W+K 12 Submission
Once upon a time, I applied for Wieden+Kennedy’s in-house experimental ad school, W+K 12. To make it to the final group of possible candidates, we had to complete a project. The assignment was to tell today's youth why they should worship Charles Dickens.
Youth is a time when we search for identity, crave sincerity, and question meaning. Dickens made a career of dwelling on these ideas. By focusing on the nuances within the human psyche, his stories force you to confront the frailty of humanity and the strength of character. They embrace grit and celebrate imperfection. They create visceral experiences that make you reflect on your own identity. I decided take those definitive qualities and present them in a way that would, rather than explain Dickens' work, allow people to feel it.
I referenced monastic scribes and architects from the Middle Ages, who devoted their lives to meticulously creating intricate works of art that were meant to awe the viewer into a state of worship. I hand wrote several chapters from three Dickens novels. The lettering creates a texture of fine lines and patterns, giving a distinction to each piece. The letterforms, which degraded with the fatigue of my hands, reflect the intricacy and imperfection that is evident in his story telling. The posters are meant to intrigue the viewer, make them wonder what the correlation is between the hand writing and the author, and most importantly, allow them to the experience Charles Dickens.
I made it into the final thirty-ish group of candidates. I met some wonderful people, including Jim Riswold. He said the posters almost made him "fucking cry". It was cool. But, I didn't make it into the final 12. Jerks.