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Skill For Design Blog Post

Design Ideas and Process

When previously using Photoshop/Indesign/Illustrator I tended to stick to what I knew producing simple and sometimes boring outcomes. I found these tasks challenging as I knew I wanted to push myself to learn new tools in the software however it was sometimes hard to not give up when something was going wrong.

Postcard 1
Screenshot 2

My first design I wanted to try using the clipping mask to create this see through text effect. I layered this onto of lots of images of newspapers as I thought this would show the themes of printing and typography talked about on the podcast (see screenshot 2). It took bit of playing around with to get the perfect balance between the background and the text so that it would still be eligible to read and meant I had to transform and crop the original photoshopped background to make this work.

 

Postcard 2

Before starting my second design I knew I wanted to try cutting out from different photos on photoshop.

Screenshot 1

By composing this idea with different typography and graphic design elements coming out of a head (as if this is what he is thinking about) would allow me to practice this skill multiple times. I found the smoke in this podcast cover the most challenging. I originally
started by trying to draw the smoke with different colours and blurring this together however after watching some tutorials, I found the most realistic way was to use images of clouds placed into the file (shown in screenshot 1).

 

postcard 3

My final design started on the inspiration of using an old computer. Originally I wanted things to be coming out of the computer almost as new tabs opening before I chose to incorporate the speech bubbles. I believe this was my least affective design as they are only basic components and mainly used skills that I had developed on my last two covers

 

 

Software Tutorials

A helpful tutorial I watched on YouTube explained how to create smoke on photoshop. I found this particular video useful as it talked through three different ways to do this, all of which I tried before deciding which one worked best for me. I chose to import an image of a cloud and use the lasso tool to clip this. I didn’t think about this way before as I wouldn’t have thought to change the levels of the image to create white smoke on a black back compared to a cloud on a blue sky. The tutorial can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIBXXglbYtQ&t=361s

I knew before starting the sticker tasks that illustrator was the one software that I felt the least confident in so before I began I watched different videos on the basics of illustrator, this also helped me understand the terminology such as anchor points for when I watched more specific tutorials. When I first started drawing the microphone on the postcard cover 1, I was struggling with getting the curve of the line smooth so I watched this tutorial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViKQgIDblr8) which allowed me to realise I was using the wrong anchor points for what I wanted to achieve and I could easily fix this by using the covert tool.

Design Resources and Articles

Before all of my tasks, I would start by looking on Pinterest at other podcast covers or stickers etc to give me a general starting point. This is where I first saw the concept of objects flying out of someones head like in my second podcast cover.

The website https://dribbble.com/stories/2019/08/06/30-creative-examples-of-podcast-cover-art-and-branding was also interesting to me as I could see how the use of colour affected the design. Most of the covers on here were very colourful and eye-catching which inspired me to use more varied colours when design my own such as the use of purple and yellow in my third sticker.

For my first podcast cover, the idea included a lot of emphasis on the typography of the design. I used skills I had already developed from other modules on the course as to how to efficiently alter a type face to produce the best outcome. However designing this cover showed me that there were gaps in my knowledge such as the kerning of the writing which is why I found this article useful to read. https://99designs.co.uk/blog/tips/11-kerning-tips/

 

 

Zee Graphics

For this mini-project we had to brand ourselves and create a logo, with research from a particular theme. I was struggling with my own theme at first as I chose 90’s. It was a lot harder than it looked. There were so many different themes and colours, styles and fashion so I decided to choose something a little more simple.

I was going for a “groovy” or “hippie” kind of aesthetic where the fonts are  a little loose and wavy. The theme, as a whole, is very colourful and I loved how the words are distorted to fit into or create different shapes.

I found these movie tickets while researching my theme, and I thought I could use them as part of my final outcome for my logo. They matched the theme in my opinion as they shared similar aesthetics, colours and typefaces.

What’s on in Autumn 2017? – RFT flyer

Initial Process

My first quick mock-ups of the cinema listing were all different however we can see that the first for examples very much focused on the title of the the movie (shown with the pink block). This was because my initial thought was that this is what was most important when designing the cinema listings and therefore was at the top of the hierarchy.

As my ideas developed we notice that this becomes the less prominent feature as I wanted to play around with putting the film title in different type fonts and sizes.

Cinema Listings design 1

I carried this forward when designing my final two listings as I focused on the type of user which would therefor change the hierarchy in the text. I based my designs on the premise that the user would be university students visiting the Reading Film Theatre. Because of this, I believed the date would be the most important aspect following the film title as they would plan going to see a film around their schedule. Furthermore, with there being only 1 film showing a day, I did not want to follow the usual conventions, for example a popular cinema website, whereby they would first list the film title and then the dates and times of the showings and this would not have been practical with only one showing.

Cinema listing design 2

My second design shown above, I wanted to play around with the typeface sizing of the dates to make it more eye-catching. At first I just included the large numbers however after receiving feedback from my peers that this was hard to understand, I chose to do this alongside the large months shown above to indicate that these were in fact dates. The use of putting these in the same colour also helped me achieve this idea.

