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visual communication practice

Cup & Chain

Description of idea

Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the festival outlines:

My goal was to create a strong visual metaphor using appropriated imagery in order to shed light upon the negative aspects associated with pleasure, no matter how we may seek it. In this case I represented the common morning cup of coffee, which some people claim unable to function without it in their daily ritual, and hinted at the power it subconsciously has over them. It’s almost like we become an oblivious slave to the things we find the most pleasure in, which can sometimes have negative effects, but we’re no closer to changing our habits since it makes us happy, however temporary that happiness may be.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

In my approach I appropriated images, looking for elements that are iconic in most cultures, in order to create a thought-provoking visual metaphor.

What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of your communication?

I believe that this image-based commentary could help shed some light on some of the negative qualities associated with the things we find pleasure in. At the very least, it should cause someone to take a moment and think about if they really need that coffee in order to function in the morning or if it’s just an almost instinctual craving.

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

Having been prompted by a scientific article on the pleasure we have that is associated with hunger and thirst, I found the creation of this piece to be quite self-revelatory as well. It isn’t often that you stop to think about the things that you find the most joy in and their effects. So the creation process of this image was reflective in a way.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

I think my design is successful due to the fact that metaphors come naturally to us, bypassing the barrier of spoken or written language. Therefore the possible intentions and meaning behind this image are easily communicated to a wide audience.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

I plan to use this competition as a way to disseminate my image as well as other social media outlets.

Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change other media with your work- how?)

As I mentioned previously, I was influenced by an article written on the topic in question. Hopefully through the creation of this image, I’ll be able to influence others in the same fashion.

Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

...I'd love to see a series of similar metaphors - the formal construction itself is already so suggestive of multiples, I'd take this one forward to other aspects of food consumption/pleasure that are fraught as addictions. Caffeine, sugar, alcohol, nicotine all seem to be available targets, and worth the effort to get a silent, though potentially effective piece of communication.
I think also introducing a more specific context - even through some careful photoshop work - could give this initial effort more life - train stations, bus stops, places where commercial advertising asks for our submission...this would ask for our contemplation and reflection.
Even a consideration of a concluding informational panel that brings together the "expense" of each pleasurable addiction - rates of cancers, obesity, car fatalities - related back to the imagery could give the work a more focused critical kick.
The image itself - again, beautifully constructed - also gives you the opportunity to critique and talk about how much time is spent in the construction of desire, the whole apparatus of commercial staging, photography, art direction that convinces us we want something - perhaps this leads to a comparison of the relative amounts spent on public health issues, versus international brand campaigns for the habits mentioned above...its a series that would great potential to be more than a singular critique.
You may wish to look up a colleague's work - Amir Berbic - he teaches at the University of Illinois, Chicago - UIC - some of his MFA work might be of interest in terms of the construction of visual metaphors, and the degree to which we need to see an image as "real" in order to grasp its communicative potential.
Whatever the means of photographic collage at work here, the aesthetic quality calls forward an earlier era, and I wonder about playing on that to further push a sense that many of these vices have a long history, and a long history of us overlooking the demands they place on our physiology. I say this as a dedicated espresso drinker well aware of the headaches that await me if I miss my morning shot - this so far hasn't stopped me in my morning pleasure, but I know it comes at a cost that so far I'm willing to pay...
I say flesh this series/system out...its off to a very convincing start.

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Entry details


Cup & Chain


A Slave To Pleasure

Concept author(s)

Nick Hyde

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

Planned and executed communicative design.


United States of America

Competition category

visual communication practice

Competition subcategory


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

North Carolina State College of Design - Graphic Design