Lap is one of Museum Victoria's prize collections and
is also one of Australia's favourite stories.
Developing Phar Lap as a web project was initially a little
daunting. We began by sifting through our collection of
objects and ephemera, including archival footage and audio
stories. It quickly became apparent that creating a flash
component to the site would be the most effective and creative
way to tell Phar Lap's story online.
I worked with our curator, Eddie Butler-Bowden to shape
the content for the web and Tony Hood our web editor at
the museum then used that content to shape it into the flash
story. The design of the Pharlap story was a real treat
- so much material to choose from, reflecting the 1930's
era - eg. the logo design is based on an old tobacco tin
from our collection. We're planning to add some audio narration
in the next few months.
I've been working in the web-world for around 6-7 years
and love the creative freedom when I have a chance to develop
a project in Flash. Before that I've studied illustration/design
and cut my teeth initially in the book publishing world.
Working as a designer in a museum provides loads of diversity
and challenges - finding opportunities to deliver web content
in engaging ways - and Flash is often the answer!
Flash represents a subtle
force in this elaborately designed presentation. It’s
an example of Flash usage where rather than 'screamingly'
making its presence felt it quietly enhances the obvious
expertise and talent of the Designer Nicole
Stewart and her team.
Pharlap is a first rate learning object that offers its
intended user group an exquisite feast for the eyes whilst
delivering an informative journey into an important part
of Australian social history. With her clever insightful
use of Deco flavoured fonts, patterns and design features,
Nicole has skilfully captured the fevered 'carnival' atmosphere
that was generated by this freakish racehorse and adopted
by a nation during the 1930's.
Her painstaking application to fine detail has resulted
in a rich and polished end product that is both delightfully
visual and functionally rewarding to a wide ranging user
group. She has managed to find the right balance of interactivity
and continuous flow throughout the experience. I particularly
like her use of quirky little Flash extras. The magnifying
glass and the animations of hats being thrown as Pharlap
wins the cup just to name a few. Flash has allowed the Designer
to explore options and use elements of the vast collection
of material, that perhaps wouldn't have been possible otherwise.
This Flash presentation epitomizes the creative use of
flash. It doesn't break any new ground as far as Flash development
is concerned but it does show us what role Flash has assumed
for many Designers/Artists of today that is as an accessible
tool of trade.