How To Set Trends
Tina Touli is a graphic communication designer known for experimental work that mixes analog and digital. When we asked her to create an original artwork using Adobe Stock assets, we assumed the results would be unusual—and we were right. To make the final piece, Touli used Illustrator, After Effects, a camera, an empty picture frame, and eleven small glass domes.
Below, Touli explains her process in her own words and screen-capture videos (no sound). If she inspires you to experiment, begin by downloading 10 images from Adobe Stock for free.
As a designer, you can either be a creator, an influencer, an innovator, and a trendsetter, or you can be one who follows the "current wave" of trends set by others.
Living in the digital age, we tend to research and design in front of our screen. Inspired by this fact, this project blends the digital world, the pages that we are non-stop scrolling, and the physical world, which we humans belong to. The glass lenses in the project represent eyes, the key to everything for a designer, staring at the screen, simply reflecting without absorbing the content. They repeat the current trends rather than create something new.
A great inspiration for this design was "Becoming Leonardo: How Great Designers Think" by the author and designer William Lidwell. In that speech, he says, "Everything in nature can be seen by other things in nature, and so, you either want to be camouflaged against your surroundings, so the things that can eat you can’t see you, or you want to broadcast your presence. You are alerting the world basically that ‘I am poisonous and if you eat me you will probably die.’"
This project, a perfect loop, shows the dilemma of whether to follow the current trends, represented by patterns inspired by classic camouflage, or evolve them and start a new wave. Do you reflect the current trend, get camouflaged and hide yourself in it, or do you broadcast your presence by creating a new pattern that the others will follow and eventually get camouflaged in?
MAKING THE BUBBLES PATTERN IN ILLUSTRATOR
The first pattern was inspired by classic military camouflage, but I made it new by choosing colorful vector images with shapes that reminded me of camouflage and altering them in Adobe Illustrator CC.
ANIMATING THE BUBBLES IN AFTER EFFECTS
I made and animated three more patterns, all of which were inspired by different classic camouflage patterns and began as Adobe Stock assets.
ADDING THE EYES WITH ANALOG ANIMATION
RETURNING TO DIGITAL TO COMBINE THE CLIPS
It is important to follow the evolution of trends but find your own special way to incorporate them in your work. In this design, I used boomerangs and cinemagraphs as tools for research and investigation, rather than design outcomes. Boomerangs allow you to observe perfect loops of a moment in real and reversed time, creating a dilemma, showing the two sides of the same scheme. Cinemagraphs allow you to focus on small things that you would rarely give attention to—for instance, the way in which people stare fixedly at their screens, with the screens’ reflections on the people being the only thing that changes.
It is up to you to choose whether you want to be camouflaged and hidden within the trends or to just monitor them and broadcast your presence by creating something new.
To see more of Tina Touli’s inspiring work, visit her Behance page.