 

 

Techniques learnt from Indesign

Reading film theatre (red and black-final)

Shown here is my cinema listing I created on Indesign. I chose to use this specific title as it reflects on my learning from this task. The reason it reflects so well is because from creating my two listings (one is showed here) I learnt new things and enhanced my knowledge on some of the techniques.

Before doing this task I struggled with using paragraph styles and characters and now I feel a lot more confident with using them for future tasks/projects. When I did stuggle to create some things or find some things I used the internet and researched how to overcome the issue.

Some issues I did overcome while creating my two listings were having to stop forcing line breaks, instead i used paragraph styles to help me. Overall I feel I have learnt a lot from this, one being to ask for feedback to improve my work and ideas as the feedback I recieved helped me to make my final outcome better.

The Gentlemen Danes book illustration

Background

My client for this real job was an independent publisher based in Reading. The client is writing and publishing a new book that details historic events dating back to the early 19th century. The book tells the story of Danish prisoners of war, residing in Reading during the years of 1807 – 1814; mainly taking from the memoirs of one of the prisoners, who became better known in the town as the Gentlemen Danes (also fittingly the title of the book). The book is the first to detail the ventures of this particular group of war prisoners as the memoirs were recently recovered and have only been translated fully as of 2020. The story of the Gentlemen Danes follows the group mainly throughout Reading and different parts of Berkshire; describing their lived experiences that make for an interesting, historic read.

 

Restated Brief and deliverables

The job originally started off as a commission for an illustrative font cover with a rather quick turn-around; it entailed that I create an illustration that works as an eye catching, historically accurate front cover that did allowed ample bleed and did allowed for the integration of text for the title to exist in the same space also. To begin with there were not many reference images to work from, aside from one sketch that my supervisor had quickly drawn herself. Ultimately the illustration was described to me as a somewhat realistic illustration for The Gentlemen Danes history book that displays one fete (‘Revel’) as described in the text (the text was provided for me also). After emailing my supervisor who was in direct contact with the client, I then found out more about the nature of the illustration and some possible additional deliverables on top of the proposed illustration. It was being discussed if the cover would also serve as a smaller sized thumbnail image on the inside of the book also. I was also told to consider using the colours that were see in the Danish flag and that the exact colour values I use would have to be noted for possible use elsewhere on the book; perhaps for the titles or other text on the cover. This meant that I also had to think carefully about which tones would work on top of the illustration for it to be legible enough.

After going back and forth further with my supervisor and client however, we came to an understanding that the colour would be dropped as a deliverable and that the main focus was just the cover as an illustration. During this process the dimensions of the cover (275mm x 212mm) were given to me as well as how much bleed was required (3mm around all sides). From the start the illustration was set as being CMYK as it was definitely going to be printed, and the point was made that care would have to be taken to make sure all necessary detail was big enough to be see on a cover at the size it was. The other considerations that were very important that I think about carefully were the accuracies of not only the scene being depicted, but the clothing, hairstyles etc. of the time as well.

There were only two reasons where the brief had to be changed in a substantial way; one being because of the change of deadline and the second being because the main deliverable changed. During around December time the client decided to change his mind about what he wanted for the cover. I was told that he came across an original painting that displayed the Danish flag on its sales and he thought it to be a very good cover for what he was writing about. This did not mean that I had been designing for nothing however, and he made the compromise to keep a space left in the book for my illustration to be displayed. The brief had to be updated from a cover illustration to a general inside pages illustration; which fortunately meant that I would not have to change much except fill in the space where I left empty for text to be.

Schedule

The job to begin with was a rather quick turn-around of Around 5 weeks, of which I was confident in reaching on time. This did not go as planned however, and the level of accuracy and detail that my client required was more than initially expected. Not reaching the deadline I was given was not however a problem; I had warned my client before time that I may not reach the deadline I was given, which was originally the 15th of October and he explained that he truly wanted the illustration done by January. I assumed then that the original date given wasn’t entirely true to the sentiments of the client. Over the time it took to create the illustration, I believe that I have kept a steady, suitable pace, even when other commitments got in the way. In terms of communication with my supervisor and client this real job felt a little different than the average. My supervisor was a Masters student who was very busy a lot of the time, and it became apparent when her reply times were getting longer and longer. We came to a happy medium however where I would directly email and set up video meetings with the client instead of going to my supervisor first. This was agreed on by all parties and in retrospect made sense for this kind of job; I was making changes as per the clients request so the supervisor just being an extra messenger was not the most efficient. From this point in about early November, I would be meeting frequently with the client, and every so often emailing my supervisor with an update on the illustration process.

