My client for this real job was an independent publisher based in Reading. The client is writing and publishing a new book that details historic events dating back to the early 19th century. The book tells the story of Danish prisoners of war, residing in Reading during the years of 1807 – 1814; mainly taking from the memoirs of one of the prisoners, who became better known in the town as the Gentlemen Danes (also fittingly the title of the book). The book is the first to detail the ventures of this particular group of war prisoners as the memoirs were recently recovered and have only been translated fully as of 2020. The story of the Gentlemen Danes follows the group mainly throughout Reading and different parts of Berkshire; describing their lived experiences that make for an interesting, historic read.
Restated Brief and deliverables
The job originally started off as a commission for an illustrative font cover with a rather quick turn-around; it entailed that I create an illustration that works as an eye catching, historically accurate front cover that did allowed ample bleed and did allowed for the integration of text for the title to exist in the same space also. To begin with there were not many reference images to work from, aside from one sketch that my supervisor had quickly drawn herself. Ultimately the illustration was described to me as a somewhat realistic illustration for The Gentlemen Danes history book that displays one fete (‘Revel’) as described in the text (the text was provided for me also). After emailing my supervisor who was in direct contact with the client, I then found out more about the nature of the illustration and some possible additional deliverables on top of the proposed illustration. It was being discussed if the cover would also serve as a smaller sized thumbnail image on the inside of the book also. I was also told to consider using the colours that were see in the Danish flag and that the exact colour values I use would have to be noted for possible use elsewhere on the book; perhaps for the titles or other text on the cover. This meant that I also had to think carefully about which tones would work on top of the illustration for it to be legible enough.
After going back and forth further with my supervisor and client however, we came to an understanding that the colour would be dropped as a deliverable and that the main focus was just the cover as an illustration. During this process the dimensions of the cover (275mm x 212mm) were given to me as well as how much bleed was required (3mm around all sides). From the start the illustration was set as being CMYK as it was definitely going to be printed, and the point was made that care would have to be taken to make sure all necessary detail was big enough to be see on a cover at the size it was. The other considerations that were very important that I think about carefully were the accuracies of not only the scene being depicted, but the clothing, hairstyles etc. of the time as well.
There were only two reasons where the brief had to be changed in a substantial way; one being because of the change of deadline and the second being because the main deliverable changed. During around December time the client decided to change his mind about what he wanted for the cover. I was told that he came across an original painting that displayed the Danish flag on its sales and he thought it to be a very good cover for what he was writing about. This did not mean that I had been designing for nothing however, and he made the compromise to keep a space left in the book for my illustration to be displayed. The brief had to be updated from a cover illustration to a general inside pages illustration; which fortunately meant that I would not have to change much except fill in the space where I left empty for text to be.
The job to begin with was a rather quick turn-around of Around 5 weeks, of which I was confident in reaching on time. This did not go as planned however, and the level of accuracy and detail that my client required was more than initially expected. Not reaching the deadline I was given was not however a problem; I had warned my client before time that I may not reach the deadline I was given, which was originally the 15th of October and he explained that he truly wanted the illustration done by January. I assumed then that the original date given wasn’t entirely true to the sentiments of the client. Over the time it took to create the illustration, I believe that I have kept a steady, suitable pace, even when other commitments got in the way. In terms of communication with my supervisor and client this real job felt a little different than the average. My supervisor was a Masters student who was very busy a lot of the time, and it became apparent when her reply times were getting longer and longer. We came to a happy medium however where I would directly email and set up video meetings with the client instead of going to my supervisor first. This was agreed on by all parties and in retrospect made sense for this kind of job; I was making changes as per the clients request so the supervisor just being an extra messenger was not the most efficient. From this point in about early November, I would be meeting frequently with the client, and every so often emailing my supervisor with an update on the illustration process.
At the beginning the job ran like a normal real job would. I contacted my supervisor for feedback, and when given the green light I would get feedback from the client. Often times my supervisor would be medium between us, but after a while it was established that I was better off getting feedback directly from him as it was his specification I was catering to. It also meant that I wouldn’t have to go through my supervisor just to get to my client. From then we were in agreement that this be the process for communication. In the first couple weeks the interaction between me and the client was mostly to do with general styles of illustration and the composition of the scene. We settled fairly quickly on a style, but the layout of the scene took a while longer to agree on. At this time I was still working with barely any detail and mainly would move rough stickmen figures to signify where a person would be in the illustration; perhaps the lack of detail and didn’t allow for a true representation of what the layout actually looked like at this time. In this part of development we went over a lot of changes in a period of time, building up the composition piece by piece.
After a while of talking about research for the kind of clothing they would wear at the time, the client requested that I visit the Museum of English Rural life to get a more accurate and confident look and feel for this aspect. The visit was very fruitful, and the notes I took were very helpful to the character development over time. The books where I got the most useful information from were British Working Dress – occupational clothing 1750-1950 (Jayne Shrimpton) – Shire Library, and Pyne’s British Costumes (William H Pyne) It was the first time that I would have to an extended amount of research for an illustration. It was also a learning curve for me in terms of illustrating from descriptions in text.
The first sketches I sent to the client were in pencil and were to get a feel for the number of people in the scene how the scene would be generally set up.
I would also draw in pencil a template for the styles I gave to the client to decide from. I had already been told that the client liked some of the styles shown on my portfolio, and I had also been told that the illustration was to be somewhat realistic. I drew the same human figure and took it to illustrator to create a few different styles of which the client picked the one that incorporated shading made up of hatching. The reason was that it resembled engraving and gave historical connotations in of itself.
From here we would simultaneously go through different characters and the accuracy their clothing, and the composition of the scene as whole. Up until the last one, every meeting with the client would result in either a major or minor change to the illustration.
For a while it was quite intense with the number of changes suggested, but I soon got the hang of it. I also learnt very quickly to work in a way that would allow for things to be moved easily around the illustration without any problems, i.e. ensuring each person was their own entity (by grouping their components) so if they were to be moved to the left or made bigger, it was an easy change. After a while colour was incorporated, many characters were changed around, taken out or added and the whole scene became a reality.
The real job ended different to how it started in more ways than one. Firstly I didn’t realise how much detail and research was required for this illustration, and it came as a little bit of a shock to me how much time I would go on to dedicate to it; it stands to reason that the initial brief set false expectations due to it being advertised as a quick turn-around. Another area where there was a big change was the connection between me, the supervisor, and the client, with the supervisor eventually becoming an unnecessary step in getting feedback from the client. The final area was when the job illustration changed from being a for the cover to being for the inside content.
