Author: Yasmin Clark

Exploring Illustrator’s pen and curvature tool

Design Ideas and Design Process:

Before I started, I researched different types of stickers to take inspiration from. I found some that were purely typographic and some that included graphics too. I also downloaded the template file and swatches before, to ensure I was prepared.

testing text layout

For the first design, I chose to keep it purely typographic in an attempt to ease myself back into illustrator and get a grasp of the task. I started by experimenting with 3 fonts that I had downloaded from Adobe fonts. I wanted a clear design that was also visually exciting. I was also looking for a nice silhouette of the phrase ‘typography and graphic communication’, so I played around with different layouts of the text. I felt that the ‘and’ on the same line as ‘typography’ made the silhouette too long and so moved it below. This was the same case for ‘Graphic’ and ‘Communication’.

sticker development

I then moved on to the background, which was the bubble around the text, this was a fairly simple process. I chose to use the curvature tool to work around the text and form a silhouette behind the text. I then repeated this, but slightly further out. For the colours, I chose yellow, blue and orange as I felt these stood out and worked well together.

Design 3
Design 2

My process was similar for designs two and three except with the added element of an image. To do this, I drew out my illustrations on another file on illustrator and then placed it into my sticker file. This way, it kept my sticker file tidy and not over complicated. For both graphics, I used the curvature ­­­tool as this is what I found easiest to use and created the smoothest lines.

Design 1

My favourite design was design 1. I wanted all my designs to be simple, as stickers are often printed at small scales and so if they’re too busy it can be hard to distinguish what they are depicting/what the text says. I think that the first design achieves this in the most effective way out of the three designs as the repeating silhouette and the typeface I chose adds dimension and texture. Making this more dynamic than my other two.


Software Tutorials:

This tutorial, which was provided to us, showed you how to open up ASE swatch files. This helped me set up my Illustrator file and make sure that all the files I had been provided with, were in the correct format. This then allowed me to download the colours accurately in order for them to be cut correctly. Without this, the sticker would not have been functional when printed.

As I had not made a sticker before, I needed to further research how to do this. I found this video on YouTube that provided a tutorial of how someone else had done it. Although they were not specifically graphic design stickers, it was useful to see how others approached creating stickers on Illustrator and showed me ways I could potentially use the tools in Illustrator to my advantage. For example, manipulate shapes with the white arrow or joining multiple shapes to create just one using the shape builder tool. Before starting the task, I used the Adobe website to watch through general videos on how to use Illustrator to give me more confidence.

Having completed the task, I would like to further develop my Illustrator skills in order to develop from my current designs. In particular, I would like to develop my use of the pen tool because I found it difficult to create accurate lines. I would also develop my use of the brush tool to create a design that I had drawn myself. I will do this by continuing watching tutorials on the Adobe website and other tutorials available to me. ­­

Resources for research and information:

sticker examples I found

To begin my research, I looked at other typographic style stickers to get some inspiration for style and design. I found this useful in terms of how the size and colour of the typeface can be visually exciting or in the other case, how overcrowding and clashing colours can make it difficult to read.


inspiration for design 1

The inspiration for the style of my first sticker came from this image on the left. It was fully typographic and felt this was fitting for my sticker design in line with the brief. I felt that the contrasting colours worked well in making the word stand out and the bubble style worked for a visually exciting sticker. Although I decided not to go for a script font in my design, I liked the idea of following the silhouette of the text and then repeating that in another colour. I then used this in my idea and felt it looked most effective and ended up being my favourite design

inspiration for design 2 & 3

Finally, for my other designs, I wanted to develop my skills and use an illustration or a picture in the sticker. I researched images of items related to typography and found that this one incorporated that. I liked the clear and simple illustrations, and I knew that I wanted to include something like that in at least one of my own designs.

Going forward I would like to look at doing logo designs on illustrator and other types of branding as this is often what people use illustrator for.

Stuart Little

This week in our technical session we were learning some of the essential basics we needed to use Adobe InDesign. To do this we had to create an exact copy of the cover of The Great Gatsby. Throughout this process, I learnt how to appropriately use tracking and the ‘space before’ feature as well as how to great separate paragraphs within one textbox. These are key skills that we needed to learn as they can enhance are designs and perhaps even speed up our design process. For example, the ‘space before’ feature allows for much more control over the space between lines of text compared to just pressing the return key. This also means that no matter what text is inputted into that paragraph, the spacing will always be how it was originally intended to be, making the design easily adaptable. The image below is my copy of The Great Gatsby cover

We were then asked to use our copy of The Great Gatsby cover as a template for a new book cover for our choice of book, movie poem etc. I chose Stuart Little. I decided that every time the word ‘little’ appeared it would be in 8pt text and everything else would be in the same size as the original template. My reason for this is because ‘Stuart Little’ is about a mouse living in the human world so most things around him are much larger than him and so I wanted this to be reflected on the book cover. I also changed the typeface of the title into one that was more like a script font as this is a children’s book and I felt gill sans was too harsh and not playful enough.

Fragile Happiness

For Sara’s project, I was given the word “happiness”. The first thing that popped into my head was the classic smiley emoticon. After trying to explore other ideas I chose to go with the emoticon as emoticons nowadays are like a universal language, it’s almost guaranteed that my theme would be understood.

For my altered version of my original image, I chose to have cracks and pieces broken away from the smiley face revealing small hints of a sad, monochrome face. The cracks and fragments missing from the face were to show how fragile happiness can be and that sometimes even someone who looks like they couldn’t get any happier, are still pretending to smile. I chose to strip away the colour from the face behind the smiling mask as happiness is often associated with bright colours, particularly yellow. I felt that taking away that bright colour helped to increase the contrast between the two faces, therefore making it easier to differentiate between the two.

