Author: Megan Beedie

Homegoing Banner

Design Ideas and Design Process

This is the vector drawing I created in response to a brief asking us to design a Facebook banner for the book “Homegoing”.  The task required us to base the banner of the existing cover for the book. In order to start generating ideas I pasted an image of the book cover next to my art-board in illustrator.  I wanted to have a deeper understanding of the book in order to guide my design ideas. To do this I read about the book on a BBC webpage which gave a brief summary of the themes conveyed in the book. This allowed me to keep my work relevant to the story. I decided to create a sense of duality in my banner as the story is based on two sisters leading very different lives lead and how this effects generations after them. I had the idea to create a banner with two silhouettes (as this would create a similar effect to the existing book cover), facing each other. I also looked at photography of west African women and found photos I could trace to make the banner contextually accurate to the setting of the book. 

 I started the design process off by using the eyedropper tool to grab two of the colours from the existing book cover and created two rectangles on each half of the art board in these colours. I pasted the images of the women in and flipped one round so that their was a ‘mirroring’ effect. I then began to use the pen tool to trace around the images, I used the command key to edit the handles (fig1). I then filled in the outline with the colour of the mirrored images background, creating a kind of cut out mirror effect (fig2).

(fig 1-2) showing the use of pen tool to create a mirrored SILHOUETTE effect

 

To add some detail to the silhouettes, I added a headband to one women and a hoop earring to another, I feel like this also added to representing the characters more accurately with them being of opposite classes in society. I used the shape tool for the earring and edited a circle to fit the shape of an earring and I used the pen tool for the headband. (Fig3-6).   

 (fig 3-6) showing the use of the shape and pen tools to create a hoop earring and headband 

 

To add some further detail to the banner. I replicated the plants seen on the book cover I did this by using the pen tool to create the rounded white shape, I then used the pen tool again to create half the diamond shape and duplicated this using the option key and dragging my mouse. I then flipped this and combined the  two shapes using the shape builder tool. (Fig 7-9). I then used the shape builder tool again, this time pressing the option key for remove, to remove the overlapping shapes going off the art board.(fig 10-11)

(fig 7-9) using the shape builder to create a diamond shape by combining two halves
(fig 10-11) using the shape builder tool to remove excess shapes

 

I decided that I wasn’t overly happy with the colours that I had used so I changed the silhouette shapes to match the dark navy colour that is used in the plants. I also wanted to add some more repetition to my design so I duplicated the silhouettes and made them larger behind the first ones to add an outline effect. (Fig 12-13) 

(fig 12-13) adding last touches – changing colour SLIGHTLY and adding a coloured outlines to the SILHOUETTE

 

Software Tutorials

For this task I found two tutorials. One very broad tutorial/course (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib8UBwu3yGA&t=10918s) which helped me to understand the software as a whole and was a good outline of the features it has to offer and how these can be used. I also found a shorter and more specific tutorial on how to create a silhouette in illustrator (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EquA6Xje4g&t=443s). I found the illustrator course video on YouTube really beneficial as I feel like it took me through all the tools I needed to get a good grasp of the software. It demonstrated how to use the shape and line tools, the shape builder tool, the curvature tool, the pen tool, the pencil tool, brushes, gradient tool and the pattern tool as well as other features such as liquifying and distorting and bending and warping shapes. I think the most useful part of the tutorial was probably learning about the shape builder tool. This really helped me to realise that I could create any shape I wanted quickly and easily within this software. For example for this task I used the shape tool when creating the navy parts of the plants. I feel like this tutorial taught me that I really needed to practice using the pen tool, which I had aimed to do in this task and I feel as though my use of it was effective, especially in creating the silhouettes of the two women. The second tutorial helped to reinforce the importance of the pen tool in creating complex shapes and this is where I got the idea to trace an existing image.