At the start there were a few things that the client wanted to explicitly be in the illustration in some way or another. The list consisted of a black and white dog, some of the Gentlemen Danes in the frame, one of the main Danes being very tall and skinny, a large famer welcoming them into the fete, a line of fete banner across the field they were on and some kids playing one of traditional summer game. With all of these worked into the illustration, the client seemed very happy with what was achieved. A word from the client that further justified this;
“Lewis put his name forward to do an illustration of a country event in Berkshire in the early nineteenth century for a forthcoming book. In order to be as historically accurate as possible Lewis had to do a lot of work in researching the costumes people were wearing at the time. After many online meetings, and a number of adjustments and modifications to the original brief, we finally honed it down to a picture that I was very happy with. Happy not only because it is an authentic reproduction of how the event might have appeared like, but also because it was done in Lewis’ own graphic style. It was a very pleasant experience to work with Lewis and I wish him great success in the future”
Overall I was very happy with how the job turned out, and although the prospect of having my illustration as a book cover was more exciting, I am still very glad and grateful that it even gets to be in a publication of some sorts. The end product felt deserved due to all of the time, research and effort that went into the work. Thank you to Libby Skipp and John Nixon.
The clients for this project are from the Department of Pharmacy and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Reading, where they are developing a project to examine medication reuse. The ReMINDS brand is to focus on medicine, the environment, people taking their medicine, pharmacy and drug manufacturing. It is important for people to know that old or left-over medicines in the home can cause harm, and that these should be taken to a pharmacy for safe disposal. This is because otherwise they can harm children if taken accidentally, the land and environment if put straight in the bin, and rivers, water and their inhabitants if flushed down the sink or toilet.
Main points of focus and the deliverables
The main aim for this project was to create a set of deliverables all building to run medicine amnesties on the Whiteknights Campus, where people will bring their old and left-over medicines to the ‘Medicine Amnesties with Frankie the Fish’ where they will collect and safely dispose of all donations. ‘Frankie the Fish’ is a special shaped container with vinyl stickers to make it look like a fish character, designed to collect the donations and spread the message that if people flush their left-over medicines it can harm the environment and its inhabitants. This event is (or was to be) funded by the Vice Chancellor’s Endowment Trust Fund, 2019/20 and run by the University of Reading, Department of Pharmacy and Department of Biomedical Engineering.
The main deliverable for this project was the large container called Frankie in the shape of a fish that would be wheeled around the campus and elsewhere for medicine amnesties. This provides a safe disposal mechanism and raises awareness of the problem of medicine waste. To make the container look like a fish, it is spray painted bright yellow and was designed to have vinyl sticker fins, scales and eyes. For this, a Print Cut File with these shapes and aspects was to be created to be sent to DPS to be printed. In preparation and to plan how this would look, I created mock-ups using colour and the fin, scale and eye illustrations. Due to the client unfortunately pulling out, as I will explain below, there was not the funding to print the vinyl stickers so there is no physical container to show as there is currently no medical amesite happening because of Covid-19.
The client also wanted a logo for the ReMINDS Project to create a brand around the project and the medicine amnesties that could then also be used on the deliverables that were advertising the event. As part of the advertisement for the event, the client wanted a flag banner to catch people who were walking on campuses’ attention and draw them towards the container to increase involvement. A leaflet was the other deliverable that the client later decided they wanted to have to advertise the event prior, to build up awareness and educate people as to how to get involved and why.
The target audience for this project is very wide, being focussed on any student, lecturer or even visitor to the Whiteknights Campus. It is for those who take an interest in increasing the safety in their home and those who are conscious of helping the environment. The wide target audience meant that there was no strong style that needed to be followed.
Until Covid-19 took a massive hit into this Real Job, I had stuck to the schedule well on my behalf. I feel that I was very organised and did all I could to keep things running quickly and smoothly. The first restated brief had the goal of completion for the 14th of February, this however was unable to be met due to tasks such as creating the window in the container and, mainly, spray painting the bin with an external company slowing down the process. The client, however, wasn’t worried about the schedule too much, therefore I took it upon myself to set a new deadline of mid-March, which the client approved of. This was to give us a date to work by so to not let the job take a back seat. Until Covid, when students had to head home, we were on track to have the project deliverables ready by mid-late March, with a minimal, quick change to be made to some of the colours after the paint colour came out differently than expected. However, with Covid this meant there were no students on campus, as well as it still not like normal this new academic year, therefore there was no strict deadline to get it done over summer. It was also tricky and inefficient to work on it remotely as I needed to physically see the container to make the important decision on colours. I picked it up again when back at university in September, but unfortunately the client was unsure how to continue in the current climate, therefore I set myself the goal to continue it again over Christmas when my first term deadlines were complete. I think throughout the project I have worked steadily hard and in an organised manner so to hit my schedule where possible and create new deadlines when necessary before Covid. This was my first Real Job on my own and with the deliverables increasing through the project I was pleased with my organisation and prioritisation of tasks to stay on top of things.
Updated restated briefs
Throughout the project I created new restated briefs to make sure the client and I were on the same page, and to give myself an organised, approved list to work from. As the project went on the client introduced new deliverable part way through working on the original ones. In the original restated brief, made towards the end of January, the deliverables were simply a design for Frankie the Fish to go on the container and a logo for the ReMINDS Project. However, after many emails, calls and meetings discussing the project and its progress, by February the client had added a more deliverables to enhance the project. Therefore, it made sense to update the restated brief with the new deliverables to confirm these with the client. The client had been more specific as to how the design for Frankie the Fish was to be stuck onto the container to be the fish character, as opposed to just a 2D design that could be used for other deliverables. As well as this, they wanted a leaflet to let people know about the event and how to get involved, a banner to advertise it further, both with the ReMINDS logo, as previously discussed.
I also amended the restated brief a couple of times after Covid to update the schedule, more for myself by the end as the client was no longer replying to emails, as this helped me to organise my time alongside the expected deliverables.
Initial contact with client
My first contact with the client was through email and closely followed by an online call. In this meeting the client outlined what the ReMINDS brand was. She talked about what she expected from the deliverables and I made note of this. Following this meeting we had consistent email communication where I exchanged initial designs and ideas, having another couple of meetings online a few weeks later to discuss how this was going and extra deliverables she wished for me to do. From then on, aside from frequent emails to the clients, I met with another one of the clients in person. This was mainly to discuss plans for the physical container and to confirm ideas and decisions from over emails about other deliverables.
Overall, I think that this project improved my communication skills and gave me more confidence in talking to clients, both in person and on email, making sure I kept myself organised so that I could answer all their questions and have the work done for when it was needed.
Covid-19 and client dropping out
Unfortunately, after Covid-19 left uncertain circumstances at university and on campus it meant that the client was unsure how we might progress at the moment with this project. This is because the medicine amnesty requires the campus to be busy in order to raise awareness and collect the medicine. I suggested a call to discuss future plans but didn’t receive a reply after a month or so, so was advised to continue without the client. I plan to get in touch again when the work has been signed off, to allow them to see what was made and to give them a chance to use it in the future when circumstances are simpler. I am disappointed to not get the final result of the bin and seeing all the deliverables at work advertising and showcasing the medicine amnesty but because of Covid it is expected.
When I was initial assigned this project, I started by getting a clearer understanding of what medicine reuse was and why this project was so important. I felt this would give me a good base to start this project, and through learning facts around the subject area, like how much of our waterways is contaminated with pharmaceutical runoff, it inspired me to help make the positive change. While I was doing this, I also researched into competitors, or companies/campaigns that do or promote this kind of work already. This was useful in furthering my research, as well as looking at the branding style of this area.
