Author: Sara Nogueira Pérez

Do our eyes deceive us?

Ever played one of those ‘Guess the logo’ games? At the beginning they’re easy enough to get and as you go towards the harder levels you have to start puzzling together the less known logo names by guessing what the letters are. You imagine what shapes could go in the gap, which would be the most likely. Well today has definitely taught me I need to go back to playing them some more as I need to pay more attention to the letter shapes!

On the left is the sample text we were given, from this we were told to write ‘cadbury’ in the same font. Bellow you will see my attempt at doing so.

As you can see my photography skills needed some work, focusing on the text though one can tell immediately that i did not track ahead of time. Another thing I needed to improve upon is the proportions of the letters, as the bowl of the a is much too high. Once we compared the attempts to the actual font it also became apparent I needed more weight at the top of the c and the y was more linear than curved. Moreover the top of the letters only have serifs to the left not both ways as I did on the u and y.

Having looked at my previous mistakes we tried another type of exercise. To find the hidden part of the letters. We were given the template on the right. Where do I go from here? I attempt to visualise the rest of the word of course! I had my logo game training, so I can see it’s obviously adell! Wrong. Luckily someone discovered that upon highlighting the word and right clicking it asks if you want to look up “aden”, mistake averted. Knowing the actual word then made me look back and question how I could have thought it was adell… the spacing between the two stems is much to far apart, it has to be an n.

I used the letter shapes present to trace and check then letters I created before colouring it all in black for better contrast. The result can be seen on the left. From the d I traced the angle the a needed to split into a separate stroke and it’s thickness, tracing the first part of the allowed me to flip it in order to see where the second part should be. I also used the d to create the top of the n as I did for the bottom half of the a. Whilst it’s still not the exact same as the font this attempt is much closer to it than my previous attempt. I also downloaded a scanning app to improve my photography and overall am quite content with the outcome of todays project. I also decided I should play more guess the logo games again in order to sharpen this skill further and pay more attention to individual letter shapes.

Italy, Spain, Germany or the UK?

I decided to look at how the different countries in Europe responded to Covid-19, did some put their message across clearer? What could be done better? To narrow down the countries I chose Italy which was the epitome of the pandemic for a while as well as Spain which also went into quite a drastic lock down in comparison to the UK. In addition to this I also included Germany in this, as in my mind Germany is a very pragmatic and effective country.

Looking at the different infographics showcasing the pandemic is interesting. Whilst they all broke the country into regional areas (apart from Italy) They all use different colour coding, and yet they all have the same principle – red is the highest danger. In addition to this most countries use the traffic light system to put their message across to the general public very effectively. Spain does take this a step further and show various other categories for each region using pictograms. Italy also does more than Germany and the UK by giving a list of the most impacted areas and showing the survivors as well as deaths and people who tested positive for coronavirus.

When looking at the general colours used in these official signs in the various countries it’s quickly apparent that the preferred colour for this is blue. Though Spain seems to prefer using yellow, whilst Germany uses both red as well as blue equally. I think this might be due to the road sign rules, where blue means instructions. This makes a question about how effective the Spanish road signs really will be.

Looking at how countries handled public areas & shops the UK seems to be more effective with it than the rest. This is mainly due to the NHS app, though it does rely on everyone having a mobile phone which can scan QR codes, which isn’t always the case… Nonetheless through the app people are more likely to be notified about potential exposure to Covid-10 than in the other countries like Germany, where they have forbidden visitors from entering a public area (shown above) as a precaution. Having said this Germany does have mask dispensers in public areas so no one will have an excuse for not wearing a mask on public transport, shops, schools, etc. Moreover, Italy has got an official government issued template for restaurants. Very interestingly the only word in yellow (the rest is blue) is “DELIVERY” which, as we know, is an english word. This could mean the locals and tourists all understand that they have to call the number listed bellow (once filled in) to order, as they are only available for deliveries. No other government has issued templates as such for shops and restaurants so this might be something worth looking at to implement as well as the mask dispensers.


