Featured post

Overview of site

Introduction

This page is aimed at supporting assessors by providing direct links to a number of key resources on this site.  Content may also be found using the site menu (located at the top of the site) or the categories menu (located on the right hand side); both available from all pages.

More than just a number

Portfolio

I have collected what I consider the most interesting pieces of work. This is available as a PDF (Portfolio).

Learning Outcomes

I have shown the connection between my coursework and the learning outcomes. This is available as a PDF (Learning Outcomes).

Course evaluation

I have evaluated the course which can be found as PDF (evaluation)

Semi-structured thoughts

  • Electronic Notebook – referenced through individual exercises and assignments but all links can be found here
  • Sketchbook – referenced through individual exercises and assignments but images can be found here.

Assignments

Introducing yourself

Thinking of you

Colour me…

Show me…

Your choice

Learning Log

Literature (read and reviewed)

Exhibitions (attended and reviewed)

Course work with significant additional research

Experimentation and thoughts

Coursework

Sketch Book

Introduction

As described in my ways-of-working I have extensively used a sketch book alongside an electronic notebook based on Microsoft OneNote to record raw data and initial thoughts. I have referenced relevant parts of this sketchbook in the exercises and assignments. This entry records in one place examples of use of the sketch book.

I also collect a variety of (physical) sources that I used for design input – see Featured image above.

 

Sketch Book Examples

Assignment 5: Your Choice – Abigail’s Party – Final Submission

The Brief

Brief 2: Promotional design
A youth theatre club is performing a production of Abigail’s Party. Mike Leigh’s tale of
suburban taste is set in the 1970s and explores middle class aspirations and preoccupations.
You will need to acquaint yourself with the play if you don’t know it already, as they are
particularly keen for it to have a 70s feel. The play will be touring local theatres for a month,
performing every Friday night and Saturday matinee.
Produce a poster (A3 portrait), a flyer (A5 landscape, double-sided) and newspaper advert
(A6) to promote this event. In addition they would like their A5 programme cover to continue
the design theme.
For the purposes of this brief you need to invent dates, times, places, names and any other
information you think will be required. Use Lorun ipsum text for areas of body text.

Introduction

This entry is my initial response to the brief above. I will describe my analysis, research, design process and results, as well as discussing my findings and my lessons learned.

This is an updated version with changes prompted by my tutors feedback.

I choose Brief 2 Promotional design because of the play – I had been told about it and had never seen it, so if felt like a good opportunity to view it within the context of this assignment. In addition, I enjoy the creative aspects of making event posters and associated material.

I first analysed the assignment and decided on area that I would need to research. For this I used mind mapping:

(click to enlarge)

Following this I then performed some research. The data that I collected, I stored in an electronic note book. The relevant excerpts can be seen here: Assignment 5 – Your choice.

Research

I performed research into the following areas:

  • Looking at the play itself and making notes: I wanted to see the play and use this as a direct source of ideas.
  • Researching the author’s intent: I wanted to gain deeper insight into the play and thought reading about Mike Leigh’s ideas would be helpful.
  • Looking at existing posters and advertising material: Obviously it is a good idea to see how the play had previously been represented and thus see whether there are any unique angles.
  • Reviewing the trends of the 1970s: Even though I am old enough to remember the 1970s well, I decided to review trends (colours, fonts, décor…)
  • Youth theatres: I have no real knowledge of youth theatre clubs and was uncertain of the possible ages of actors, the general appearance of advertising material and whether there were any legal implications on design (e.g. not showing cigarettes or alcohol)
  • Information on posters and programme covers: I checked to see what information was typically included on a poster and a programme cover, since I was uncertain what would typically be there in a British production.

To address these points I started gathering material in my electronic notebook (see Assignment 5 – Your choice).  I show some examples in the entries below as well as drawing conclusions.

The play itself

I looked at the original BBC Play for the Day version which was available on YouTube (here). This version is slightly shorter than the original play and has minor changes (e.g. music because of potential US copyright issues). However, for this assignment I thought the differences were sufficiently small that I could ignore them. I will not describe the plot or characters, see here for a summary.

While looking at the play the following points struck me:

  • How dated the environment and manners were, even though the play, with its cringe-worthy characters, still made fascinating viewing
  • Abigail despite her “title role”, plays very much a secondary part, being alluded to but never seen.  She, however, acts as a partner to Susan (her mother) and as a subject of conversations by the other characters.
  • The strained atmosphere: as characters argue with their partners over small / trivial things, such as the choice of music, they all try to remain polite and appear to be doing the right thing.
  • I was spending the second half of the play just waiting for the denouement and when it comes, it acts as release.
  • The underlying themes are of love and loss, marriage and separation.