When starting to design deliverables such as the logo, I initially created mood boards from researching medical and pharmaceutical logos online to generate some ideas and to see the different styles that I could play around with. From this research I could see there tended to be a simple, but professional-looking illustration of something related to the health, medicine or pharmaceutical industry, such as DNA, a medical cross, stethoscope, pills, etc. This illustration was often in a bright colour that was integrated with a plain, san-serif typeface for the company name. From my research I chose to use pills to represent the area and as I felt it suited the project best. I then did further research into different styles of arrows I could create for the logo after deciding to represent the idea of medicine reuse with the pill and arrows. I also created a mood board when coming to design the fish character from researching online to get a feel for the different styles I could play with for the client to decide between, as well get an idea of the age groups that different styles might apply to. When it came to creating the leaflet, I found it tricky to arrange everything on the page and to know what style to go for, therefore I found researching medical leaflets useful as examples.
As this is something that is new to the university, there weren’t people to directly ask about past experiences and problems with the medicine amnesties and the branding surrounding it. However, after explaining it to some peers, I got some feedback and tips about what they, students (the people who will interact with it on campus), thought. They commented on how the bin should be linked into the branding deliverables, like with the fish drawing and bin drawing on the leaflet. As well as that, they mentioned that there should be explanation of what the medical amnesties are on the leaflet to raise awareness. As well as this, I created user personas on my Trello page to highlight different possible users and to think about the different people that may interact with the medicine amnesty and the deliverables surrounding it, using this to help in my designs.
Through this project I have taken what I learnt from my previous Real Jobs and used the Trello board in an efficient way by keeping it updated as I went. It helped to structure my work and make sure I hit all the necessary aspects for the project. I was successful at uploading the development of my work for different deliverables and explaining reasons why I made these decisions.
The first task I did after restating the brief was create a fish character. I did this by doing some simple research online at some different types of fish and styles of illustration. Below I show the different fish characters I drew based off of this research online. The client then chose a certain fish character, which I then tried in different colours and sent back to the client for them to pick one, of which they settled on Orange tones. I am happy with the fish character that was chosen as I felt the colours are vibrant and the client liked the idea of it looking similar to a Goldfish. This was to be included on the banner and leaflet to carry the brand and the ideas behind it. Later in the project, when the container was spray painted it looked more of a neon yellowy-green than planned, therefore the colours of the fish were to be slightly amended so the separate features would match the colour the bin turned out better.
In preparation for printing the vinyl stickers for the physical fish container, my next task was to use the features from this fish character and create a mock-up of the container and plan where the vinyl stickers of the fins, scales and eyes were to go. This allowed the client and me to imagine how it may look in person and to play with different layouts to find the one that looked best. Further into the project, when having to amend the colours after the spray-painted bin came back a different tone than planned, it was useful to use the mock-ups to play with different colours and the arrangement of these. With the yellow being brighter and less orange than planned, a more toned down, lighter orange suited being used more frequently for the fins as the brighter orange clashed otherwise.
Physical fish character container
The client organised and bought the container previous to me being assigned to the project, therefore after our initial call I was sent over a picture of the shape of the container we were to work with. The first job I did concerning the physical fish container after making the initial mock-ups was to measure-up the bin for the hole to be put in it and to plan for the size and layout of the vinyl stickers. I did this careful and in great detail so it would be as accurate as possible. Once I had measured this, it was organised for the hole to be made in the container, which would later be covered with clear plastic so to see the medicines inside. While the bin was off being cut, I worked out the size each feature would be to use on the print cut file.
The next task, and the one that took up the most time, was finding the best way to colour the bin. To work this out I spoke with DPS and asked what they best suggested. A wrap was suggested, however deemed more complicated and riskier than printing them separately. Therefore, to give the container colour, spray painting was suggested as the most durable for its outdoor use. When deciding the colour, I sent the client images of the different colours, as well as showing one of the clients the swatches in person for a clearer idea of the colour they’re picking. The colour didn’t come out as the clients expected, being brighter and more of a green-yellow. This was a shame as clients questioned re-doing this, however, as they realised, they had chosen it themselves, they kept it and we decided to simply change the tone and/or arrangement of the oranges for the fins and scales. Now with no client due to uncertainties with Covid, there is no physical fish character container that is finished as there is no funding behind it to have the vinyl stickers printed.
Print Cut File
Once I had measured up the container, I could then decide the size of the fins, scales and eyes of the vinyl stickers. The making of the Print Cut File was something I had never made before. It taught me further tools within Illustrator and the importance of using layers effectively, things that have benefitted me in my other studies.
I initially created mood boards from researching medical and pharmaceutical logos online, to generate some ideas and to see the different styles that I could play around with. I liked the idea of incorporating pills as this fit with the project and brand and as well as being understood by all. It also holds a more serious message than the fish cartoon, which is what the client asked for the logo. Once I had decided on this, I experimented with different ways to introduce the pill as a logo, trying to use the pill as the ‘I’ in ‘ReMINDS’, however this wasn’t clear enough and didn’t work as I’d hoped. I liked the idea behind my initial drawing of the pill packet, but when incorporated with the words I felt it didn’t look professional enough. Aside from the pill, to relate the logo back to the idea of medicine reuse and helping the environment, I felt that arrows represented this very well. To add further depth to the logo, I experimented adding water into the design to relate back to Frankie the Fish and the suffering environment in the contaminated water. After experimenting with colour and different arrow styles I decided to incorporate this into the arrows by giving them a water-like colour scheme and texture. I also tried a version of the logo hand drawn and then image traced to create some more interesting textures, but this did not look professional enough compared to ones from my research. I sent the client these logos throughout and built and changes based on their comments, in the end I sent them the final logo in a selection of colours, and they chose blue. The final adjustment suggested by my supervisor was a shadow so the pill would stand out even when on a white background. After creating the illustration part, I focussed on researching typefaces used in medical/pharmaceutical logos, of which I then tried a range of san-serif typefaces and decided upon Sukhumvit Set. To tie the words into the illustration I pulled two different blues from the arrows and used these on the words. As we wanted ‘ReMINDS’ to have more hierarchy over ‘project’ this was put in semi bold weight and the brighter blue, while ‘project’ was in the darker navy and a light weight.
Overall, I think that this logo is effective and hit what the client asked for because it represents the subject of medicine reuse well and in a professional manner, like the logos I found in my research. On reflection, and something I have learnt from this real job is to have more initial ideas and to go into detail for a number of these, not just go into detail with one or two before I send these to the client. Despite the client always being excited about what I showed them, it is more professional to give them a range of options to start with.