Resources for Research and Inspiration

One of my main inspirations for this task was the original book cover for “Homecoming” as well as the actual story itself.  I wanted to create a social media banner that really represented the themes of the book whilst associating with the style of illustration used on the existing book cover. I learnt more about the book through reading (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/341QFdHDQGDqQzzx5P1BMmc/vote100books-7-novels-by-women-that-deserve-your-attention). I did also take a look at the different covers that had been previously designed to see how other designers had approached this book and its themes. Another strong influence on my work was researching photography of west African women. This allowed me to depict the characters accurately in terms of the hairstyles they would wear. It was also inspiring to see their clothes as this made me think about different patterns I could have used. The last thing I did to gain inspiration for this task was looking at a website that displayed different ways to create a Facebook banner (https://www.canva.com/learn/50-creative-facebook-covers-to-inspire-you/). This website displayed 50 different Facebook covers and was a really good insight into all the possibilities when designing a social media banner. It also helped me to consider things like where the banner wouldn’t be visible behind the profile picture. It was really useful to look at what worked well and what didn’t work well and apply this to my own work. Although it was not related to this particular task it did also help me to consider how the profile picture and banner need to compliment each other and the different ways this can be achieved. Overall all of these things were really influential in my final design.

Talking in Type

DESIGN IDEAS AND DESIGN PROCESS

 Postcard Idea 1..

                                             

This was my favourite design and the one which I developed the furthest out of my three ideas. The aspect of this design which I developed the most was the type. Following on from my Podcast task (as seen in featured image) I wanted to continue to work with warping the type. I liked how this worked along side the image as I felt like it gave an impression of the crowd moving the letters around. I wanted to emphasise this sense of movement further in my postcard designs so to do this I developed different ways of enhancing the image and the format of the warped type. For this particular idea I decided to duplicate the picture, this is something I also did in my second idea but the way I utilised this differed. For idea 1 I flipped the image and cropped it (as pictured above) to create the impression of one mirrored image that frames the text. I liked the sense of balance this gave the postcard and how it emphasises the idea of the type almost being pushed around by the people in the image.

Postcard Idea 2..

                                            

Similar to Idea 1, I also duplicated the image in this postcard to enhance the sense of movement. This time I experimented with transparency, to create a blurred effect I lowered the transparency of the duplicated image and shifted it slightly in position (pictured above). I feel like this created a sense of movement in a different way to Idea 1. However I think this idea would off worked better with to similar images rather than two identical images to give the impression that the movement is changing as this would be more realistic. In order to develop my ideas I wanted to play around with the effectiveness of the warped text. Therefore in this design I warped some of the words but not all. I actually really like how this gives a focus on the most important aspect of the postcard which is the topic of type. I think this creates a sense of hierarchy within the postcard allowing it to inform the reader efficiently.

Postcard idea 3..

                                                                    

For my third idea, I actually wanted to explore using type that wasn’t warped. I wanted to see what effect this had visually compared to the warped type that I had used for the last two ideas. I didn’t want to alter the background image too much for this idea so I simply flipped it up side down. I still think this idea is effective but it did help me to realise that the warped text did work well in creating unity between the image and the text. In all my designs I made the word ‘with’ significantly smaller than the other two words as I wanted the focus to be on ‘talking’ and ‘type’ as these are the focus of the podcast/postcards.

SOFTWARE TUTORIALS

An issue that I encountered when completing this task in indesign is that indesign does not have appropriate tools to allow you to warp text. I got the idea to do this to the text through exploring photoshop in the previous task but when It came to working in indesign I realised that achieving these same effects within this software wouldn’t be possible. In order to solve this issue I searched for information on how to best transport images from photoshop into indesign.  I googled this and was able to find out that only certain files can be transported from photoshop to indesign. I created my text in photoshop and then imported it as a psd into indesign. This worked okay but i has to do one word at a time so that I could figure our where to place the different text layers once they were actually in indesign. I plan on carrying out more research on how to do this and on how to use the softwares together. I know that this will also become an issue when I need to import from illustrator to indesign in future so I found a tutorial to refer back to ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FF9-l07KmDY ). I found that for this task, there was not much I actually wanted to manipulate in terms of image editing that I would need additional resources for. I felt as though my image was already prepared and edited in photoshop from first podcast task, to do this I had used a tutorial I found on YouTube ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOTxsRTjkNM&t=741s ). This tutorial really helped me to learn different ways of removing parts of an image in photoshop and helped me to achieve a background image for my podcast and postcards that I was happy with. I think this Is something I could definitely  do with referring back to as I did find it quite complex the first time round, but it was good to experiment with different tools I had not used before.

