Pixel Party

Students enjoying the game, in preparation for the event on the 4 October 2023

 

Working as part of the Baseline Shift team prior to this job, we knew we wanted to connect more with the guests we have and understand more about their career and experiences to allow ourselves the best insight into future design paths. We knew we wanted to take on board the Pixel Party job as not only did it link to Baseline Shift and build on the communication element but would also allow us to experiment with the deliverables that would help build our portfolios, for example Mia working on motion graphics and Habibah on branding. The freedom of this job would enable us both to incorporate our current strengths within design as well as build on those we are interested in.

 

Toshi Omagari giving his talk for students and staff

About

Week 2 of the Autumn Term kicked off with a whole day with Toshi Omagari returning to the department! The day consisted of an afternoon and evening full of typography fun starting with a Baseline Shift Talk also hosted and organised by ourselves followed by a Post-it note and Lego letterpress workshop, ending the day with a department party including food, drink, music and most importantly games.

Toshi Omagari is a typeface designer specialising in arcade game typography and alumni of the MA Typeface Design course at the University of Reading. His book, ‘Arcade Typography, focusses on pixel-fonts used in arcade games between the 70­s and 90s and is available in the department. His passion for games is truly inspiring and the work he does within this field is profound.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the original set date for the event was rescheduled from February to October. This gave us more time to work on furthering our deliverables and added a Post-it note storage system to our outputs.

 

Toshi’s talk

We started the day with Toshi’s Baseline Shift session, exploring his career in type design to both undergraduates, postgraduates as well as staff here in the department. He presented his in-depth research on arcade game typography and how they have developed over the years, specifically focussing on the characteristics of glyphs. It was very interesting to see the evolution of arcade typography from black and white to colour to the introduction of elements such as drop shadows and gradients. He also spoke about life after Reading and different fields in which he explored initially before finding his current passion. The very inspirational talk left many students feeling motivated with Part 1 student Ethan saying:

“It was an enthralling talk that really showed the lineage of digital fonts throughout video games – One of the best talks!”  

 

Students and staff engaging in the Q&A session of the Baseline Shift talk

 

Workshops

Following the talk, Toshi  hosted a Master’s session on type design, and then assisted us in hosting a Pixel Post-It note and Lego Letterpress workshop for the students. This session consisted of creating glyphs using both Post-Its and Lego using colours to create depth and shadows, much like arcade typography.

 

Toshi during his master’s session.

 

The Post-it note workshop decided to work as a group to create an entire alphabet of pixel font letters. The posters used an 8×8 grid to format the letters, which students created based on fonts in the Arcade Typography book, however one student: Emma from Part 1 was recognised and awarded with a prize for the best designed letter!

 

Students in action for the Post-it note workshop.

 

The Lego letterpress workshop invited students to design 8×8 Lego plates to print their letters. As the only colours available were green, blue, purple and pink, some students chose to layer the available four inks to create a dynamic printed letter.

 

Lego letterpress productions.

 

These letters were then handed over to Toshi during the evening to announce a winner, Lydia from Part 3 taking the trophy home and saying:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the pixel font workshop, not only was it an interesting challenge, it was a perfect excuse to use the letterpress equipment! A massive thank you to those who organised it!”

 

Arcade evening

 To round out the day, we hosted an arcade themed department social attended by students of the BA, MA and PHD design courses, as well as staff and friends. The attendees enjoyed the carefully curated arcade theme playlist, as well as the games, food, and drinks.

The event was a great opportunity to bring the department together and welcome the new Part 1 students of the BA course. We’d like to thank Toshi and everyone who attended for the awesome turnout!

 

Toshi enjoying the dance mat

Post-it notes storage unit

With the additional deliverable added as the deadline extended, we created prototypes to accommodate the hundreds of Post-it’s the departments holds. This began by measuring and counting stock and finding a way that we could display this in an aesthetic way.

 

Cardboard prototype

We chose to create a box, with 8×8 slots joining to create boxes for individual colours and found this worked well, so proceeded with materials involving acrylic and designing this complimenting existing branding. Experimenting with placement, we decided that organising the colours by hue and shade would be the best option for easy recognition and access of different variations.