From a design perspective I was struck by:

  • The absence of Abigail, so maybe show as silhouette?
  • The characters’ dynamics, perhaps so show couples interacting
  • The role that drink and music play
  • Beverley’s necklace as a focal point

Researching the authors intent

I looked into Mike Leigh’s thoughts about the play and came across an interview he gave to the Guardian newspaper (here). Major points I took away were:

  • The underlying themes of having to conform, to behave, the mores of surburbia.
  • How the characters in the play are full of contradictions.
  • Leigh regards the play a lamentation, not a sneer on the lower middle classes- this was in response to negative criticism.

Looking at existing posters and advertising material

I looked at existing posters (example below)

(click to enlarge)

From these I came to the following conclusions:

  • Beverly (a main character) often features as focal point, either as illustration or photo.
  • Drink and sometimes cigarettes feature.
  • Colours such as browns, oranges, teal, yellows which are often associated with the 1970s are common.
  • Fonts are often in block capitals and have a 1970s feel.
  • Quotes from the play are sometimes used.

Reviewing the trends of the 1970s.

I looked into a number of trends (fonts, colours, fashion, decorative styles…) and drew conclusions. The following are a number of examples from my electronic notebook (Assignment 5 – Your choice).

(click to enlarge)

From this analysis I noted:

  •  The colours I noted in the posters (browns, yellows, reds) feature both in fashion and in interior design.
  • “Some colour combinations that were hugely popular were bright green and blue, black and white, yellow and white, pink and purple, yellow and orange, yellow and green and pink and green. Red, black and white were used together to create a colour scheme with a huge impact.” (see here)
  • I noted a number of fonts (e.g. Mystery Quest Pro,  Lemonade Font) and styles (e.g. striped, thick and curvy letters, psychedelic) typical of the era
  • Fabrics and Wallpaper: “Large, bright flowers or graphic patterns. Paisley and abstracts were common and chenille bedspreads were popular. Mushrooms, flowers and geometrics were popular themes and were always printed in bright or bold”  (see here)

Youth theatre

I wondered what the imp licationswould be of making the poster explicitly for a youth theatre club. Several aspects struck me as worth investigating: what age were the actors; were there any special restrictions on promotional material, are there any legal aspects (e.g. use of alcohol, cigarettes) that might impact the design.

Conclusions

From research (see electronic notebook Assignment 5 – Your choice) I see that the ages for Youth Theatre range from 8 to 25. I will make the assumption for this assignment that the players are over 18 and hence I do not need to be too careful about legal requirements concerning minors.

In terms of promotional material there does not seem to be anything specific, other than  that any illustrations (and certainly photographs) tended to show younger people.

Information on posters and programme covers

I looked at a number of posters to see what information was typically included. I found:

Title, name of the theatre company, location, description of the play, times & dates, ticket office, additional information such as director & producer and sometimes the cast.

For programme covers it seemed to me that there was very little difference in the information shown compared to posters. The layouts in some cases were different.

Design

In this section I describe my design approach.

Initial Design Concepts

After performing the research I reconsidered the play and  I came up with a number of base design concepts. My focus at this point was on a poster since I thought when I had progressed with this I could use this as a basis for the other material.  My initial ideas were:

  1. Necklace in form of the title:  View of a women with a necklace as the title, cigarette and drink.
  2. Juxtaposition of the two parties: 1970s-style room with people and another room with people as black silhouettes
  3. Row of bottles / glasses: The bottles and glasses contain the main characters and/ or play details.
  4. Talking heads: A set of character faces talking to one another with voice bubbles giving title, quotes other information
  5. Comic faces: Comic character faces reflecting their varying personalities
  6. Pairs of couples: The characters pair up (with Susan paired with Abigail in silhouette) and voice bubbles reflecting their personalities.
  7. Demis Roussos Music: LPs and songs, quotes with main characters
  8. Records: A row of records (as per play) with titles and information on the records.

Looking at these ideas I decided that I would progress with:

1,2,3, combination of 4&6 and a combination of 7,8.

I combined a number of ideas since they seem very similar. I dropped idea 5 since it seemed too simple.

With these I then proceeded to sketch variants (recorded in my sketch book). See below

(click to expand)

As I was drawing these up, a few thoughts came to me which fed into my design considerations:

  • the idea that the play looks at cliches and so having a poster that reflects this to an extent is appropriate e.g. in use of 1970s fonts
  • The need for a design element from the poster to be used in the smaller promotional material.

I considered the draft ideas and discussed with my family and decided to not progress  with records (6&7) as this, I felt, did not sufficiently capture the essence of the play.

I then proceeded to make mood boards (using Adobe Illustrator and InDesign) for the remaining ideas which I am now labelling:

a) Necklace in form of the title

b) Juxtaposition of the two parties

c) Row of bottles / glasses

d) Heads

These are my mood boards, there are some commonalities between them since colours and fonts should reflect the 1970s but I have tried to illustrate different possible combinations.

(Click to expand)

Looking at the mood boards and discussing with family members I decided to continue with all four variants and create draft versions of the poster and a small version with key design elements that would serve as a basis for the other material.

