Painting a Picture with Insight from Londoners

Emily James

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Lucy Bridges

    We each have an emotional connection to where we live; whether it’s where we grew up or where we’ve moved to, the memories that we make and the life that we cultivate in that place colours the perception we have of it.

    Emotional insights are often to skewed senses of vision, but to those who live there, they have explored every inch of that territory, carved out paths through building up a routine, and know where is best to go for a picnic, rainy day outing, or date night, and many others, so they have the truest perception of what it is like to live there.

    London is a cultural hotspot; home to many ethnicities that have contributed to a majority of its history and influenced its evolution to become a global city in the truest sense. See how it translates to art here!

    Taking this into account, we wanted to incorporate it into the relaunch of our Insight as Art project, and see if we could turn not only insights into art, but locations as well based on the insights from those who live there. As the capital city of England, London is the perfect subject for this project. We know all the facts, all of the stories, all of the history associated with London, but for those who live outside of the city hub, we can only imagine what it is like to live there.

    Living in London: An In-Depth Analysis

    Press Photo - London Advert

    According to Londoners, there’s no other place in the world quite like London.

    It is “a global city in the truest sense” with opportunities abound, the freedom to explore and live; but what really makes London truly special is the people. After much deliberation, we decided to represent this through the creation of our very own bird – the vibrant colours are a direct reflection of the vivacious life found within London, with the distinctive patterns a determined attempt to represent the many different ethnicities and cultures all found within London all in one image.

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    London is a cultural hotspot; home to many ethnicities that have contributed to a majority of its history and influenced its evolution to become a global city in the truest sense. See how it translates to art here!

    Why though, is a bird the main subject of the piece? Amongst other things, birds connote the feeling of ultimate freedom – absolute independence, the adrenaline-fuelled flight and unbridled enthusiasm as Londoners chase the sky determined to take advantage of the city in which they live. According to one participant, London is “full of hidden gems - you can easily spend a day getting lost having an adventure!” As such, the bird accurately depicts the opportunities found only within London for those who dare to seek them.

    We received a very poignant statement from one participant, who said “the thing about living in London is that you get out what you put in.” They confirmed that London is brilliant and “bloody fast-paced”, brimming with chances to create a unique and dynamic life personalised to perfection; this was further corroborated by another participant who stated that, “everything is possible in London, every experience, every purchase, every food are there for the taking. It is crowded, it is expensive, but it’s thrilling! You never can know it all.”

    But this “vibrant, diverse, and cosmopolitan” lifestyle like that is very expensive more often than not, and takes a lot of energy to maintain: “It can be … hard going but I've never lived anywhere with such a diverse range of things to do, people to hang out with and general fun to be had.” Which again, can be found in the bright colour palette and luxurious texture to the bird’s feathers, with the speed of London life reflected in the active motion of the bird in flight.

    “Everything is there at your fingertips, although the pace of life can be quite intimidating at times.” This life is the stuff of dreams for those who can keep up, but for those who can’t, the consequences of failing to reach that life could mean they could fall through the cracks or simply fade into the background. The fragmented sky our bird flies through is created in the abstract style to highlight the ambiguity of achievement (more often represented by the happiness and accumulated wealth of the individual) and provide an intent focus on the bird instead, the life that expensive, exciting, high-life all Londoners crave to be a part of.

    Heritage was also mentioned as a large part of London’s identity, with museums, art galleries, and theatres mentioned most as being one of the main attractions in the entertainment scene, a sentiment that we have reflected in the artistic style of the piece. For the background, we’ve combined renaissance-style art with the more modern abstract distortions, creating a 3D-like depth to simultaneously add a sense of realism to the image, while also depicting the sense of respect in the history Londoners feel with every step they take in the city. The stylistic nature of the bird is derived from traditional painted styles; in this, we’ve tried our hardest to accurately represent the important themes, patterns and styles used across multiple cultures – reinforcing the resounding belief that multiculturalism has a significant positive impact on the city.

    Engaging in Depth with Rich Qual Insights

    The depth in which we’ve analysed just one image speaks volumes to the potential art has in the insights industry. Languages change, but images are a universally communicative medium that everyone can and does understand on a distinctly unconscious, somewhat primal level.

    Mainly viewed as entertainment, art comes in many forms and tells intricate stories through many subtle, specific artistic and stylistic decisions. But art was originally one of the first forms of storytelling, with evidence found in Chauvet cave and dated to around 30,000 years ago; the main themes found within this were that of survival, food and danger being primary sub-themes that dominated the images. Despite the time difference between audiences, we are still able to interpret valuable insights from these images, and so the value in these stories, these images has lasted long after the necessity of the insights. 

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    The depth in which we've analysed just one image speaks volumes of the potential art has in the insights industry. There are many positive psychological impacts and a unique longevity to using art as a storytelling device.

    This longevity, as well as the psychological impacts of using art as a storytelling device, is exactly what we’re implementing in our award-winning Insight as Art campaign!

    We’re conducting high-quality qualitative research on a variety of brands, taking the generated insights and instead of presenting them in the form of data tables, charts, and graphs, we’re turning them into stunning personalised artworks for the viewing of key stakeholders in that brand. So far, we’ve surprised over 30 large brands with in-depth insights for free, and received very positive feedback off them all. But we’ve still got postcards available for more! Check out the Insight as Art page now, and see how we can gift you with the power of truly actionable qualitative insights.

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