 

Prototyped storage unit, created using the laser printer

 

Considering feedback and testing, we opted to order external acrylic boxes to house our grid in. Doing so allowed for a more stable unit, which is entirely square and the edges are flush. One issue we had building this using the laser printer was having to use multiple sheets of acrylic to build the base, which felt unstable. The glue used to attach elements also broke away after use, which showed we needed a stronger frame to hold the Post-it notes.

We chose to use a black acrylic for the external elements as it contrasted the colours of the paper and fit the branding of the event. This created a sleek appearance, which we decided did not need additional branding or decoration.

We made an additional unit for department displays and activities, recycling materials where possible from the prototypes. These units are stronger, and have handles to hold the weight more comfortably and manoeuvre more easily.

 

The completed Post-it note storage units

Posters

We designed the posters using relevant typography and decided on a black background with the colours of yellow, cyan, and pink. We based the design off of classic arcade games, and used Pac Man to attract students who were not overly familiar with arcade gaming. The box Pac Man follows groups the core information, with the main event title and decorative pixels aiming to show movement on the ‘screen’.

 

Poster design, printed and displayed around the department.

Animation

The animation featured on the department Instagram and Facebook. Social Media posts which are motion tend to increase engagement, which we wanted to take advantage of in promoting the event. The glitch and bounce mimic the movement of arcade games and served as a punchy teaser to build anticipation before the event.

View the animation here

 

Screens

The main screen at the department featured the 8X8 logo, to remind students and staff of the upcoming event.

 

Department static screen

 

Social posts

Social media was the primary method of marketing, as the department Instagram is the most frequented point of contact for the BA students. These were shared on Instagram and our Facebook groups, as well as a daily countdown on the stories to further build anticipation and act as a reminder. Social media and email marketed the sign-up form for the workshops, which were fully booked for the day of the event. You can see the day unfold on our department Instagram story, where we documented the events @uortypography where the highlights are still available.

 

Example story countdown post

Playlist

Researching into arcade inspired music and games using ‘chip-tunes’, we carefully curated a playlist representative of this to be played throughout the night during the department social. As well as this, we additionally added some songs popular in the noughties party scene to cater for our young audience and create a livelier atmosphere.

Here is a link to have a listen!

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4luy20bYOQF57xwMuTw8oO?si=ace0935cd36f45e5

Food and drink

We concluded that the food served throughout the party should reflect the theme so bought things served as shapes such as circles or squares and involving colour. Our shopping list involved pizza, marshmallows, and brightly coloured drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic as well as many more.

 

Food and drinks being enjoyed by the attendees

 

Games Organisation

The games were a popular feature, with dance mats and arcade video games within two of the largest rooms in the department. To frame the iMac screens, we designed a foam board consisting of instructions on how to operate the controller and promote the branding for the vent further.

 

MA student enjoying the game, with the frame surround

 

Games room ready for the start of the event

 

Decoration

Finally, the last part of planning was organising decoration to revamp our standard department to something special for the night. We did this with paper chains and balloons representative of our colour scheme as well as lanterns, LED and fairy lights to create a arcade vibe.

The decoration for the rooms.

 

Conclusion

We both had a lot of fun planning this and seeing our ideas come to life with an amazing turnout. After overcoming organisational obstacles, it was all worthwhile and we thoroughly enjoyed connecting with everyone in the department more. As team leaders for Baseline Shift, it was valuable to take on another role more closely linked with the people we host, to build connections, network and prepare us for the future. It not only taught us event and time management, but how to collaborate with different people as well as develop our design skills along the way. We each were able to apply our existing knowledge in areas we were confident in (Habibah, branding and Mia motion graphics) and were open to learning new things, making the whole process a lot smoother.

For events like this in the future, we would find a longer run-up to the event useful. Unfortunately with only 2 weeks to promote, we felt numbers could have been higher but overall the turnout was good considering this. We would have also liked to encourage attendance across the year groups face-to-face or using printed material ourselves . Our supervisor helped us get the attention of the whole course through emails and verbal promotion, which we believe encouraged Part 1s to be particularly involved and present.

We struggled with time dedication and motivation to produce our storage deliverable. Without experience in product design, the novelty of this process was often challenging and tedious. Despite this, we did eventually find it rewarding to have a physical item alongside the iMac frames to show our hard work.

Thank you for everyone who attended, and we hope you have been inspired by the events of the day. Another massive thank you to Toshi, for doing this. It wouldn’t have been possible without you!