Process

At the beginning the job ran like a normal real job would. I contacted my supervisor for feedback, and when given the green light I would get feedback from the client. Often times my supervisor would be medium between us, but after a while it was established that I was better off getting feedback directly from him as it was his specification I was catering to. It also meant that I wouldn’t have to go through my supervisor just to get to my client. From then we were in agreement that this be the process for communication. In the first couple weeks the interaction between me and the client was mostly to do with general styles of illustration and the composition of the scene. We settled fairly quickly on a style, but the layout of the scene took a while longer to agree on. At this time I was still working with barely any detail and mainly would move rough stickmen figures to signify where a person would be in the illustration; perhaps the lack of detail and didn’t allow for a true representation of what the layout actually looked like at this time. In this part of development we went over a lot of changes in a period of time, building up the composition piece by piece.

An example of the images sourced from the research visit to the MERL – image is from Pyne’s British Costumes (William H Pyne)

After a while of talking about research for the kind of clothing they would wear at the time, the client requested that I visit the Museum of English Rural life to get a more accurate and confident look and feel for this aspect. The visit was very fruitful, and the notes I took were very helpful to the character development over time. The books where I got the most useful information from were British Working Dress – occupational clothing 1750-1950 (Jayne Shrimpton) – Shire Library, and Pyne’s British Costumes (William H Pyne) It was the first time that I would have to an extended amount of research for an illustration. It was also a learning curve for me in terms of illustrating from descriptions in text.

Design

The first sketches I sent to the client were in pencil and were to get a feel for the number of people in the scene how the scene would be generally set up.

 

Image of initial sketch used as template for graphic styles
Initial sketch of a possible layout of the scene

I would also draw in pencil a template for the styles I gave to the client to decide from. I had already been told that the client liked some of the styles shown on my portfolio, and I had also been told that the illustration was to be somewhat realistic. I drew the same human figure and took it to illustrator to create a few different styles of which the client picked the one that incorporated shading made up of hatching. The reason was that it resembled engraving and gave historical connotations in of itself.

One of the proposed illustration styles sent to the client
One of the proposed illustration styles sent to the client (chosen)

From here we would simultaneously go through different characters and the accuracy their clothing, and the composition of the scene as whole. Up until the last one, every meeting with the client would result in either a major or minor change to the illustration.

Initial digital sketch – use of stickmen for positioning of characters
Developed digital sketch – composition is more balanced and background is built up with detail
Developed illustration – composition nearly finalised and relevant detailing is coming more and more into the scene
Final illustration with all details added, sense of depth with blurred background, and etching style finish over the top of it

For a while it was quite intense with the number of changes suggested, but I soon got the hang of it. I also learnt very quickly to work in a way that would allow for things to be moved easily around the illustration without any problems, i.e. ensuring each person was their own entity (by grouping their components) so if they were to be moved to the left or made bigger, it was an easy change. After a while colour was incorporated, many characters were changed around, taken out or added and the whole scene became a reality.

Reflection

The real job ended different to how it started in more ways than one. Firstly I didn’t realise how much detail and research was required for this illustration, and it came as a little bit of a shock to me how much time I would go on to dedicate to it; it stands to reason that the initial brief set false expectations due to it being advertised as a quick turn-around. Another area where there was a big change was the connection between me, the supervisor, and the client, with the supervisor eventually becoming an unnecessary step in getting feedback from the client. The final area was when the job illustration changed from being a for the cover to being for the inside content.

At the start there were a few things that the client wanted to explicitly be in the illustration in some way or another. The list consisted of a black and white dog, some of the Gentlemen Danes in the frame, one of the main Danes being very tall and skinny, a large famer welcoming them into the fete, a line of fete banner across the field they were on and some kids playing one of traditional summer game. With all of these worked into the illustration, the client seemed very happy with what was achieved. A word from the client that further justified this;

“Lewis put his name forward to do an illustration of a country event in Berkshire in the early nineteenth century for a forthcoming book. In order to be as historically accurate as possible Lewis had to do a lot of work in researching the costumes people were wearing at the time. After many online meetings, and a number of adjustments and modifications to the original brief, we finally honed it down to a picture that I was very happy with. Happy not only because it is an authentic reproduction of how the event might have appeared like, but also because it was done in Lewis’ own graphic style. It was a very pleasant experience to work with Lewis and I wish him great success in the future”

Overall I was very happy with how the job turned out, and although the prospect of having my illustration as a book cover was more exciting, I am still very glad and grateful that it even gets to be in a publication of some sorts. The end product felt deserved due to all of the time, research and effort that went into the work. Thank you to Libby Skipp and John Nixon.

Frankie the Fish: The ReMINDS Project

Background

The clients for this project are from the Department of Pharmacy and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Reading, where they are developing a project to examine medication reuse. The ReMINDS brand is to focus on medicine, the environment, people taking their medicine, pharmacy and drug manufacturing. It is important for people to know that old or left-over medicines in the home can cause harm, and that these should be taken to a pharmacy for safe disposal. This is because otherwise they can harm children if taken accidentally, the land and environment if put straight in the bin, and rivers, water and their inhabitants if flushed down the sink or toilet.


