This project focuses on the exploration of a particular subculture that may not have as much recognition in mainstream media. In partnership with two other designers; we chose Cosplayers as our subculture. As a subculture I personally relate to, I felt very invested in creating a visual representation of the culture, showcasing what makes them unique.
Pinning Down the Details
This large research poster delves into the history of cosplay, the contemporary relation to culture and the process of most cosplayers. The intention is to educate a viewer to better understand and relate to cosplayers. The majority of the poster highlight key facts and common knowledge known within the cosplayer community. It is a welcoming poster for outsiders and and representation of the subculture.
The entire project was guided by external and internal research. I gathered articles from secondary sources such as online articles, essays and studies. Other research came directly from the source; the cosplayers themselves. I created a questionnaire and reached out to some local and not so local communities for their input on their view on cosplay. The feedback was overwhelming.
Reap What You Sew
Synthesizing the responses I received from the volunteers and formulated a common problem within the community. Some issues within the community that I found were body image stigmas, financial restrictions and the fear of cosplaying for a first time. However, an issues I found prevalent focused more on the venue for Cosplayers; the convention! Almost every cosplay is made to then be showcased at a comic/game convention.
Conventions are were the community come together, where interests are shared and costumes are admired. However the experience for anyone at a convention can be overwhelming regardless of your expertise with costumes. Hence the second piece of the research project.
Congo is an app developed to allow users to traverse any comic/game/themed convention with easy. You are able to map your day by events and connect with other users that are also attending the convention.
Holistically, the entire research benefited the community by giving them another means to express themselves and have others understand their joy in the culture. Cosplayers are not a stereo-type. They are women, men, doctors, students, old, and young. To learn the support that people find in the cosplay community not just with fandom is inspiring and creating a theoretical solution was a challenge yet rewarding.
Photos of cosplayers provided by volunteers.