 

– Habibah Begum and Mia Bryan, 2024

 

*There is no Trello Board for this Real Job as advised by our supervisor*

Baseline Shift

Background

Taking over Baseline Shift for the 23/24 calendar, myself, Habibah, and Ben had new ideas from our experience on the previous year. As with the previous year, we wanted to provide a more diverse range of speakers – whether this be in the sense of design sector, backgrounds, race, gender etc… We also knew we wanted to make Baseline Shift feel more approachable and interactive for students: we noticed the way our own year group felt about Baseline Shift was not aligned with our goals: some students attended, but most did not interact with the sessions or speakers, which is what we felt the sessions are all about.

This year, our goals were to bring the students into an environment which was more laid back and encourage them to get involved. This meant:

  • Making ourselves known as members of the team
  • Interacting with students and talking about the weekly speakers
  • Starting relaxed conversations with speakers
  • Encouraging in-person sessions over online sessions

Having been on the team for a year, we were aware of distaste towards the branding for the project and is something we also wished to consider. Unfortunately, due to the team’s availability over the summer, this took a backseat and we were restricted with our time to completely rebrand. Instead, we adapted the previous branding to feel more simple. We wanted to involve the new team members in this process and took on creative director roles, assisting the new team in creating the branding.

We wanted the team to feel excited about our calendar in hopes to pass this enthusiasm onto the students. We invited speakers whose work we found inspiring ourselves (such as Jake Paul, Kieran Mistry, Katarina Duvnjak) as well as designers and professionals who we felt offered important messages. We wanted to do our best to create a calendar which aligned with the projects running. As a result, the Autumn term was heavily print related to align with the Part 3 magazine project, while Spring Term had a digital focus to work alongside various UX, UI and motion graphics projects. From our end of year feedback, students left the following comments about the selection of speakers and design sectors covered.

‘Hearing from less traditional speakers (motion graphics etc) was really useful as it’s something we don’t get much experience of in the course.’ – Part 3

‘Good variation, but would have been nice to have had more people from a print background’ – Part 1

‘There was an excellent range of speakers from several disciplines/career paths.’ – Part 1

Overall, it appears that students still enjoy hearing about print work. Despite our Autumn term calendar being nearly exclusively print speakers, it could have been beneficial to hear from a wider range within this sector – our calendar focussed largely on magazine work to support Part 3, but we could have incorporated poster design, exhibition design etc to have a more varied schedule. It does seem however, the introduction of other specialities was appreciated and raised new areas of interest for many.

We also noticed a vocal preference for in person sessions, which we did our best to encourage with our speakers. This naturally is not possible for everyone, and due to the rising costs of public transport it is very understandable for speakers to present online. Technical issues occurred in video presentations, which was not optimum, however for the most part speakers were able to present their sessions smoothly. Interactions between student and speaker were lower in these online sessions, which was a challenge to change. People were far more inclined to network with guests when face to face or in private. Despite the challenges of online sessions the team has been pleased to hear of students contacting speakers after sessions. For these reasons, the online sessions have still been of great value in assisting networking within the Department even if we do not see this first hand.

Team roles

To run the calendar smoothly we maintained weekly blogs, promotional posts, and emails. To manage this, we divided the roles with myself as team and promotional leader, Ben leading blog posts and Habibah leading the hosting. Considering their specific areas of interest and preferences, we agreed with Tilly to assistant host sessions and Amber to assist promotion. We also ensured to rotate the roles across all team members. This way, the new team members could learn how they would run the roles themselves in the future and avoid boredom among the team.

As team organiser, I have been responsible for ensuring the team was comfortable, happy, and meeting their weekly responsibilities. In attempt to automate some of this, we created a schedule sheet denoting the team weekly roles and the expected criteria/deadlines. Despite this, we struggled with members of the team not engaging with their roles and responsibilities. This affected the team and meant others were carrying more of the weight than others, but also meant that the distant team members would not benefit from the connections the rest of us were making.

I approached this sensitively through politely reminding and correcting as needed. As time progressed, deadlines were consistently not met on time or to a suitable standard. To maintain a positive relationship across the group, I ended up correcting or taking on extra roles to keep the schedule running properly. In hindsight, the co-leaders of Baseline Shift and I could have been more assertive to the situation. We tried handing more autonomy of the roles over to the new members of the team, but this still resulted in last minute cancellations, late, and poorly executed deliverables.