I created the following:

(click to expand)

These versions all needed additional work but I thought they had sufficient potential to warrant discussion. I asked some friends and my family for feedback and got the following:

  • The strongest versions are Necklace and Juxtaposition of the two parties
  • Bottles is a little boring, although colours are good
  • Could consider changing the background of Juxtaposition of the two parties to that of Heads.
  • Need to tighten up on wording and some design points (e.g. the necklace)
  • Font used for text succeeds in giving a 1970s feel.

With this feedback I decided to progress with the poster versions of Necklace and Juxtaposition of the two parties, tidying up, trying different fonts, making A3 size and then making a final decision between the two.

These are the updated versions:

(click to expand)

My initial idea was that I would base the final design on version FOUR since I think the Necklace concept is more original than the Juxtaposition of the two parties. However on prompting by my tutor I have worked these two further:

(click to enlarge)

I let these two ideas stew for a while and then discussed with my family and concluded:

  • Both ideas are sufficiently good to be used for the final submission being much improved over the previous versions.
  • in Juxtaposition the icons (bottle, glass, cigarette) proved difficult to position correctly (from a composition perspective) and may still need to be adjusted.
  • Juxtaposition has a somewhat more seventies feel.
  • Necklace is more original

It was close but I decided to use the Necklace idea.

I experimented with minor changes to layout and typography (not recorded) and produced my final results, see below. In producing the smaller format material I had the following considerations:

  • Legibility and readability of the different formats
  • Relevant information
  • Composition
  • Consistency of brand
  • For the newspaper advert I considered I could make it colour.  This is fairly usual with our local newspaper.

Results

(Not to scale – click to expand)

Discussion

Research

From the research I learned a lot about what is considered as possible standard content for a poster, flyer and programme cover. As is to be expected, there are no hard-and-fast rules.

The 1970s feel is quite common in designs and there is a lot of material that one can use for ideas.

Design challenges

In terms of overall design I felt I had a range of ideas which I evolved before settling on a final design element (the necklace).  In terms of producing the set of design, there was a temptation to reproduce the original poster design but in different formats. However, there is a constraint provided by the fact that each of the media requires different informational content.

For me the greatest technical difficulty was working with Illustrator and learning how to use Paths to fine-adjust the design of the necklace.

Final results

I am quite happy with the final results; they seem to fulfil the brief as well as being aesthetically pleasing. However, I know that I need distance/time from the work to provide objectivity. I will return and review the assignment at a later date, no doubt influenced by my tutors feedback.

Reflection

This section is a summary of the points from above and from supporting log entries. Now that I have two courses behind me (Photography: Expressing Your Vision, and Context & Narrative), I use them as a reference. I have tried to quantify this work by a rating (marks out of ten) in comparison to my previous Photographic EYV, C&N, Graphic Design work and using the overall result from these courses as a guide. I am not attempting to compare against other students working on the same course.

I will also use the OCA assessment structure of:

  • Demonstration of technical and visual skills – Materials, techniques, observational
    skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills. (40%)
  • Quality of outcome – Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in
    a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of
    ideas. (20%)
  • Demonstration of creativity – Imagination, experimentation, invention. (20%)
  • Context – Reflection, research, critical thinking. (20%)

to provide detailed commentary.

In this section I also discuss the main points of learning that I take away after this assessment.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

  • I think I learnt further features of both Adobe Indesign and Illustrator.
  • I do find the composition and colours within the design quite pleasing

(7/10)

Quality of outcome

  • I am satisfied my final result and feel it fulfils the brief well. Feedback from both friends and family was very positive
  • The blog entries are, I think, a reasonable and coherent description of my approach to the assignment.

(7/10)

Demonstration of creativity

  •  I felt that there was some creativity in choosing the necklace as a focal point.

(7/10)

Context

  • I have performed a large amount of research into a number of areas that supported this work.
  • I believe that my analysis is reasonably detailed and honest.

(8/10)

What did I learn

From this assignment I learned a lot; however, the main points for me were:

  • The time it takes making small changes to a design.
  • The power of adding simple decorative elements to a base design.
  • Feedback is an incredible useful tool
  • There is diffculty in producing an original design for a topic (play) that has already had much promotional material produced for it. But how original does a design need to be?

Portfolio

The Brief

Identify the work you have produced and you feel is the strongest.

Introduction

I revisited all my work and my tutors feedback and list the following work as being my strongest. I provide links to the original and a brief explanation as to why I included the work. The order follows the course.

Exhibit 1: Lorem ipsum

Link to original work

Why it is included

I felt that through my detailed analysis I was able to reproduce the  original article (Scientific American) very well, something which was confirmed by my tutor.

Exhibit 2: Thinking of you

Link to original work

Why it is included

I liked the idea of using historical weather forecasting  techniques as a a basis for “Day of Prediction”, which I consider interesting and original. Moreover, I felt the idea of using
lenticular images based on my own work was also very different. I am quite proud that I was able to mock-up the cards and that the lenticular effect worked.