Restated brief

Main points of focus and the deliverables

The main aim for this project was to create a set of deliverables all building to run medicine amnesties on the Whiteknights Campus, where people will bring their old and left-over medicines to the ‘Medicine Amnesties with Frankie the Fish’ where they will collect and safely dispose of all donations. ‘Frankie the Fish’ is a special shaped container with vinyl stickers to make it look like a fish character, designed to collect the donations and spread the message that if people flush their left-over medicines it can harm the environment and its inhabitants. This event is (or was to be) funded by the Vice Chancellor’s Endowment Trust Fund, 2019/20 and run by the University of Reading, Department of Pharmacy and Department of Biomedical Engineering.

The main deliverable for this project was the large container called Frankie in the shape of a fish that would be wheeled around the campus and elsewhere for medicine amnesties. This provides a safe disposal mechanism and raises awareness of the problem of medicine waste. To make the container look like a fish, it is spray painted bright yellow and was designed to have vinyl sticker fins, scales and eyes. For this, a Print Cut File with these shapes and aspects was to be created to be sent to DPS to be printed. In preparation and to plan how this would look, I created mock-ups using colour and the fin, scale and eye illustrations. Due to the client unfortunately pulling out, as I will explain below, there was not the funding to print the vinyl stickers so there is no physical container to show as there is currently no medical amesite happening because of Covid-19.

The client also wanted a logo for the ReMINDS Project to create a brand around the project and the medicine amnesties that could then also be used on the deliverables that were advertising the event. As part of the advertisement for the event, the client wanted a flag banner to catch people who were walking on campuses’ attention and draw them towards the container to increase involvement. A leaflet was the other deliverable that the client later decided they wanted to have to advertise the event prior, to build up awareness and educate people as to how to get involved and why.

Target audience

The target audience for this project is very wide, being focussed on any student, lecturer or even visitor to the Whiteknights Campus. It is for those who take an interest in increasing the safety in their home and those who are conscious of helping the environment. The wide target audience meant that there was no strong style that needed to be followed.

Schedule

Until Covid-19 took a massive hit into this Real Job, I had stuck to the schedule well on my behalf. I feel that I was very organised and did all I could to keep things running quickly and smoothly. The first restated brief had the goal of completion for the 14th of February, this however was unable to be met due to tasks such as creating the window in the container and, mainly, spray painting the bin with an external company slowing down the process. The client, however, wasn’t worried about the schedule too much, therefore I took it upon myself to set a new deadline of mid-March, which the client approved of. This was to give us a date to work by so to not let the job take a back seat. Until Covid, when students had to head home, we were on track to have the project deliverables ready by mid-late March, with a minimal, quick change to be made to some of the colours after the paint colour came out differently than expected. However, with Covid this meant there were no students on campus, as well as it still not like normal this new academic year, therefore there was no strict deadline to get it done over summer. It was also tricky and inefficient to work on it remotely as I needed to physically see the container to make the important decision on colours. I picked it up again when back at university in September, but unfortunately the client was unsure how to continue in the current climate, therefore I set myself the goal to continue it again over Christmas when my first term deadlines were complete. I think throughout the project I have worked steadily hard and in an organised manner so to hit my schedule where possible and create new deadlines when necessary before Covid. This was my first Real Job on my own and with the deliverables increasing through the project I was pleased with my organisation and prioritisation of tasks to stay on top of things.

Updated restated briefs

Throughout the project I created new restated briefs to make sure the client and I were on the same page, and to give myself an organised, approved list to work from. As the project went on the client introduced new deliverable part way through working on the original ones. In the original restated brief, made towards the end of January, the deliverables were simply a design for Frankie the Fish to go on the container and a logo for the ReMINDS Project. However, after many emails, calls and meetings discussing the project and its progress, by February the client had added a more deliverables to enhance the project. Therefore, it made sense to update the restated brief with the new deliverables to confirm these with the client. The client had been more specific as to how the design for Frankie the Fish was to be stuck onto the container to be the fish character, as opposed to just a 2D design that could be used for other deliverables. As well as this, they wanted a leaflet to let people know about the event and how to get involved, a banner to advertise it further, both with the ReMINDS logo, as previously discussed.

I also amended the restated brief a couple of times after Covid to update the schedule, more for myself by the end as the client was no longer replying to emails, as this helped me to organise my time alongside the expected deliverables.

 

Process

Initial contact with client

My first contact with the client was through email and closely followed by an online call. In this meeting the client outlined what the ReMINDS brand was. She talked about what she expected from the deliverables and I made note of this. Following this meeting we had consistent email communication where I exchanged initial designs and ideas, having another couple of meetings online a few weeks later to discuss how this was going and extra deliverables she wished for me to do. From then on, aside from frequent emails to the clients, I met with another one of the clients in person. This was mainly to discuss plans for the physical container and to confirm ideas and decisions from over emails about other deliverables.

Overall, I think that this project improved my communication skills and gave me more confidence in talking to clients, both in person and on email, making sure I kept myself organised so that I could answer all their questions and have the work done for when it was needed.