The design for the flag banner was to be used at medicine amnesties to draw attention to and advertise to people on campus what was happening. The client wanted a simple design that was similar to the leaflet design, in terms of using the same colours, the logo and the fish character. The design I created I think is effective for its purpose because it tells people what the need and catches attention with the bright colour and fish drawing. This was the deliverable that, despite not having designed before I found the simplest to design as there wasn’t much text to fit with the logo and drawing. The background was chosen to be yellow like the physical fish container, so to match the other deliverables and create a cohesive balance between them, as well as it being a bright colour to catch people’s attention. Once the design had been decided, with a few amendments of the layout of text, it was recommended by DPS that the yellow should become opaquer so that the design didn’t show through on the other side. It was also initially going to have different drawings on either side of the banner; however, this was changed to create consistency on both sides.
The biggest query surrounding the banner came right at the end when I was planning to sign off the banner at the end. My supervisor raised the question of whether it was meant to be one-sided with a reverse show through side where the writing would be backwards, or double-sided where the writing would be printed on both sides from left to right. Over the last week I saw an example of a flag banner in the street that showed a one-sided flag banner, this initially made me think I should do the same. However, after exchanging emails with my supervisor for advice, as well as re-reading old emails from DPS, and doing some basic research online that taught me how a double-sided banner is made from two printed graphics that are stitched together with a lining in the middle to allow the message to be clearly displayed, I decided to have it double-sided.
Like the banner, the leaflet was a later addition to the deliverables. The client and I decided that a leaflet would build up knowledge of the project and awareness of the medicine amnesties. The client gave me the information they wanted to be on the A4 leaflet, and after creating some initial designs I felt it was too information heavy, however the client stressed that if possible, all the information should be included. While this was frustrating as I felt it was limiting the design as it looked overly busy and would catch attention less, I did also understand that most of the information was necessary for the reader to understand the ReMINDS project’s goals and details of the medicine amnesties. Therefore, since the client dropped out, I decided I would choose the amount of information myself based on the design, however, of course include the essential information. I played with a couple of designs with more and less information, but landed on the one I did because, although I preferred the design with less, it is important for motivation as it gives the reasons ‘why’ behind the project.
When doing this I did some research into medical leaflets, something on reflection I think I should’ve done sooner in more detail, however doing this gave me an idea of the general layout and design of them. From this I learnt that many of them have quite busy layouts, with a decent amount of information, as medical topics/projects tend to need explaining. These are separated into sections on the page using colour and shapes in the background. In terms of typography, they generally use san-serif typefaces, so to represent the serious nature of the topics.
One issue I had to tackle while designing the leaflet was how to show the fish container. This was because initially we would have had to wait till it was completely finished and taken a photo of it for the leaflet to then be complete and be able to be shared. This was not only inefficient in terms of timings, but also it was pointed out that a photo of a bin or container would never be overly aesthetic, therefore I suggested a drawing instead as this was more visually engaging. I based this drawing off the mock-up I had made previously. This improved the leaflet as it added something more visual and paired with the drawing of the fish well. I also added the waves underneath the blue box as I felt these were appealing colours that matched the theme and balanced the colours over the leaflet.
I decided to use the same typeface that was used in the logo to carry the brand over to the leaflet. It also followed similar tendencies to the medical leaflet examples I found in my research that also use a san-serif typeface.
Unfortunately, due to the client dropping out and the medicine amnesty not taking place I have not received any proper feedback for the work and deliverables. Before the client was unable to continue the job, they were very happy with the work that I had completed so far and trusted they would be effective in creating a brand and advertising the event.
This project has developed into a very interesting and individual project, with the branding deliverables being not only a logo, leaflet and poster, but to design a fish character for a bin that will be used at the medical amnesties.
This was my first real job I took on my own, which at first was slightly daunting as it meant I didn’t have a peer to ask for a second opinion, but with this job I have learnt to ask lecturers and my supervisors more for advice when needed which I think is a valuable skill and one that will benefit me in my studies.
I think I have handled the workload well, especially considering the projects unique deliverables that seemed to have increased throughout the project, and managed to stick to deadlines as well as I could, with factors such as finding and getting the spray painting done being trickier to sort than initially planned. Having to juggle a Real Job on my own alongside modules helped me to cut out my previous habit of procrastinating, as it was important for me to prioritise as the job was time sensitive. This is an improvement that has helped me across many areas of my studies.
Up until Covid sent students home mid-March, I was on track to have things sorted by the new deadline, with only slight changes to make to the colours of the fins, etc on the fish container. I was disappointed when this all had to be put on pause when I was no longer to access the bin to make an accurate colour change, as well as there being no rush to have the deliverables sorted as campus wasn’t busy like normal, so the client couldn’t hold the medical amnesty anyway. I felt that I was very on top of this job while I could be and am pleased with my progress at working as an individual.
This job has allowed me to improve my communication skills through skype calls, email and numerous meetings where a range of different things had to be discussed, and I have learnt to make sure I take detailed notes so I can pass on information correctly. For example, being in contact and talking to DPS directly was confusing at first, however, it has been a great insight to see how these things work and how I should best handle my files.
A more specific skill I have learnt to do on this project is create a Print Cut File for the scale and fin stickers that will go on the bin which taught me about more in-depth tools on Illustrator and further taught me the importance of layers and print specifications.
On reflection, something I have realised from this project is that I need to come up with more initial ideas for things, for example when creating the Reminds Project logo I didn’t come up with enough styles and ideas to show the client, even though they were happy with what they picked for me to develop, next time I would like to give a client more choices.
1.For my first design I used my own photography to create the illusion of a podcaster holding a mic and a sheet of paper with a serifed T. This is mainly a photographic design with vibrant contrasts between red , black and white in order to catch eyes of the audience, this is in the vain of the classic Apple iPod ads . I used a splatter brush to create a diesel bed effect as if the designs were old and from that era close to 19 years ago. the central theme here is of the Podcaster more than the typography itself, an element I wished to revolve in my second design . To remove colour from the figure I selected half the image, and removed it using the lasso tool, the other half I copied to a new layer and fully painted it, then with the areas removed, the black background seeps through . To create the paper , I used a white square and warped it using the transform tool so it is not a static object . The letter T also had to be rasterised and turned into an object so that it could also be warped to match the flow of
the papers movement
2.In the second design, I wanted something vasty different from the previous photographic one. Therefore this one is almost entirely typographic with vibrant contrast for a background. The large serif , TGC stands for Typographic and Graphic Communication, and the theme of the podcast. It is underlined with a large , thick block, a characteristic known to be seen in modernist design that are seen in modernist designs that are keen on geometric shapes. The splatter patter I reused once again here to add texture to the cover that aesthetically looked a little basic for my aesthetic pleasure , despite the intention being that of a minimalist design. the T and G reflect each other as Type and Graphics are everywhere, yet one C as Communications is a singular concept built of components . Furthermore, if that was mirrored there could be a misconception that it is an O and not two C’s
3. In the final design, I wanted the theme of Type to be centre stage and have a more complex maturity to it . I used black and white as the 2 main tones compliment each other well and very different from the other 2 designs featuring vibrant colours. Once again I embraced the geometrical blocks in the centre of the Podcast cover. The upper and lower half of the design are also made out of rectangles for a modernist style, with the exception of the use of serifs. The text is white to contrast with the black rectangle and have a consistency with the white background. The G for Graphics is the main focus point of the design, the largest letter, evenly sowed between the T and C. This section of the black block expands out created by ad
ding a circle over the top of the rectangle in a matching colour, and merging the layers. The white back. At this stage the white background was looking a little bland, therefore , to add to the typographic style, I typed repeatedly , Typography and Graphic Design. The opacity was reduced to under 60 % in order to not distract from the sharp white tone. This adds texture to the image through multiple layers, such as the subject matter has. This is an almost entirely typographic design. The upper block of text was duplicated into the bottom one and is my favourite of the 3 designs.
