Author: Emily Collard

Harris Garden interpretation boards


The Harris Garden is a botanical garden, located on the University of Reading’s Whiteknights campus. It was established in 1972 and has since been enjoyed by students, staff and the public.

The aim of this project was to create a range of deliverables that sit cohesively together within the garden. Our client initially requested a leaflet, map and signage, but after a discussion, we were able to settle on the following deliverables, which we felt would allow us to more successfully achieve both function and aesthetics:

  1. Brand Identity Design
  2. 10 x Signage
  3. Garden Map

Team Roles
As we were working as a fairly large team of four students, we decided that we would share responsibility for each deliverable, working collaboratively and ensuring we each were all held accountable throughout the project process.

Our client made it clear that this project was flexible, however we felt it would be better for us to decide on an end-date. Having received this project over the summer holidays, we felt early April was a sensible deadline to keep to. Unfortunately, due to several delays, we had to push our deadline back. As a team, we decided to aim to finalise all the deliverables by the start of the following September, but due to lack of communication with our client, our deadline was once again delayed.

Our Vision
With this project we wanted to provide the Harris Garden with an all-new, refreshed signage system to make the gardens more inviting for a broad, but predominantly family orientated, target audience. We wanted our designs to encapsulate both the life of the garden itself and the history of its friends and regular visitors. A key aim for us was to make the garden more accessible and encourage educational learning in an engaging manner. Staying environmentally friendly was important for us to promote sustainability whilst still being durable. 


Research & Ideation

In our client briefing session multiple types of target users began to emerge. The client made it clear that the aim of the project was to attract more young families with children, but he was keen that the signage and map also be accessible for their existing audience. In response to these conversations, we identified four main user types. We developed these into user personas and confirmed in a subsequent meeting with the client that they align with both current and desired garden audiences. The client was satisfied with our personas and so we were able to refer to them throughout the project when making design decisions and considerations.

As the location of the signage and maps is to be in a garden that celebrates nature, we discussed with the client environmentally friendly and sustainable options for materials and production. Concerns about vandalism and ongoing garden updates as well as natural weathering meant we had to be mindful of expense as well as the robustness of the materials.

The client wanted materials that would be easy to clean but that stood up to harsh outdoor conditions. In addition, the materials needed to be sturdy and unlikely to break, but easy to remove and replace should the garden layout change or the damage be too extreme. With this in mind we researched existing signage in a range of environments such as gardens and tourist locations as well as those around campus. We researched more traditional approaches to signage as well as unique sustainable responses.

Having Creative Print Services (CPS) located in the same building as the department enabled us to meet members of the team throughout the project in the department and on site in the garden. These conversations around materiality and function guided our design decisions as we considered colour scheme, layout, scale, and typographic treatment. 

Design Styles
When considering the direction for the unifying style of the deliverables we drew upon findings from our research that we considered to be successful, and continued to keep in mind the target audience. We knew that the design had to be accessible and attractive to children and young families, whilst also respecting the academic and mature audience. The design style also needed to reflect the natural environment of the garden. As such, we developed ideas with natural colour palettes and organic illustrations. We focused on implementing a consistent layout with clear hierarchy for the signage and considered ways in which we could make clear the link between the map and the signs so that the overall design throughout the garden was cohesive.     


Design & Process

Branding Design
Branding was not a deliverable our client initially requested, however we felt the creation of an identity would allow us to tie the signage and map together resulting in a cohesive set of designs.

We began by gathering inspiration of existing garden logos which had a focus on icon-like elements. We decided to go down the route of a visual but fairly minimal icon design which we felt could easily be applied to different formats and would scale easily. Using our inspiration as a foundation, we began sketching out some ideas. One of the concepts that immediately stood out to us, was the incorporation of the leaf-like shapes with the initials of the garden. We also were drawn to our sketches of interlocking leaf shapes, and so we started to take these ideas into Adobe Illustrator, exploring typefaces and logo layouts to sit alongside this icon.