Exhibit 3: Too much or not enough information

Link to original work

Why it is included

The minimal poster I felt was particularly interesting. The strong lines of my photograph of the building housing Art Basel provide a strong visual dynamic. The maximum poster also works, albeit not quite as well, with the paint brush and the title providing a eye-catching focus.

Exhibit 4: Colour me…

Link to original work

Why it is included

I believe this to be one of my strongest works. It catches the feel of an old French jazz club well. In addition, the use of the blue note motif will  resonate with anyone who knows jazz.

Exhibit 5: Abstract cities

Link to original work

 

(Click to enlarge)

Why it is included

I think the minimalistic approach, using a single iconic image to represent the city, is an interesting one. The viewer is drawn in by the image and with a little reflection can make the connection between each symbol and its city.

Exhibit 6: Poster and flyer

Link to original work

Why it is included

I think these two designs both work well. The first with its non- linear aspects and the second because of the strong imagery.

Exhibit 7: French Hen

Link to original work

Why it is included

I feel I had a number of strong candidates that could have fulfilled the brief. It was difficult to decide which to take further, number 7 or number 10, but I ultimately chose 7 as the basis for the final design.

Exhibit 8: Chance housing

Link to original work

Why it is included

The design responds to the brief well with a decorative “E” echoing an open door,
particular apt for the housing association.

Exhibit 9: Title

Link to original work

Why it is included

I believe I had developed a number of strong ideas that could have successfully fulfilled the brief.  I ultimately submitted the Technology example although Mathematics would have been another possibility.

Exhibit 10: Abigails Party

Link to original work

Why it is included

I think both these ideas answer the brief well, capturing the essence of the play and evoking a seventies feel. I could have taken either as my final submission but decided on Necklace.

Overall course evaluation

The brief

An overall evaluation (optional) It’s a good idea to write an overall evaluation that reflects on your learning journey as a whole, picks up on tutor feedback and highlights where your strengths lie or what you’d like to develop further. If you choose to do this, it only needs to be one side of A4 or around 500 words. Try and give a sense of how you’ve felt about your experiences. Here you can assess, reflect on and identify your best work.

Overall evaluation

When I look back over my journey through Graphic Design: Core Concepts I can best express it using the Conscious Competence Learning Model where at the start of the course  I would classify my self as Unconscious-Incompetent. At the end i think I might have progressed to somewhere between ConsciousIncompetent and ConsciousCompetent.

Conscious Competence Learning Model

After the course I felt that I started to progress on acquiring a series of skills that I need to have for:

  • Progressing further with Graphic Design
  • As supporting my primary goal of being able to better present my photographic images

To the latter point I think I have acquired a set of skills and knowledge that will at a minimum allow me to avoid crass presentation errors and moreover, hopefully allow the presentation to actually enhance the original images.

There are a number of learning points that I take away from the course:

  • The pleasure of learning a new discipline and understanding a series of basic graphic design concepts.
  • Through assignments being required to produce work that I would not normally do, feeling stretched but enjoying the experience.
  • The need to have a wider range of original ideas in order to explore and ultimately create good work.
  • The amount of time that must be reserved in paying attention to fine details.
  • How having a challenging tutor helps in progression

I found it difficult initially in trying to find a wide range of ideas. My natural tendency is to find a good idea, with variants and pursue that. However, I think towards the end of the course I had overcome this tendency and by reworking a number of exercises and assignments obtained better results.

My best work I felt was for the assignment Colour Me.

The strengths that I have that I believe I can build upon are: a detailed and systematic style of working; a fair eye for composition, a passion for learning.

For the course itself if I were to summarize my feelings towards it using the frame work of Good (what I liked), Difficult (what was not so goodDifferent (what I think could be improved then I have:

Good

  • The course structure and content
  • The support from my tutor
  • The OCA resources
  • Support from OCA administration

Difficult

  • Being abroad not being able to easily take part in face-to-face events
  • The Graphic design specific fora were (compared to photography) not well supported by students or tutors.

Different

  • More tutor support e.g. through online workshops or study days as per other courses

As a bottom line the course has been a pleasure and certainly met my expectations.

Literature: Making and Breaking the Grid

Book Details

Title: Making and Breaking the Grid

Author: Timothy Samara

Publisher: Rockport Publications 2005 ISBN: 978-1-59253-7

Purpose of the book

This book is aimed at designers explaining the basics of the grid system along with examples and also shows how to break the grid and hoe to create non grid based designs

Critique of the book

I liked the way the book supplies an historical context, the gradual means that grid design is introduced. First starting with simple grid designs and subsequently moving onto more complex designs. These are all illustrated by a number of interesting examples. Also good is the way that non grid design is introduced after grid, again with a number of good examples. There are sufficient number of grid and non-grid examples that they can serve as a reference and be used in ones own work.

i only have some very minor quibbles with the book. The size of font used in the body text is somewhat small for older eyes, in order to support the idea of a reference an index of more detailed contents page would be useful.