Covid-19 and client dropping out

Unfortunately, after Covid-19 left uncertain circumstances at university and on campus it meant that the client was unsure how we might progress at the moment with this project. This is because the medicine amnesty requires the campus to be busy in order to raise awareness and collect the medicine. I suggested a call to discuss future plans but didn’t receive a reply after a month or so, so was advised to continue without the client. I plan to get in touch again when the work has been signed off, to allow them to see what was made and to give them a chance to use it in the future when circumstances are simpler. I am disappointed to not get the final result of the bin and seeing all the deliverables at work advertising and showcasing the medicine amnesty but because of Covid it is expected.

Research

When I was initial assigned this project, I started by getting a clearer understanding of what medicine reuse was and why this project was so important. I felt this would give me a good base to start this project, and through learning facts around the subject area, like how much of our waterways is contaminated with pharmaceutical runoff, it inspired me to help make the positive change. While I was doing this, I also researched into competitors, or companies/campaigns that do or promote this kind of work already. This was useful in furthering my research, as well as looking at the branding style of this area.

When starting to design deliverables such as the logo, I initially created mood boards from researching medical and pharmaceutical logos online to generate some ideas and to see the different styles that I could play around with. From this research I could see there tended to be a simple, but professional-looking illustration of something related to the health, medicine or pharmaceutical industry, such as DNA, a medical cross, stethoscope, pills, etc. This illustration was often in a bright colour that was integrated with a plain, san-serif typeface for the company name. From my research I chose to use pills to represent the area and as I felt it suited the project best. I then did further research into different styles of arrows I could create for the logo after deciding to represent the idea of medicine reuse with the pill and arrows. I also created a mood board when coming to design the fish character from researching online to get a feel for the different styles I could play with for the client to decide between, as well get an idea of the age groups that different styles might apply to. When it came to creating the leaflet, I found it tricky to arrange everything on the page and to know what style to go for, therefore I found researching medical leaflets useful as examples.

As this is something that is new to the university, there weren’t people to directly ask about past experiences and problems with the medicine amnesties and the branding surrounding it. However, after explaining it to some peers, I got some feedback and tips about what they, students (the people who will interact with it on campus), thought. They commented on how the bin should be linked into the branding deliverables, like with the fish drawing and bin drawing on the leaflet. As well as that, they mentioned that there should be explanation of what the medical amnesties are on the leaflet to raise awareness. As well as this, I created user personas on my Trello page to highlight different possible users and to think about the different people that may interact with the medicine amnesty and the deliverables surrounding it, using this to help in my designs.

Trello board

Through this project I have taken what I learnt from my previous Real Jobs and used the Trello board in an efficient way by keeping it updated as I went. It helped to structure my work and make sure I hit all the necessary aspects for the project. I was successful at uploading the development of my work for different deliverables and explaining reasons why I made these decisions.

Design stage

Fish character

The first task I did after restating the brief was create a fish character. I did this by doing some simple research online at some different types of fish and styles of illustration. Below I show the different fish characters I drew based off of this research online. The client then chose a certain fish character, which I then tried in different colours and sent back to the client for them to pick one, of which they settled on Orange tones. I am happy with the fish character that was chosen as I felt the colours are vibrant and the client liked the idea of it looking similar to a Goldfish. This was to be included on the banner and leaflet to carry the brand and the ideas behind it. Later in the project, when the container was spray painted it looked more of a neon yellowy-green than planned, therefore the colours of the fish were to be slightly amended so the separate features would match the colour the bin turned out better.

Initial fish illustrations
Frankie the Fish drawing

Mock-up

In preparation for printing the vinyl stickers for the physical fish container, my next task was to use the features from this fish character and create a mock-up of the container and plan where the vinyl stickers of the fins, scales and eyes were to go. This allowed the client and me to imagine how it may look in person and to play with different layouts to find the one that looked best. Further into the project, when having to amend the colours after the spray-painted bin came back a different tone than planned, it was useful to use the mock-ups to play with different colours and the arrangement of these. With the yellow being brighter and less orange than planned, a more toned down, lighter orange suited being used more frequently for the fins as the brighter orange clashed otherwise.

Initial container colour variant experiments
Example of updated mock-up layouts
Final stages mock-up layout

Physical fish character container

The client organised and bought the container previous to me being assigned to the project, therefore after our initial call I was sent over a picture of the shape of the container we were to work with. The first job I did concerning the physical fish container after making the initial mock-ups was to measure-up the bin for the hole to be put in it and to plan for the size and layout of the vinyl stickers. I did this careful and in great detail so it would be as accurate as possible. Once I had measured this, it was organised for the hole to be made in the container, which would later be covered with clear plastic so to see the medicines inside. While the bin was off being cut, I worked out the size each feature would be to use on the print cut file.

