This week Baseline shift presented students with the chance to get input on any project they liked, from staff who they may not yet know. Giving feedback were our great tutors – Eric Kindel, Jeanne-Louise Moys and James Lloyd. But some Part 3s and 2s also joined in, commenting on student work. What follows is a review of the main discussions which took place in the session, and the essential design considerations that should be valuable to all students on any project!
‘I see the boxes, not the content.’ – Eric Kindel
One part 1 student shared their instructional leaflet design – a DP1 project, and the feedback from Eric was to take the boxes out and focus more on the images and text. There was an uneven alignment, so suggestions were to make sure to have a consistent sense of alignment. Jeanne-Louise advised a change to the layout, as the top row would include numbers 1 through 4 and the bottom row 5 through 8, and this was creating confusion to the reader in which order to follow the instructions. The grey seemed inconsistent, sometimes it was used as a highlight of an object, other times it was an object, and then sometimes it was not used at all. Consistent treatment should help unify everything! However, the two colour aesthetic was working and once some of the layout and prominence issues are corrected, it should allow the red to shine through better.
Another student shared the same project, with some questions focusing on type sizes and typefaces that are conventional for the chosen age range – little children. It was suggested that it is vital to group things together, to be able to get a balance and make it engaging. Also, having an emphasis on one word would help the child understand what they have to do, for example, ‘clean your hands’ instead of ‘wash your hand’, which was focused on the vocal pronunciation of this age group as well.
Another essential feedback by the tutors was to always have a clear grid to make your format consistent. However, the majority of words were greatly considered by the student, as well as the style of illustrations which were kid-friendly and suitable for the age range of 5 year olds. James suggested using less than 10 steps so children would follow up, and would be engaged throughout. An essential note was to always use InDesign when formatting text, as the stylesheet, margins and text box tools are more sophisticated than Illustrator, making your work consistent, in terms of text size, typeface, fonts.
‘You can always design elements in Illustrator and then take them into InDesign.’ – James Lloyd
It is important to consider space and organization. In this example work the steps need to be numbered, so the reader can follow up easily and fluently, otherwise it will create confusion! James strongly advised in making use of drawing skills i you have them, or finding other techniques if you don’t. Adding scanned drawings to your projects can make them stand out, but you need to think carefully about the correct aesthetic, rather than just going with your own natural style. Always think about proportions and alignments – the right spacing of headings between and above paragraphs as well as subheadings and think about how colour leads your eye through the composition.
Part 1 students also shared their mobile website designs for ‘The Village Florist’, which were beautiful but according to the feedback given by the tutors, there should be more focus on type and button size in accordance to format size. Always consider selecting a sensible size for objects or text in the format of any document. Some of the feedback also suggested making the buttons bigger so they are easier to press on a rather small screen , as well as adding more space between some of the clickable elements!
The overall look was great, but James and Jeanne suggested reviewing the typography to make sure the capitalisation is consistent – some words have sentence cases, such as ‘Thank you!’, and other use title case, such as ‘Follow Us’. The former is typical English styling and the latter is more American!
In homepages, such as in the Part 1 student example below, one should always include something interesting and ‘salesy’ to make users interact with it – this is a big part of the marketing of the business. Leading with procedural or bland info is less engaging, though sometimes essential (for example with urgent Covid messaging). Other feedback on this work was to consider the fact that margins must be consistent and aligned, if they’re not aligned the work can look jumbled, and drawn attention to things that should fall into the background. Will it be left-aligned, right-aligned or centred? Always be consistent with your alignment.
‘You can mirror Invision to your actual phone so you can test type and button sizes.’ – Part 3 student
‘Make sure to use an en dash and not just a hyphen.’ – James Lloyd
There is a big difference between an en dash (–), em dash (—) and a hyphen (-). The en dash is especially common in British English, while the em dash is more prevalent in American English!
The en dash is used to indicate a range of numbers or a span of time. You can read it as representing “to” or “through”: 9.00am–5.00pm hours. Make sure not to confuse en dashes with shorter hyphens (-), which are used to combine words (as in well-behaved). A hyphen should not be used in place of an en dash. It is very important to remember this since James mentioned that knowing this rule and using it properly is one of the key differences between professional and amateur designers.
From reviews and feedback on mobile website design to instructional graphic design, this session highlighted significant practices that we as design students and future designers should remember to imply in our work. Focusing on UX – user experience the user continues to be the primary consideration and a common thread in all aspects of feedback. Whatever you are designing, constantly reflect on who you are designing for and what they need!
‘I really appreciate being able to see other people’s work in these sessions, especially when I’m doing something similar on the project.’ – Part 1 student
‘It’s amazing that the majority of the students showed their work, usually I don’t like to do that and instead I just sit and listen but all the work was based on projects I was also doing so I got so much out of it!’ – Part 1 student
‘Feedback jams are always pretty useful, even just to chill out and see what other students are up to.’ – Part 2 student