Working with this team member and managing the issues which came as a result was difficult: being sensitive to all members of the team and distributing roles equally resulted in hurried outputs, which was noticed by students. A Part 1 student said, ‘There was slight issue some weeks with a lack of clarification if the session was in person or on Blackboard.’, which came as a result of last-minute information because of these inconsistencies. We noticed lower attendance in weeks where this was an issue, and it highlighted the importance of consistent and reliable information.

Weekly feedback and highlights

Through contacting speakers and attending the sessions, I feel connected with individuals and design companies as well as being more prepared for the realities with the industry. Many speakers this year highlighted the importance of ai, which we had not heard much about before. The industry insight on ai from speakers including Aanand Tank and Sam Asplen was refreshingly positive – these two speakers both explained that ai is a tool and not a threat so long as we learn to adapt and develop parallel to it.

Greg Bunbury and Geri Reid provided great sessions about design approaches and professional relationships. The focus on approach instead of content was beneficial across all interests and raised important questions about professional practice especially coming from people working in the field currently and adapting to changes.

Reflections

This role has given me confidence in networking first and foremost, while also showing me how to manage a team under time restrictions. Working with the team as a whole has been a positive experience, especially since this is the largest and most active team project I have been a part of. Reflecting on the two years, I have found that I often extend beyond my assigned responsibilities to ensure the job is completed in a timely and good standard. Although this made the sessions run smoothly from the outside perspective, it meant that a lot of the weight landed on me when other members did not follow through on their roles. Learning to allow other people to make mistakes has been a tricky adjustment, but has allowed others to see the weight of their responsibility and consequences of their actions. We could see the attendance to sessions was lower when promotional roles were late or incomplete, and students were far more encouraged to interact with speakers when the hosting was confident and enthusiastic.

My main takings from the time on the team has been the power of networking and communicating with other designers. Particularly, our approach this year has encouraged relationships between different years more so than in past years. Our roles on the team have made us known to students and professionals, which we are hopeful will benefit us in our careers and professional relationships to come.

The team joined by Aanand Tank, for his session on Diversity in Design

 

 

‘Pieces’ film poster design

Background

This brief for this job was to create posters for a series of short films created by Film, Theatre and Television students of the University .

The short film ‘Pieces’ focusses on a young woman, Carmen, who moves away from her family and old life to pursue artistic endeavours. Her friend, later revealed to be a figment of imagination, coaches her to achieving her dreams and letting go of her past. Cinematic influences of the writer included Thelma and Louise and The Virgin Suicides.

Logline: ‘Carmen leaves her small-town life behind for the vast city to find a sense of identity. In doing this, she tackles the good, bad, and ugly areas of womanhood, femininity, and family expectations.’

The student crew team highlighted the importance of femininity and isolation within the film, as well as transition into adulthood from a troubled youth. In our first meeting, the team had a pitch-pack prepared, with colour stories and multiple mood boards showing ideas for characters and sets. Their primary film aesthetic inspirations were the 1990s and 2000s, with a focus on clutter and muted colours.

Restated brief

This? brief was to design the promotional poster for the short film Pieces. The brief we received from the FTT member of staff also included animated title sequences for the students, however upon meeting with the student group this was not necessary, and they decided against this. The final deadlines also differed: one in the final week of the Spring Term and one in the first week of summer time.

Research and ideation

High-budget films

High budget films and franchises frequently use photography to display the characters, who are often recognisable actors and actresses. This is a sensible decision when the success and box office sales can be driven by familiar faces, however in the context of independent student films this is not necessary. Hierarchy in typography similarly reflects the drive to sell tickets in recognition of directors, production companies and stars. The freedom from these factors allows for a different approach to typography because of the difference in motives; the goal for this poster is to capture and communicate the essence and themes of the film, rather than names of personnel. Illustration is less commonly used across this genre in comparison with other styles of film.

Short films

Short film posters rely less on the notoriety of the people involved but take a similar approach to typographic styles. Images tend to appear more intimate than those of high-budget films: closer cropping on faces and focus on a single person are the key takings when looking at a large number of posters. The imagery must work harder to attract viewers than high-budget/feature-length films with their large promotional campaigns. In turn, image is typically the focal point of short films.

Short Eyes (1977)

What is different here from high budget/ famous posters is the hierarchy and primary focus on elements. The posters for FTT do not require promotion based on meeting box office targets or encouraging awards. Instead, the focus here is far more intimate and looks at representing the work of the students as best as possible.

