The Royal Mail Year Pack, 2003, Royal Mail
Keaney is a graphic designer, whose work and research has been widely disseminated and published. Closely aligned with Dutch graphic designers such as Studio Dumbar, Keaney’s research explores a free-form sensibility about the use of images and text through collage or using more painterly free-form techniques that eschew the use of a gridded format. Instead she uses the page and the subject matter to construct bold graphic landscapes that draw on perspectival traditions to develop a three-dimensional quality in her work. Keaney’s research is user-centred and her interest and methods focus on seeking surprise and abstracting from her clients or commissioners a tightly defined series of parameters from which to work with their needs and to use these as the creative stimulus from which to source her work.
The Royal Mail Year Pack is an annually produced folder featuring all the special-edition stamps issued by Royal Mail. It is one element in a design strategy to establish the importance of government communications. To commemorate the year’s collection, Keaney created an abstract and fragmented collage of images that span both layouts, creating a surreal scenario depicting only small suggestive portions of the subjects depicted on the various stamps. Her aim was to animate and energize the message through exaggerated contrasts of scale, colour and materials. Alongside the themes of stamps that included 'Coastline', 'Peter Pan', 'Circus', 'Airliners' and 'Astronomy', and materials as diverse as grass, wire, rice and plastic were used to create the imagery.
The project was also published in Type, Image, Message by Nancy Skolos & Thomas Wedell; published by Rockport; ISBN 1 59253 189 X; pp146-7 in the section entitled 'Fragmentation', a chapter demonstrating some of the finest examples of where type and image displace or disrupt one another.