Reflecting On My Podcast Cover Designs

Design Ideas and Process 

With a semi-comprehensive knowledge of Photoshop, I wanted to challenge myself with these podcast covers. I began by using sites like Behance, Pinterest, and Instagram to find sources of inspiration to pursue. Strangely, the posts didn’t prove useful to my designs. Instead, I was inspired by the compositions – the use of grids in the Instagram interface, the blurred buffering images, and the controlled white space influenced my three respective designs. While admittedly strange, I now had three engaging design ideas, using a variety of text and image techniques.

The ‘Mosaic’ Filter I applied, under ‘Pixelate’, altered my image into a more stylized, visually interesting focal point.
The ‘Grain’ menu in the ‘Filter Gallery’, allowing me to add texture to the final image, creating a more visually engaging and aesthetic outcome.

For the first design, using the retro PC image, I wanted to explore different filters, adding texture to the image. As a mostly unexplored tool, I began by using the magic wand, adjusting the tolerance to select the focal image, and adding a layer mask to edit just the PC.

Having added text, I experimented with filters before finding the ‘Mosaic’ Filter in the Pixelate drop-down menu. I adjusted the ‘Cell size’ slider to an appropriate amount. I added more texture using the ‘Filter Gallery’ and applying ‘Grain’, altering the contrast and intensity to suit. Although I have used this before, I hadn’t experimented with the ‘Grain Type’, another variable that changes the final output.

 

 

The ‘Layer Style’ panel allowed me to adjust the text settings, making it appear three-dimensional by adding these filters, and eventually a faint drop shadow.
I made an S curve with the ‘Curves Adjustment’ layer, allowing the darker and lighter parts to stand out, making it more visually appealing through this boosted contrast.

With the second design being relatively simple, the focus is on composition, I will discuss the more complex third design. For this, I experimented with shadows and perspective, simulating height within the text by using the ‘Bevel & Emboss’ and ‘Inner Shadow’ layer styles. I added a ‘Drop Shadow’ helping to contextualise the text with the background and amplifying the effect. Despite being initially challenging, I was able to adjust these values to make the design work harmoniously together.

Finally, I used the ‘Curves Adjustment Layer’, allowing me to refine the design’s colours. I have previously used the simpler ‘Brightness/Contrast adjustment. However, ‘Curves’ gave me more control over the exact balancing, allowing a better final outcome to be produced from this slightly more complex adjustment layer.

Software Tutorials

As previously mentioned, I had no idea how to achieve these results. Many of the features and amendments made were generated through experimentation. However, I used software tutorials to educate me on how to use specific tools which I could adapt to fit my design purpose.

This comparison image shows the change this process had on my central image, thanks to the information and guided learning of the tutorial, giving it a technological and modern design aesthetic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8HUx3kZWSk

I wanted to push myself for these designs, so I decided to start with a reputable tutorial. I began with a video by Adobe Creative Cloud, going through the filters and effects in Photoshop. While many of these weren’t really useful for my concepts or project, it was still good to expand my knowledge of the software. However, some aspects, such as the meticulous look at the various filtering options, were incredibly useful, with Paul

This shows the comparison between before and after watching the tutorial. I think the difference is pretty clear, the bottom looking almost real as if it’s been embossed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zY0l4Irt8U

Trani talks through what each option does and how it can be amended to suit a project. For my work, this was essential to the final outcome; the use of pixelation on the image made it more visually interesting and the additional grain made the design seem more complete and brought the design together.

Being originally lost on how to make the text for this third design pop and stand out, I began searching for tutorials that could give my work direction (and maybe teach me more about using text). Looking on YouTube for specific tips and tricks, I found a video by the channel Facilito, which showed how to use text settings to create a 3D look to the text. This tutorial was incredibly helpful, talking through the different tools used to create this effect. Knowing this, I was then able to go back through and edit these to be appropriate for my design. I enjoyed this element of experimentation, with the tutorial not providing all the answers so I could still work creatively to find the best fit for my piece.

 

Design Resources and Articles

The Retro PC image was taken by Thomas Millot; this was something I could not source myself (as I didn’t have a Macintosh PC from the ’80s) so I used his image from Unsplash.