RESOURCES FOR RESEARCH AND INSPIRATION

For this task I wouldn’t say I was inspired by any resources in particular it was more a case of exploring new tools within software and just experimenting until I got something that I liked and thought was effective in advertising a podcast. I wanted to represent sound in a still image so my goal was to create a suggestion of movement within the design. I searched through my own photography to generate initial ideas and found the image of the crowd. I thought this would be appropriate as a crowd of people with their hands in their air represents people listening to music at a concert/ festival. People obviously listen to a concert differently to how they would listen to a podcast but I still think this is a close enough associated. After importing the image into photoshop I thought about how the crowd could almost push the text around the page and then I developed this further by warping the text itself. I feel like this almost gives off a metaphorical meaning in how we manipulate type for design purposes. On reflection I should off taken compiled more sources of inspiration for my work however  I feel the process became more of an experimentation of tools than ideas which I think was beneficial in its own way. I think it would off been beneficial for me to have looked at examples of how others incorporate warped text into their designs and gain inspiration from this but overall I felt happy with my final outcome despite a lack of research/inspiration. I did have a look at a page provided to us for inspiration (https://helpx.adobe.com/uk/photoshop/how-to/composite-multiple-images-create-collage.html?playlist=/services/playlist.helpx/products:SG_PHOTOSHOP_1_1/learn-path:key-techniques/playlist:topic/set-header:get-inspired/en_GB.json&ref=helpx.adobe.com),  ‘How Molly Scannell created Taken’, which I did find really intriguing but I think I found this at a point in my design process where I had already developed my ideas in the first task and didn’t know how I would incorporate aspects of this kind of style into my work. The techniques of image manipulation that this designer uses are definitely something I plan to explore and gain inspiration from in future work.

A list for Reading Film Theatre

Task C – Cinema Listings

The feedback I was given was pretty positive but I made a few changes to the listing. I added a key for the symbols (cc) and (ad). This is something I chose not to do in my original design as I didn’t think it was necessary with the symbols being well known but after feedback I remembered the brief stating the listing must be suitable for international users. International users may have different symbols for subtitles and audio description so the key is important in this sense. Another criticism was that the text within the film descriptions often cut of mid word onto the next line so this is something I altered.

Illustration Vs Typography

For this task I wanted to look at the differences between graphic design that has been released as a part of a government campaign and graphic design that his been done by individuals not employed by the government. I found some really interesting pieces of design from something called ‘the visual art project’ which is a virtual art gallery that invites graphic designers and artists to submit original poster designs that respond visually to the Covid-19 pandemic. The project was created by Mark Kelner (a DC-based artist), Ben Ostrower (a graphic designer specialising in political campaign branding who founded (wide eye), and Zachary Levine (a historian and curator who runs throughline collaborative).

I thought this would be a good source of comparative work as the designers haven’t had to work with a specific client like the government released Designs. Obviously the two designs have different intentions in terms of sending a message about covid but I think both are effective in their own way. The government design uses a very bold sans serif type in all caps which creates an extremely legible message. The message of ‘control the virus’ is also in a larger type which creates an almost summary of the governments instruction. In comparison to the poster regarding hand washing, the governments design is much more accessible. Not only could this design be read a lot further away (impacting more people) it is just easier to read in general with the centre alligned, large type. The colours used also give this design some sense of urgency for the reader. The border of the design look almost like some kind of hazardous tape which alerts the reader to read the warning.

The hand washing poster uses an extremely small type to elaborate on the message of ’20 seconds’. The use of such a small font here could work in either one of two ways. Some people could be intrigued at the fact that they cannot read the words at first glance or alternatively, someone may simply not be bothered to read it as it requires more effort to look closer. This designer is almost allowed to take this risk as they have not been employed by the key people responsible for controlling the virus. For such an important message perhaps it is best to stick to legible type.

