Kenzo Mayama Kramarz is a designer based in London. After years of working in the industry, he decided this year to set up his own KMK Studio, where he splits his time between commercial and self-initiated projects, which often come from things, he says, “that frustrate me on a personal level.” This project, “The First One Hundred Tweets,” is one of the flurry of Trump-related responses interpreting and commenting on the character’s characters. I asked Kramarz about them.
Why did you create these? Since Trump took office I started to follow his Twitter activity more closely, and it only made me feel more anxious and upset. It was hard to come to terms with his discourse and the agenda he was proposing. I guess as a designer I’m always looking into ways of making sense of things through visual representations. After a few days I noticed some patterns in Trump’s tweets, in terms of both form and content. I then decided to investigate how his tweets would look if they were converted into a visual system.
What are you doing with them? I analyzed Trump’s first 100 tweets as president and created symbols to represent the most mentioned policies, individuals, institutions, places and actions. I also looked into the overall mood of each message, as he constantly uses terms to enhance the sentiment of his tweets. I then put the analysis and visual experiments together on a website and would like to further explore ways of translating his rhetoric into visual narratives.
What kind of response do you anticipate? This is meant to be an ongoing visual study, so I guess from the beginning I was more committed with the process itself rather than a particular outcome or conclusion. I tried to be as neutral as possible, with no particular objective in mind, and present the work in a way that allows the audience to reach their own conclusions. The purpose was to get some clarity out of the noise Trump makes on Twitter, rather than present a specific point of view. I’m keen on design projects that try to offer a new angle on subjects of great public interest, and hope this one will tap into that.
What is your favorite? The tweets that led to more expressive visual results were the ones with more controversial subjects or heavier emotional characterization. I have to admit though that getting too close to Trump’s discourse made me equally fascinated and terrified.
The experts who write for PRINT magazine cover the why of design—why the world of design looks the way it does, how it has evolved, and why the way it looks matters. Subscribe to PRINT today, and get in on the conversation of what the brightest minds in the field are talking about right now—essential insight that every designer should know to get ahead.
Treat yourself and your team to a year of PRINT for $40—which includes the massive Regional Design Awards issue ($30 on newsstands).