A retro informational poster that strongly shaped my first design, giving me a source of inspiration to add my own style to. https://www.flickr.com/photos/thingstocomerecords/with/4076611450/

On top of this, I got design inspiration from other places. This included the distortion on buffering Instagram images, but the poster on the left more significantly influenced my first design. I wanted to achieve a nostalgic-but-modern, technological appearance which this image does perfectly.

An editable premade text effect for Photoshop, that I replicated by using the earlier cited tutorial and through experimentation. https://www.freepik.com/premium-vector/shadow-silver-editable-text-effect_8419918.htm#page=1&query=embossed%20text&position=41&from_view=keyword

The final design was inspired by existing work; an effect sold by designer, @putrasepta on Freepik. Although I obviously made the text from scratch, being able to use this similar image was helpful throughout the process, informing me on how to add colour to make the text appear 3 dimensional.

For additional assistance in this project, I read articles about podcast cover art, allowing me to have a more informed opinion on the design’s context of use. I found a recent article on Riverside called about good practices in podcast cover design (https://riverside.fm/blog/podcast-cover-art), which help educate me on the formatting and conventions of this genre.

This had some useful information, such as keeping Topic, Tone, Personality, Style, Genre in mind while designing. For me, this gave the design process more focus and direction. The technical focus on typography ties in directly with my subject matter, and other tips such as “5. Less is More” really influenced my final outcome, causing me to use large amounts of white space in my piece.

Though not every piece of advice was used within my work, such as using colour temperature (which goes against my modern, monochromatic colours), the article helped my design work greatly, giving me focus while working and an idea of the conventions of modern podcast covers. While my design was intended to be contemporary, this information helped me stay within the genre of podcast cover art.

Letter Shaping and Font Replication

Task 1 Fill in the Blanks

My attempt at the task, filling the missing gaps to complete the letter-forms.

In the first of two tasks, I was given 4 letters in the font ‘Skolar’ with large portions missing, with me needing to fill in these spaces as accurately as possible. While initially sounding easy, I was surprised at the complexity and difficulty of this task.

I began with the ‘n’, which was missing the top curved portion, as I thought this would be the best starting place to ease myself into the task. I used a 6B to begin sketching a skeleton of the shape before switching to a 2B to define the outlines. While I think this was one of the closest letters to the original, the sizing was still off, making it taller than the actual Skolar lowercase ‘n’.

I then moved on to the ‘e’; I struggled on this one more, not knowing if a serif was present or not. From the remaining parts of the other letters, I could see some of the different possible serifs. However, after trying them and deciding they looked misplaced and visually off-putting, I resulted in a slightly tapered but curved edge. While the right choice for this font, my choice to make the letter closed instead of a more open sweeping stroke makes my letter look visibly different from the real font.

The authentic Skolar font, which I was trying to replicate. I used this image as a comparison following the completion of the task.

Although going in apprehensively, the ‘d’ was not as challenging as expected. By giving the sketching process time, I was able to slowly build onto the base skeleton lines to create a structure that somewhat matched the given portions of the letters. Upon reflection, the real font is more angular than mine, with the bowl joining onto the stem in a sharper manner. Despite this, I think that the curvature and slight descending nature on the bowl are accurate to the original, making this look like a reasonably close recreation.

The ‘a’, in my opinion, is the furthest from Skolar. In my addition to the given portion of the letter, I did not add the angled stress found in the original. The serif is similarly absent from this, making it noticeably different. I failed to capture the angled nature of the bowl, instead of creating a rounded curve with much less stress. However, with the given part of the letters, there was no real way of me inferring the angle or stress of the font. This task showed me the intricacies of type, helping me to spot subtle ques and motifs that run through the letters while allowing me to apply my sketching and drawing skills to a practical task.

 

Task 2 – Replicating Entire Letters

A close shot of the task. The 6 given letters are seen above, with my continuation of this alphabet photographed below.

The second task was more challenging still; here, we were given six letters within a particular font and had to continue writing other letters of the alphabet, attempting to replicate the font. Now without the assisting portion of the letters, many more of the choices made were based on the other letters and existing knowledge of typography.

Beginning with the letter ‘a’, I presumed this would be a double story letter from the smooth, open strokes and chunky serifs. Looking back at this now, I think that the bowl of the ‘a’ descends too far below the baseline. While the counter is reasonably proportioned for the vertical stress of the letter, it is also apparent that the aperture of the overhanging stroke is too small, making the letter seem closed off. This does not follow the open nature of the example letters, forcing me to not include a serif and making it appear further from the typeface. However, in comparison to the FF Tisa Standard font I was attempting to replicate, I was not too far away from the real letter.

