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A Message Needing an Audience

Fears and Confessions is most easily described as project full of passion. Striking a personal chord, this poem deserved a design that speaks as loud and strongly as its message. It is a message that deserves to be heard, so I created a design system around publicizing Angela Aguirre’s message. Designed as a conceptual promotional advertisement for her TEDx talk the motion media short is accompanied buy a poster and product series chronicling the rest of her message. Needing no frills, the design speaks with each breath and word as a type driven design.

A Concept that Fits

The video covers the third section of the poem, and what I believe to be the core message. Add someone with ADHD it often feels difficult to fit in or measure up to our peers. That being said the video is designed to make her word stronger and not imprint it with my own interpretation. In her Ted talk, Angela talks about her experience is being diagnosed with ADHD. It's a phrase we've all heard a million times before, that we think differently, outside of the box. Instead, Angela’s doctor equated it much more to we don't even know where the box is. We walk through life unable to compare ourselves to others because it is not our experience, yet struggling to fit in.

 This became the inspiration for the visual design of the video. Each word punches boldly onto the screen driving at the heart of the message. Words in each line are chosen methodically for the emotions driven into their meaning. This section of the poem in particular drives at how society tries to box us in, Label us, and move on. This is reflected in the video Through the tightening boxes that strangle each label they put on to us. The words are broken up and distorted because no matter how many times we have heard It, drives a barrier between us, and our journey to measure up to standard society. In contrast to Angela’s words, her own emotions are put bluntly, slammed on the page unafraid to take up space and show the depth and strength of our emotions and collective experience.

Poem by Angela Aguirre

I fear that my legacy will be an unfinished poem
Like the ones that fill my notebook
I do not want to look back at my life and see
That it could have been so much more
Than it turned out to be

My life is a series of almosts
I fear that I will never know greatness
That I will not be able to stay around long enough
To even become good enough to be great at anything

I often feel like I do not belong
Like a concert in a library
A red dress at a funeral
I am a magnet for wide-eyed looks
People will not always tell you when your defect is showing but
their eyes will
Brows raised in confusion
It is more polite to say "You are one of a kind"
Than to try understanding why
They will say you are unique
Claim variety is the spice of life
Laughed at often and dismiss the moment because
It feels too much like a turtleneck in the summertime
These compliments will always feel
more like insults

I am in a perpetual state of barely getting by
Of trying to catch up
Ironic that someone so full-speed ahead can so easily get left behind

When people tell me I am amazing
I do not believe them
I smile and give thanks and hope not to be discovered
I am a fraud
If only they knew that my accomplishments
feel a lot more like accidents
As if the universe sometimes makes mistakes in my favor like
a glitch in the solar system, a data error
Someone somewhere must have spelled my name wrong
I hope no one notices

The best of intentions with the worst execution
I am what happens when a brilliant idea meets a terrible mistake

My life must look a lot like the fourth of July
Upon arrival, I light the sky bright loud and temporary
I am a beautiful explosion but
only for a moment
A shortlived spectacle
A pyrotechnic poet
I have always wished I were more fireplace
than firework

I have a love-hate relationship with the pill bottle
I am now at 60mg of Adderall a day
When I don't take it I feel useless
But when I do the dry mouth plagues me
And I am less myself
But I guess that is a good thing
People say they see the difference
That I am more pleasant and agreeable
Sometimes I wonder if I am medicated
to make everyone else's life easier

I wish my life were easier
Wish I wasn't such a problem
Such a series of unfortunate events
There are only so many apologies you get
until "I'm sorry" is no longer enough


The Design

With a poem as emotionally raw yet strongly spoken as Fears and Confessions; the design seeks not to compete with the message. Instead, it is explored in stark unadorned typography designed to carry the weight of each line. Using a limited color palette, it utilizes negative space to emulate the insecurities in the statements. And the design that is primarily black and white, red is the only punch of color, distractingly calling attention to the most difficult of confessions.

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