However, in spite of some very small limitations I would strongly recommend this book as an introduction to grids, I will certainly be trying to use it for my assignments.

My key takeaways

Having gone through the book these are a very large number of takeaways, too many to list but the following are a representative selection:

  • P14 Historical context of the grid
  • P18 – Basel School (my home town)
  • P22 – Grid basics
  • P24 – Basic parts to a page
  • P26-29 Basic grid shapes and what their strengths are
  • P122 Deconstruction of grid shapes

My follow-up activities

  • Use this book to support Assignments
  • Use as a reference and source of ideas for future work.

Content

The book has the following chapters:

  • Making the Grid: Coming to order, Grid Basics, Exhibits
  • Breaking the Grid: Historical interlude, Exploring other options, Exhibits
  • Appendix
  • … -including  index of contributors, biographies, acknowledgements and about the author.

Electronic notebook

Introduction

As described in my ways-of-working I have extensively used an electronic notebook based on Microsoft OneNote to record raw data and initial thoughts. I have referenced relevant parts of this notebook in the exercises and assignments. This entry records in one place all of the links to the notebook.

Links

Assignments

Assignment 5 – Your choice

Assignment 4 – Font analysis

Assignment 4 – Show me

Assignment 3 – colour me

Assignment 2 – Thinking of you (Initial thoughts)

Assignment 2 – Final Thoughts

Assignment 1

Exercises

French Hen

Chance Housing Association

Logos

Hierarchy

Examples for does the face fit

Infographics

Birthday list

Research History of typography

Fonts for different usages

Exercise if the face fits

Graphic Designers

Abstract cities

Photomontage

Signs and symbols

Magazine Article v2

Colours & Meanings

Visualising your ideas

Book design

Point of sale display

Occam’s razor – Posters

Exercise Book Design

 

 

Assignment 5: Your Choice – Abigail’s Party

The Brief

Brief 2: Promotional design
A youth theatre club is performing a production of Abigail’s Party. Mike Leigh’s tale of
suburban taste is set in the 1970s and explores middle class aspirations and preoccupations.
You will need to acquaint yourself with the play if you don’t know it already, as they are
particularly keen for it to have a 70s feel. The play will be touring local theatres for a month,
performing every Friday night and Saturday matinee.
Produce a poster (A3 portrait), a flyer (A5 landscape, double-sided) and newspaper advert
(A6) to promote this event. In addition they would like their A5 programme cover to continue
the design theme.
For the purposes of this brief you need to invent dates, times, places, names and any other
information you think will be required. Use Lorun ipsum text for areas of body text.

Introduction

This entry is my initial response to the brief above. I will describe my analysis, research, design process and results, as well as discussing my findings and my lessons learned.

I choose Brief 2 Promotional design because of the play – I had been told about it and had never seen it, so if felt like a good opportunity to view it within the context of this assignment. In addition, I enjoy the creative aspects of making event posters and associated material.

I first analysed the assignment and decided on area that I would need to research. For this I used mind mapping:

(click to enlarge)

Following this I then performed some research. The data that I collected, I stored in an electronic note book. The relevant excerpts can be seen here: Assignment 5 – Your choice.

Research

I performed research into the following areas:

  • Looking at the play itself and making notes: I wanted to see the play and use this as a direct source of ideas.
  • Researching the author’s intent: I wanted to gain deeper insight into the play and thought reading about Mike Leigh’s ideas would be helpful.
  • Looking at existing posters and advertising material: Obviously it is a good idea to see how the play had previously been represented and thus see whether there are any unique angles.
  • Reviewing the trends of the 1970s: Even though I am old enough to remember the 1970s well, I decided to review trends (colours, fonts, décor…)
  • Youth theatres: I have no real knowledge of youth theatre clubs and was uncertain of the possible ages of actors, the general appearance of advertising material and whether there were any legal implications on design (e.g. not showing cigarettes or alcohol)
  • Information on posters and programme covers: I checked to see what information was typically included on a poster and a programme cover, since I was uncertain what would typically be there in a British production.

To address these points I started gathering material in my electronic notebook (see Assignment 5 – Your choice).  I show some examples in the entries below as well as drawing conclusions.

 

The play itself

I looked at the original BBC Play for the Day version which was available on YouTube (here). This version is slightly shorter than the original play and has minor changes (e.g. music because of potential US copyright issues). However, for this assignment I thought the differences were sufficiently small that I could ignore them. I will not describe the plot or characters, see here for a summary.

While looking at the play the following points struck me:

  • How dated the environment and manners were, even though the play, with its cringe-worthy characters, still made fascinating viewing
  • Abigail despite her “title role”, plays very much a secondary part, being alluded to but never seen.  She, however, acts as a partner to Susan (her mother) and as a subject of conversations by the other characters.
  • The strained atmosphere: as characters argue with their partners over small / trivial things, such as the choice of music, they all try to remain polite and appear to be doing the right thing.
  • I was spending the second half of the play just waiting for the denouement and when it comes, it acts as release.
  • The underlying themes are of love and loss, marriage and separation.

