Author: DanielCox

Photoshop Collage

Design ideas and design process

I have chosen the Creative Images Photoshop task; this brief states we need to create an image that has been manipulated to alter ‘reality’.


I started my idea generation by finding some images I thought would be interesting to manipulate. By searching for “vintage fashion photography” I got loads of high-quality images that were very dynamic and interesting. I then tried to imagine additional objects within the images, for example in one picture I found that a woman’s hat heavily resembled a thumb. In another I thought the woman’s dress looked as though it might blossom like a flower. I started to sketch some ideas and when I was happy I began to seek out pictures of thumbs, flowers, and other objects that I could superimpose into my collage.



For my first idea found a picture of a thumb that was good quality and imported into my Photoshop document. I used an adjustment layer to make the thumb black and white (like the image I wanted to superimpose it onto).  Next I used the Magnetic Lasso Tool to select the outline of the thumb and to discard of the background. I then reduced the thumbs opacity and placed it on top of the woman’s head, distorting it so that it remained the same shape as her hat. Finally I used the rubber tool to remove parts of the thumb that overlapped the woman’s hat and I also used several curves adjustment layers to give the thumb the shadows and highlights that the hat had.


image.pngthumb lady low.jpg

For my next Idea I wanted to extend the subjects dress to resemble a flower. I found a suitable picture of a rose online, making sure It was Black as for it to blend well with the black dress. I imported the image into my Photoshop file and once again used the Magnetic lasso tool to discard of the background. I placed the rose upside down where the woman’s dress ended and used the Rubber tool to seamlessly blend the dress’s outline to the rose. The layers blended together really well but the work looked a little odd as the woman had no legs.

Secret Stars: Daft Punk and Karlie Kloss in Inspired New Eveningwear | Vogueimage.pngwoamnflower-Recovered 2.jpg

I cropped out a leg from a poster of daft punk,  reflected it, duplicated it and arranged them in a way to look like they belonged to the woman. I then added some colour and text to get the final image above on the right.


For my final idea I wanted to place the moon on top of the subject’s head. I found a high quality image of the moon and imported it into Photoshop. Using the magic wand tool to discard of the background I then cut the moon in half and placed it on-top of the woman’s head. I neatened up the composite using the rubber tool on a low hardness.  I wanted to develop this idea further and I thought It would be interesting to stick with the vintage space theme. Using an image of a toy rocket, I made use of the magnetic selection tool and adjustment layers like Black and white, Curves, brightness, contrast and also hue and saturation In order to create a seamless collage. To finish I added some final details like text and noise (to give it a vintage feel) and am really happy with the results.

image.pngROCKET WOMAN 3.jpgimage.pngROCKET WOMAN 2.jpg


Software tutorials

A big part of creating a collage digitally is knowing how to blend images seamlessly. A resource that was provided in which I found invaluable was a video that broke down blending modes. I’d never really experimented with them before and this skill came in very useful throughout this task.

I also found some additional videos that were really useful.

These two videos were extremely helpful. One of the videos taught me how to invert adjustment layers and then use the black and white brush tool to apply the adjustment onto selective areas. This was a very useful tool as it allowed me to create shadows and give my images depth and realism that they wouldn’t otherwise have. The color matching video taught me how to manipulate individual colour channels in order to match it with another object. The video also had some great tips and tricks on how to use the curves tool.  PiXimperfect does some fantastic tutorial videos and is my go to channel for any problems Photoshop related.

In the future I’d like to improve my understanding of clipping masks and working non-destructively. I found myself merging layers and flattening the images multiple times throughout my Photoshop process which meant I couldn’t undo things later on, this is definitely a bad habit and something that would be worth learning about.
To learn how to work clipping masks I intend to watch some more YouTube videos, specifically ‘PiXimperfect’ as his videos are very enjoyable and easy to follow.


Resources for research and inspiration


I was inspired to take a collage approach to this task mainly due to an artist called Richard Vergez. ‘Richard Vergez is a Cuban-American visual and sound artist’ whose artwork uses a range of different images overlayed in a really creative way. I was inspired by how practical and hands on his work is;  Vergez will often take real magazine cutouts allowing his work to feature paper tears and texture  which gives it a really brutal and raw effect. I tried to replicate paper tears digitally but failed, however this is a skill I am really set on learning and can’t wait to give another shot. Vergez also used vintage magazines as a source material, this was something that I incorporated into my own work.

Organization Collage by Richard Vergez | Saatchi ArtRichard VergezRichard Vergez - Coeval Magazine


Taxer is another artist that deeply inspired me to take the approach to this project that I did. ‘Taxer is a self taught Austrian based graphic designer specialized in dark-surreal artworks.’ His work is very similar to that of Vergez’s however, unlike Vergez, his work doesn’t draw attention to the process with rough cut overlays but rather seamlessly blends elements together in a hyper-realistic render. In my own work for this task I tried to implement Taxer’s approach and focused on trying to make it ambitious where one image in the collage ends and where the other begins.