Fortunately due to my prior experiences , I am very familiar with photoshop and its tools so I did nit need to learn how to use it from scratch. However, by completing this task and watching the software tutorials it was a helpful refresher of skills and did teach me new things. One tutorial I watched was on how to decrease the opacity of an item,’How to change the opacity of an image in Photoshop CS6, so that it could be seen through(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW5z39Pxdmw). I used this on the background text for my final black and white design to add texture. The first tutorial I watched showed how to decrease opacity for a whole layer. Therefore, I duplicated the text to a new layer, transformed it into an image. This way all the text could be moved at one time in a block, and therefore, any changes ,Ade, such as adjusting the opacity , will affect all the text. Although the second tutorial I watched, ‘Transparent text effect'(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bG5r5TM5e2o), did not display exactly what I wanted in its instruction, the method could still be applied to my own work when adapted, which I did by editing text transparency .I also learnt from ‘Matthew Prices: how to design a podcast cover- the ultimate guide’. This taught me many important elements and factors that must be known upon designing a podcast cover including the dimensions. These being a minimum of 1400×1400 pixels and a maximum of 3000×3000 pixels which is 72 dpi in a PNG or JPEG format. It also provided useful information like to consider where the cover would be seen and therefore consider its style of cover. For example, if it is seen somewhere printed like a magazine and not digitally like Spotify , it may need to be obvious it is a podcast cover and include a mic or an element recognised with such.If it is removed from its original environment it must be still be obvious that its a podcast over out of context. I also viewed, ‘How Amy Elshamy created Round things’. However, it did not teach anything that I wished to include for didn’t already know, yet it was still an interesting watch.
Resources for research and inspiration
In my initial design , a major inspiration were the original iPod classic adverts from 2001 (https://www.theverge.com/2016/4/1/11340526/ipod-commercial-throwback-songs-apple-anniversary). Although I changed many of the key elements of these posters, thy were very basic and effective. They use a bright and colourful neon background which would contrast with a silhouetted figure dancing in the foreground. There were no textures to them but where clear in their goal and what they were selling .I Felt it was too basic and applied more texture by removing parts of shaded body. This is to create the effect that the podcast over was released at the same time as the iPod adverts nearly 20 years ago, it may decay on paper as its old. The apple iPod adverts also had an influence in the second design with its vibrant background. I experimented making it red and purple, finally settling on the former to further distance from the first design featuring many red elements. For further inspiration I simply browsed podcasts on Spotify, this time focussing on typographic designs , one of which caught my eye being the Anfield Wrap using just the first letters of every word, shortening it to TAW. This also has a distressed look. The simplistic withered look I wished to emulate in my design and is a highly effective, eye catching image. However, it doesn’t not reflect the subject matter very well, having little to do with Liverpool football club.A huge inspiration for my final design is the clothing brand Emporio Armani, the logo is always very geometric and always black and white. The logo is sometimes just typographic and features the spread of an eagle covering a large space. The geometric nature with sharp black and white themes , I recreated in my own design as a vastly different alternate to my former podcast covers
I started my design process by looking at some existing examples of podcast covers. The covers I looked at had some noticeable themes that I intended to replicate. A fair few (The Joe Rogan Experience) featured a microphone in the cover so that was something interesting I wanted to explore. A lot also made use of an image of the podcast host (like the dropout and Joe Rogan examples) while others just had the podcast name displayed in a creative way (Like the buzz cast).
As I’d seen in my research, many podcasts covers incorporated the microphone so that’s where I started. I had this idea of someone talking into the microphone one end and out the other end there would spew subject specific vocabulary so from looking at the cover you could immediately tell what kind of topics would be discussed on the podcast. I also chose a catchy name for the podcast, ‘typography time.’ I enjoyed creating this idea and like the outcome, I think the cover incorporates typography well which reflects what the podcast is about.
For my second design I wanted to explore creative ways I could display the podcast name (like the buzz cast example). I started by choosing a tasteful colour scheme and a simple name. I then stretched the letters stems to create a striking linear pattern. I then filled the gaps with the typical imagery you would see on a podcast cover (microphone and information). I experimented with this design by warping the lines to try and replicate sound waves emitting from the microphone but I decided to stick with the more simple idea.
For my final design I wanted to create something that incorporated as many of the archetypal qualities I had seen in my research. I thought an image of the host on the cover would make quite a convincing design however a problem I faced was that it was a made-up podcast with no actual host. I decided to just use stock images, one featured a man, the other featured a microphone, I then applied a black and white filter to both to keep the image consistent. Similar to my first idea I wanted to communicate what the podcast was about so I had this idea of a thought bubble coming from the hosts head which would have all the topics he would talk about in it. In the end I went with the idea of having books about graphic design and typography (that he might discuss on the podcast) flowing out of his head, as if all his knowledge is on display.
I started by removing the top half of his head and applied it at an angle to appear as if it was being opened. After that I found some of the best graphic design books and arranged them flowing out of his skull. I added shadow to the hosts head and to the books to give the image some depth. I did this by using tools like the drop shadow, curves adjustment layers and also just blending with the black paintbrush. I like this idea because It combines what I learnt from looking at existing podcast covers and overall looks quite convincing.
I started by watching some of the official Photoshop tutorials. I watched a lot of the videos from the ‘working with layers’ link. This was very helpful as often my Photoshop layers get a little bit messy and this told me the importance of creating a Photoshop file that looks professional with correctly named layers. I did some further research into layers with just some basic google searches and discovered you can group layers when necessary which made a lot of this project more organised and effective. I also viewed the website ‘how to design a podcast cover’. This was really helpful as before I had a look through the website I had no idea how I was going to start with my designs but the website gave me some direction and discussed some good starting points and also some questions to ask yourself as you go through the design process. As I was working on Photoshop I had an issue where my images looked very flat on the background and I was not sure how to make layers look more natural and blend into the surroundings when on a page. A YouTube video called ‘Master Curves from Start to Finish in Photoshop’ really helped me out. I discovered you could use the curves adjustment layers to give an image darker tones and lighter tones in the appropriate places. This includes giving object shadows and highlights to make it look more natural. The curves adjustment layer also has a function where you can colour match two objects which will come in extremely useful. Skills I would like to develop in the future include mastering the pen tool as currently I am hopeless at using it. I would also like to improve at simple jobs like creating clean and crisp layer masks because currently when I cut out an image it takes ages and looks a bit dodgy.