Unfortunately this logo did not stand out to our client, and so we went back to the drawing board, to explore some new ideas, while still keeping to the leaf-shape theme. As a team, we felt the typography from the initial concept was successful, and so we kept this fairly consistent through the next rounds of designs. We were pleased to hear that our client really liked the 3rd brand identity seen in the image below, and so this is the route that we took for the garden’s brand identity. 

In terms of colour palette, we wanted to take inspiration from the plants seen within the Harris Garden, while avoiding the ‘expected’ route of an all green scheme. We developed four options, before settling on the bottom left palette. We knew this combination of colours would be taken across onto the map illustration and so we decided to keep the branding palette fairly limited while adding in more variety for the map.


We were really pleased that our client immediately fell in love with our chosen palette, and so we implemented this into our logo variations, testing the different combinations of colour. We found some worked better than others, but overall felt our palette was successful.

Map Design
Due to the map being at the forefront of the garden and the first thing visitors would see, we undertook extensive research into appropriate styles of maps designed for use in Garden contexts. We decided on an approach which was colourful and appealing to children and families which had a slightly 3D perspective, enhancing the shape, orientation and location of the garden in relation to the surroundings. 

After gathering inspiration for the style of illustration we would use, a colour palette was developed based on the colours selected for the brand identity. We made sure these shades were representative of the four seasons that worked well together as a set. This palette was tweaked and changed slightly as the project went on to create a coherent and appealing appearance with enough contrast to work effectively.


To begin the designing process, we developed the base of the map in illustrator, mapping out the different paths and sections of the garden given to us by the client. Next, we designed a variety of different tree icons that could easily be placed around the map in appropriate places in order to represent denser areas of woodland, or more prominent trees and plants. 

We added the icons and illustrations that represented the plants and trees within the Garden to the base of the map and added additional information such as the entrance gate and a key around the map. We tried many different variations and made many changes along the way to perfect the positioning of tree icons and ensuring the paths were visible for navigation purposes. 


We felt that the pure-white background would look too prominent and out of place in a Garden setting so opted for an off-white colour which would also prevent dirt showing up as easily. The beige background felt much more subtle and suitable for the context we were designing for, and our client also said he felt that some users would find it more difficult to read black text on a bright white background. 

We created two different versions of the near finished design which both use a more 3D effect at the edge of the map which we agreed on with the client at the beginning of the project. Differences in these versions include how specific areas of the Harris Garden are labelled, either within the illustrations of the map or around the outside. The road was omitted from the design in the end due to the decision that it was too distracting from the garden and somewhat irrelevant. In addition, the client wanted to detract any attention from the walled garden in the right hand corner as this was a section not maintained by the university, hence why we left the design of this alone. 

Although we felt we could develop our map design further, this was the stage that we got to when our client unfortunately decided to remove the map from the project’s deliverables. We decided it would be best for us to move our focus to the signage, and further refine them, rather than working on the map any further. If things had gone differently we would have developed the map further, testing different shades of an off-white background to maximise legibility as well as finding the most appropriate solution to include the garden labels around the map. 

Signage Design
In advance of designing the interpretation panels, we did some visual research and analysis on existing signs used in similar settings and contexts. This research ensured that we were considering the physicality and context of the interpretation panels throughout the entire design process, which has been beneficial for our final outcomes. 

Before taking our ideas to the computer, we sketched out some simple layouts on paper to start thinking about how we could use our format as a canvas and how to present the different kinds of information on the interpretation boards.

Once we had developed some concepts with mock illustrations and copy, we showed these to our supervisor and client to gather feedback. At this stage, the feedback that we received from our supervisor was that the interpretation boards that we had developed were too ‘book’ like, and weren’t visually appealing enough. Our supervisor also critiqued the illustration style we had chosen, and suggested we might want to experiment with a style that was more appropriate for the target audience, and perhaps something that looked a bit more abstract.