From a design perspective I was struck by:

  • The absence of Abigail, so maybe show as silhouette?
  • The characters’ dynamics, perhaps so show couples interacting
  • The role that drink and music play
  • Beverley’s necklace as a focal point

Researching the authors intent

I looked into Mike Leigh’s thoughts about the play and came across an interview he gave to the Guardian newspaper (here). Major points I took away were:

  • The underlying themes of having to conform, to behave, the mores of surburbia.
  • How the characters in the play are full of contradictions.
  • Leigh regards the play a lamentation, not a sneer on the lower middle classes- this was in response to negative criticism.

 

Looking at existing posters and advertising material

I looked at existing posters (example below)

(Click to enlarge)

From these I came to the following conclusions:

  • Beverly (a main character) often features as focal point, either as illustration or photo.
  • Drink and sometimes cigarettes feature.
  • Colours such as browns, oranges, teal, yellows which are often associated with the 1970s are common.
  • Fonts are often in block capitals and have a 1970s feel.
  • Quotes from the play are sometimes used.

 

Reviewing the trends of the 1970s.

I looked into a number of trends (fonts, colours, fashion, decorative styles…) and drew conclusions. The following are a number of examples from my electronic notebook (Assignment 5 – Your choice).

(Click to enlarge)

From this analysis I noted:

  •  The colours I noted in the posters (browns, yellows, reds) feature both in fashion and in interior design.
  • “Some colour combinations that were hugely popular were bright green and blue, black and white, yellow and white, pink and purple, yellow and orange, yellow and green and pink and green. Red, black and white were used together to create a colour scheme with a huge impact.” (see here)
  • I noted a number of fonts (e.g. Mystery Quest Pro,  Lemonade Font) and styles (e.g. striped, thick and curvy letters, psychedelic) typical of the era
  • Fabrics and Wallpaper: “Large, bright flowers or graphic patterns. Paisley and abstracts were common and chenille bedspreads were popular. Mushrooms, flowers and geometrics were popular themes and were always printed in bright or bold”  (see here)

 

Youth theatre

I wondered what the imp licationswould be of making the poster explicitly for a youth theatre club. Several aspects struck me as worth investigating: what age were the actors; were there any special restrictions on promotional material, are there any legal aspects (e.g. use of alcohol, cigarettes) that might impact the design.

Conclusions

From research (see electronic notebook Assignment 5 – Your choice) I see that the ages for Youth Theatre range from 8 to 25. I will make the assumption for this assignment that the players are over 18 and hence I do not need to be too careful about legal requirements concerning minors.

In terms of promotional material there does not seem to be anything specific, other than  that any illustrations (and certainly photographs) tended to show younger people.

Information on posters and programme covers

I looked at a number of posters to see what information was typically included. I found:

Title, name of the theatre company, location, description of the play, times & dates, ticket office, additional information such as director & producer and sometimes the cast.

For programme covers it seemed to me that there was very little difference in the information shown compared to posters. The layouts in some cases were different.

Design

In this section I describe my design approach.

Initial Design Concepts

After performing the research I reconsidered the play and  I came up with a number of base design concepts. My focus at this point was on a poster since I thought when I had progressed with this I could use this as a basis for the other material.  My initial ideas were:

  1. Necklace in form of the title:  View of a women with a necklace as the title, cigarette and drink.
  2. Juxtaposition of the two parties: 1970s-style room with people and another room with people as black silhouettes
  3. Row of bottles / glasses: The bottles and glasses contain the main characters and/ or play details.
  4. Talking heads: A set of character faces talking to one another with voice bubbles giving title, quotes other information
  5. Comic faces: Comic character faces reflecting their varying personalities
  6. Pairs of couples: The characters pair up (with Susan paired with Abigail in silhouette) and voice bubbles reflecting their personalities.
  7. Demis Roussos Music: LPs and songs, quotes with main characters
  8. Records: A row of records (as per play) with titles and information on the records.

Looking at these ideas I decided that I would progress with:

1,2,3, combination of 4&6 and a combination of 7,8.

I combined a number of ideas since they seem very similar. I dropped idea 5 since it seemed too simple.

With these I then proceeded to sketch variants (recorded in my sketch book). See below

(click to expand)

As I was drawing these up, a few thoughts came to me which fed into my design considerations:

  • the idea that the play looks at cliches and so having a poster that reflects this to an extent is appropriate e.g. in use of 1970s fonts
  • The need for a design element from the poster to be used in the smaller promotional material.

I considered the draft ideas and discussed with my family and decided to not progress  with records (6&7) as this, I felt, did not sufficiently capture the essence of the play.

I then proceeded to make mood boards (using Adobe Illustrator and InDesign) for the remaining ideas which I am now labelling:

a) Necklace in form of the title

b) Juxtaposition of the two parties

c) Row of bottles / glasses

d) Heads

These are my mood boards, there are some commonalities between them since colours and fonts should reflect the 1970s but I have tried to illustrate different possible combinations.

