All posts relating to Graphic Design 1 Assignment 1 are below:
My first assignment for Graphic Design is called ‘Introduce Yourself’. The brief is to:
Design a series of at least three postcards (final size A6) that say something about who you are, your interests in graphic design and your wider cultural influences or interests.
I think I’m at the point of having finalized the designs for the postcards, but rather than me just posting the finished results, I’ll take you through my design process, this is me learning to create a ‘learning log’. It’s meant to be written as you go, so this isn’t a great start as I’m writing retrospectively, but next time I’ll do it differently!
When I looked at the brief for ‘Introduce Yourself’ I sat down and started to Mind Map my ideas.
You can check out a scan of my mind map below:
I like the use of words within Graphic Design and how coupled with an image they can convey more than perhaps alone, so my starting point was thinking about words to describe myself, my interests etc.
The word Create was the first to come to mind. Simply because I spend so much of my time Creating, it’s something I’m always learning about, looking for new ways to create, be practical so I knew I wanted to make a postcard with that word on it.
Collaborate was the second word to come to mind, collaboration is big part of the culture of my friends and family. The environment I live in really encourages and values collaboration in all aspects of life. There’s a phrase that’s often used when asking about how decisions were made or working on projects it’s ‘whose fingerprints are on it’. This is because we think life is more valuable when other people have touched it (so they’ve put they’re finger print on it).
I realized at this point I’d come up with two words beginning with ‘C’, and thought it would work well to have that as a theme, all the postcards would be based on words beginning with ‘C’.
In the Mind Map image I then continued to explore words that could describe me beginning with ‘C’. You can see that I came up with a few, but my the third word that I felt I could focus more on was: Commit.
So I’d picked three words to incorporate or use as a theme/starting point for the design of my postcards; Create, Collaborate, Commit.
More process to follow….
I began looking for inspiration for a postcard around the word ‘Create’ by searching for the word Create using a website called ‘Pinterest’. This wasn’t very fruitful, as I found most of the images were just pretty fonts on pastel backgrounds, not really saying anything just looking pretty.
However I did discover this poster, originally designed by Mihalis Arkopoulos (you can see his website here: http://www.thelightsareneverout.com/index.php) for a Magazine celebrating Berlin.
I really liked how he’d mixed images of Berlin architecture/landmarks with the text by combining the two. I also like how clean/clear the word is, it’s not hard to see what’s being communicated!
It sparked an idea that I could show the different aspects of how I like to create (i.e. sewing, print/pattern), through creating a similar large font cut out from pieces of fabric or paper bags or wallpaper. I collect pieces of fabric, wrapping paper, wallpaper as I love looking at pattern design. So it seemed good to try and incorporate this as one of my interests.
I began to draft up a font:
Once I was happy with the font I moved on to tracing the letters, to make templates for me to cut around into fabric, paper and wallpapers that I had collected over the years.
In my last post I talked about a pencil outline for the word Create, I had a little experiment using felt tips to turn the outline into a more solid line using Black and Red. I like the weight of the lines given by the pens but it’s much too plain, looking at it doesn’t make you think much of Creativity.
Having decided the size and shape of the lettering for the word Create I moved on to finding fabric & paper with prints and patterns of interest. Below is a photo of the cut out letters in the fabrics I chose.
I then began to consider what background the lettering should go against. I wanted the background to reinforce the word but not distract too much! It was a nice day outside, and because I take a lot of interest from objects within nature, I thought it might be interesting to get that into the image.
So I took some blue tack and fixed the letters onto the sliding doors in our house, I experimented with a variety of layouts, as you’ll see on the photo’s below.
While I liked the idea of this, there’s a couple of things that helped me decide not to use these images for the final postcard design.
Firstly the fact you can see the blue tack through the letters, looks pretty rubbish! It wasn’t really a surface I could stick the letters onto without worrying about the glass being marked. I’m not a skilled photographer so I wasn’t sure how to shoot in a way to get the best light, you lose a sense of the pattern and texture of the letter due to the different light levels on the letters.
For example, the ‘E’ looks quite dark, lost, whilst the ‘C’ looks quite transparent. I think it just ends up looking a bit sloppy rather than a coherent image.
I tried out placing the lettering on a few other surfaces; a wooden chair (I like working on DIY projects, like repainting wood) & a cutting matt.
I quite like the lettering on the Wooden chair, the backdrop isn’t too busy so the word is still legible. But I think it looks to flat, lifeless to be describing creativity.