At this point  in the project, we focused on how we could transform the signs into something that looked more like information design, or a poster, rather than a page in a book. We categorised the different types of information that was present on the signs and thought about how we could differentiate between the hierarchy of information, and visually represent the content to a reader looking from afar, or only looking for a few seconds. We used colour, type size, icons and shading to achieve this. We also created new versions of the illustrative elements, choosing a style that had less detail than the first, and is more appropriate than the ones we initially presented. 


After exploring a more visual approach to the signage, we felt the overall layout had too much white space and did not work successfully. We decided to experiment with alternative sizes to see whether these worked better. We were all drawn to the square format as we felt this worked best for our content and was the most space efficient.


After discussing with our client, we decided to change the background colour to a shade of off white, to make the typography more accessible. This change will be particularly beneficial  for people with dyslexia or other needs that make reading more difficult. After a few final copy editing changes, the signs were signed off by our client. 


Project Conclusion

One of the challenges we faced throughout our project, was sticking to our initial timeline. When designing the signs we had to wait for the content from our client, who struggled to gather the stories from regular visitors.  As the client was struggling to collect enough of these stories in the timeframe of our schedule, we offered him multiple extensions and moved our schedule around to accommodate this. So as not to waste time whilst waiting we decided to pause working on the signage until we had real content to work with and started working on the map. The client was happy with this compromise and it enabled the project to keep moving forward despite the delays. 

Throughout the duration of the project, we faced some barriers that we had to overcome. Tackling these challenges as a team have taught us valuable client facing and time management skills that have not only made us better designers, but better communicators and team members. 

Our project deadline of April 2022 was initially extended due to delays in receiving the copy for the interpretation boards from our client, and we struggled to stick to a schedule throughout the project due to delays in client communication. This has taught us that in future, we should set out clearer expectations between ourselves and the client in the initial stages of a project to avoid similar challenges. 

Toward the final weeks of our project, we were informed by our client that he needed to use the University branding and that the branding we designed would not be taken forwards in the deliverables. At this point we were advised by our supervisor to let the client handle this directly with the University branding team, as this is something beyond our remit. In addition to this, the client decided to take an alternative approach in regards to the map as it would continue to develop in the coming months. While these changes to the brief were frustrating at the time, we still see the project as a success and are proud to present a full set of deliverables as outlined in our initial brief. Although they might not be implemented in the Harris Garden itself, we are happy with the solutions we arrived at. 


Project Summary
Overall, this was a successful and enjoyable project. We set out as a team to create a brand identity, a set of signage and a map that worked cohesively together, and this we achieved. Each member of the team brought different strengths that we were able to identify early in the project. This enabled us to harness each other’s strengths and support one another in areas where we wanted to grow and learn. As challenges arose, such as client communication, scheduling delays, or software issues we were able to create and implement effective solutions that kept us motivated and the client updated. 

We attended Real Jobs sessions regularly and benefitted from the feedback, allowing us to push the development of our ideas. Having a logical and clear structure to our process (1:branding, 2 signage, 3: map) made it easy for those providing feedback to follow our process and decisions. Towards the end of the project we acknowledged that more supervisor meetings would have been beneficial, but we were able to make the most of the meetings that we did have, especially as our supervisor was changed half-way through our project. 

Lessons on physicality were reinforced as we were reminded of the importance of printing out to-scale drafts of our designs when working on deliverables that will be physical and printed. Each of us developed our communication skills, both with the client and within our design team. Assigning and embracing individual areas of responsibility really helped with this. 

Whilst we were disappointed that the client chose to move forward in a different direction, as a team and as individual designers this was still a very beneficial project that taught us many important lessons about the reality of designing for live projects and we are pleased with what we achieved.

By: Emily Collard, Hannah Smith, Megan Hancox, Rio Ware

Student-Led Department Instagram 2022


After joining the instagram team in our first year of University, we (Emily and Rio) began to co-lead the Instagram at the beginning of 2022. Our experience of being on the team previously gave us a good prior understanding and ideas of what to post and we already had a structure. Once the Instagram was officially handed over to us, we began to make our own decisions about how to lead the team, what content to post and set ourselves goals to improve our online presence. 

