Handcrafted is the New Mass-Produced
Shopping Ethically ...it's something we all want to do, but it's not always that easy, right?
You need a gift in a hurry? - a quick google search and it's in your Amazon basket. Fancy some retail therapy? - you head out to your favourite department store. I do this myself (as much as I wish I didn't!). The problem is our habits are giving more and more power to big businesses who mass-produce faceless items, often treating their suppliers, workers, customers, and the planet with little respect along the way. The answer, I believe, is a complete change of consumer habits. If we could all take a little time to source the odd item from a small business now and then, it could make a huge difference. With more sales, your local carpenter, potter, jewellery-maker, seamstress, etc could begin to compete with the big names, and in time we could see a return to a varied and exciting high street of independent traders selling high quality handcrafted goods. Shopping small would become easy again.
So, realistically I'm not going to change consumer habits on this scale over night with one little campaign, but I decided, if I can create some really eye-catching images with powerful slogans, and use my social media accounts to share them, then maybe I can start to make a few people re-think how they shop. After all, we all have to start somewhere!
I began with research, I compared big businesses and cottage industries, I looked at social ethics, supply chains, past campaigns, current campaigns, and then I started to consider my own campaign. I compiled my research in to a short YouTube video which can be viewed here;
The advantage of thorough research is that it gives you loads of ideas to get started with. However, the disadvantage of thorough research is that it gives you so many ideas you don't know where to start! Initially, I experimented with dream catchers and the slogan 'dreams come true when you shop handmade', which led to a set of three designs.
These first designs were quite pretty and very much in my style, but were also quite similar to a lot of current digital art and I wasn't sure they were unique enough to stand out, so I tried some ideas inspired by resin-crafted jewellery,
While these designs were interesting, they were still very feminine and did not really have a strong impact, so next I played with cutting letters out of magazines.
These designs were more eye-catching, but I felt that the typography was not enough on its own. After further research, I began to develop an idea for a modern room decorated in a very natural style and proclaiming that 'handcrafted is the new mass-produced'. Shoppers are always trying to keep up with current trends, so what better way to persuade them to shop small than by pointing out that handcrafted is the current trend! And it is, all the big homeware stores say so!
I was pleased with this design, the room felt on-trend and modern. It oozed luxury. It wasn't too feminine, and the slogan was clever. But it still needed to be cleverer. To hold the viewer's attention for longer, I turned the image into a short stop-motion video. I tried this with an analogue and a digital process and uploaded both videos to Instagram for feedback. The analogue version was the most popular and can be viewed here;
My design is currently going through more experimental processes, such as playing creatively with typography and exploring filters and mood lighting.
I plan to work further on refining the design, editing the video, and adding extra elements to the campaign, such as interactive social media posts, printed postcards and billboard posters. Another idea I have been playing with is a set of scales showing the unfair balance between factory produced goods and handmade items.
What do you think of my ideas so far? And what would persuade you to rethink your shopping habits? I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments below. Watch out for a project update coming soon, and in the meantime, keep shopping small!