(Click to enlarge)

Looking at the mood boards and discussing with family members I decided to continue with all four variants and create draft versions of the poster and a small version with key design elements that would serve as a basis for the other material.

I created the following:

(Click to expand)

These versions all needed additional work but I thought they had sufficient potential to warrant discussion. I asked some friends and my family for feedback and got the following:

  • The strongest versions are Necklace and Juxtaposition of the two parties
  • Bottles is a little boring, although colours are good
  • Could consider changing the background of Juxtaposition of the two parties to that of Heads.
  • Need to tighten up on wording and some design points (e.g. the necklace)
  • Font used for text succeeds in giving a 1970s feel.

With this feedback I decided to progress with the poster versions of Necklace and Juxtaposition of the two parties, tidying up, making A3 size and then making a final decision between the two.

These are the updated versions:

(Click to expand)

I decided that I would base the final design on version FOUR. I think the Necklace concept is more original than the Juxtaposition of the two parties. However I was not convinced that the visual hierarchy was yet correct – the title (as a necklace) needed more emphasis. I adjusted FOUR and then used this as a basis to create versions of the other material. I experimented with minor changes to layout and typography (not recorded) and produced my final results, see below. In producing the smaller format material I had the following considerations:

  • Legibility and readability of the different formats
  • Relevant information
  • Composition
  • Consistency of brand
  • For the newspaper advert I considered I could make it colour.  This is fairly usual with our local newspaper.

Results

(not to scale)

(click to enlarge)

Discussion

Research

From the research I learned a lot about what is considered as possible standard content for a poster, flyer and programme cover. As is to be expected, there are no hard-and-fast rules.

The 1970s feel is quite common in designs and there is a lot of material that one can use for ideas.

Design challenges

In terms of overall design I felt I had a range of ideas which I evolved before settling on a final design element (the necklace).  In terms of producing the set of design, there was a temptation to reproduce the original poster design but in different formats. However, there is a constraint provided by the fact that each of the media requires different informational content.

For me the greatest technical difficulty was working with Illustrator and learning how to use Paths to fine-adjust the design of the necklace.

Final results

I am quite happy with the final results; they seem to fulfil the brief as well as being aesthetically pleasing. However, I know that I need distance/time from the work to provide objectivity. I will return and review the assignment at a later date, no doubt influenced by my tutors feedback.

Reflection

This section is a summary of the points from above and from supporting log entries. Now that I have two courses behind me (Photography: Expressing Your Vision, and Context & Narrative), I use them as a reference. I have tried to quantify this work by a rating (marks out of ten) in comparison to my previous Photographic EYV, C&N, Graphic Design work and using the overall result from these courses as a guide. I am not attempting to compare against other students working on the same course.

I will also use the OCA assessment structure of:

  • Demonstration of technical and visual skills – Materials, techniques, observational
    skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills. (40%)
  • Quality of outcome – Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in
    a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of
    ideas. (20%)
  • Demonstration of creativity – Imagination, experimentation, invention. (20%)
  • Context – Reflection, research, critical thinking. (20%)

to provide detailed commentary.

In this section I also discuss the main points of learning that I take away after this assessment.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

  • I think I learnt further features of both Adobe Indesign and Illustrator.
  • I do find the composition and colours within the design quite pleasing

(7/10)

Quality of outcome

  • I am satisfied my final result and feel it fulfils the brief well. Feedback from both friends and family was very positive
  • The blog entries are, I think, a reasonable and coherent description of my approach to the assignment.

(7/10)

Demonstration of creativity

  •  I felt that there was some creativity in choosing the necklace as a focal point.

(7/10)

Context

  • I have performed a large amount of research into a number of areas that supported this work.
  • I believe that my analysis is reasonably detailed and honest.

(8/10)

 

What did I learn

From this assignment I learned a lot; however, the main points for me were:

  • The time it takes making small changes to a design.
  • The power of adding simple decorative elements to a base design.
  • There is diffculty in producing an original design for a topic (play) that has already had much promotional material produced for it. But how original does a design need to be?

 

 

Exercise: French Hen

The brief

Newton and Ridley, the brewers best known for their pub, The Rovers Return, are opening
a cafe/wine bar nearer the city centre.
The bar is designed to appeal to younger women and sophisticated young men. The
brewery has identified a gap in the market and wants to provide a ’sophisticated and
relaxed’ venue for the ‘discerning’ drinker. This bar is to be called the French Hen and will
be in direct competition with the cheap ‘binge drinking’ venues on the same street. The
brewery is also trying to enhance its own image as a ‘respectable’ alcohol vendor.
They want you to develop some ideas for a logo, to be used:
• on covers for the food and cocktail menus
• in colour on the signage outside, and as a cutout for a window detail
• on T-shirts for the staff and paper napkins
• for one side of a beermat, the other will carry advice on sensible drinking.
There are many conventions that have been developed around the marketing of both bars and
products to this age range. You need to be conscious the whole time of avoiding clichés and
stereotyping.
Draw up at least three ideas to start with. Be critical of your work. Check it against the information
you have here. Will it do what the client wants – and how will you know?
When you have decided which one you are happiest with, mock up the menu covers, the outside
sign, the window detail, a T-shirt, paper napkin and beermat. Does it all still work?