Our Goal
As soon as we were handed full control of the instrgram, we felt we should focus all our efforts to making the account feel more like a welcoming community for current students, gradates, lecturers and friends of the department. We also felt it was crucial that we captured the department in a way that was appealing for prospective students, showcasing the vast range of projects, techniques and classes available on our course. To do this, we wanted to share a larger variety of posts, creating a more engaging feed. We also wanted to aim to post much more frequently than the previous years team, and engage more with other accounts.


Updating the Account

We immediately noticed that the account had a very unprofessional bio. It did not accurately portray our department as it had a chaotic and haphazard appearance. The first noticeable change to the account was updating this bio, making it feel much more considered and designed. Emily had the idea of adding a link tree to our bio, adding level of functionality as it would provide viewers easy access to the department website, UoR website, open day bookings, baseline shift talks and much more.


Planning and posting
In order to achieve our goal of posting more frequently, we implemented a new strategy for planning posts. We used an excel spreadsheet to plan our each month of posts, and allocated each post to a member of the team. The idea behind this was to get more organsied and allow each member to have a clearer idea of what to post, and when to post it. 

Unfortunately, in practise this did not work as well as we had initially intended. Often, team members would forget to post on their allocated day, or other content would come up that wouldnt follow the structure and disturbed the plan. In practice, this strategy was too rigid and. Once we realised this wasn’t successful, we met with the team to discuss their thoughts on how well this was working. We all agreed that a more forgiving and less strict structure would work better for the nature of the content that we post. We also discussed with the team that frequent reminders on our group chat would be helpful to remind team members to post content. 


New Content

Typography Posts

Emily had the idea of using our account to better celebrate the typographic side to our departments course. To do this, we contacted Gerry, and requested links to typefaces designed by past MA Typeface Design Programme students. From here, Emily designed a carousel post template and began showcasing these typefaces regularly on the account. We felt having these posts helped us achieve a more considered and balanced feed, providing us with an element of consistency within our posts.

These posts did well in terms of engagement, and we were pleased to see type foundaries sharing us on their stories!

Inside the Department
As we have previously mentioned, we wanted to create a more welcoming and community feel to the account. One of the main ways we strived to achieve this, was by sharing both feed posts and reels, capturing the department itself, as well as classes such as feedback sessions. 

We found these posts did really well, not only with the current students, but also past graduates, providing them with a sense of nostalgia! This was especially the case with the video content and the photography of the outside of the building.

Tips and Advice

Over the summer holidays, Rio thought that it would be a nice idea to welcome the new Part One’s with an advice post to help motivate them and inspire them at the start of this new term. IIn order to achieve this, we implemented carousel posts that shared wisdom from graduates of the department as well as current students. We found this post was welcomed warmly by our followers and would love this concept to be adopted by the new team and continue to share tips and advice!

Introduction of Guides

Guides are a feature on Instagram that allow you to collate posts into one space within your account. We felt this would be the perfect opportunity for us to help current students find the work of previous year groups, to take inspiration from examples of work and to get a better understanding of what will be expected from projects. With this being said, we made a guide for each ‘part’ as well as a guide of Real Job projects, MATD typeface posts, posts within the department, and baseline shift content.

Having implemented this into the departments account, we spoke to a few students who all agree that it was a ‘useful’ addition allowing easy access to content, especially when you are looking for a particular type of post.

Creating these guides have also been useful to help us grasp a better understanding of what we need to post more or less on the Instagram. For example, at one particular point in the year, Emily and I found ourselves posting a lot of Part 2 content, as it was the most accessible to us at the time. Therefore, we decided to recruit new students in the year below to hellpus out with posting, and got in touch with students in the year above to ask permission to post their work. 