The next task, and the one that took up the most time, was finding the best way to colour the bin. To work this out I spoke with DPS and asked what they best suggested. A wrap was suggested, however deemed more complicated and riskier than printing them separately. Therefore, to give the container colour, spray painting was suggested as the most durable for its outdoor use. When deciding the colour, I sent the client images of the different colours, as well as showing one of the clients the swatches in person for a clearer idea of the colour they’re picking. The colour didn’t come out as the clients expected, being brighter and more of a green-yellow. This was a shame as clients questioned re-doing this, however, as they realised, they had chosen it themselves, they kept it and we decided to simply change the tone and/or arrangement of the oranges for the fins and scales. Now with no client due to uncertainties with Covid, there is no physical fish character container that is finished as there is no funding behind it to have the vinyl stickers printed.

   


Print Cut File

Once I had measured up the container, I could then decide the size of the fins, scales and eyes of the vinyl stickers. The making of the Print Cut File was something I had never made before. It taught me further tools within Illustrator and the importance of using layers effectively, things that have benefitted me in my other studies.


Logo

I initially created mood boards from researching medical and pharmaceutical logos online, to generate some ideas and to see the different styles that I could play around with. I liked the idea of incorporating pills as this fit with the project and brand and as well as being understood by all. It also holds a more serious message than the fish cartoon, which is what the client asked for the logo. Once I had decided on this, I experimented with different ways to introduce the pill as a logo, trying to use the pill as the ‘I’ in ‘ReMINDS’, however this wasn’t clear enough and didn’t work as I’d hoped. I liked the idea behind my initial drawing of the pill packet, but when incorporated with the words I felt it didn’t look professional enough. Aside from the pill, to relate the logo back to the idea of medicine reuse and helping the environment, I felt that arrows represented this very well. To add further depth to the logo, I experimented adding water into the design to relate back to Frankie the Fish and the suffering environment in the contaminated water. After experimenting with colour and different arrow styles I decided to incorporate this into the arrows by giving them a water-like colour scheme and texture. I also tried a version of the logo hand drawn and then image traced to create some more interesting textures, but this did not look professional enough compared to ones from my research. I sent the client these logos throughout and built and changes based on their comments, in the end I sent them the final logo in a selection of colours, and they chose blue. The final adjustment suggested by my supervisor was a shadow so the pill would stand out even when on a white background. After creating the illustration part, I focussed on researching typefaces used in medical/pharmaceutical logos, of which I then tried a range of san-serif typefaces and decided upon Sukhumvit Set. To tie the words into the illustration I pulled two different blues from the arrows and used these on the words. As we wanted ‘ReMINDS’ to have more hierarchy over ‘project’ this was put in semi bold weight and the brighter blue, while ‘project’ was in the darker navy and a light weight.

Overall, I think that this logo is effective and hit what the client asked for because it represents the subject of medicine reuse well and in a professional manner, like the logos I found in my research. On reflection, and something I have learnt from this real job is to have more initial ideas and to go into detail for a number of these, not just go into detail with one or two before I send these to the client. Despite the client always being excited about what I showed them, it is more professional to give them a range of options to start with.

Initial logo ideas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arrow experiments

 

Typeface experiments
Last series of logo experiments sent to client before they picked

Banner

The design for the flag banner was to be used at medicine amnesties to draw attention to and advertise to people on campus what was happening. The client wanted a simple design that was similar to the leaflet design, in terms of using the same colours, the logo and the fish character. The design I created I think is effective for its purpose because it tells people what the need and catches attention with the bright colour and fish drawing. This was the deliverable that, despite not having designed before I found the simplest to design as there wasn’t much text to fit with the logo and drawing. The background was chosen to be yellow like the physical fish container, so to match the other deliverables and create a cohesive balance between them, as well as it being a bright colour to catch people’s attention. Once the design had been decided, with a few amendments of the layout of text, it was recommended by DPS that the yellow should become opaquer so that the design didn’t show through on the other side. It was also initially going to have different drawings on either side of the banner; however, this was changed to create consistency on both sides.

The biggest query surrounding the banner came right at the end when I was planning to sign off the banner at the end. My supervisor raised the question of whether it was meant to be one-sided with a reverse show through side where the writing would be backwards, or double-sided where the writing would be printed on both sides from left to right. Over the last week I saw an example of a flag banner in the street that showed a one-sided flag banner, this initially made me think I should do the same. However, after exchanging emails with my supervisor for advice, as well as re-reading old emails from DPS, and doing some basic research online that taught me how a double-sided banner is made from two printed graphics that are stitched together with a lining in the middle to allow the message to be clearly displayed, I decided to have it double-sided.


Leaflet

Like the banner, the leaflet was a later addition to the deliverables. The client and I decided that a leaflet would build up knowledge of the project and awareness of the medicine amnesties. The client gave me the information they wanted to be on the A4 leaflet, and after creating some initial designs I felt it was too information heavy, however the client stressed that if possible, all the information should be included. While this was frustrating as I felt it was limiting the design as it looked overly busy and would catch attention less, I did also understand that most of the information was necessary for the reader to understand the ReMINDS project’s goals and details of the medicine amnesties. Therefore, since the client dropped out, I decided I would choose the amount of information myself based on the design, however, of course include the essential information. I played with a couple of designs with more and less information, but landed on the one I did because, although I preferred the design with less, it is important for motivation as it gives the reasons ‘why’ behind the project.

