches people not as consumers but as citizens with their own opinions. Its subjects are social and political. We decided to use the news in order to advertise the newspaper itself. So, for example, we featured a photo of the pope and accompanied it with the word: ‘truth?’ So nrc is announcing and commenting on the news of the day through an advertisement in its own newspaper. So another similarity is the engagement within the approach.

Also important is changing the context, and therefore also changing the form or altering the content. Stylistically there are similarities too, such as the use of pictures and contrasting simple signs. In the case of the ‘knee’ book, a hinge above a pilgrim woman kneeling. In the case of nrc, the ‘guillemet’ alongside a picture of the pope.