Engagement & Following

One of the main goals of posting on social media is to promote our department to new students, as well as create an online community of students, staff and alumni. Therefore, engagement and following is important to consider when posting. We have realised that certain posts ie: pictures of the department, or posts that follow trends increase engagement, and often, we have aimed to focus our content based on which

Looking at out insights on our professional dashboard, we can see that in the past 90 days of running the instagram account, we have reached 61% more accounts compared to 1 Jun–29 Aug, engagement has increased by 29% and our follower count has increased by 3.4%. 

Looking back on our posts since we have lead the team, there are certain posts that have stood out to us as being more successful than others, and these are backed up by interactions and reach.  To measure the success of a post, we take into account the number of interactions with the post such as likes, comments and shares, as well as how many accounts the post has reached. Using our professional dashboard insights, we can see what our following found the most engaging, as well as features of posts which drew in non-followers.


Little miss post 

With 203 interactions with this post, the little miss post that we illustrated and designed ourselves was our most successful post. This post was designed in response to a popular trend on social media based on the well-known Mr Men book series.

Joby Caters Workshop
With 199 interactions, our post about our recent visit to Joby Carters sign writing workshop has been another hit amongst our followers. Photos of lettering and typography are something that would be enjoyed by the majority of our following, so it is no wonder that this post did well. Posts such as these are important to keep other members of the department up to date on what everyone gets up to.

Photographs and reels of the department
Our posts showing photographs of the outside and inside of the department, frequently received comments such as ‘love that place!’,  ‘missing the yellow doors’ and ‘brings back memories’. We found that sharing these photos have been particularly successful amongst alumni, bringing back memories for former staff and students reminiscing their time at the department. These kind of posts are also useful or prospective students to grasp a vision of what life in our department looks like.


Preparing the New Team

During the autumn term, we decided to speak to the years below us, and gather new members to join our team. Having run the instagram as just a pair for several months, we felt it was key that we grew our team both for our benefit, to take the pressure as we were now part three students, but to also set up the new team to take over from us. We planned to take a step back from running the instagram towards the end of the autumn term, and did our best to guide our new team members towards new leadership and help make them comfortable posting and sharing content. We held several meetings throughout the term to share the idea we had for new content, as well as encouraging the new members to share any thoughts they had. We hoped to ease the new team into taking over the account rather than what we experienced, and leaving them to fend for themselves without prior warning!

We are delighted to say that we were able to recruit four new members to our team and we hope we have provided all the support and encouragement they need to allow the instagram to continue to grow not only as a social media account, but also as a community for students, staff and friends of the department.


Our Thoughts

As soon as we were handed the account at the start of 2022, we came up with a huge range of ideas. Unfortunately we were unable to design all these posts and implement them into our feed, however we definitely feel we have made a hugely positive impact on the Instagram, improving the content, engagement levels and community feel to the account.

We believe we have successfully maintained a consistent posting schedule, posting throughout the week. Previously, when we were under the leadership of the year above, we found that we lacked content especially at the start of each term, with the majority of posts being shared after from end of term submissions. We also found the content was mainly final mockups of work. We feel we have used our prior experience regarding this, and made a series of changes to improve not only the feed’s variety, but also the engagement with our content.

It was an absolute pleasure running the Instagram and we both feel we have gained valuable experience throughout the process. We feel our success lies with our ability to work collaboratively to run the account, gaining key skills in team leadership and time management. On top of this, we were able to harness our creativity to bring new and engaging content to the account in a variety of ways.

On top of this, we hope we have successfully prepared the next team, helping ready them for the creation of new content as well as maintaining new ideas that we have implemented ourselves.


RJ00455: Student-lead Department Instagram 2022
Emily Collard & Rio Ware

Vector Graphics for ‘Homegoing’

This term, I undertook a range of design tasks for the TY1SK module with the aim of improving and building a better understanding of skills and techniques with Adobe software. In this blog post, I will discuss the ‘Drawing Vector Objects’ task, where I designed a social media banner for the book ‘Homegoing’ by Yaa Gyasi. I took screenshots throughout my design process to aid my explainations.

