Retraining the over 55’s

The brief for this, one of my earlier degree projects entitled “Retraining the over 55’s” was released as a D&AD new blood brief. Being slightly south of the maximum age range to enter I wasn’t able to enter the competition. It did, however, provide me with a great brief to crack on with. When researching the different visual languages used for re-training people over the typical age range, I was met with the usual pedestrian royalty-free image library graphics – most featuring “older” people actually sitting in a classroom setting and looking “overjoyed” at the daunting reality of being there. I suspect you know exactly what type of image I’m describing.  I felt I needed to ring the changes a bit, and looked to create new images that the over 55’s could relate to.


The first sketches for this project.


After discussing the project with people over this age, I discovered that although many could see the obvious benefits of retraining to enhance their careers – many thought they simply “couldn’t do it”

Who would an “oldie” like me?

From then on, I decided to try and focus on a sort of “rebirth” range of images with 1950 / 60’s pop-art as a basis for the overall style. I wanted to create a sort of “explosion” whereby lots of emotional states of someone’s mind are “thrown up in the air” and then re-assembled post training. To do this I took two shots of my Mother-in-law (after having previously bribed her with a strong cup of tea and a cake) one not quite sad, but slightly pensive – tinged with regret.

The posterized shots where first glued to pieces of wood.


The next would be the “after” happier image. The latter being taken after (a little) hair and makeup had been suitable addressed!


Whilst actively trying to avoid the use of software for a change, it did become more practical to colour up the black and white shots after they had been arranged. Above can be seen early experiments in how the different pieces of wood could lay on top of each other to create the effect I was looking for.

I also experimented with a horizontal and vertical transition.



Here is the final “exploded pop-art” image, which I’m very happy with and was well received by my tutors.




Posted on

August 22, 2019