Resources for research and inspiration
Like i mentioned at the beginning, I started this project by looking for some inspiration and a great way to do this is by looking at existing designs. I started by googling ‘podcast covers’ which showed hundreds of results however each one incorporated some of the basic archetypes. To list a few: Vibrant colours, use of illustration, interesting typeface, experimental use of type, most of them reflect what they are about visually, use of a microphone, visuals that reflect radio or sound in some ways, most feature the hosts face. It would be difficult to include all of these stereotypes into one cover so I cherry picked 3 features that I wanted to include in my ideas. 1. have a microphone, 2. be experimental with the type, and 3. feature the podcast host. I also had a scroll through spotifiy to look at what the most successful podcasts had done on their covers (https://open.spotify.com/genre/podcast-charts-body). Like I also said earlier I found the ‘how to design a podcast cover’ website extremely useful (https://99designs.co.uk/blog/design-other/how-to-design-a-podcast-cover-the-ultimate-guide/) which addressed how to start a design and also went into detail about picking a theme and running with it. As I was designing I had this website up in another tab just to refer back to and I feel like I was successful in following a lot of the instructions. For example it spoke a lot about picking a theme and colour and being consistent with those choices throughout, I’d like to think my covers have a solid style and a tasteful colour pallet. Topics I would like to explore further include colour theory, I’d love to learn about what colours work best together, combinations to avoid and also how colour can have an effect on the viewer. I’d also like to learn more
A source that was essential for this project was Unsplash, (https://unsplash.com/images/stock). It provided me with a lot of the images I used throughout which were all very high quality and just made everything so much easier.
My design ideas stemmed from the idea of using illustration. I really enjoy simple illustration, and thought that it could be used well to create a neat, clean podcast cover. I knew I wanted to use the idea of interviewing designers from looking at some design podcasts on Spotify, which provided commentary on design, or interviews with designers about their work. From there I developed the phrase ‘type talk’, as well as the idea of having a simple design to show that concept. I think illustrations work best when kept to a limited colour palette, so I decided to work with a mix of both cool and warm tones that complemented well. This way I could keep the design simple and aesthetically pleasing, while communicating the theme of the podcast. In the actual drawing process I used my Wacom drawing tablet, and the photoshop basic brush presets, the hard round brush, on full hardness and 10% softness. This gave me clear lines, while keeping a rounded edge. I drew some little character busts in my own illustration style, with simple features and colours. The idea was to have one speaking into a microphone, as if recording the podcast, and another listening. My three ideas for this project were playing with the layout, text colour and form. I wanted to keep the idea of the two figures being linked by a wire, so in my first one I placed the figures back to back, with their wires plugged into the text. In my second I did a similar effect, with the figures at both ends of the screen. In the third I used a circle, with the text in the middle, and the wires jutting out with the characters on the circumference. In the end I used the second one, as it was my favourite of the three visually, and I felt was the most eye catching and original.
As I am relatively competent with photoshop as a design and illustration medium, I mostly knew how to go about creating me design, but the tutorials provided by Rachel were still very helpful, especially the video by Terry White on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NrP690oqKA) . Although my initial plan was to work with illustration on photoshop, I still found videos explaining the uses of photoshop useful and helpful, such as the tutorial on embedding files in photoshop https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OfC9pZMJKs . I watched a few videos with tips on illustrating on photoshop, for example, Sophie Melissa on youtube has a video on her illustration process that I found helpful (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYoO_u8JNCQ.), that allowed me to reflect on making a simpler design. These provided me with more knowledge about how to navigate photoshop and how to make my design cleaner and neater. Software skills wise, id like to try a more complex design perhaps, or the use of actual photos and editing them in photoshop, as this is something i’d like to become more competent in. This project provided great insight on what i would like to work on in the future regarding photoshop and developing my current skills further, and also provided me with an idea of my current competency level with illustration in photoshop, and taught me how to simplify my designs, as I often have the desire to make them complex, so it has definitely helped me with the ‘less is more’ side of design in being able to create a clean, simple design.
Resources for research and inspiration
Most of my research was based around sketching ideas in different styles and then transferring them over to digital, however I did look at a few minimalistic illustrative images for inspiration, on pinterest and instagram. The first was Benji Nate https://www.instagram.com/benjinate/?hl=en, a favourite artist of mine who uses a style similar to my own, with pretty simplistic features that I thought might work nicely, but eventually decided didn’t quite fit the aesthetic i was attempting to achieve. Another source of inspiration was the art magazine ‘fan club’ chttps://issuu.com/fanclubnotts which uses a simple style that I really enjoy, and inspired me a little more to look at making a more simple style of my own. From this I took away some features that made the image much more clear and simple, while retaining the message of what it was supposed to represent and advertise. Looking at different artists and images really helped me develop the imagery I wanted from something i was used to and comfortable with, into a more user/audience oriented design that could be used for advertising. It also helped me develop skills I had previously struggled with through research and trial. Topics in design I might like to explore further within this project might be looking at a more photographic approach, taking my own photographs and editing them, whether they would be of typography I find, or images I take from pre made environments, or images constructed in a set to achieve a specific look. Id like to work on my photo editing and manipulation skills in the future, as that is something I am less comfortable with than illustration, and I think it would be useful to explore in my own time using some of the skills I learned in this project, and this module as a whole.
Firstly, how did I come up with the title, “Dear, Typography” you may ask. A letter is a type of typographic piece of work; specifically the most dearest one to me. Another reason why I thought this choice in title was the best fit for this post is because of the play on words – we see a ‘deer’ visually on the final design, right?
My first design (Design 1), which ended up being my final design, consists of the combination of 2 separate images. my goal was to make it look like as though the image originally had come like that. This required me to research how to blend 2 images together in Photoshop as well as experimenting myself using the different tools available on the software. I used the eraser tool (shown in screenshot 1) to remove the background of the deer in the original image so that I had something feasible to work with in order to blend the crop of the deer in my desired background of the forest. I chose the luminosity filter (shown in screenshot 2) – this made the colours of the background come through into the deer making the 2 images blend together effortlessly. I then played around with the levels of the opacity for the typography and the images making sure both were balanced and legible.
