Exercise: Abstract Cities – Manhattan

I am very privileged to be able to say I have been in parts of Manhattan as I visited New York City. I found the rough guide to Manhattan helped me to clarify just what parts of New York City were Manhattan! See the link below:

http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/north-america/usa/new-york-city/manhattan/

Interestingly it considers Staten Island and the statue of liberty as parts of Manhattan’s Down town district, which is lucky for me as I took a few (poor quality) photo’s when I visited when I was 16.

Primary research:

The following images are scans of a sketchbook containing photo’s I took whilst on a college art school visit to New York. They’re not the best quality photo’s but all the images are of parts of Manhattan so I thought I might as well use them as research:

Statue of Liberty 1

Statue of Liberty 1

Statue of Liberty 2

Statue of Liberty 2

Manhattan Shoreline

Manhattan Shoreline

 

New York Inner City skyline

New York Inner City skyline

 

View from Empire State building at night

View from Empire State building at night

 

Luggage tag & postcard

Luggage tag & postcard

Secondary research:

Images taken from a google image search where I focused on Central Park as this is a key area within Manhattan, it attracts millions of visitors a year and provides a place for New Yorkers to escape the city:

I took the following photo from this site:

http://nycparking.spplus.com/Destinations/Manhattan-Central-Park-Parking.html

Central park

Central park

And another image taken from this site:

http://www.centralpark.com/photos/show/11907/central-park-from-above

The photo was taken by – NYCRICH

Central Park from above by NYCRICH

Central Park from above by NYCRICH

I wasn’t really sure where to begin but started working from this photo to try and come up with an abstract cover idea:

View from Empire State building at night

View from Empire State building at night

I thought this would be an easier image to start with and here’s my first attempt:

Manhattan version 1

Manhattan version 1

I felt like the purple colour of the background was subordinate and the black was a more dominant colour with the yellow/purple lights acting as an accent. But I felt that there was something missing in the middle of the image. So I wanted to incorporate a colour that would complement but also contrast, here’s what I ended up with:

Manhattan 2

Manhattan 2

The yellow building block certainly draws your eye to the middle of the image, I’m not sure if it’s too big a block of yellow/bold colour to work? I’m also unsure of if the image appears a little too sinister and paints a negative image of Manhattan – just trying to think about if it’s suitable for a travel book.

I did try a couple of ideas for text placement though:

Manhattan 3 Manhattan 4

I think I prefer the text positioning of the top image, it sits well against the top of the buildings.

Here’s an alternative idea where I’ve tried to cut up the statue of liberty into squares and rectangles with some space between. I included the crown because I felt this would help people still be able to identify it as the statue of liberty. It feels a little more muted than the previous design and that’s largely due to there being less contrast between the colours.

Alternative Manhattan Alternative Manhattan 2

 

I think I prefer the second of the two alternative designs as there’s a greater contrast between the background colour and the green of the statue of liberty that helps things seem a bit more vibrant.

I think I’ll leave Manhattan designs there and move onto another city.

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