Introduction

This blog entry is my response to the brief. I cover my analysis, my research. my design and final results. I discuss my results and what i have learned through the exercise. I used mind mapping (see below) for my analysis of the brief as well as brain storming design concepts.

(Click to enlarge)

I also recorded base data in my electronic notebook – the relevant section can be seen here: French Hen

Although not explicitly stated I will assume that the exercise is set in the UK.

Research

Having identified various areas of research:

  • General bars and café signage
  • 2020 signage trends
  • Stereotypes in alcohol adverting
  • UK alcohol advertising rules
  • adverts using hens
  • French hen

I looked into these areas, collected material (see French Hen) and drew conclusions. I summarise these below.

 

General bars and café signage

I looked at general signage advertising café/bars

Examples

(click to enlarge)

Conclusion

Looking at examples I concluded the following:

  • It seems that approximately half of the signs show drinks
  • Capitalisation of names is common
  • Varying fonts are used but decorative ones are unusual.

I will pay attention to these points in developing my designs.

2020 signage trends

I came across some articles that discussed 2020 signage trends and gathered the following points:

  • Environmental issues – signs will show green credentials.
  • Signage with lighting (LED’s) will increase
  • Shadow signs – Signs designed to be read only as shadows are becoming more popular.
  • Increase in digital signs with possibility of personalisation.
  • The advertising of non alcoholic drinks is increasing, reflecting the rise in popularity of these drinks

I don’t really know how to action these findings –  I guess I could consider who to make the external sign digital?

Stereotypes in alcohol adverting

Examples

(Click to enlarge)

Conclusion

The industry and increasing the public are reacting against advertising and signage that promotes stereotypes e.g. women drinking cocktails and men drinking beer. I will avoid showing people in my design and thus I hope avoid stereotyping. The name of the establishment being The French Hen is somewhat problematic.

UK alcohol advertising rules

Examples

I looked in restrictions that existing advertising alcohol and picked up some points.

  • Don’t be suggestive – e.g. that alcohol improves sexual success
  • Don’t target the under 18 year olds
  •  linking alcohol to dangerous behaviours or jobs.
  • Promoting immoderate behaviour

Conclusion

There are a lot more detail rules but for this exercise I think I should consider what I design in light of these broad rules.

Adverts using hens

I thought it would be interesting to see how hens generally feature in advertising and whether I could pick up any ideas / tips.

Examples

(Click to expand)

Conclusion

What struck me was that there are interesting looking hens and more boring ones! So in any selection of imagery I should pay attention. In advertising of cafes/bars with the word hen in the title often use red (from the comb?) or black and white as dominent colours.

Design process

I started by brainstorming some concepts (see map above) and based on this I produced some first sketches. The concepts built upon the research I had performed.

(Click to expand)

Looking at these I decided that all of these, apart from the last, warranted mocking up in Adobe Illustrator.

This is  my first attempt:

(click to enlarge)

The following are some of my thoughts / design principles that went into these designs:

  • Fonts: I wanted fonts that had a French feel and used:  Aphrosine and Didot .
  • I looked into having imagery associated with (interesting) hens or parts of
  • I looked at incorporating the French flag or its colours
  • I thought having a strap line of referring to Weston and Ridley was important since this was referred to in the brief.

I looked at the results and discussed them with a number (five) of my older friends. getting them to play the role of the client. The following were regarded as the best: 3,4 and 7. A point that was made is that it is difficult to see what might be attractive to a younger audience and does something that attracts an older view automatically make it uninteresting for a young person?

I took these three ideas and progressed them further, trying different combinations of colours, layouts and fonts.

(click to expand)

Again having my friends playing the role of the client I asked for feedback. Number seven was the preferred image because of the composition and fonts. Generally decorative fonts were regarded as not being suitable for a younger audience.

I took number seven and tried a number of variants:

I was looking for balance and felt that depending on the situation variants two and three would work best.

I then mocked up a number of situations (using Photoshop) as asked for in the brief – see Results.

Results

(Click to enlarge)

Discussion

Overall I am quite happy with the process I went through and the results. I do have a lingering fear that it might not resonate with a younger audience. The designs I think work reasonable well in the various situations but care would be needed in making sure that the context works (e.g. colour of t-shirt) I probably could improve on some of these.

What did I learn

The major points I learned were:

  • A lot more of the underlying technolgy (Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop) in creating the logos and situations
  • Asking a number of people for opinions gives a range of answers – it takes skill to take this and deciding changes.
  • The context in which a logo is to be shown is important and probably should be considered more strongly in the design of the logo and/or be influenced by the logo.