When doing this I did some research into medical leaflets, something on reflection I think I should’ve done sooner in more detail, however doing this gave me an idea of the general layout and design of them. From this I learnt that many of them have quite busy layouts, with a decent amount of information, as medical topics/projects tend to need explaining. These are separated into sections on the page using colour and shapes in the background. In terms of typography, they generally use san-serif typefaces, so to represent the serious nature of the topics.

One issue I had to tackle while designing the leaflet was how to show the fish container. This was because initially we would have had to wait till it was completely finished and taken a photo of it for the leaflet to then be complete and be able to be shared. This was not only inefficient in terms of timings, but also it was pointed out that a photo of a bin or container would never be overly aesthetic, therefore I suggested a drawing instead as this was more visually engaging. I based this drawing off the mock-up I had made previously. This improved the leaflet as it added something more visual and paired with the drawing of the fish well. I also added the waves underneath the blue box as I felt these were appealing colours that matched the theme and balanced the colours over the leaflet.

I decided to use the same typeface that was used in the logo to carry the brand over to the leaflet. It also followed similar tendencies to the medical leaflet examples I found in my research that also use a san-serif typeface.

     

     


Final designs

RJ00410 Leaflet

 

RJ00410 ReMINDS Project Logo

 

RJ00410 Container Mock-up

 

RJ00410 Banner Mock-up

 

RJ00410 Banner Template

 

RJ00410 Print Cut File

Feedback

Unfortunately, due to the client dropping out and the medicine amnesty not taking place I have not received any proper feedback for the work and deliverables. Before the client was unable to continue the job, they were very happy with the work that I had completed so far and trusted they would be effective in creating a brand and advertising the event.


Reflection

This project has developed into a very interesting and individual project, with the branding deliverables being not only a logo, leaflet and poster, but to design a fish character for a bin that will be used at the medical amnesties.

This was my first real job I took on my own, which at first was slightly daunting as it meant I didn’t have a peer to ask for a second opinion, but with this job I have learnt to ask lecturers and my supervisors more for advice when needed which I think is a valuable skill and one that will benefit me in my studies.

I think I have handled the workload well, especially considering the projects unique deliverables that seemed to have increased throughout the project, and managed to stick to deadlines as well as I could, with factors such as finding and getting the spray painting done being trickier to sort than initially planned. Having to juggle a Real Job on my own alongside modules helped me to cut out my previous habit of procrastinating, as it was important for me to prioritise as the job was time sensitive. This is an improvement that has helped me across many areas of my studies.

Up until Covid sent students home mid-March, I was on track to have things sorted by the new deadline, with only slight changes to make to the colours of the fins, etc on the fish container. I was disappointed when this all had to be put on pause when I was no longer to access the bin to make an accurate colour change, as well as there being no rush to have the deliverables sorted as campus wasn’t busy like normal, so the client couldn’t hold the medical amnesty anyway. I felt that I was very on top of this job while I could be and am pleased with my progress at working as an individual.

This job has allowed me to improve my communication skills through skype calls, email and numerous meetings where a range of different things had to be discussed, and I have learnt to make sure I take detailed notes so I can pass on information correctly. For example, being in contact and talking to DPS directly was confusing at first, however, it has been a great insight to see how these things work and how I should best handle my files.

A more specific skill I have learnt to do on this project is create a Print Cut File for the scale and fin stickers that will go on the bin which taught me about more in-depth tools on Illustrator and further taught me the importance of layers and print specifications.

On reflection, something I have realised from this project is that I need to come up with more initial ideas for things, for example when creating the Reminds Project logo I didn’t come up with enough styles and ideas to show the client, even though they were happy with what they picked for me to develop, next time I would like to give a client more choices.

 

References

XL Displays. Crest Flag Banner And Pole Double Sided. Available at: https://www.xldisplays.co.uk/products/crest-flag-banner-and-pole-double-sided.aspx#:~:text=The%20double%20sided%20printed%20flag,effectively%20display%20your%20marketing%20message.

 

 

ty1sk

Design ideas and design process

1.For my first design I used my own photography to create the illusion of a podcaster holding a mic and a sheet of paper with a serifed T. This is mainly a photographic design with vibrant contrasts between red , black and white in order to catch eyes of the audience, this is in the vain of the classic Apple iPod ads . I used a splatter brush to create a diesel bed effect as if the designs were old and from that era close to 19 years ago. the central theme here is of the Podcaster more than the typography itself, an element I wished to revolve in my second design . To remove colour from the figure I selected half the image, and removed it using the lasso tool, the other half I copied to a new layer and fully painted it, then with the areas removed, the black background seeps through . To create the paper , I used a white square and warped it using the transform tool so it is not a static object . The letter T also had to be rasterised and turned into an object so that it could also be warped to match the flow of
the papers movement