Following this, I then created a lower case ‘c’. The curvature became a challenge here, requiring a smooth curve and a definite decision on the inclusion of a serif. After looking at other letters, specifically the lower case ‘e’, I decided not to include any serifs, keeping the letter more visually simple. While the real letter does have a serif on the upper end of the stroke, I think that my choice was somewhat informed. With both serifs, the glyph looked out of place alongside the other letters, causing me to remove both serifs. The stress and proportional weighting of the lettering was good, but this task has helped me understand where my weak points are and where to continue independent research into typography and lettering.

Finally, with my remaining time, I drew out a lower case ‘b’. Here, I went the opposite direction, adding an upper and lower serif to the design. Although this is present on the lower case ‘d’, the ‘b’ in FF Tisa Standard only features an upper serif. The angled exit stoke of the curved bowl, stressed proportional weighting and slight descending curve are all accurate to the real font. However, the bowl is more squared off in the authentic typeface, with my recreation being too rounded by comparison.

Although these tasks were not flawless by any means, I think the lessons I have learned from completing them have been incredibly valuable. I looked at letterforms to a very minute depth, allowing me to make judgments and observations on minute aspects of the font. I have also been made aware of areas to improve, which I will pursue and try to actively improve within my studies and free time.

Cinema Listings Development and Presentation

Initial Ideation

Following the brief being set, I began by quickly sketching designs. It is important to note that my target audience was a father with two young children, so many design choices were influenced by this. I used blocks in place of the main title, writing only the other information to see it in context. This was a purely experimental process intending to generate a range of ideas relatively quickly.

I trialed different positionings of the title mostly, which I shaded in pink for simplicity.  The larger texts, while optimal for a typography-based poster, would likely not work in the context of a cinema listing, which must be a vehicle for information. The A5 size limit means that text must be carefully balanced to ensure hierarchy and optimal readability.

Alternatively, when made smaller, the title loses its dominance over the other information. While there are other factors likely more important to a father, such as whether the timing of the film works with the family’s schedule, the conventions of a cinema listing and other users also have to be considered. The film title is typically the largest element in each individual listing, allowing other users to quickly identify a film that interests them.

After reflecting on these ideas, I concluded that the bottom right image on the first page and the top right image on the second page were the two most suitable. These two ideas appeared well-balanced but will be refined in later development.

 

Idea Refinement

Having decided on the two concepts, I drew these out to a larger scale, now writing the full title out. Although this is more in line with the final piece, the actual refinement would take place within InDesign, so this is simply refining the concept.

I drew the ideas twice, once with the longest title and once with the shortest, allowing me to see the extreme differences this element will need to have, in turn being able to adapt the design to these requirements.

Having done this, I used a red pen to write on notes and adjustments to make when in InDesign. At this point, I decided that shorter, single-line titles could span the height of two lines, believing that this would make the design look more balanced.

I also concluded that, while spacing was important and should be tweaked and adjusted when suitable, a larger font would be optimal. This would make the final printed product clearer, allowing it to be better at its purpose, to communicate information to a potential customer of the cinema.

Having concluded that these ideas would be suitable and refined them slightly on paper, I then had to use InDesign to begin the digital creation of the ideas.

 

Digital Creation

I began with black text, creating a single entry in the structure of my first sketch, using style sheets in order to regulate and standardize the sections. I found this stage complicated and difficult to construct, trying to tweak the paragraph styles to create a successful result. After watching a tutorial video on Drop Caps, I had finished the first entry and was able to quickly apply these styles to the remaining text.  I then added the remaining information, including the titles and contact details, which I placed at the top of the page. I adjusted the sizes of these, making the title significantly larger while making the other information smaller, semantically spaced, and arranged to create visually balanced spacing by controlling the negative space around these elements. I realised that smaller titles could not be in a larger font as initially planned, as this made the design look incongruous and visually imbalanced.

Having completed this, I reflected on the design. I decided that the spacing needed work, with the blocks seemingly blending into one. To combat this, I adjusted the spacing more and added rule lines underneath each listing. This helped to define each block of information as separate, differentiating the data and allowing the design to be more visually balanced.