Conceptual sketches

Discussions with the clients of their wishes and ideas led to initial sketches representing the chaotic nature of the protagonist. The clients wanted a style which reflected the artistic themes. This considered, we agreed that illustration rather than photographic / typographic approaches would be most appropriate. These following illustrations represent initial conceptual ideas.

The provided pitch pack referenced ‘outdated’ media and cultural references (Furbies, CDs and LPs…), captured in the sketch of the table. Using reference location shoot images, the student group enjoyed the chaotic line textures and representation of clutter in the protagonist’s life.

Conceptual sketch of table from the shooting location

This sketch aimed to emulate the artistic nature of the main character, as though it be a page taken out of her sketch book. The student group liked the idea of a busy photo collage, however ultimately, they did not have enough visual material to create this. The group also noted this as a concept to move forward with, introducing colour and more detail.

Conceptual sketch showing motifs from within the film

The idea of this sketch was to display a comfortable, but lonely corner of living space as featured in the film. The students were interested in this idea and asked for the introduction of the protagonist and motifs to be included. Another aspect some of the group liked was the ‘sketchy’ nature of the lines, however this divided opinions.

Sofa sketch, representing prominent location in the film

Design development.

The first developed sketch from the initial sketches (and the agreed route by students) focussed on representing the protagonist in a lonely, solemn manner and adding surrounding detail as a nod to the ‘chaos’ the students wanted to portray.

Supervisor feedback

  • Illustrations have to work harder.
  • Continue developing the illustrations, so they have much more weight, depth and contrast.
  • Bring drama in with a tighter crop or through the environment.

My supervisor provided some stylistic guidance and suggestions to help create drama and depth to the illustration. The use of black and textured materials create a depth, and facial features are far more exaggerated.

Supervisor feedback

  • consistent line-weight
  • frame the whole image and set the billing text outside of this
  • The amount of detail in the image is great

Client feedback

  • More colour

Changes were made to reflect the received feedback from Real Jobs meetings, client, and supervisor feedback. Adding back in small details of paint on the character’s thighs and ying-yang necklaces brought life back into the illustration. The colours were selected with consideration to the client pitch-pack, and palettes within the film. The students asked for all the crew to be names on the poster, which pushed the poster in a more text-heavy way than I had originally planned for within the illustration. The suggestions to frame the illustration later helped to resolve this issue.

Developed colour additions and background detail

Final stages

The supervisor suggestion was that framing the illustration would ‘give the overall poster a premium feel to it – like something in a gallery – and help everything feel more intentional’. The crew and actors were differentiated through the use of caps as well as their relationship to the illustration. The client also asked for a warmer skin tone to be used.

Final approved artwork

 

Reflection

This has been my first experience working on a highly personal project. The clients were deeply involved with their project, and their involved relationship with the film posed a challenging dynamic. Working with pre-conceived notions and ideas could be difficult – translating some client hopes and ideas into a reality would not always provide them with the best output from the project. Not only was it a challenge to be working with such an involved and equally creatively inspired group, but it was also their first time working with a graphic designer. This required some steering and assistance into approaching briefs, feedback and understanding the film industry from a different perspective. Respectively, the clients aided the process with their insights into film making, their underlying knowledge and understanding of subtleties was useful for pulling out motifs and appropriate styles.

This project has allowed me to improve my abilities in Illustrator, and understand how illustrative style is important to use properly. I found details in this process especially challenging as well as working with multiple conflicting opinions amongst the client group.

Feedback Jam

Autumn term Feedback Jam, hosted in Week 7 of term with tutors Sara Chapman, Josefina Bravo and Geoff Wyeth was put in place to assist students with upcoming deadlines towards the end of term. A valuable Baseline Shift to obtain extra advice along with tips and tricks on how to improve before final submissions!

Part 3 Students

The session kicked off with Part 3 student, Mia, showing her Publishing Platform module work of her magazine spreads and covers for the chosen topic of surfing for women. This brief was to create spreads for three different articles, as well as interview, contents, and full sleeve cover – for a self-chosen topic. Tutors appreciated the handcrafted typography used for quotes however suggested the width of the stroke may not fit the overall aesthetic a surfing magazine might aim for. Linking to this, Mia was advised to ‘have more fun’ with layout and placements so that it doesn’t appear as linear and is more fit for surfing itself.