Another thing I noticed with foreign countries is the hospital and quarantine signs. Whilst I didn’t find english coronavirus quarantine signs the remaining 3 countries are worth looking at. What these signs indicate is that the Covid-19 is in the same area as a hospitals A&E generally, which I think is the worst place. The most vulnerable people in critical conditions closest to the virus? Spain resolved this problem by putting up a temporary A&E tent though this is obviously not ideal, until a better solution is found this is acceptable. Moreover, looking at the quarantine signs Germany opted for stop and no entry signs which very clearly portrays their intent. Italy on the other hand took it a step further. Instead of the everyday stop signs they modified the universal toxic sign into a quarantine sign for Coronavirus, making it highly effective as people will definitely take notice of a sign usually portrays mortal danger. We will make time to read what the pseudo toxic sign says, even if we cannot speak the language the “coronavirus” at the bottom makes its meaning clear to everyone.


We all know Penguin books, but how much work goes into the design?

I for one, never realised that the lines between the headers weren’t just added in afterwards, they’re attached to the text itself and change with the text. This honestly surprised me a lot. I also did not know there were hidden characters used every time I write something, e.g. space (a dot placed near the top of the x-height). Just working on this cover made me appreciate just how much actually goes into the formatting of a book cover design.


This made me want to try to recreate a children’s book in a similar style without all the flare and illustrations surrounding them typically. A childhood favourite of mine was always Pinocchio. I like the idea that lies are visible straight away, there’s no hiding them they’ll catch up to you. It’s the ideal book to strip back and recreate in this style.

The Traveling Map

The person who’s ideal gift I designed had the following 3 facts:

  • Born in Pakistan, moved to the UK at age 16
  • Love make-up and fashion
  • Want to travel

At first I came up with various ideas e.g. a suitcase which cleans and folds all the clothes and stops them from getting wrinkles, a make-up kit which never runs out of supplies, etc.

So I developed my ideas and found that the originally most basic idea of a map showing the places they’ve traveled had the most meaning behind it. It shows you where you’ve been and where you’re still going to go.


I continued to develop my idea. Turning it into a world scratch map, so only the countries they’ve been and the one they are in stand out.



Building on that some more the map gained to ability to transport the person to the country they scratch. So when they scratch Italy for example they will automatically be teleported to Italy.


My 3 random words were as follows:

  1. cycle
  2. paintbrush
  3. vulture

In order to incorporate “cycle”  I  gave  the  map it’s own  traveling case, with a button-strap in the  lid so  they can attach their scratching pick. This traveling case also protects the map from all the elements (e.g. water) as well as being the perfect size to fit into a bicycles’ water bottle carrier.



Having successfully incorporated “cycle” I began to think about how I could incorporate “paintbrush”. I began thinking about what a paintbrush is used for rather the brush itself. This lead me to the idea that this magical gift map could show the person some landmarks in the current country to educate them a bit, as well as look pretty. Hence the back of the map will now show them some of the amazing landmarks in the UK, until they travel abroad in which case it may turn into the Sagrada Famila or the Coluseum, etc.

Short of adding a “vulture” painting on the back or front I soon realised I needed to again not think of the vulture directly in order to incorporate it into the gift design. After a while I got thinking about the ideas of vultures flying, so what’s to say this magical scratch map couldn’t do so as well? Taking a bit of inspiration from the golden snitch as well I turned the map’s wings into feathers. To ensure this magical map couldn’t get lost or stolen it will come to the owner when they want it and only opens for them.


Thus came to be the Traveling Map gift idea.


Why do people protest? They believe in a cause and want to make their voices heard, to cause change. One such occasion was Brexit:


In June 2016 the British public voted to leave the European Union. Leading up to this people all over Europe participated in a kissing chain to demonstrate their love for Great Britain, there were Brexit protests in London, buildings had the Union Jack lit up on their sides. It was a protest as loving as they come in many ways.


Despite the vote affecting everyone in the UK and the British Citizens living abroad, a large chunk of people this effects were not permitted to have their voice be heard in the polls. This was due to their nationality, age, criminal record, and various other reasons. Their voices do not count when it counts.

Obsessive behaviour

Can a book tell a story without words? Or do we need the words in order to call it a book? During my experimentation I decided to let the physical book take you on the journey of someone who’s becoming obsessive.

I know we’re all told “don’t judge a book by its cover” and still we cannot help but do so. Similar to a child we tend to have a more idealistic view about our own choices, e.g. smoking, so why do we start? Like the child we’re attracted to the bright, the colourful and “cool” things which often includes peer pressure and wrong choices. This is why the cover of my book has been drawn in a more child like manor, misleading us to what comes next.