This task was based in Adobe Illustrator. Last term, I had never used Illustrator before and so focused on basic skills. Over the winter break, I practiced more with this software and picked up some important shortcuts using the keypad and I became much more confident with Illustrator. This allowed me to be more efficient while designing the social media banner for this task.

My Design Ideas and Process

Before I began designing, I created a colour palette based on colours featured in the example book covers that I found as inspiration (more on this later), as well as from the Ghana flag. To select these colours, I used the eye-dropper tool in Illustrator and made a selection of swatches to be used for my designs.

Final Outcome 1

Below is my first banner design. Overall, I think this was also the most successful outcome.

To create this design, I began by using a combination of the pen tool and the circle shape tool,  to outline the shape of the silhouetted woman. I then used the shape builder tool to merge these shapes into one element.

I then wanted to incorporate a traditional Ghanaian pattern. I utilised the rectangle tool and used the white arrow tool to manipulate them to make them rhombus-like shapes. I used the pattern builder to create a repeating pattern of this design.

I then added colour into my pattern, using the colour palette I had previously created.

Next, I layered my silhouette on top of my repeating pattern, as well as an orange background colour. To make these layers fit perfectly to my artboard, I created a clipping mask.  I then used the offset path tool to add multiple coloured areas around the edge of the silhouette, creating border-like outlines. This idea was inspired by flames and fire.


Finally, I added the title ‘Homegoing’ in all caps text using the typeface Menco, a san-serif, which is similar to the type used on the book covers. I added this type to a path, which matched the edge of the silhouette. I also offset this, so it stood out better from the background pattern.


Final Outcome 2

Below is my second banner design. For this design, I used the same colour palette as previously mentioned.

For this design, I wanted the title of the book to be the most prominent element. I used the Menco typeface in both all caps and normal for the text to create typographic hierarchy. I wanted to try a different approach to incorporate the idea of flames and fire. I made a straight line stroke using the pen tool, before outlining the stroke and using the ‘distort & transform’ ‘zig-zag’ effect, to give a smooth wave affect inspired by the flames.

Next, I added the text on top of this pattern. To incorporate the silhouetted shape, I removed the ‘O’ of the ‘Homegoing’ and replaced it with the figure. I also made the outline stroke of the text and the figure white to make it stand out more from the background. To help make sure each element of the type was aligned, I used the ruler tool. I also used the clipping mask tool once again, to neaten my art-board.


Final Outcome 3

For this final design, I wanted to find a way to incorporate the cotton plant element that featured on several book covers that I had found during my research.


To illustrate these cotton plants, I drew circles and used the shape-builder tool to combine these shapes into one element. I also used the pen tool to create the stems of these plants. I used the same silhouette shape for this design too.

I wanted to play around with another way to add the title of the book and so I used the ‘text in shape’ tool to fill the silhouette with ‘Homegoing’.

Finally, as another way to add the idea of flames and fire, I played with the gradient tool to create the blur between orange and red to act as the background. To finish my design, I offset the silhouetted shape once more.


Software tutorials

Before I began my design process, I watched several video tutorial to help me use Adobe Illustrator and the tools and effects available in this software.

Firstly, I looked on the Adobe website and found the videos: ‘Create with drawing tools’, ‘Create and edit shapes’ and ‘Start making artwork’ all extremely useful. These videos helped strengthen my knowledge of the basic tools and techniques within Illustrator, before I could then explore some of the more complex and detailed skills.

I next searched on Youtube to find some further tutorials and demonstrations.The video: ‘How to use Shadow and Highlights in Adobe Illustrator CC 2018 , Fast Hot dog vector tutorial’ by Niko Dola was really fun to watch, as he showed how to create a hotdog using the different effects available on Illustrator, such as the warping tools and the distorting tools. I decided that I definitely wanted to play around with these effects when I created my designs.

