How can we use symbols to communicate who we are?
Design Studio 1, Unit 3: John Caserta
For this project, I was tasked with creating a set of four flags to be mounted by the canal in Providence, just outside of RISD's Design Center. I was asked to considered symbolism, meaning, location, history, and audience.
After doing some research and observations of the space, I decided that each flag would make a reference to the history of Providence in relation to its current state. Founded by Roger Williams as a safe haven for people of all religions in colonial times, Providence is still considered a refuge for discriminated peoples. Yet, it was also one of the biggest slave ports in the United States. On a lighter note, the city was one of the first to industrialize and became known for its textile and metal manufacturing, garnering the nickname as the "Beehive of Industry." In 2009, the city rebranded itself to be called "The Creative Capital" due to its high concentration of artist and designers living in the city.
I attached a word to each of these facts that I would symbolize: Creativity, Innovation, Opportunity, Equality. Together, these created a “Manifesto” that the people of Providence can (almost) universally strive for.
The Final Flags
The forms for each are derived directly from their chosen word. While abstract, they are meant to be generally understood by the people of Providence. The connected spiral symbolizing creativity was inspired by the creative process. The forward lopping arrow similarly symbolizes the process of innovation. The road symbolizing opportunity moves the viewer’s eye up and to the right, common positive directional connotations. Lastly, the repeating vertical lines symbolizing equality are spaced evenly, there being no hierarchy in the design.
I chose to use a bright yellow color for the symbols because it is a color or creativity while remaining playful, uplifting, and happy. The white backgrounds make reference to white flags in battle, a symbol of a request for a truce. Together the colors of the flag suggest positive forward-thinking in a collaborative, inclusive way.