Another large difference between the two designs is that the hand washing poster used illustration to portray a message. A line drawing is used to resemble the washing of hands. Again this could of have varying impact. A line drawing is not something that is bold or even legible at all from a certain distance. This leads to similar implications of the small font choice.. Some may be interested by this, it looks like a piece of art.. however some may hardly notice the subtly of this design which means a failure to pass a crucial message on.

 

these-excellent-covid-19-posters-are-both-beautiful-and-beneficial

Pairing ‘m’ and ‘b’

For this brief I wanted to experiment with different ways my two initials could be joined together to create a monogram. This was an interesting task as I felt as though it forced me to look closely at the specific details of letter forms. I wanted to keep my design simple and I wanted the letters still to be legible despite the brief stating that it was fine if they weren’t. I felt as though if I joined the letters in a way that made them no longer legible then the monogram would lose meaning. I developed my idea by playing around with colour and sizing of the two letters, this resulted in a few different outcomes that I was pleased with.

Sketches for Initals

The Handmaid’s Tale

After creating a replica of the penguin classics edition of ‘The Great Gatsby’ (pictured below), we were given the task to create our own book cover following the basic principles of the classic penguin format but deviating from this slightly in order to create some kind of symbology/irony within the cover.

I chose the book ‘The Handmaids Tale’ as this is a book I enjoyed reading and feel as though is an appropriate title for a classic style penguin cover. I knew that I would use the colour red as this is symbolic for the book in that the dresses the handmaids wear are red. I also wanted to use white as this is the colour of their bonnets. I wanted the book cover to resemble the identity of the books main character. My first Idea is pictured on the left below, I switched the cartouche shape, that penguin covers use, to two shapes that create the image of a face and a bonnet in the style that the handmaids wear. I wasn’t overly pleased with the outcome of this so I decided to get rid of this and return back to the cartouche shape and work within this shape to create some imagery. I created a simple eye shape within the cartouche as there is lots of imagery throughout the book to do with ‘the eye’ and being watched. I kept it all red so the eye is slightly hidden (just like it is in the book). I used three colours to represent the white bonnet, a shade of colour to represent the characters skin and red to represent the dress. I felt that this three part background didn’t work well for the cover so I eventually settled on using white for the middle and upper section to allow for contrast against the title text and also to resemble the white of the Handmaid’s Bonnet.

 

    

Noticeable Type

For this project we were asked to capture images of typography across campus and then compile them in some kind of system. I chose to compile these images in a hierarchy from top to bottom in terms of which bits of type I was most attracted to at first glance. Once i had the final compilation of images I found it really interesting to see strong differences between the top and bottom images. The type that I found most appealing tended to be more colourful with bold large letters that made the words legible. I also thought it was interesting to see that certain typography that I placed very low on the list was sometimes portraying an important message such as social distancing. It was strange to see such an important message presented so badly through type.

This task reinforced to me how crucial typography is in portraying certain messages within our environment.

Pain

Within the theme of pain I wanted to demonstrate the difference between mental and physical pain. To do this I illustrated a scene of two friends sat drinking. One is wearing a sling on his arm to represent physical pain. For the other man I drew a brain that is beaten up/ bandaged and bloody, my intentions with this was to create a metaphor for mental illness as it cannot be seen in the same way as physical illness but can often be just as painful. To represent the invisibility of mental pain I used animation so that the brain appears on and off to show how we can always see physical pain like broken bones but cannot always see mental pain.

The Labyrinth

Intentions for this piece..

Our task was to create a book that physically embodied its plot. The story I selected is about a family that move into a new house and find themselves stuck as each time they open a door in the house the layout has changed. The family are stuck in a labyrinth with no way to get out. To represent this within the structure of the book itself I cut out chunks of the book so that for each chapter the pages move position/alignment in the same way that the rooms in the house do.  Additionally I cut a door shape out of the back cover to resemble the fact that the family in the story are trying to find their way back to the front door. I thought that this  could work as a flap that opens and reveals the blurb for the book. The front cover consists of two layers to again reinforce the idea of a maze/labyrinth with never ending layers.