2.In the second design, I wanted something vasty different from the previous photographic one. Therefore this one is almost entirely typographic with vibrant contrast for a background. The large serif , TGC stands for Typographic and Graphic Communication, and the theme of the podcast. It is underlined with a large , thick block, a characteristic known to be seen in modernist design that are seen in modernist designs that are keen on geometric shapes. The splatter patter I reused once again here to add texture to the cover that aesthetically looked a little basic for my aesthetic pleasure , despite the intention being that of a minimalist design. the T and G reflect each other as Type and Graphics are everywhere, yet one C as Communications is a singular concept built of components . Furthermore, if that was mirrored there could be a misconception that it is an O and not two C’s

 

 

 

 

3. In the final design, I wanted the theme of Type to be centre stage and have a more complex maturity to it . I used black and white as the 2 main tones compliment each other well and very different from the other 2 designs featuring vibrant colours. Once again I embraced the geometrical blocks in the centre of the Podcast cover. The upper and lower half of the design are also made out of rectangles for a modernist style, with the exception of the use of serifs. The text is white to contrast with the black rectangle and have a consistency with the white background. The G for Graphics is the main focus point of the design, the largest letter, evenly sowed between the T and C. This section of the black block expands out created by ad

ding a circle over the top of the rectangle in a matching colour, and merging the layers. The white back. At this stage the white background was looking a little bland, therefore , to add to the typographic style, I typed repeatedly , Typography and Graphic Design. The opacity was reduced to under 60 % in order to not distract from the sharp white tone. This adds texture to the image through multiple layers, such as the subject matter has. This is an almost entirely typographic design. The upper block of text was duplicated into the bottom one and is my favourite of the 3 designs.

Software tutorials

Fortunately due to my prior experiences , I am very familiar with photoshop and its tools so I did nit need to learn how to use it from scratch. However, by completing this task and watching the software tutorials it was a helpful refresher of skills and did teach me new things. One tutorial I watched was on how to decrease the opacity of an item,’How to change the opacity of an image in Photoshop CS6, so that it could be seen through(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW5z39Pxdmw). I used this on the background text for my final black and white design to add texture. The first tutorial I watched showed how to decrease opacity for a whole layer. Therefore, I duplicated the text to a new layer, transformed it into an image. This way all the text could be moved at one time in a block, and therefore, any changes ,Ade, such as adjusting the opacity , will affect all the text. Although the second tutorial I watched, ‘Transparent text effect'(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bG5r5TM5e2o), did not display exactly what I wanted in its instruction, the method could still be applied to my own work when adapted, which I did by editing text transparency .I also learnt from ‘Matthew Prices: how to design a podcast cover- the ultimate guide’. This taught me many important elements and factors that must be known upon designing a podcast cover including the dimensions. These being a minimum of 1400×1400 pixels and a maximum of 3000×3000 pixels which is 72 dpi in a PNG or JPEG format. It also provided useful information like to consider where the cover would be seen and therefore consider its style of cover. For example, if it is seen somewhere printed like a magazine and not digitally like Spotify , it may need to be obvious it is a podcast cover and include a mic or an element recognised with such.If it is removed from its original environment it must be still be obvious that its a podcast over out of context. I also viewed, ‘How Amy Elshamy created Round things’. However, it did not teach anything that I wished to include for didn’t already know, yet it was still an interesting watch.

Resources for research and inspiration 

In my initial design , a major inspiration were the original iPod classic adverts from 2001 (https://www.theverge.com/2016/4/1/11340526/ipod-commercial-throwback-songs-apple-anniversary). Although I changed many of the key elements of these posters, thy were very basic and effective. They use a bright and colourful neon background which would contrast with  a silhouetted figure dancing in the foreground. There were no textures to them but where clear in their goal and what they were selling .I Felt it was too basic and applied more texture by removing parts of shaded body. This is to create the effect that the podcast over was released at the same time as the iPod adverts nearly 20 years ago, it may decay on paper as its old. The apple iPod adverts also had an influence in the second design with its vibrant background. I experimented making it red and purple, finally settling on the former to further distance from the first design featuring many red elements. For further inspiration I simply browsed podcasts on Spotify, this time focussing on typographic designs , one of which caught my eye being the Anfield Wrap using just the first letters of every word, shortening it to TAW. This also has a distressed look. The simplistic withered look I wished to emulate in my design and is a highly effective, eye catching image. However, it doesn’t not reflect the subject matter very well, having little to do with Liverpool football club.A huge inspiration for my final design is the clothing brand Emporio Armani, the logo is always very geometric and always black and white. The logo is sometimes just typographic and features the spread of an eagle covering a large space. The geometric nature with sharp black and white themes , I recreated in my own design as a vastly different alternate to my former podcast covers

 

 

 

 

 

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 (https://open.spotify.com/genre/podcast-charts-body). Like I also said earlier I found the ‘how to design a podcast cover’ website extremely useful (https://99designs.co.uk/blog/design-other/how-to-design-a-podcast-cover-the-ultimate-guide/) 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, (https://unsplash.com/images/stock). 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.