Having created this design, I then added a coloured box to the top of the design. I selected a dark blue, allowing the text to all use the same colours (because, at the time, I thought that white counted as one of the two allocated colours). To allow the text within to be visible, I changed the colour to be white. This created a visual hierarchy, the white text standing out from the thick block of colour.

Completing a basic format, I then printed the design out to scale in black and white. This was a helpful stage within the process, allowing me to better understand and gauge the sizes of the various elements. Looking closely at this printed example, I was able to correct scaling and spacing issues that came up. For example, the smaller metadata was still too big in this example and more spacing would allow the design to seem more clear and visually appealing. I was also able to add more space between the upper listings and the coloured box, balancing the overall look better.

Having made these changes, I was happy with the design. I checked the use of punctuations and hyphens before resaving the design with a new name, allowing me to simply adjust the style sheets on the duplicated document instead of starting from scratch.

 

Second Design

Having stripped this duplicated file back to the basics, I was then able to make adjustments to make the alternate design. I began by adjusting the layouts of each listing, with this being the most important factor to the user. Although other stylistic choices were also necessary, such as changing the typefaces and colour used, I wanted to ensure the concept was visually effective and appropriate at communicating the desired messages. Being able to use the same size font as the previous design was a reassuring sign that this design would be similarly readable and clear to a potential customer.

I think that this listing layout, while still somewhat successful for shorter length films, works considerably better on films with longer titles. For example, in the working document on the left, entries like ‘Wind River’ and ‘Nosferatu’ look visually more appealing than ‘Detroit’ and ‘Coco’. This came down to the contrast of line length, with the bigger title standing out more and filling a larger amount of the negative space when the title is longer. Due to this, I increased the kerning of the titles, attempting to increase the horizontal size of these shorter titles, making them more appealing as individual listings.

The dark orange shade I selected for this design was incredibly effective, with both the body text, titles and colour blocks with white inner text looking visually appealing and inviting. Although the previous design’s dark blue was functional, I think that this colour conveys more character and personality, with the blue making the programme feel uninteresting and overly informative. For the target audience, this inviting design is more likely to appear to the children, while remaining clean and sharp in order to be a useful programme of information to the father.

Having got the layout to something I was happy with, I left the design for 10 minutes before returning to reflect on it with a fresh, more objective viewpoint. I concluded that more visual contrast was needed and, upon seeing the two non-English films, I decided to balance the design better. I did this by moving these two entries to the end of the list, putting a matching coloured box around them and changing the colour to white. With the large block of colour in the top left of the design, which was needed to highlight the products aims and format as a programme, this second box created balance and contrast without interfering with the hierarchy. This also helped to separate films of different languages, assisting clarity and benefiting the user experience.

Having completed this, I again printed the design off in black and white. I was then able to see the design to scale and in context as a printed document. While more changes and tweaks were exposed by this process, I was able to make these amendments at this non-essential stage. I then printed a full-colour copy of the design, bringing it into class for peer assessment.

 

Peer Assessment

My two programmes were printed on thick paper, almost card like in structure, but with a relatively smooth texture. Although a typical cinema listing would be on glossy paper, I decided that this wouldn’t work for my target audience. For a father with two young children, it is likely that they would want to hold and read this programme, so the final product would need to be somewhat robust to withstand anything that may happen to it.

Having shared this with peers, I had feedback written over the designs. This was a useful process, as I received information and feedback on aspects I hadn’t considered, such as the respect of putting actors’ and directors’ names on a single line.

With this information, I then went back to the last saved files of my respective designs, making necessary adjustments to adhere to this advice. For example, on the first design, the spacing between the dashes when writing times were highlighted as an area for refinement. I was able to alter this, changing the sixth spaces to hair spaces, making the text and the design as a whole look more visually effective, likely helping its purpose as a product to convey information.

 

Final Designs

Looking at the final designs, I am very happy with the overall outcomes. I think that the dark orange design looks visually better, with the colouring, typefaces and layouts helping this. The box in the bottom right helps to balance the product visually, creating a design that would be successful at communicating this information to the target audience, a father with two young children.

National Theatre Poster

Introduction to the Brief

In the lesson with Emma, we looked through a wide sample from the Collections within the department, seeing a vast array of different ephemera. After looking through all of these, I was immediately drawn to the National Theatre poster for ‘The Advertisement’. I found the use of colour and the layout of the text visually interesting, following the modern conventions of a National Theatre poster. Having selected this as my focal item from the collection, I then looked into this piece in more detail, looking for its context and creation specifically.