Mia’s main article opening spread, featuring hand-lettering.

 

Mia’s photography article text spread.

‘Experiment, rough it up a bit more!’ 

‘Be bold!’ 

 

Similarly, Part 3 student Ben presented his magazine spreads for the same project with his topic of graphic novels. Based on the layouts of graphic novels themselves, Ben’s cover incorporates this idea of how image is split to create a more interesting visual element. Both students and staff praised the connection between type and imagery, however felt the grid to feel quite forced and looking like something wanted to fill in every gap. Peers also noticed how the same character was shown in three spreads and and questioned if this was necessary. Geoff enforced the importance of production concerns when placing graphic elements over the centre of spreads which could be lost due to the binding and therefore lead to misalignment, perhaps even causing issues with how information is communicated.

Ben’s ‘Watchmen’ spread.
Ben’s Magazine cover

‘White space is so important!’

‘You want it to be serious but not the same.’ 

 

Part 2 Students

Second year student, Finn presented his posters for feedback working on a campaign project for sustainable development goals. Using wood type lettering, Finn was advised to consider the spacing between words, as the sentence was read differently than he intended. It showed the importance of hierarchy when placing text on a page.

Finn’s poster design which features wood-lettering , printed  with the help of Geoff.

‘Create a link between concept and message’.

 

Matthew also presented his work for the same project and received feedback on his image and how effective it is in communicating the message – It risked overpowering or competing with the type. Tutors also suggested the call for action could be amended to exploit the space more, and to visually match the content and what it communicates.

Matthew’s poster design.

 

Part 1 Students

Finally, first year Ethan showed his work for a book design project where the brief was to format text in either a modern or traditional style and compliment this with a foreword, table of contents and end matter. Discussing indents and spacing, Ethan learned about italics and how this can be used to differentiate between hierarchy of text, for example a letter in which he was presenting within the main body of text. 

Ethan’s book design, looking at formatting a letter within the book text.

 

Conclusion 

It is so important to gain insight into your work from a different perspective outside the regular classes. Sometimes we can be biased towards our own design or be too hard on ourselves. Fresh insights go a long way. As a designer, we should always be willing to receive new opinions and advice to enhance our current and future projects.

’The session is so helpful!’

‘Even though I didn’t show my work, it’s always great seeing my peers and using similar advice for my own work.’

Harkiran Kalsi – The power of lettering

Week 5 of Spring term brought us Harkiran Kalsi (Harky); designer, illustrator and hand letterer who has worked with companies including The BBC, New Balance and EA Sports. Harkiran took us through the journey of her career in design and taught us the importance of determination and stepping out of your comfort zone.

Breaking into the industry

Lettering by Harkiran Kalsi

Harky was introduced to the world of Graphic Design through her Art Foundation course at Coventry University. As a Graduate she struggled to break into the London-based industry she dreamed of being a part of, interviewing for a spectrum of jobs and failing. She stressed the importance of taking failures in your stride – with every failure is another open door with different opportunities. Eventually, an opening at Comic Relief allowed her to break through.

Failure is always going to be a part of it… Embrace it!‘ – Harky

 Harky’s lettering series to on the topic of ‘gratitude’ opened her up to opportunities with companies like Footlocker and The London Marathon. Her love for running plays an important role in her networking, with her running group ‘Run Dem Crew’ introducing her to many opportunities for commissions when she would eventually become a freelancer.

Harky with her ball design for the Footlocker X NBA collaboration

Making the jump into freelance

While moving to freelance work was a big decision to make with no agency work to show, she quickly secured her first gig despite the doubt she and others had. In fact, she found she was booked constantly on a variety of projects. She has worked on website assets, social posts and documentaries in the past few years. Now, Harky has begun mural painting. She believes that, as an artist, it is her duty to spread messages she believes in and stand up for communities.

Mural by Harkiran

Conclusion

Harkiran’s talk was a massive dose of positivity, showing us that – no matter how dark times get – you should never give up. Step out of your comfort zone, experiment and embrace being imperfect. Her determination to make her way into the industry proved that the problems do not define you – you can achieve your goals too.