Once you start on your obsessive habitual behaviour you know it’ll get worse but you still go on. In order to represent this within my book I made my pages as noisy as I could, the further you go the more noise the pages make when you turn them. In order to do so I poured water over pages and dried them, I scrunched up some pages and glued others together so the book really rustles as you turn the pages.


Not only does the book get physically noisier but it also gets more visibly chaotic. Much like any obsession The further you go the worse it gets, it starts to consume and destroy.


In the end it will tear whole chunks out of a person and leave scars and bruises… I wanted the book to show this so I ripped out pages, tore others apart, as well as (under my flatmates’ supervision) burned holes into random pages. Singed and burned others and made paint splatters and scribbled on the pages and edges, especially towards the end of the book.

Initial Identity

Our names are a huge part of our identity, especially when we don’t come across others with the same name, like myself. This in turn means people’s initials are part of their identity. Whilst creating a monogram of my own initials I wanted to be able to reflect my personality within this. The monogram is something that represents me, something that identifies me in the same way a brand has a logo. The following is the journey I undertook during my ‘monomorphis’.

Initial ideas

Like any designer I started my process with some initial thumbnails to capture the essence of my ideas, shown on the left. Part of this also meant I looked at different versions of the fonts we were allowed to utilise (Futura and Garamond). Garamond is a very elegant yet formal type face in my opinion with it’s serifs more curved and softened, whereas Futura is a more bold, simplistic, potentially even boring typeface. I like to think of myself as a more diverse personality so I decided to go with the S being in the sleek more angular typeface (Garamond) while doing the N in a more simplistic fashion (Futura).


Boxed in counters: S – Adobe Garamond Pro Bold, N – Futura PT Cond Bold Oblique

Having decided which of my initial ideas I preferred I started the process of crating those initial sketches into what it would look like. An example of this is visible on the right hand side.






S – Garamond, N – Futura PT Cond Bold Oblique

In order to reach the best possible monogram I did this with the majority of my initial sketches. This also meant I could better see what worked and what I needed to improve on, e.g. the Garamond S on the right is lost in the design as it doesn’t carry enough weight. Thus making me recreate it with a heavier version of Garamond.




S – Adobe Garamond Pro Bold, N – Futura PT Cond Bold Oblique

I found once I corrected the design that it still looked too standard, it didn’t really convey my personality yet. So I started playing around with the letter forms some more. This can be seen on the right where some of the N has been stretched higher than the rest, thus creating a more dynamic and interesting design.





3D effect

Whilst I wasn’t unhappy with my design by this stage I still thought that it could be improved upon, become more than it is. So I kept playing about with it, eventually I layered it and created a sort of 3D effect (shown on the left).





By this time I was starting to run out of ideas of how I could continue this ideas development. However I was still drawn to one of my initial designs which displayed the counters rather than the letters themselves, creating a longer lasting impression. I then decided to combine the two designs, taking the last step in this journey to create my monogram.

Counters of boxed 3D effect


The forgotten

In this modern world, do we really see the writing on the wall?

We go about our daily lives and don’t even realise how much writing we come across in the short walk to work. That road sign we’ve driven past 50 times last week and no longer pay attention… The graffiti by our shed, do you still see it?

Unless it’s shiny and new it holds no interest to us, the first time we drive to the new house we’re all bright eyed; that’s a pretty rose bush and that mural looks amazing… Yet we won’t be paying it any attention after we pass it a couple of times. We no longer care, no longer find it interesting and important.

And yet, there’s entire manufacturing process dedicated to each type of writing we no longer take in. We see it and yet we don’t. Those footprints on the ground? The first time you saw them you probably tried to stand on them and be exactly 2 metres from the person in front, right? Now though, a mere couple of month later? You just look for the colour to know where to line up.

The more I looked into the forgotten signs around campus the more intriguing they become once more, how many messages does colour alone convey? How many different ways do lamp posts around campus carry messages or information on them? Who made those signs and how? Why did they decide to put that metal writing on the side of a building and not use paint instead?

Throughout this project I realised how closed my eyes really were and how ignorant I was to the many ways letters are presented to me in my everyday life.