The tutorial ‘Adobe Illustrator Tutorial: Create a Vector Pizza from Sketch’ by Dom Designs was also really useful, as it explains the process of turning a pencil sketch into a vector illustration. Finally the video: ‘Using Adobe Illustrator: 10 Tips for Beginners’ by Alice Thorpe, was valuable, as it outlined the basic tools and techniques I will need as a basis to develop my Illustrator skills further.

Youtube Tutorial Links:


Resources for research and inspiration

Before I started designing, I undertook some research into the book ‘Homegoing’. I read summaries, blog posts, reviews and watched introductory videos. These all gave me a better insight into the novel and its plot, which I thought was vital, as I wanted my designs to accurately capture and represent ‘Homegoing’. I also had a look at the different cover images used for this book. I noticed that all of the book cover variations that I saw featured bright orange, red and yellow colours. A lot of them also incorporated the silhouetted figure of a woman.

After reading reviews and descriptions of this novel, I discovered that fire appears throughout story as a symbol of the curse that haunts the family for generations. Finally, I found that this story is set in Ghana and features a cotton-picking plantation. Doing further research into the country Ghana (Republic of Ghana), I found that the flag features the colours red, yellow and green. At the centre of this flag is a black star. I also did some research into traditional patterns found in Ghana.  I decided I wanted to incorporate these ideas into my final designs in some way or another. Taking this all on board, I decided that the main elements I wanted to incorporate were the silhouetted woman, the idea of fire and traditional patterns from Ghana .

Below are a few covers that stood out to me during my research.

Below is the Link to the Youtube video that I found extremely valuable when conducting my research into the book ‘Homegoing’:


Overall, I really enjoyed this task. I feel that I was able to gain a better understand of the tools and techniques available in Adobe Illustrator and as a result, I feel much more confident using this software. I was able to explore different tools, techniques and effects, and I am really pleased with my final results. My favourite design was my first outcome with the pattern background and the offset colours around the silhouette. I think this might be due to the addition of contrast between the brighter off-white shade and darker navy-grey shade. On top of this, I think the repeating pattern element makes this design eye-catching and will allow it to standout when used as a social media banner.

Currently, Illustrator is my favourite software, but I definitely have room to grow and gain more knowledge and skills using it. I hope I become even more confident with design tasks to come.

Exploring Typographic Hierarchy

For this project, we had to use Adobe Indesign to create a cinema brochure for the Reading Film Theatre. I wanted my design to be clean and contemporary, using red as the accent colour, to put emphasis on certain elements of text. To continue with this simplistic look, I only used one typeface, but used intrinsic valuables, such as size and weight of the text. This will hopefully allow the viewer to see a distinction between the different elements of the brochure. For example, I put the contact information for the theatre in italic and made it smaller than the main body of text.

Here you can see my initial design sketch:


Here is my first brochure design:

After a blackboard feedback session, it was highlighted that the lack of colour variation removes the importance of the highlights of red. It was suggested to use the tint tool on Indesign and create varying shades of red to allow the largest emphasis to be on the titles of the movies. I also used this tool to add some grey tones into my design to add further contrast. Continuing with this idea, I also incorporated more variation within the main body of text, allowing a clearer hierarchy of information. Finally the alignment of the title in my first design was pointed out as being a little confusing. As a result, I took some steps to try and make this more logical and more visually appealing.  Finally, we had a peer review session in class where we were able to give feedback on each other’s brochures. Taking this advice on board as well, I refined my design.

My final outcome can be seen below.

I really enjoyed this project as it allowed me to explore Indesign and put my new knowledge about typography into practice. I also found the feedback sessions extremely useful and I am very grateful for all the advice I was given from both other students and tutors.

what is your ideal gift?

For Kim’s project we had to design ideal gifts based off of our partners’ interests.

