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Foood Fings, the Value in a Less than Serious Side Project

Foood Fings started off as a flippant conversation on the back of many conversations about food and creativity. Who doesn’t want to talk about food, we concluded?

We are two visual designers known as GAS, based in a farm courtyard studio near Stansted, it’s just us, so maybe we talk too much!

But what is the value in following a passion alongside your usual day–to-day business? This quirky side project was triggered by wanting to show off some of our creativity, our side view on the world, a variety of styles, which doesn’t always fit for the clients we work for. (We are not the type of designers who think it is our way or no way, we like to design what captures the best in a client, so they are maybe a little more sensible than us.)

The project gave us an opportunity to reach out to so many people, our neighbours in our village, students at various universities, family, clients, various Facebook and LinkedIn connections and strangers who were intrigued by our food questions. They gave us peculiar, delightful, heart warming and daft anecdotes of what they ate, how they ate and what they subject food to.

Our main focus was to produce a limited edition book in a year, with imagery connected to all these food stories. The ‘Foood’ title for the book and project came from when you lovingly talk about food, with the triple ‘ooo’ being so much more expressive). The stories, were the starting point for our slightly off the wall book images.

To give a few examples, Steve’s brother told him about drawing on bananas with a biro, and how good it felt. Bananas took over, the studio stank from a diversity opportunity, leaving them to ripen from green to black. One banana ended up strategically positioned on an apron and an over elaborately drawn banana was peeled and showcased in an animation, see all at Banana Overboard.

Gail was wanted to understand why sprouts generally eaten at Christmas time only; so she began a poll on Facebook to support the small brassica. (Any distraction from Brexit was appreciated). She designed badges for lovers and for detesters a CND equivalent image. She made a placard with posters for both arguments. To our astonishment, the Facebook poll results said 74% liked sprouts and only 26% didn’t.

We heard from the wonderful Wendy Jennings about her habits and what she dips in strawberry milkshake, (yuk fries). We were unsure if it was a good idea, but we decided to try it at our exhibition. Some of our guests actually said the sweet, salty combo worked.

Thinking about origins of eating habits, Steve was wondered why soup spoons were so big, he had always tried to fit the whole spoon in his mush, until Sam Bailey gently told him that you are only meant to sip. Emma, Steve’s wife, a jewellery designer shaped a soup spoon into a question mark, this became the focus for an individual artwork.

Our neighbours gave us loads of suggestions for old fashioned food, they discussed tripe, winkles and brawn and Steve turned them into alternative packaging ideas for a range called Out of Flavour. What we choose to eat is so influenced by the packaging, we were curious if repackaging foods that seem unappealing now, might help bring them back to life. This is still up for debate and may need a further side project of its own.

GAS Food Fings Blog Image

The project has been a rollercoaster process, for a project that started off as an adventure, we didn’t imagine how many new obstacles we would jump along the way.

We held our first exhibition to show off our progress with the book. But only two of us and a business still to run, this was a time challenge to say the least, we evacuated our usual workspace and the remainder of our studio was taken over with prints from the book, limited edition postcards and prototype tea towels as well as the naughty but nice banana apron. Gail felt the urge to have some 3D element, so created an installation utilising an old typewriter, words connected to eating and vintage cutlery. It wasn’t for sale, but it did create a topic of conversation.

We wrote our first brief for students, 35 students studying Fine Art, Graphic Design, 3D Design, Visual Merchandising and animation from Hertford Regional College took part. They sent us stories of drinking bath water, pregnancy cravings, food fight stories and much more. Considering who had told and drawn the strongest food stories, we chose two winners Katherine Field with ‘Mummy Dippers’ and Nicole Harrison with ‘Sweet Savoury Sail’. Katherine’s illustration was in a Pop art style and complemented the style of Foood Fings. Her story was also very heart warming, focussing on the junk food her Mum craved after chemotherapy, having been a once healthy eater. Nicole’s image helped us remember childlike thoughts of drawing pictures in your head, from what you see around you, (thinking food).

Our first limited edition book is now printed; it took a mammoth chunk of time to produce its 60+ colourful pages; we believe in committing fully. It is a lovely feeling to have a physical end to all the hours and we hope it brings a few smiles. The Foood Fings book is a great showcase of our varying. It oozes all the people involved, with all their stories and love for food.

Your chance to see and taste for yourself.

So we have also cooked up our first little side project shop, where you can buy the Foood Fings book, as well as art prints, tea towels and postcards. You can find them all at electricprint.co.uk

The success so far, has been we ended up at 3 Counties Radio an interview with the winning students, we have also been asked to create designs for a food festival, and many new interested clients and collaborators. But it is still really early days… we have the opportunity for press coverage and look out for us at foodie events.

Being designers, we are never satisfied, there is always more to create, more concepts, more methods, more messages, more colour. We need to get back to explaining how we do it this year, but we will be back with another side project, when the restless creative energy builds again.

But this is what Gail and Steve of GAS Studio do for their day job – the real business!

We simplify visual communication;

helping businesses and organisations to build emotional connections with their audiences, delivering design experiences, that delight and engage, to support lasting customer loyalty.

We deliver this through website design, infographics, brochures, lead magnets, brand identity design and much more.

If you want to simplify your marketing communications get in touch with Gail or Steve at hello@gasstudio.co.uk or phone 01799 615088 and see more of our work at gasstudio.co.uk.

If you’d like to make your business or project stand out by using a creative play on words, contact Wendy Jennings Creative today.

 

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