Meindl Taxer's Instagram post: “089 . . #typosters #printisntdead #graphicindex #dailyposter #itsnicethat #posterlabs #d… | Instagram posts, Graphic prints, GraphicMeindl Taxer on Instagram: “073 . . #typosters #printisntdead #graphicindex #dailyposter #itsnicethat #posterlabs #designfeed #v… | Instagram, Poster, Its nice thatMeindl Taxer on Instagram: “097 . . . #typosters #printisntdead #graphicindex #dailyposter #itsnicethat #posterlabs #v… | Graphic prints, Instagram, Graphic design

In the future I want to explore digital collage’s further and really dive into all the different approaches you can take.

Photoshop Typography Podcast Cover

Design ideas and design process

I started my design process by looking at some existing examples of podcast covers. The covers I looked at had some noticeable themes that I intended to replicate. A fair few (The Joe Rogan Experience) featured a microphone in the cover so that was something interesting I wanted to explore. A lot also made use of an image of the podcast host (like the dropout and Joe Rogan examples) while others just had the podcast name displayed in a creative way (Like the buzz cast).

As I’d seen in my research, many podcasts covers incorporated the microphone so that’s where I started. I had this idea of someone talking into the microphone one end and out the other end there would spew subject specific vocabulary so from looking at the cover you could immediately tell what kind of topics would be discussed on the podcast. I also chose a catchy name for the podcast, ‘typography time.’ I enjoyed creating this idea and like the outcome, I think the cover incorporates typography well which reflects what the podcast is about.

For my second design I wanted to explore creative ways I could display the podcast name (like the buzz cast example). I started by choosing a tasteful colour scheme and a simple name. I then stretched the letters stems to create a striking linear pattern.  I then filled the gaps with the typical imagery you would see on a podcast cover (microphone and information). I experimented with this design by warping the lines to try and replicate sound waves emitting from the microphone but I decided to stick with the more simple idea.

For my final design I wanted to create something that incorporated as many of the archetypal qualities I had seen in my research. I thought an image of the host on the cover would make quite a convincing design however a problem I faced was that it was a made-up podcast with no actual host. I decided to just use stock images, one featured a man, the other featured a microphone, I then applied a black and white filter to both to keep the image consistent. Similar to my first idea I wanted to communicate what the podcast was about so I had this idea of a thought bubble coming from the hosts head which would have all the topics he would talk about in it. In the end I went with the idea of having books about graphic design and typography (that he might discuss on the podcast) flowing out of his head, as if all his knowledge is on display.

I started by removing the top half of his head and applied it at an angle to appear as if it was being opened. After that I found some of the best graphic design books and arranged them flowing out of his skull. I added shadow to the hosts head and to the books to give the image some depth. I did this by using tools like the drop shadow, curves adjustment layers and also just blending with the black paintbrush. I like this idea because It combines what I learnt from looking at existing podcast covers and overall looks quite convincing.


Software tutorials

I started by watching some of the official Photoshop tutorials. I watched a lot of the videos from the ‘working with layers’ link. This was very helpful as often my Photoshop layers get a little bit messy and this told me the importance of creating a Photoshop file that looks professional with correctly named layers. I did some further research into layers with just some basic google searches and discovered you can group layers when necessary which made a lot of this project more organised and effective. I also viewed the website ‘how to design a podcast cover’. This was really helpful as before I had a look through the website I had no idea how I was going to start with my designs but the website gave me some direction and discussed some good starting points and also some questions to ask yourself as you go through the design process. As I was working on Photoshop I had an issue where my images looked very flat on the background and I was not sure how to make layers look more natural and blend into the surroundings when on a page. A YouTube video called ‘Master Curves from Start to Finish in Photoshop’ really helped me out. I discovered you could use the curves adjustment layers to give an image darker tones and lighter tones in the appropriate places. This includes giving object shadows and highlights to make it look more natural. The curves adjustment layer also has a function where you can colour match two objects which will come in extremely useful. Skills I would like to develop in the future include mastering the pen tool as currently I am hopeless at using it. I would also like to improve at simple jobs like creating clean and crisp layer masks because currently when I cut out an image it takes ages and looks a bit dodgy.


Resources for research and inspiration 

Like i mentioned at the beginning, I started this project by looking for some inspiration and a great way to do this is by looking at existing designs. I started by googling ‘podcast covers’ which showed hundreds of results however each one incorporated some of the basic archetypes. To list a few: Vibrant colours, use of illustration, interesting typeface, experimental use of type, most of them reflect what they are about visually, use of a microphone, visuals that reflect radio or sound in some ways, most feature the hosts face. It would be difficult to include all of these stereotypes into one cover so I cherry picked 3 features that I wanted to include in my ideas.  1. have a microphone, 2. be experimental with the type, and 3. feature the podcast host. I also had a scroll through spotifiy to look at what the most successful podcasts had done on their covers ( Like I also said earlier I found the ‘how to design a podcast cover’ website extremely useful ( which addressed how to start a design and also went into detail about picking a theme and running with it. As I was designing I had this website up in  another tab just to refer back to and I feel like I was successful in following a lot of the instructions. For example it spoke a lot about picking a theme and colour and being consistent with those choices throughout, I’d like to think my covers have a solid style and a tasteful colour pallet. Topics I would like to explore further include colour theory, I’d love to learn about what colours work best together, combinations to avoid and also how colour can have an effect on the viewer. I’d also like to learn more

A source that was essential for this project was Unsplash, ( It provided me with a lot of the images I used throughout which were all very high quality and just made everything so much easier.


