Jennifer Cole Phillips
I discovered hip-hop at an early age. This discovery opened my mind to a global perspective and experience I could relate to. It had a huge impact on my life and eventually led me down the path of breaking. Breaking culture furthered my exposure to diversity and the richness of cultural self-expression. Immersing myself in this home-away-from-home—the melting pot of the dance floor—was instrumental to my personal development and eventually fueled my interest in graphic design.
My humble beginnings started at Kinkos where I used to post up all hours of the night making event flyers for breaking events. I would hand-draw letterforms, scan images from old records, and tape everything together into my desired compositions. I would then xerox them over and over again, messing with copy settings to get the highest contrast and subtle grainy textured imperfections.
I would pick the most vibrant paper on the shelf, print hundreds of copies, and spend the next day distributing them throughout the city of Portland, Oregon. It was the power of print design that drew people to these battles. It was my successful stint as a breakdance promoter that eventually sparked my interest to pursue graphic design as a career and continue to build in higher education.
For my thesis, I wanted to give back to this community that did so much for me. Throughout this body-of-work, it is my intention to narrow in on the root of what inspired me. It was my goal to study history, taking into consideration the subtleties and traditions that make breaking indisputably original, in hopes of representing what I see—a brilliant prosperous future.
This collection of Risograph prints was designed with content I pulled through crowd participation. My method for collecting copy was pretty straight forward. I used a google form and shared it with my immediate breaking community on Facebook. In this form, I included three basic questions that I felt would stir up some solid content.
In general, people took their responses seriously. Breaking clearly meant as much to them as it means to me. I found a lot of commonalities in the answers and when pieced together, it was a universal voice I could transform into a poster series expressive and authentic to the culture.
As part of my graduate thesis work, I document all of my findings into the form of a Thesis Book. Below is a compilation of some selected spreads and a runthrough of the publication.
SELECTED PROJECTS —
Extend the CypherBranding, website
Break TapesBranding, website
King of WhatPoster
DC Design WeekBranding
Thrive MagazinePublication Design
Because of Her StoryBranding
SidedoorBranding & Illustration