 

History and Context

After doing some research into this design, I found that this was a poster for the 1969 London performance of the play ‘The Advertisement’, Henry Reed’s translation of Italian author Natalia Ginzburg’s original piece. The design itself was done by Ken Briggs, a renowned designer and typographer of the 1960s. He became the first of only 5 designers for the National Theatre, coining the unique typographic style and visual identity. However, in the early 1970s, Briggs abandoned this conventional style, placing more emphasis on the individual plays by creating something visually new and fresh for each new design. His modernist, Swiss-style design was often done on short notice, often sometimes in as little as one night. His use of Helvetica, originally through the use of a Letraset, built the foundations for the theatre company’s branding for the years to come.

The photographs used were taken during rehearsals of the play in 1968, featuring images of Joan Plowright as the leading lady, Tessa.

While now highly collectable items, these posters were originally (and ironically) for advertising; These posters would be in varying sizes, placed around London to promote their upcoming shows. The design choices are likely used to reflect this, with the application in places like the London Underground giving a designer very little time to engage and communicate with an audience. Upon researching, I was unable to find much about the creation of this poster. It would have been done by hand, with Briggs being known for his Letraset typefaces, likely meaning a mast copy of this poster was created before being replicated and mass printed. The grainy, textured images would have helped this,  meaning that the quality of the images was not lessened by upscaling the poster for different uses.

 

Colour 

The use of colour within the design appears minimal in an intentionally modernistic manner. The use of a predominantly triadic colour palette allows the design to appear simple and visual hierarchy to be easily created and manipulated to guide a viewers eye. In this design, lime green is used to highlight the words ‘The National Theatre at The Old Vic’. As an already established and credible theatre company, their reputation is something that would likely attract an audience, with the piece being a little known translation of the original Italian play. This allows the poster to achieve its goal more successfully, helping to promote the show with the use of this visual hierarchy. The same green shade is used again on the two blocks of quotation. While also highlighting them to a viewer of the poster, this was more likely used to add visual balance to the overall design, used here to accent and balance the poster.

However, the photographs include an array of monochromatic colours, creating depth and texture within the images. This can be seen within the left image, especially on the nose, which appears to have depth through the use of tonal textures and monochromatic colours. While the dimensions of the face are important, the stylistic application of this allows the images to fit well into the simplistic, modernist design style. Practically, as these were shots from rehearsals, this may also have been used to make the images seem more congruous by removing the background and styling them all in the same way.

 

Layout/Structure

The layout of this poster is visually striking and engaging through the angular text, immediately breaking many conventions of other advertisements and theatre posters. The words ‘The National Theatre’ are positioned centrally on the poster, being the focal aspect and carrying the promotion through their positive reputation.

The incredibly small amount of kerning and leading, a modernistic style choice by Briggs, shows contemporary and unusual nature, again, positive attributes for the experimental and critically acclaimed theatre company. The distance between the text ‘National Theatre’ and ‘The Advertisement’ would usually be visually confusing, but the use of colour helps to distinguish and differentiate these two elements despite their close proximity. The 90 degrees flip for the words ‘at The Old Vic’ created more visual difference and engagement in the design, using the principles of Swiss design in order to captivate and interest a viewer of the poster.

The vast amounts of black negative space around the text allows the images to blend well into the block background colour. In direct contrast to the tightly structured text, this creates a sense of visual balance in the design, helping to not overwhelm a viewer with textual and photographic elements. The space is seen between the two blocks of quotations also helps this idea, giving large amounts of space to these elements, allowing them to accent the main text. The small lettering seen beneath the title of the play, while still relevant, is conveyed as less visually important through the sizing selected, creating visual hierarchy through the size and positioning. While only using two text colours, two sizes and one typeface (likely to create a minimalistic, Swiss-inspired, modernistic appearance), Briggs utilises all three harmoniously in order to create visual balance and hierarchy within the design. The use of layout and negative space only amplifies this, creating a poster that is effective in captivating a viewer, visually stunning through its initial simplicity and modern aesthetic, despite being technically impressive, especially given the hands-on working of Briggs.

 

Great Gatsby Penguin Book Cover Design

Replicating any existing design is a challenging process. However, with a limited understanding of InDesign, I was aware that I would likely find this more difficult than usual.