Part 3 coming up next….
I scrawled a few ideas down on a piece of paper which led to my next and final background idea for the postcard.
I’d written about using symbols around the letters to represent how you should create the letters, so for example, if you drew round in cutting lines, you’d know to cut the letters out, that would be your form of creativity.
I liked this idea,so I used the cutting lines to form an edge around the lettering and placed them onto a background which I’d roughly applied strokes of watercolor paint to.
I also added in pencil guidelines to the background, to add a feeling of the image just having been created with thought and boundary’s.
Whilst I think the image could look sharper (if I knew how to use software to change it!) i like the overall look. i think the little cutting line edge helps the letters to sit well on the page whilst defining their shape.
I think it does a good job of communicating my love for creativity in lots of forms, but also a love of order and structure, it’s cohesive not random as an image.
I began my research by searching the word Collaboration in Pinterest.
I found two images of interest:
1. Collaborate by Carys Williams
I liked this image because it fits alongside that phrase I had about things being of value when others fingers prints are on it. I see the speech bubble with all the different squares of color standing for all the different people inputting, and together they make this one idea, or thing.
I’m not a major fan of the colors or font, but otherwise I like the design. I couldn’t find out much about the artist as they didn’t have a profile on the site i found the work on, but here’s a link to the site. http://www.advicetosinkinslowly.net
2. Collaborate Print by Jon Calleja
I really like the way he’s created this type, he’s not used harsh lines, but it still stands out because of the sense of it being 3D, or at least that’s how I see it.
Not sure that it communicated collaboration, maybe there’s a story behind it, I couldn’t seem to find that out!
Jon is an illustrator by trade, check out – http://www.hellojon.com/
Part 2 next….
Inspired by the font made by Jon Calleja (see previous post), I began to work on a font for the word Collaborate.
I wanted to give the font a playful feel, so handwritten seemed best, to give that loose feel. I guess because I wanted to covey collaboration as a joyful, fun thing rather than intense or serious looking.
I started with a font that I made with all the letters connected, a continuous line drawing.
Looking at this it felt much too fragile and too lose to be visible against a background so I tried filling out the outline shape a bit more. But I still felt unhappy with the size of the letters so moved on to enlarge it again.
After the third version of the font I began with I wasn’t happy with it, and realized it didn’t look much like the font which I’d hope to use as a reference (the one by Jon Calleja).
With that in mind I drew a new font, which sat much more centrally in the page, with a greater sense of cohesion/uniform across the letters. I took the idea of giving it a 3D feel by giving the letters a 3D edge. See below for the first version:
I was much happier with this font so felt able to move on to defining the font further using a fine black pen around the edges:
I then began to think about what background/context I wanted to sit the lettering in, more to come on that in part 3.
I knew I wanted a background that had an element of Collaboration in it’s making so that the word Collaborate was reinforced by the image it sat on. I remembered that in my initial thoughts I’d mentioned a phrase about collaboration saying
“things are of greater value when others finger prints are on it”
So it occurred to me that I could create a background literally made from people dipping their fingers in inks pads and pressing them onto the paper around the lettering. So I got a couple of friends to lend me their fingers and help me print the background.
Here’s the first version whilst it was being made:
I’d chosen a dark blue, light blue and Gold ink for the image as I felt these would give a more subtle/complementary feel to the words, and would still have a sense of joy/fun. I think this has worked well, although on second thoughts a multicolored ink approach could also have worked well, given it more of an uplifted feel.
I then began to fill in the outline of the lettering and 3D edge with a black fine felt tip pen. See Below:
I found that I didn’t like the black pen outline, I think it looks much to dominant and dark. it doesn’t sit comfortably against the light/almost petal light backdrop, so I thought of a few other things to try:
1. Getting friends kids to do the finger prints (for fun)
2. Taking photo’s of the finger printing process and using that to make the final image.
3. Changing the color of the font and using a more soft subtle medium – blue ink.
In the interests of time and my limited photography skills I decided just to try the third idea, and it produced a final image that I’m happy to use as a postcard:
When I first thought about a Postcard based on Commitment at the back of my mind I was thinking about Marriage, I think it’s probably the biggest thing you can commit yourself to in terms of human interaction.
I’m married, so it seemed like a pretty important part of myself to introduce! But what I discovered as I searched Google and Pinterest using the word ‘Commitment’ was either photographs of rings, of couples posing together, or motivational messages about running or exercise.