Whilst working on my second podcast cover, I developed a new skill. I had a vision of seeing a collage of images through the outline/fill of ordinary text so I hopped onto Youtube and found some content which helped me achieve what I wanted. I was introduced to a new feature I previously was not aware of before – a layer mask. This enables you to reversibly hide parts of a layer. In this case it was the fill inside the text which made the imagery behind seep through. The fill colour of the layer mask was a sold white, but I wanted to show more of the imagery so I decreased the opacity to show it through the mask (shown in Figure 3) The collage of the images behind (shown in Screenshot 3) relate to the Printing Press and the arrangement of the type on top reflect the topic of the podcast. I experimented with the size, leading and tracking of the text to make sure each letter looked equally spaced out. The knowledge I have gained from the TY1INT module has helped me massively here as I now know how to experiment with the different typographical variants effectively (size, leading and tracking)
My third idea also taught me a new technique. In my previous experience with Photoshop, I have always used the quick selection tool to remove the background of images, however I discovered through my research that with more simpler images, you can do this easily by just clicking a button. I used the object selection tool along with selecting ‘select subject’ (shown in screenshot 5) Photoshop selected the area which it thought I wanted – the simpler outline. Afterwards, I used the select and mask option to soften any rough edges and to double check that the software had removed and kept what I wanted. I used the vivid light filter on this which gave an abstract look and then placed the hand on a ‘nearly’ black background. I used the image and action of the hand writing as I think it reflects the subject well and to go with it I added repeated text onto the background. I was inspired by this repeated text from my previous design but I wanted to show it in a different place: the background. The repeated words replicate the appearance of a word search, which was my intention. I noticed that due to the filter applied to the hand, it made the text show through on top of it even though the layer was beneath the layer of the hand. To correct this, I used the eraser tool to remove the additional text which was present on the hand. Screenshot 6 shows how the text ended up after I erased the text on top of the hand – you can see that it has made an outline where the hand was. After arranging the layers, I put the hand at the front as I think this is the most vital aspect of the podcast as it displays the theme.
From previous experience with PhotoShop, I was able to perform the basic techniques such as: adjusting image quality, combining and layering images. However, with each design I made, I learnt a new skill. Not only this, I practiced, reviewed and consolidated the previous skills I already knew. This has developed my understanding in PhotoShop further. In my first design, when I removed the background on the picture of the deer, I learnt how before you convert an image to a layer, when you upload an image into PhotoShop, it comes as a smart object – with this you are unable to edit it. I discovered shortcut keys to make the brush of the eraser tool bigger and smaller which made it extremely easier as the job was done faster. To make the two images blend together, I used a mixture of varying the opacity and made the use of a filter from the effects option. The next thing I want to work on is blending 2 images in a linear manner. For example, combining 2 faces together, using one side from each individual. I want to use this technique in the TY1DP1 module for our film poster production. *Online resource used: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US3NZc_pmSI&ab_channel=VerticDesigns
The tutorial I used to help me with my second design enabled me to experiment with text, which I found to be necessary as previously I worked with images. During my A – Levels, I never really understood the concept of a layer mask, however after working on this design, I secured my understanding. The two most important pieces of information I took away from the tutorial I used was choosing the correct blending option (soft light) and selecting the inverse of the text; in other words the outside area of the text. Now, I was able to make the adjustment layer, before choosing the white solid fill and decreasing the opacity, which gave me my desired finish. *Online resource used: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bG5r5TM5e2o&ab_channel=PhotoshopTutorials%7CPhotoeffects
My third design was where I sort of combined all the techniques I had learned through this task together. It also taught me a new, and an alternative technique to remove the background of an image. As mentioned previously, the object selection tool is an extremely clever way of PhotoShop helping you to perform the action you want to do. The tutorial taught me how to refine and neaten the edges after the crop was made. This is essential as the last thing you want is to have rough edges surrounding your image. To further develop my skill set in this area, I want to practice using the different background removal tools such as: the eraser tool, quick selection tool and the object selection tool with different images varying in complexity. *Online resource used: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWSa5SYzZu8&ab_channel=VerticDesigns
Resources for Research and Inspiration
These three images inspired me to make my designs. I came across the first two images when I was searching through PhotoShop edits. The reason why these images stood out to me was how both of them have manipulated the subject of the work. The designer’s have chosen a specific perspective to show the main picture through whether it be through a completely different image or through text. I wanted to learn and understand how to do this in my own work and use it in other areas in this module, as well as the other modules in this course. The third image is part of a big ‘umbrella’ of magazine covers. Many magazines place their mastheads behind their model. They do this because they know that their target audience are aware of about their publication. I was inspired by this idea, therefore incorporated it into my design but in a different style. In the future, I would like to explore this topic; constructing magazine covers and magazines in general. However, I know that a text like a magazine should be ideally made in Indesign.
I improved my skills in using the different layers efficiently; photograph editing; using tools such as the eraser and selection tool and experimenting with opacities. I have realised that there are multiple ways to do one thing in Photoshop – some are easier than others. However, each skill/tool results in a different finish.
I feel like I need to improve more on image manipulation and how I can combine images in different ways other than collages and blending. The next thing I want to work on is blending 2 images in a linear manner. For example, combining 2 faces together, using one side from each individual. To further develop my skill set, I want to practice using the different background removal tools such as: the eraser tool, quick selection tool and the object selection tool with different images varying in complexity.
Idea 1: For my first design I decided to use a lightbulb to show the generation of ideas by graphic designers, as that is most likely the podcast’s target audience. I knew that I wanted to include letters or type of some sort as the podcast talks about type. I began by typing out letters, converting them to outlines and then trying to warp the letters into a lightbulb shape. I didn’t think this was very successful as the letters looked awkwardly squashed and the amount of white space was too much for the lightbulb shape to be clear enough.
I then tried drawing the shape of the lightbulb with the pen tool and using it creating a layer mask with it. This worked but I still didn’t think the shape was clear enough, so I image traced and then expanded a photo of a light bulb so that I could place this over the top. I then went in with the white arrow tool to clean some stray points up.
This is my favourite design as I think it represents the content of the podcast well without spelling it out, and when seen from far away still works.
Idea 2: For idea 2 I wanted to try a simpler design based on type. I typed out ‘Typography and Graphic Communication’ and then experimented with typefaces, leading and tracking. I reduced the leading quite significantly to make the text appear as one unit and because it allows the text to be bigger within the same dimensions. I changed the colour of ‘typography’ so that the words could be differentiated. I then experimented with different compositions of the pen using the transform tool, but I settled with just one pen drawing a line as it was the clearest and allowed for a fair amount of white space, stopping the sticker looking crowded.
Idea 3: I decided to go for the classic circle shape for this sticker. Using the pen tool I created some organic shapes and filled them with the freeform gradient for a bright and almost 3D effect. I used the layer mask to cut a circle out of it and then experimented with various typefaces for the ‘T&GC’. I went with a simple serif typeface in the end, so that it is easy to read and brings a touch of classiness to the sticker – sans serif looked more basic and since the other designs are sans serif I thought it would add some variation to my designs.
I had used Illustrator a fair bit before so I knew the basics but I wanted to explore the dropdown menus further. I read a tutorial on how to create icons, from which I learnt how to use the ‘Effect > Distort and transform > Transform’ function. I tried this out on Design Two, and although it didn’t make the final design I think I will find this tool very useful in the future, particularly for creating circles made up of icons. I also used the dropdown menus to outline strokes and to lock and unlock objects, for which I have now learnt the keyboard shortcuts.
I then watched a tutorial about making stickers in Illustrator (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Gh69t8mg8I) which reminded me about using swatches to get consistent colour schemes, and using linear gradients for tonal effect.