Colourful Podcast Covers

This weeks skills for design practice task was to design three covers for a typography and graphic design podcast. This was a really enjoyable task which helped me develop some of my existing skills on photoshop. The outcome I like the most is the ‘typography podcast every Sunday’ one just because it looks a bit more professional than the other two.

Flying Car

For Kim’s Ideal gift project we were asked to prepare 3 interesting facts about ourselves and then share them in a group. We then had to use someones facts to create an ideal gift for them and use prompt word to further develop our ideas. My partner said they had met Bear Grylls and been skydiving so I thought a a flying jeep would be suitable (jeep is adventurous like Mr Grylls and they must like flying if they have been skydiving so…flying jeep). One of my words was ‘fan’ so I added some rotatory fans to the car.

Modernist Style Cinema Listing

cinema listing

For this project we were tasked with arranging information about 2017 showings at the university cinema onto an A5 sheet with two columns. This was a really fun task and was good for developing my skills on indesign which at the moment are pretty limited. I tried to arrange the information in a way i thought made sense with the title of the films being the most eye catching however during peer assessment someone pointed out the rest of the information sort of merges into one.

For my flyer I wanted to incorporate some styles we have been studying in the history of graphic communications module. Last week Rob was talking about Swiss graphic design so I’ve tried to make my outcome visually similar to the movement. Swiss graphic design, like modernism, uses black and red colours and sanserif fonts.

Recreating Type


For Gerry’s project, our first task was to create the word ‘cadbury’ in the same font as the word hesion above it. I found this particularly challenging. Mimicking a typeface with only the option to view a very selective range of its characters is something I have never done before but I gave it my best shot. Gerry pointed out my U in cadbury should look more like an upside down n with a stem.

For the second task we were given some letters that looked as if each character had been cut in half, It was our job to fill in the rest of the figures. It was interesting to see the different interpretations of the first letter, only the top half of the character stroke was revealed so I incorrectly thought it was a C, others thought it was an S, when it was in fact an A. I added some serifs to my letters just to make them more interesting.



For Kim’s Project we were tasked with creating a logo like symbol that merged our first initial and last initial. I experimented around a lot to create many number of variations however in the end I decided to go with the lower case d inside the upper case C. I then played with the style of the glyph giving it serifs and adding an italic angle to it. I really liked the final outcome even if it does resemble the @ symbol.

Lettering Around Campus

For Erics’s project we studied lettering in the environment. I tried to find lettering around the campus that i thought looked interesting. I liked a lot of the stencil lettering which there was a surprising amount of. After we had taken photographs we were asked to organise/arrange them in a way we thought was suitable. I decided to arrange mine by colour with the greens at the top, followed by the blues, yellows, reds and neutral tones. When looking at how my class mates had arranged theirs I realised mine was by far the least creative however Eric asked an interesting question about whether the colour groups I had split my photographs into had anything else in common. While the green lettering generally invoked safety or a message about the environment it was difficult to find correlations between the other colour groups.

The Matrix

For this project we were asked to create a film, book or even a meme in the form of a classic penguin book cover. For mine I decided to create a penguin book cover for the matrix. I started by getting the green color pallet a lot of people associate with the film. I then distorted the type to make it look like it was dodging the bullets, (a reference to the film) however I’d say this was semi successful as Its quite difficult to tell what my intentions were. Overall though I like the green and really enjoyed this project.

matrix vs 02

Covid 19 In Reading Town

Today for Sue’s and Emma’s Covid 19 project I headed into to town to find any kind of sign or poster that portrayed a warning or instruction about Corona Virus. We then grouped back together to share all of our images and talk about them. We discussed how the general public are growing accustomed to the shear abundance of Covid posters to the point where we have built up a sort of tolerance to them. I personally barley notice these signs anymore and they only really catch my eye when I’m actively looking for them. It was interesting to look at posters that were perhaps not made by professional designers and were a bit more creative and fun. A lot of the signs had a very lighthearted aesthetic to them which is strange considering the disease has killed thousands of people. As a group we evaluated whether we thought these signs might be taken more seriously and further catch the eye if they used scare tactics like on the packaging of cigarettes. The top right image shows a warning poster from decades ago (from the collection) and the image to the left of that is a poster I found around the campus today, it is interesting to see the visual similarities between these to two.