My first partner enjoys playing the violin as well as watching horror films and Studio Ghibli. I decided to design a horror themed violin using recognisable illustrations such as spider webs, bats and skeletons. However, the next stage of this project was incorporating a random word into our designs. My word was ‘bridge’. I decided to make the violin a ‘bridge to the other side’. I represented this through the ghosts appearing from the bow of the violin. My final gift can be seen below.

My second partner loves sparkling water as well as watching Disney and Marvel films. I decided to design a bottle of sparkling water that has buttons on, to allow you to change the flavour of the water. However, my random word was ‘aeroplane’. This gave me the idea of how to make this bottle more easily transported. I combined this concept with the prompt of Disney and came up with a bottle that can shrink and expand, taking inspiration from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. My final design can be seen below.

I was unable to decide which design, out of these two, I preferred and so I decided to experiment with both and create final outcomes for them. They are both so different, and so I found it hard to compare them!

Overall this was a fun project as I was able to spend time creating many ideas and concepts, before experimenting with my two favourites. It was also a great opportunity to get to know my class mates, which has been difficult due to the current situation of Covid-19!

Hands, Face, Space: Covid-19

For Sue and Emma’s project, we looked at the graphic language of Covid-19 signs and posters, both on the Whiteknights Campus and from the internet. I began this project by exploring campus to take photographs of all the Covid-19 signs that I could find. I then used social media and google to find some more examples of posters that use imagery and typography to convey information or messages about the Corona Virus. It became clear to me, that there was a wide range of approaches that could be used to create eye-catching and visually appealing designs. One technique most of these signs and posters adopted, was the use of colour. Vibrant reds and bright yellows are often associated with danger and warnings, hence why these colours appear frequently in the Covid-19 signs.

To organise my images, I created powerpoint sides, grouping the signs into the following categories: hands, face, space.

Typeface Design

For Gerry’s project, we had two tasks.  Firstly, using the provided letters ‘h e s i o n’ , to give us clues on the characteristics of the typeface, we had to draw the letters ‘c a d b u r y’. We had to pay attention to the contrasts of stroke sizes as well as the x height and many other aspects of the typeface. Overall, I was pleased with my outcome for this task, all though, there are definitely a few letters, such as the ‘aand ‘b’ that needed alterations.


For the second task, we had to draw the missing parts of the letter forms. My outcome for this task can be seen below.

I found this typeface design project interesting as I was able to look at letter forms in more detail. I inspected the dimensions and angles of each character and discovered the relationships between different letters.

Bang! And The Dirt Is Gone!

As part of the TY1INT1 module, we were asked to explore Adobe InDesign and create our own Penguin Book covers inspired by a book, movie or quote. I landed on the idea of the cleaning products Cillit Bang which are manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser. I used the colour palette from the limescale remover range to design my book cover. These bright purples and oranges allowed me to create an eye-catching and bold design. I wanted to stray from the simple lines and shapes used in classic Penguin Books, and so I came up with the idea of using an almost star-like, explosion shape to highlight the ‘title’ and ‘author’ of my book.  Below is my initial sketch which I used to plan out my ideas.

I am new to all Adobe apps, so this was a fun experience, trying out the tools available to create each element of my book cover. I am pleased with my final outcome, however there are a few areas that I could improve on. I look forward to gaining a better understanding of InDesign and other Adobe apps in the future.

Initial Transmogrify

For Kim’s project, I created a monogram of my initials in the Garamond font. I experimented with layering and played with the different interactions between the letter forms. I initially came up with this design:


I decided to experiment further and explore flipping the letter forms. This almost removed the readable quality of the letters and created more of a visual image.



Finally I wanted to include colour and add some depth to my piece. I decided to add a drop shadow as this would also incorporate the dimension I wanted.




The two-tone drop shadow also adds an almost ‘trippy’ element to my outcome, further distorting the letter forms and creating an eye-catching image. However, I decided that the black background was too harsh in contrast to the white. I changed this to blue, which created a more monochromatic outcome. Overall, this made a more cohesive image. To illustrate the journey that I undertook during this project, I created a short video almost like a digital flip book, with my images in order.