If I were to do this again I would have liked to use adobe software to use the original emoticon and then edit it digitally.

Wear a mask to stop the spread

Our task for this project was to collect a wide range of communications relating to COVID-19. During this project, I learnt how to improve my searches on the internet to get the best and widest variety of results as I did the majority of my research online. I had discovered that the majority of the government official and NHS posters and signs were all in blue and white or yellow and black. The reason for this is most likely due to the NHS colours being blue and white and yellow and black signs used to stand out as they were usually associated with warning and poisonous signs. However, the issue is that they no longer stand out. I have found that we, as the consumers, have become accustomed to these warning signs now. They no longer grab our attention because we see them around so often.

In Los Angeles (L.A ) the mayor introduced an initiative called the L. A mask print project. They ask designers and artists from across L.A. to produce posters, like the one above on the left by Camilla Lonis at Studio Number One, they are then made available to be downloaded for free by local businesses and residents so that they can be put on display. I think these more creative and colourful posters work better as they’re much more noticeable than the government standard ones that we have now become accustomed to. Adding a face that’s not just a basic outline perhaps will make the message feel a lot more personal rather than robotic. If it feels more personal people are more likely to want to make a change and ultimately that’s what the creates of these posters want. they want people to make the decision for themselves to wear a mask, and usually, if it’s encouraged rather than enforced, you’ll get a better response, although this isn’t always the case.

I think it’s clear that the Losin poster is for a particular audience. People in L. A are known for there glamourous lifestyle, they also have a rather large art scene and so to grab the attention of the creative inclined, you need to put up posters and signs that are just as, if not more, creative and bold as they are. Whereas the Government official and NHS ones are for national use, therefore, need to be more neutral so to appeal to everyone. As the UK is also very multicultural and we have people from all over the world the signs need to be clear and concise on what they want from the public so everyone understands no matter their language. The decorative posters can sometimes have messages that are vague or have a double meaning.

Paint by numbers

For Kim’s project, we were partnered up with someone from our class and we had to tell each other three interesting facts about ourselves. From that, we then had to come up with an ideal gift for our partner. My partner’s facts about herself were that she plays the piano and loves photography and painting. We then had to pick 3 numbers from 1-210 and these matched up with random words on a list that Kim gave us. My 3 words were, necklace, cup and feather. We had to use these words to help us come up with more ideas for our ideal gift, here were some of my initial ideas.

I ended up going with one of the original ideas that I came up for my final design which you can see at the top of the page. This was a paint by numbers grand piano with cameras fitted on the inside of the piano facing outwards to capture the reactions of her audience. On reflection I think I could have also developed one of my other ideas which was a desk with a small keyboard built into the front of it, a paintbrush put fitted in the desk, a mini easel fitted on top and a lockable camera storage box also fitted on the inside (sketch in the bottom left corner)

Simplicity is Key

For Berta’s session today the brief was to bring forward the visual dimensions of the story. The story I chose was titled “obsession”.

I first experimented with ripping, crunching, cutting and glueing pages to create this double page spread below.

From this experimentation I liked the effect of the highlighted words so I took this further to create the double page spread you can see at the top of the page. For the left hand side I chose to isolate just one word that was in the middle of the body of text. This represented the womans solitude and calmness at the beginning of the book. For the second page I chose to isolate a number of words that were scattered all around the text, all the words I chose had negative meanings or connotations. The scattered yet isolated aesthetic helped to portray the womans thoughts which were no longer in focus and kept flicking between the book she was reading and the fear of what was going on behind her. In the end I liked the simplicity of my final design and I think it got across exactly what I wanted it to.

A learning curve

Our brief for this project was to create a graphic representation of our initials using either Futura or Garamond. To start with I simply brainstormed and sketched out a few ideas in both fonts. I chose to continue my exploration with the Futura font for the rest of the task as I felt that my initials were much clearer this way when attempting to merge them. I was struggling to find combinations and solutions due to my first initial, Y, being so angular and my second initial, C being the exact opposite. To combat this I drew and cut out the letters to experiment with them physically. This helped me massively as I could now visualise what my monogram could look like a lot easier, therefore allowing me to be more creative and push my experimentation further.

For my final design, I chose to combine two of my ideas, as you can see in the image above. Once I had finalised the structure of the design I then had a little extra time to experiment with colour. I chose to do black and purple for my first attempt with colour but found it was a little too dark and so didn’t stand out as much as I would have liked. For my second attempt, I chose light blue and orange. I went with light blue as it is the colour often associated with the city that I am from and seeing as it was my initials I thought this fit quite nicely. I chose orange purely for aesthetic reasons, as it made the monogram stand out just that little bit more.

Noticing what those would usually consider to be trivial

When we were first set the task to photograph lettering in the environment I didn’t think it would be too much of a challenge. It wasn’t until I was around 30 photos into my shoot that I realised a lot of the lettering I had captured were all very similar. This made me have to think a little bit deeper into the task and how I was approaching it. A lot of what I had photographed in the beginning was part of the universities branding and signage so of course there was going to be a lot of repetition as many companies, including the university, stick to the same fonts across all there branding to keep it all connected and flowing well. Therefore, I had to start looking for the signs that weren’t so obvious. In the end, some of my favourite images of lettering that I captured I had found were stuck to the back of signs, welded on to lap posts and hidden in the far corners of the university campus.

The second part of our task was to organise our images into groups. I chose to split my photos into what their purpose was and the three groups I ended up with were; information, warn and advertise. Once I had organised my photos and presented them on PowerPoint (seen below), I soon realised that I had unintentionally also organised two of the categories into categories of colour. If I were to attempt this task again I would edit all my photos to be in black and white to take away the influence of the colours used and focus solely on the lettering alone.