 

‘Loved seeing her work and her journey, I found it really inspiring.’ – Part 2 Student

‘Harky’s authentic and real talk of her struggles in design were incredibly interesting, giving a sense of the life of a designer without just presenting the good parts. It’s really great to see that the path through work isn’t perfect.’ – Part 1 Student

‘I’d definitely want Harky to speak again next year. Her outlook and honesty was hugely inspirational.’ – Part 1 Student

 

 

Practicing letter forms

I found this task was surprisingly difficult compared to how I had assumed it would be after reading the brief. I had thought that I had quite a precise hand for drawing and sketching, but the reality of the project showed me that I was not as detail orientated as I’d thought. There were details within the letters which I did not observe until they were pointed out to me.

The first task was to fill in the gaps of letter parts of the typeface ‘Skolar’. I feel that I achieved the same style across the majority of areas but on seeing the original font afterwards could see that my ‘a’ was quite far off and some areas are a different weight than to the original.

We then were tasked to replicate what we thought the letters of a different font with letters that we’d not seen would look like.  I found the rounded parts of the letters the most challenging, but focussed on creating a balanced weight across the letters. I, again, found the ‘a’ the most challenging shape to achieve but found evidence from the letters we were given to create the shapes across the other letters.

Listings for young adults

My original sketches were designed based on varying users, but the two final sketches I landed on were based on working for teenagers, couples and young adults. I chose to achieve this by having the actors, titles and times of the highest hierarchy as these are the things which appeal most to these categories without the presence of a trailer, poster or synopsis due to the familiarity of names or attention grabbing titles. I decided to highlight these elements through the use of all caps, italics, weight and varying colours. I also chose two different text alignments to style the information.

I decided to have the age rating at the bottom of each listing, but in solid black as it would not likely be as relevant for my chosen users than, say, a family or someone looking to avoid adult themes. In one of my listings (Title emphasis) , I have used grey text across the actors and directors as well as the additional contexts of the films, to further emphasise the details in black (the title, length, age rating and location and time) which are left solid black. I made this decision to help separate the listings further from one another in addition to the breaks between, but I feel that the placement above the title leaves the actors still high in the hierarchy. In this example, the title is also italic unlike the other of my layouts again to further emphasise this and put them higher in the hierarchy of information.

In the second of my layouts (Actors and title emphasis), I used black for the actors and kept them above the title but smaller in size, to have these two details similar in hierarchy. I also kept the time and date of similar style to the actors as this is likely the next most relevant piece of information for my targeted users.

Overall, I found formatting these details fairly challenging which surprised me since there are so many different combinations which achieve a multitude of effects. However, this task has taught me the impact of such tiny details such as the difference a pt size can make to the whole page. Going forward i will apply my knowledge of these details into my work in varying contexts to achieve the desired effects.

Title emphasis

Actors and title emphasis

Human analysts

One of my favourite pieces in the collections I saw today was this ‘Human Analyst’ ticket, from what I can assume came from a fairground stall, or similar environments. I was drawn to this piece particularly because of its simple format which is designed so efficiently for its purpose, in the way that the exact same design can produce a large number of readings for customers and would also provide a personal experience for the user. The use of hole punches allows a large amount of information to be communicated quickly and clearly which feels optimal for not only the user’s understanding but also business in aiding speed of work therefore enabling more customers.

The Dracula

Since I struggled the most on the first task with creating smooth edges on the cartouche, I decided to further the practice of this technique by creating a blood dripping effect from where the top line is and also to mirror the themes of the book. I also used the pencil tool to draw the rough guide of where I wanted the drip effect to run, which has resulted in a more organic appearance than if I were to use the oval tool to base the shape off of. Again, overall this task has helped me learn how different tools can be manipulated for different purposes.

70’s neutrals

70s retro theme

Initially, I started my logo thinking of mainly curved lines and neutral, warm tones. As I began to work in illustrator, I experimented with curved typefaces and settled on this chunky and organic shape font. I separated letters from my name to create a larger ‘M’ which allowed the letters to fit together better and create a more rounded appearance when alongside one another. I also decided to use a white stroke around the main name, to highlight this above the ‘designs’ below which I wanted to be secondary to the name and then closed off the negative space by using two circles and the ‘blend’ tool, to create a background reminiscent of vinyl records and in line with the curved lines I initially wanted to pull into the logo. I tweaked these variables until i found a balance i was happy with; however I would prefer to use this logo in a circular format rather than a square to eliminate some of the empty space and draw the eye back again to the centre logo.