New Project: Post-it Notes
The University of Chester has a dedicated campus for all of its creative students known as Kingsway. This houses all students studying graphic design, fine art, performance and all other creative courses. However, what was clearly missing from the walls of the campus was the one thing that all of its students had in them – creativity. This small, self-generated project was aimed at trying to solve this problem through the use of Post-it notes. You can view the project here.
I had wanted to do something viral-like at the University for quite some time, but hadn’t thought of anything good enough to put into practice. Additionally, with lots of coursework already on my plate, I couldn’t do anything that would be time consuming. For some reason, I had started noticing that the walls of the campus were awfully blank, moreso than usual and I really wanted to change this. I had also noticed that a lot of the noticeboards that were located around the walls did not have anything visually interesting on them, if anything at all. It seemed a shame to not take advantage of all of this empty space with something more creative.
While using some of the trademark neon yellow Post-it notes for my coursework, the idea came to me to incorporate them into something I could use around University. It was then that I decided to purchase a big block of notes in yellow, pink, green and orange and put as many of them to use as possible by writing short messages on each one of them and then sticking them around campus.
I spent the best part of two hours simply writing messages onto lots of notes, only to realise that I had foolishly written the messages on the wrong side! In other words, I’d written them on the side with the sticky strip, meaning that when stuck to the wall, the message wouldn’t be visible. It had taken me about 30 messages to realise this and I had to start again.
Once all of my messages were written, I simply left them in my bag and whenever I went to University and had the chance, started sticking them to the walls wherever they looked like they would be read. I also took care to do it while no one was looking as I didn’t want this project to be associated with me. This wasn’t because I was scared of getting ‘caught’, but simply because I didn’t want this project to be about advertising myself. I wanted it to be about promoting creativity in others. This is why it took quite a number of trips to and from University to finally get the notes stuck up onto walls.
Over the days and weeks, some fell off and some were pulled off, but quite a number of them stayed exactly where they were. One day, I walked past one of the notes I had stuck up. It simply said “Quantity doesn’t equal quality” and I noticed that someone had decided to write underneath it. I can’t quite remember what they wrote, but it was something along the lines of “But quality can be found in quantity”. Touché indeed. I found it incredibly interesting that someone had decided to take the time to reply to what is just a bog standard Post-it note and with a reply that was quite obviously thoughtfully written.
A few weeks later, someone had replied to another of the notes. This one simply read “Do it now”, to which someone had replied “Yeah baby!”. Not quite the message I wanted to communicate, but again, incredibly interesting that someone had taken the time to reply to it. I had never expected that people would actually write on the notes. My aim was to simply make people think about what was on the notes and to brighten an otherwise blank wall. It was truly interesting that people had decided to interact with the messages.
Although I would not call this project time consuming or visually artistic, I thought it was important to add it to my portfolio of work because aside from being a graphic designer, I feel that I am a problem solver. Someone who can come up with an idea that appeals to its target audience. Here, the problem was simple: How do you make a blank wall more interesting in a low cost way? And my answer was through the use of Post-it notes, which worked far better than I had originally thought. I’m not quite sure if this would count as a ‘viral’ campaign, but it certainly had a positive effect and I’m pleased with the outcome.