While following the tutorial video, I was quickly discomforted by the differences between InDesign and other Adobe software. While replicating this book design, the most challenging aspect was the paragraph styles. Trying to create specific style sheets for each piece of text was time consuming, but would be useful if the text needed altering in future designs. Similar to previous work in Photoshop, working non-destructively and ensuring that the document is useful for the future is always a beneficial way of working.

I also found the top element challenging to create – the tools were far from the smooth vector graphic software of Illustrator, and I struggled to create the shape. While the final result is similar to that in the original, it is by no means perfect. I intend to use my time in the Skills module to continue working on my InDesign ability, as I am aware this is my weakest package in the Adobe Suite.

Looking at the design in the context of  Photoshop Mockup, I think that the replication was pretty successful. As previously stated, the upper most element could do with more work, as smoothing the edges would likely lead to a better result, but I decided that a more complete course on LinkedIn Learning would likely be more beneficial to my later work.

Final Gatsby Book Cover

Minimalist Logo Concept

After being set the brief of 10 different themes, I decided to use the theme of New Minimalism. I did some preliminary research into this theme, providing me with a foundation knowledge on the topic.

New Minimalism Interior Design

Following this research, I decided to look for appropriate images. I began on Pintrest, but quickly moved onto Behance, as I found these projects more complete and done with intention. I created a digital mood-board on there, collating ideas that would help to inspire and influence my choices.

https://www.behance.net/collection/188421593/Minimalist-Logos

Next, I complete a round of quick sketches, allowing the swift generation and trial of ideas. This process was very valuable, providing a way of testing concepts and ideas with the ability of easy refinement.

I then moved into Illustrator, allowing me to put together designs with more precision. I began by finding some appropriate fonts, using the Adobe Fonts library to provide a wider range of possibilities. Having compiled these, I began trialing different layouts of text for the design, trying to find the most appropriate for the minimal design focus. While more space would give a more airy and minimal appearance, the focus on functionality seen in the research gave reason to keep the kerning to a minimum. The combination of sans and serif typefaces also interested me, allowing some sense of style and personality to emerge from the logo design. After trialing these, I found a successful combination – the larger serif text allowed hierarchy to be built, with the lower sans serif typeface helping to keep the logo visually balanced.

Wanting to experiment further, I began to create my two initial letters from lines and shapes. While the final design of this, seen on the final page, looks somewhat effective, I thought that it would likely not work within its desired context. While minimalistic, the design conveyed more of the contemporary aspects of type, while being too thin for many of the likely applications of the logo. For this reason, I decided to continue with the first complete logo design, presented on the third page.

Here are the examples of the working document and my two basic design ideas –

Minimalist Logo Design

Having produced a final idea, I decided to apply it to a Photoshop Mock-up, allowing me to evaluate its success within the context of its use. Similarly, the minimalistic design style links more to the overall design than the individual elements. After finding a very simple Mock-up design, I applied my design just above the central line, drawing a viewers eye to that aspect of the focal image. I then added small text above and below, using the repetition of the sans serif font to create harmony and balance within the design.

With more time, I would likely look at more colour options, only using one to keep the design minimal and clean. However, when reflecting on the design, I think that this works well. The monochromatic colours work well within the context of the Mock-up, and the design is well balanced.

Trainspotting Penguin Book Cover Design

Having replicated the Great Gatsby book cover, I was then tasked with creating another Penguin book cover for another book, which I quickly decided would be Trainspotting.

Not knowing how much to change the original concept, I decided to create two designs – One following the rigid Penguin formula and another more experimental use of the elements.

First, I created the more formulaic design. This was comprised of me adding a train track image along the top edge of the coloured block, using the alignment tools to ensure the shapes were correctly arranged. I adjusted the lower quote, made easier by the paragraph styles used on the previous file. When placing this in context with a Photoshop Mock-up, this works well but, as expected, is pretty unoriginal and not recognizably different to the previous design for The Great Gatsby. While the colour was changed to mirror the colour palette of the films marketing, the similar orange shade made this adjustment barely noticeable.

