For our TY1SK module we were asked to create a typography podcast cover in photoshop.
Typography has a diverse audience, so I decided to create three very different designs to try and engage different age groups, who have different visual needs.
I started off by brainstorming short phrases including the words type and time. Designing for a podcast implies that the user needs to take time out to engage with the content of the podcast. For my first design I came up with a few phrases like ’Time for Type’, ‘Type talks’, ‘It’s Type ‘o Clock’ and ‘Whats the Type?’
Design ideas and design process
Time for Type
Original two images used to create design
My final podcast design
For my first design I decided to use ‘Time for type‘ and chose two rather classical images from Pixabay, a clock and an hourglass. These images would appeal more to a more mature audience. Using the clone stamp tool and spot healing brush tool, I removed the numbers on the clock face and replaced them with letters instead, forming the words ‘Time for type‘. I also added the hourglass to the clock to fill the 11th hour space.
Experimenting further with the filters and adjustments, I landed on the word ‘posterize’. It opened up a variety of vibrant colours and gave me options to manipulate the mood of my design, adding an old world charm and warmth.
By posterizing the image I gave the old school clock a little contemporary edge. I also chose these rich colours because it is warm, welcoming and energetic. I placed the type clock wise on the clock face, which reads easily up to the 7th hour point where the type seems to be read in reverse. From that point the conventional way in which we read a clock, leads the eye to still make sense of the type. Although the overall appearance is unusual and challenging typographical conventions, I feel that it makes the reader think and engage a bit, suggesting that type is worth thinking about. I added visual texture through contrasting, but complimenting colours, which enhances the effect of distressed wood in the foreground. The orange colour suggests a border above the clock and helps define the space in which the clock stands. The type is in white to make it stand out and easier to read. The overall use of curvilinearity compliments the more classic atmosphere of my design.
Stepping into Type
Original two images used to create design
First attempt at my design Second attempt at design
My final podcast design
My second design is more focused on a younger audience, and came to life from visualising someone stepping out of their usual day and into a space of type. That is how I came to the potential titles for this podcast; ‘Stepping into type’, ‘Into type’, and ‘Type flies’.
I decided on ‘Stepping into type’ because it is a bit more playful. Expanding the idea of playfulness and fun, I imagined stepping through a floating door to meet some flying type. That would give it a whimsical and mysterious feel with a door up in the sky and footprints in the air approaching an encounter with Type. I used scattered type in various sizes and boldness to create visual texture in the sky. The footprints achieve the same effect by breaking up the plane in the foreground, and suggest the way to reach the door. ‘Stepping’ stands out on the line that suggests the two different planes, which separates the ‘usual day’ from the ‘space of type’. The analogous colours I chose are light and cool, and suggest a sense of serenity and airiness. I also used colour to create interest with line and suggestion of shade to strengthen the idea of the door hovering above the ground. I stuck to geometric shapes. I decided not to frame my design to enhance the sense of free and floating text in space.
My approach to this cover is actually quite abstract in appearance. I found an image of an open door in a room, cut it out and placed it on a clean background. I then inserted images of footprints, positioning them in a way that leads your eye towards, and through the door to all the type. I tried to create a sense of depth by using larger footprints in the foreground which then gets smaller towards the background. I feel it creates distance and gives a dynamic feel to the image.
I then played around with the different effects, and I edited the footprints with the layer style palette, adding an outer glow to them. Posterizing my image gave it a more abstract 3-dimensional appearance, which is accentuated by the drop shadow. I actually accidentally created the blue and milky purple background whilst experimenting with the different adjustments. I decided to keep it like this because blue and purple are analogous colours, which support each other. The blue is dominant, supported by the milky purple and then white which accentuates the text. The colours work well next to each-other. The blue also gives an airy and light feeling which adds to the whimsical playfulness of my design. The faded purple suggests a more earthy tone which also grounds my design.
I played around with the wording, trying to find a good composition for them. The horizontal placement of the words ‘Stepping into type’ supports the linear structure of the composition, and appears solid amongst the flying letters. The more structured layout supports clear communication, especially because the conventional direction of reading is challenged by the layout. The footprints are key to direct the viewer’s eye from the bottom of the composition, guiding the reading and comprehension in the correct order.
World of Type
Original image used to create design The inverted design
My final podcast design
My third design came from the thought of how typography is global and how it affects everything. So I came up with ‘Type the world’, ‘Typo space’, ‘World of type’ and ‘Orbit into type’.
I decided to go with a simple title ‘World of type’, and chose an image of the globe, a clear symbol which is always relevant when depicting things that concern the world. To me an image of the globe is old and new in the same way, which will equally attract a young and mature audience. I like this design the most. I think it will speak to a wider audience because it is very universal. It symbolises the relevance of Typography in the world and clearly communicates how text and typography makes the world go round. The deep blue background is solid, calm and reassuring, and form part of a grounding frame to globe. Visual texture is added by the scattered white type ‘in orbit’. Although I didn’t use formal lines, I did achieve it by a suggested line- the type running around the earth. The circular shape of the earth is hugged at the top with the podcast title written in a curve. This compliments the curvilinear elements in my design and adds visual balance to the centred composition.