I began thinking about other phrases, ways to say ‘Commitment’ and remembered the saying that when people are getting married they’re “Tying the Knot”.
So I searched for images of Knots and ‘Tying the Knot’ within those search engines. I found a couple of Images I thought could be inspiring, mainly because they showed the shape of the knot/how they depicted the knot…
I then just tried to generate simple images by drawing knot shapes on a page, maybe adding the word Commitment at the bottom as a starting point for the postcard design.
I then considered having the phrase tying the knot written along the rope of the knot. But I didn’t really pursue this as I thought it looked quite simplistic/messy. You may be able to pick out the lettering in the image below, but it’s quite tricky as I drew over it. Perhaps it’s something I’ll explore a bit more later on.
I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired by what I was producing and began to do a little artist research to try and help me progress with design ideas. I’ll explain more in the next post…
I really admire an artist/illustrator called Oliver Jeffers. I’d been watching a few video’s on how he works, what inspires him on YouTube I found this the most helpful in terms of showing his techniques and thought processes:
I also came across this great interview/article about him online:
What I most admire about his work is his ability to communicate about values without being too serious, his children’s picture books, are funny but with a message underneath.
Thinking about all this it seemed like it might be good to include something with illustrated characters (like Jeffer’s uses in his books) so I began working on some characters to incorporate in a postcard design.
I then thought I could try and incorporate an knot in a sort of story with the characters. I came up with the idea of three characters, two pulled either side of a rope to form a knot, and one narrating the scene. You can see the result in progress below:
I felt like the illustration I’d worked on following my research in Oliver Jeffers had gone fairly well.
So I then thought the next best thing would be work on honing and refining it.
It felt a little lost on a big white sketchbook background. So I cut the characters and the knot out of sketchbook and looked for a background to sit them on top of. I found some brown paper, and felt like I made a nice solid textured backdrop without detracting too much attention away from the characters.
I thought this looked better than the initial version, much more together but still wasn’t happy.
I re-sized the image using GIMP (an online image editing program like Photoshop). See the result below…
I think these does look like the best refinement of the design. But I’m still not sure that I like the design. It just looks a little random!
We’re in real time now so the next posts I do will be reflecting as I go rather than retrospectively.
Looking back over my design for the commitment postcard I was still unsure it was communicating what I wanted it too, in the style I wanted it to. Perhaps I’m being overly critical but it just didn’t look as smooth or polished as I’d hoped.
I wanted to see if making a similar image using different techniques would produce a better result. So I thought I’d give making a similar image in a program called GIMP a go. Now I’m not very experienced with this software so perhaps I was being to ambitious.
I began by thinking if I drew the characters in stages: so a layer for the outline, a layer for clothes, a layer for hair. I could add these into GIMP stage by stage and alter the colour/lines and bring it altogether in one final image.
I’d seen others do this successfully so began drawing layers using tracing paper and scanning them into my computer:
I decided to rethink my design for the Commitment postcard. I began by thinking about what did I want to say through the postcard, what did commitment mean to me? When I think about commitment or being committed to something I think about words like; determination, grit, effort, hard work, strength of resolve.
Thinking about these words, I was looking for a image that could depict that, and I was reminded of posters made in World War II which aimed to encourage women into factories, to do their bit for the war effort. I was reminded of the way the women were symbols of strength and resolve in these posters; they appealed to women to make commitment to the war effort.
I found a few of these images and began to think about a design around them:
At the same time as considering how to express Commitment visually I was looking for layout inspiration for my postcard when I came across some packaging I’d kept from Starbucks Coffee.
I keep lots of packaging because I really admire the design/aesthetic. I found this packet really appealed, and it gave a idea to design my postcard as if I were selling a blend of coffee called ‘Commitment’.
Before I mention the designs I produced in InDesign it’s worth me mentioning I came up with another design for the postcard using a ribbon with the lettering on it as well as the knot with lettering. Just simply because this reflected the coffee packaging more than the knot did.
Now to talk about my process with InDesign and Illustrator.
Before I dig into my next project I wanted to allow myself the time to reflect on my tutor report for the first assignment I submitted.
I’m going to make this quite clear in terms of writing quotes from sections from the report and then commenting on what actions I need to take/possible areas to pursue as a result. Then I’ll do an conclusion as to what impact the report will have on my approach to my next assignment.