Discovery Walk: The Story of the Title Plaque

The Story of the Discovery Walk Plaque Designs: The Title Plaque

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Working on design proposals for the plaques led me to develop a series of stories depicted by both words and complementary illustrations. The idea was to take people on a short journey to experience the lives and achievements of those notable individuals being featured in the walk.  Through careful research and advice gained from experts, including families in some cases, we developed short descriptive passages for each plaque and the supporting stylised illustrations were each created to carry the story way beyond the written form alone. A picture tells a thousand words, grabs your attention, sparks the imagination and makes you as curious as Alice following the White Rabbit.

Title Plaque Discovery Walk WhimSicAL LusH
April 6th 2016: Me sitting next to the Title plaque on the day of the unveiling of Discovery Walk Dundee at Slessor Gardens. It was my first sighting (and touching) of the plaques that day. An incredible feeling as last time I had seen the design it was on paper.

The journey has been fascinating for me too – an exciting adventure through Dundee’s history – and I have learnt so much. This project revealed some tricky challenges to be solved along the way, especially in terms of the transformation from ink on paper to evolve as an intricate relief design set in to bronze – but it has been one which has given me so much pleasure to be involved in! And my pleasure continues on when I consider that others will, hopefully, appreciate this information being presented in a creative and respectful way, in celebration of those being honoured and in recognition of their great achievements. I would like to believe that, over the years to come, these impressive bronze plaques of Discovery Walk will inspire others, particularly children, to learn more about the wonderful wealth Dundee holds in its past – and help them look at and understand their present, as well influence their future.

Over the next ten weeks I would like to tell the story of what I was thinking when I was designing the ten bronze plaques that make up Discovery Walk, starting with the introduction….DSC_2433

The Discovery Walk Title Plaque

The vines represent Dundee’s growth in the past, present and future. They are exploring the city, whilst reminding us of all of its beautiful green spaces. The leaves look like tiny footprints, like tracks in the snow left by those following the walk, echoing the idea of travelling and exploring along a path.

WhimSicAL LusH Botanicals
The leaves look like tiny footprints following the walk…

The botanical design is also inspired by artist William Morris, his designs appeared throughout the historical period that runs through the walk time span. Much of William Morris’ original textile pieces are archived and held at the V&A museum in London and with the Dundee V&A currently being built right next to the site of Discovery Walk he was the perfect inspiration.

William Morris Fabric
William Morris Fabric: Willow Pattern. William Morris is one of my favourite designers, lending inspiration to the walk.

WhimSicAL LusH Title Plaque Sketch Discovery Walk

Original Sketch for Discovery Walk Title Plaque

The botanical design is also a nod to Dundee’s stunning Botanic Gardens, a hub of research and discovery in Dundee. It also represents the city’s surrounding countryside. One of the charms of the city is that you are never too far away from beautiful scenery.

My work as an illustrator and artist is hugely influenced by nature and those shapes and patterns that can be found when enjoying the outdoors and everything it has to offer, so it only felt natural that the first of the plaques felt quite free and echoed much of the heart of my work.

If you would like to read more about Discovery Walk then please pop over to the Discovery Walk Page. To see some more of my work in progress pictures from the design process then please look up the hashtag #DiscoveryWalkDundee on Twitter, Instagram and the photo album on Facebook.

Thanks for reading, I hope that it was of interest. I’m looking forward to sharing more of the stories over the next few weeks.

Suzanne x

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