I used one strong image to create this cover and removed the background of the image, inserting my own. The inspiration to incorporate the letters into the image came from looking at the planetary ring system around the planet Saturn. This inspired me to create a typographical ring consisting of letters spinning around the earth, reinforcing the idea of communication making the world go round. So I did this through adding lots of letters in ‘orbit’. I wanted the earth to appear 3–dimensional, so I experimented with the filters and the layer styles, applying the inner and outer glow effects to the earth. I further experimented by inverting my image, however the colours appeared very toxic and unhealthy which would not support my communication.
All my ideas were developed using images that conveyed the key concepts of my design, which I could then enhance by adding type and manipulating the images to reflect what I visualised. My aim was to make my designs interesting, user friendly and appropriate, and I feel that I did achieve that.
I watched the tutorials on adjusting the image quality in an image, and I applied the ‘Adjust brightness and contrast’ as well as the ‘Adjust colour vibrance‘ to my ‘Time for type‘ image after posterizing it. It helped me to make my image stand out more because it enhanced the strong contrast in the colours that I used.
I also watched the videos on ‘Creating your first design’ and I found the ‘Get to know layers‘ very helpful, as well as the ‘Adding text and effects‘ and ‘Exporting and saving the design‘. ‘Get to know layers‘ showed me how to bring an image into photoshop and then showed me that when bringing another image into the workspace, or other elements like type, it is best to keep all of the layers separate so that it is easier to edit the different elements, without affecting the rest of the image. The video also talked about the magenta smart guides, and they helped me with the alignments of my designs. (applying special layer properties). The ‘Adding text and effects’ video explained how I can edit the text and other elements and apply special layer properties with the layer style panel. It also showed me that I can add effects like drop shadows,
patterns overlays, textures, contouring, strokes, as well as an outer glow.
Two additional Resources
I initially wanted to add text shadow to my ‘Stepping into type‘ design and watching the ‘Photoshop CC– How to add a text shadow’, helped me to understand where I had to go (layer style options), and what I had to do in order to accomplish this.
I decided to add text shadow to the letters spelling out ‘Time for type’ on my clock face, because it made my letters more visible and I think that the effect gave them a 3–dimensional touch which makes them stand out.
I was not sure how to remove the numbering on my clock image in order to add the words ‘Time for type’, but after watching the YouTube video ‘How to use clone stamp tool in Photoshop CS6′, I found that I could remove the numbers easily using this tool.
Resources for research and inspiration
All of the images I used in my designs, were sourced from Pixabay.
After watching Amr Elshamy’s video on how he created ‘Round things’, it inspired me to bring in circular shapes into my podcast because I think there is something very visually pleasing about circular shapes. It creates a feeling of continuity and seem softer and more welcoming than angular shapes. That is why I chose to use the image of the earth in my ‘World of type’, because it is not only spherical and universal, but underlines wholesomeness and harmony.
Amr Elshamy’s video also inspired me to create something more abstract, which I did with my ‘Stepping into type’ podcast design. I included more angularity and line for structure, and less texture to achieve a light, smooth and airy background with the floating door.
I realised after reading through the article ‘How to design a podcast cover: the ultimate guide’, that before jumping into my design, I need to think about what I am actually designing, and who is my intended audience. I need to think about what age group I am targeting.
If I use an image, I need to think about what my podcast cover will depict and make sure that it is relevant to the topic: typography. I thought that if I can create a cover that is simplistic but clear and effective, with a catchy phrase relevant to the topic, I can create a design that appeals to the intended audience.
Lastly, the article helped me to think about the use of colour in my designs. Colour can have a big impact on the way that people see and understand things. It can even affect someone’s mood. So, using the correct colour palette is very important. As the article says, ‘warm colours are associated with energy, brightness, and action, while cool colours make you feel calm, serene and at peace.’
I decided to use very bright contrasting colours in my ‘Time for type’ design, to really make the image pop, and the variety in colour allowed me to manipulate the mood of the design, giving it a feeling of warmth and old-world charm.
My ‘Stepping into type’ design mostly uses the colours blue and purple, which are analogous colours that support each other rather than compete.
For ‘World of type’ I did not add a lot of extra colour because there are already so many different tones of green and blue on my image of the earth, so I stuck with a deep blue background which I think pushes the earth foreword slightly, adding to the 3-dimensionality of the image.
I found another article called ‘8 things to keep in mind while designing your podcast cover art’. The ‘Keep it simple’ section made me think about how I can create a podcast cover that is simple and not overly complicated, but neat and effective. I realised that I do not need ‘complex elements to make something visually appealing.’
The article also stated not to use too many fonts, because writing on the podcast needs to be clearly visible. It also said that using fonts with thicker lines and clear characters help your writing to stand out more.