MediaFirst Illustrations

*This job is under final checks by the client.

Media First are a training company based in Reading that aims to help those who are looking to improve their jobs in radio, television or printed media. Their website states, ‘Initially, we specialised in media training before evolving to help our clients with their wider communications challenges. Today, although still called Media First, we are ultimately known as specialists in communications training.’
For this job, MediaFirst required an illustration which showed the evolution of communication. This was to demonstrate that they are able to adapt to new changes in the media and train individuals to suit these needs.

Restated brief:
After the first meeting with the client, we outlined a brief to understand the task ahead.

To create an illustration (or series of illustrations) showing the evolution of man ending with the phones/tablets or devices connected to the internet. The illustration would ideally like to be something which could be seen from a moleskin sketchbook but be more finalised. It is most likely going to be used on printed media and websites and should have a plain background to give flexibility. The smallest it will be is A5 and the largest A1 so it should still be readable at these sizes.

Stages to include

1. Cave man art
2. Smoke signals
3. Town crier
4. Movable type / printing press
5. Mass publication – newspapers etc
6. Radio
7. TV
8. Computers and the internet
9. Phone/tablets/connected devices and the internet

Key values to communicate
The illustrations should show how we have evolved in evolution through time but also how Media First understands this development and tailors their training as we develop in media and communication. Media First provides training to prepare people to develop skills and confidence to successfully handle media and audiences. Humour would also be ideal to show that they are an amiable company and know how to interact with their audience well. Colours to be used are to reflect Media First’s branding, favoured colours are their blue and orange which are to be found in the given branding guidelines.

Design Process

As this design required a lot of characters, such as radio and tv, I began by trying to develop the style of people. I thought that this would be a great starting point because I could use this as the basis for the illustration style. I began by drawing faces, as this is a key feature that makes each illustration look very different. I used the different stages of tv or radio to show the different styles. These were the styles which were shown to the client:
Radio girl Town crier Television

The client really liked the town crier because of the humour. James also liked the last style as it was more refined but still looked like a sketch. From this I tried to narrow down the illustration style and produced three scenes in two different illustration styles.

Illustration style 1, news presenter Illustration style 1, caveman Illustration style 1, town crier
Illustration style 1 was more cute and friendly.

Illustration style 2, radio Illustration style 2, caveman Illustration style 2, town crier
Illustration style 2 had more detail and was more refined.

Out of the two styles of illustration, I thought that the second was more suitable for the company as it was more sophisticated. I pitched both of them to the client and explained what I thought. He agreed but would still like to include a quirky tone to them. Illustration style 2 was taken forward for further development.

Media first illustrations-02 Media first illustrations-06Media first illustrations-01Media first illustrations-05Media first illustrations-03 Media first illustrations-04   Media first illustrations-07 Media first illustrations-08 Media first illustrations-09

After illustrating the full set, I showed the work at a red star meeting. It was noted that the final three did not match the tonal values or style as the rest of them. They suggested that I should also add in something like a consistent horizon to show that they all link together.

To change the style slightly, I used tracing paper to map each illustration. I then transferred and photocopied the prints to ensure I had multiple full sets. I then used different methods of creating shadows such as drawing dots or lines. It was found that lines looked best, combined with a consistent horizon.

Complete set (For some reason this would not upload as a jpeg)

The set was sent to the client and he was very pleased with the result. James asked about what it would look like when it was all linked together. Initially I tried to put them all in boxes as seen in graphic novels and comic strips but this proved to be too boring. I edited design on illustrator and used the lines to link together each illustration to show a flow from one method of communication to another. I sent this back to the client and the client was very pleased, ‘Yes – this is a brilliant interpretation of my brief. Thanks so much!’ was the response received from the client.

Mediafirstcomplete link

After this, the client thought it would be a great idea to add a streamline across the bottom. They sent across the branding guidelines and asked for this to be in their orange. After trying this, the orange did not have enough contrast so I have used the blue instead.

Media first straplines

These have now been sent to the client and I am awaiting to hear feedback on the final stage.

At the beginning, it was difficult to design a certain character style, as people are generally quite difficult to draw. I found this job challenging because it really tested my drawing capabilities, and I have never drawn something with the intention of it being used for a professional company. Finding the correct balance between humour and style was difficult to meet at first. I also learned from this job that communicating with clients may be difficult as we both live with different schedules. I am aware that my client was constantly very busy which hindered their replies. Often waiting for a few weeks before having confirmation sometimes clashed with my schedule as I rushed to meet the deadline. However, I have found ways to balance work and to politely nudge the client incase they have simply forgotten or passed the email when they were busy. Communication was a large learning factor for this real job and I am sure will prepare me for the design industry.