Casey Strickland

Figuring Stuff Out

Bachelor of Design Illustration Zine
AD20 Award
Manakau Studio Award
For contribution and leadership in Visual Communication

Hello, my name is Casey Strickland and I am a 21-year-old designer. I have always been drawn to creative activities throughout my younger years and I believe that is what led me to pursue a career within the design industry. During high school, I developed a knack and strong interest in photography, thinking “I could do this all the time”. Continuing to study Communications Design here at AUT has only led me to explore and try new things like bookbinding, moving image and branding that has also piqued my interest.

Recently, I looked back on my childhood and a thought popped into my head about the amount of stuff that has come and gone in my life so far and how much is still to come. This thought has led my final project to explore my relationship with my possessions. I aim to try and understand and reflect on how the value and importance of items can influence my everyday life. I do this by finding different ways of categorising and making connections between myself and my stuff in a short series of posters and zines.

When I started this project, I thought it would end and I would understand everything completely. The idea was to explore my relationship with my possessions and make connections to help me understand why I have these things, why they are important or not important, why I continue to keep them and more. To my surprise, I still understand so little. The more I think about it and the more I discuss with people in hopes to find some clarity, new questions arise and that leads to more questions. This project has become a starting point for me to continuously discover and decode the complex web of questions that form in my head.

‘Figuring Stuff Out’ is a series of zines and posters, where each of the zines focuses on an idea or principle - Hierarchy, usability, memory, identity and feelings - I created them to show my understanding in how they relate to the items I own and to hopefully trigger other people to also think about and reflect on their relationship with their possessions.

The idea of hierarchy shows the different levels of importance of my objects that range from sentimental to material value, taking into account a series of questions that help inform and influence my decisions to place them at that level.

Thinking about how often an item is used, the quality and functionality of an object is how I have organised and shown the level of usability.

From doing some research, I found that memories and possessions have at least four types of connections. I focused on objects that acquire memories. This is where an object has been used in a specific memory I have. So now when I see these objects, I remember those significant moments.

To identify an object, I could look at similarities and differences, outstanding characteristics of the objects and take into account its function.

Lastly, feelings work very closely with memories and there are so many that come along with it. As I reflect on all my possessions and find things I haven't seen in a while, I become overwhelmed with many feelings and emotions.

For the design of my zines, I took an illustrative approach where I drew each of my items. Because of the nature of my project, this became another way for me to really pay attention to detail, know my things and reflect on each of the items as I drew them one by one. I decided to use five main colour combinations as a form of categorising each idea, while also illustrating a character to match the personality of them too.