For my more adventurous design, I decided to focus on the imagery of a train, an important symbol as the story ends with the lead protagonist betraying his friends and taking a train to a new life in Amsterdam. Looking at reference images of train tickets, I began to replicate the structure, with the ticket obviously forcing the books cover to be landscape instead of portrait, which would likely allow the book to stand out from other Penguin novels when sold in high street shops. I then added text over the design, mirroring to some degree existing train tickets, while trying to balance the design and create visual hierarchy. The title and author name still needed to be the focus, so I used size and placement in order to direct a viewer’s eye in that direction.

Although this design is more adventurous, it’s deviation from the original means that, for me, I believe this to be the better design. The more creative concept, use of appropriate imagery and subversion of conventions allows this to be more enticing as a viewer of the cover. The design works well as a Photoshop Mock-up, while still featuring the relevant information from the original.

Materials and Context Photography Across Campus

Eric Photography Document 2

For this ‘Photography In the Environment’ task, I focused primarily on the materials the letters were placed on or made from. I became highly interested in the lettering of the mundane, the everyday lettering that goes largely ignored.

The texture, material and condition of the text was also of interest to me – It was an interesting thought process to consider how the lettering had been constructed and how that linked to it’s purpose or task. For example, the concrete lettering found on the base of an outdoor table tennis table is set deep into the supports in a thick, slab serif type. While having connotations of strength and stability, this also links to the lettering’s function, to communicate the brand name of the objects creator. Due to its intended usage being outside, both the material and method were appropriate.

I then began thinking of the condition of the lettering – The ‘Please Close Lid’ sign, found within the Co-op, was immaculately clean and a clear, sans serif type in an assertive dark red shade. While helping to stand out and communicate the desired message, the cleanliness and visible shine over the letters reflects positively towards the shop as a whole. In contrast, the deteriorated, aged letter H found on a nearby block is clearly old and has been left unattended. The texture of the pain crumbling away, revealing the exposed brick underneath, was very different visually from much of the campus, which tended to all be newer lettering.

Looking back at these photos, the context of the lettering could have been explored further, with different distances allowing both the material and context to be shown optimally in separate shots. However, as in the Fire Exit image, I believe that this wasn’t always necessary, as that image captures both the material and context of the letters reasonably well.

Obsession Through Pages

Having looked at the brief lists, ‘Obsession’ immediately stood out to me. I intended to present the gradual progress of obsession, setting in after time and slowly creeping into borderline insanity.

Reflective of the woman happily reading in the library, the first half of the book remains in tact. However, after around half way, I begun to add to the book. I began to scribble over the pages in red pen, firstly just lines and then into words, transitioning from red pencil to red pen and finally a red Sharpie. These became more aggressive as the book continued on, showing the increasing annoyance the woman has in the sounds. As this change is a slow increase throughout the entire book, this is not seen in the images above.

Similarly, I began folding the corners of the pages, becoming more noticeable and regular the further into the book you get. This is to mirror how the woman would keep putting her book down to investigate the source of the noise. Later in the pages, the woman’s written voice appears, first seen in pencil, then pen and finishing with a Sharpie, the same format as the mouse. The coherent sentences quickly turn into almost deranged scrawlings, ending with multiple pages of repeated questioning “Where is it?”, as seen in the first image. In my initial brainstorm, I decided that repetition was a key source of annoyance, which is why every choice is repeated with gradually increasing intensity.

Finally, again mirroring the brief as the woman rips the library apart trying to find the source of the noise, I began tearing the final pages. By  ripping more and more each time, a gradient wave is formed, creating a visually appealing textural difference and adding dimension to the book. The entire back cover is gone, as seen in the final two images, showing this as an endless narrative, the woman never finding the mouse and receiving the closure she desires, pushed to insanity by the noise.

Peaky Blinders Inspired Whiskey Bottle Speaker

In the session, Ben told me that his interests include football, rock music and the Peaky Blinders TV series. After completing an initial brainstorm for each possible topic, I began thinking of ideas until I arrived at three potential items that would be personalized and adapted based on the information I knew.

  • A musical instrument (probably a guitar)
  • Football boots
  • A whiskey bottle

I began sketching out some of these ideas, but quickly decided that the whiskey bottle would likely be the best choice – The inclusion of text would allow it to be personal to him and could feature more of his preferences. While doing this, however, I decided that I could combine his interest in music with the bottle, turning it into a Bluetooth speaker with the exterior design of an older bottle of whiskey.

Having drawn out the bottle itself, I finished by drawing the label itself more carefully, including functional and decorative elements, putting his name as the name of the drink.