The next tutorial I watched was about freeform gradients ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhB5tTTLqDU ). I learnt about how you can use either points or lines to create 3D effects and multicoloured, organic gradients. I also watched several tutorials on using the pen tool (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kAQUNFZJXY), which led me to ‘The Bezier Game’ ( https://bezier.method.ac ). This encourages you to practice making various shapes using the pen tool in as few clicks as possible – I found this very helpful and I have become a lot more confident with this tool now. I then combined my knowledge of freeform gradients and the pen tool to create organic shapes filled with gradients, before layering them up and layer masking them over a circle.
In the future I would like to learn more about the pathfinder tool and work out which icon does what, as I usually just use trial and error to achieve the effect I want, which is more time consuming than it needs to be.
Resources for research and inspiration
Firstly, I looked at some sticker designs on Google to get a feel for proportions and the sort of images used. A common factor was that they used colour and large text where it needed to be readable; circles also seemed to be a popular choice when it came to shape.
I had a flick through Behance to gather some inspiration on typefaces, colour schemes and how to layout different elements, for example after looking at one of the articles I knew I wanted to make use of white space, which I did in Design 2. I was then looking at my boards and decided to have another look at Vasjen Katro’s work, a designer I really like (http://shop.baugasm.com). This is where I got the idea for the freeform gradients as he uses a lot of fresh 3D effects which look similar, with bright/pastel colour schemes.
A topic I would like to explore further is effects on type – for example text looking worn or ripped or textured. I think this is probably a job for Photoshop, after the text has been made in Illustrator. Typography is my main interest and this would add another element to my stickers and would allow me to create stickers that are purely typography with effect over it – I felt that my other stickers were too boring without some sort of illustration as well. On my Google search I saw some that used just type with an effect on it and I thought they were very effective designs, so I will look into how this is done.
With my first design, I wanted to keep it pretty simple. Considering my lack of experience with photoshop I was still navigating around the software. In the image you can see a girl sat on a laptop and I’ve created a more abstract feel by not including any texts. I actually attempted to edit a few things out of the image to make it more relevant to the message I was trying to convey. I’ve done this by matching the background and overlaying a white box one top and locking this over the image. I’ve also repeated an oval shape, changing the colours of each one to create a ‘Creative Thinking’ concept which is obviously crucial in the Graphic Design world.
Next, I wanted to create something a bit more controversial. Using the basic representatives of Graphic design – A laptop and a phone. I was also really attracted to the pastel blue colours. I’ve laid some white boxes on the top of the devices because there were some graphs I didn’t want to be shown as they were not relevant to the task. I’ve used the text tool to put ‘Typography&Graphic Design Communication’ making sure the space of the words looked correct. I used the eyedropper tool to match the colours of the text with the colours of the background that I liked so much.
Along my research of inspiration, I came across this calligram image of Martin luther king. I was drawn to the bright contrast of colours against the black and this is something I have tried to reflect in my own design with the bold, bright white writing that definitely contrasts with the background. I experimented again with the type tool and moving around the text to make it seem appropriate on the page. I’ve used a bold, san-serif type in white to create a clear contrast of colours similar to the main image.
I have decided to log about my photoshop task because photoshop is where I least excel in, so I wanted to challenge myself more in this area. I have been briefly introduced to photoshop but other than a few short tasks I am pretty clueless as to the uses of the software. I was eager to learn how to use photoshop, as I am very aware it is a huge aspect of the creative industries I want to strive in.
Software tutorials were an extremely important part of my process with my lack of experience with the software – I know from experience with other Adobe softwares that the never-ending tutorials on the internet are very important and actually a way of key learning for most creatives. I needed to start from the very beginning and decided to watch a video just showing some navigation of the interface. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LN37eDqYvfQ. There’s also some little videos as you hover over the interface which I found very helpful along the way. Some of the skills I learned on my journey include placing the images in the interface, experimenting with the type tool and similarly experimenting with the different typefaces. I also used the eye dropper tool to do some colour matching. I feel like I’m pretty familiar with photoshop now and will feel more comfortable in future photoshop tasks.
When considering some of the skills I wanted to develop further, I’d like to experiment with overlaying and merging images – maybe through the use of cutting out and placing on top or even experimenting with different transparencies et cetera. I’m very interested in this photo editing side of photoshop and it’s something i’ve been meaning to experiment with for a while and will definitely be taking this with me after this project.
Resources for inspiration
I started my research of inspiration by looking at a website called Picabay mainly for inspiration but also this is where I was going to source my main images. I started by researching some key words like ‘Typography’ and ‘Design’. I was finding myself drawn to calligram-like images. I’ve always been inspired by David Carlson and his grunge typography style. I definitely wanted to include something like this. I was drawn to one Calligram in particular of Martin Luther King. I loved the true contrast of bright colours on the black, but also the message that we resonate with Martin Luther King is ever important. Although some might feel he is irrelevant to the topic of Graphic Design, if I was to have a podcast I would be including content that resonates with the morals of Martin Luther King and likewise the celebration of other black artists.Similarly, I seemed to gravitate to more colourful images which is evident in the final images I picked with paste blues and elements of pink but I also managed to keep it quite simple. I did some similar inspiration research looking up keywords on the internet (similarly websites like etsy and pinterest) and found this pretty helpful when i was in times of a creative block.
Our task for this project was to design and create three different podcast covers for a Typography and Graphic Communication podcast using Adobe Photoshop. Having never used photoshop before, this was a great opportunity for me to familiarise myself with the software and get to know the basic tools. Our podcast covers were to be a combination of image and text, but we were free to be completely creative with our ideas. My initial idea was to a create a tree from individual letters, to represent the importance of typography in everyday life and to give an indication to the general topics of the podcast. I found an image of a tree that i liked and placed it into photoshop before adding lots of individual letters to the shape of the tree. This took time but i then learnt how to duplicate things which made it a lot easier. I also cut out an image of a sun and added this in to the image, because i wanted to experiment cutting up and adding images. During the process of the second design, I learnt about cutting images and using layers to show different parts which allowed me to replace the tea with coloured liquid by initially cutting out the shape of the normal tea splash. I wanted to use a fairly normal image and to add a creative spark to it with the watercolour splash, and had seen similar designs like this previously which is where my inspiration came from. For the third design, my idea was to have the text merging into the image as if it were a reflection. I changed the format of the text so it appeared as if it was on the floor by adjusting the angle, following the reflection of the yellow door. I also used the dodge tool to lighten the colours of the door. My first design idea was my favourite, so I developed this more by warping the podcast title text so that it appeared as part of the sky.
To begin with, I watched Rachel’s video first which showed me how to set up and create a new file in photoshop, place images into the file and combine them, as well as demonstrating how layers work. This was useful in understanding the basics of photoshop and how it works. There were certain keyboard shortcuts that I took in from the video such as “Command T” to transform images which was really helpful as it simplified the learning process. When I had further queries about what tool to use i would search up what I needed on google or watch some different tutorials which really helped. I watched the video thread titled ‘Get to know photoshop’ which contained clips about opening images, saving work, and generally getting to know the work space area. I then watched the adobe tutorial on working with layers, which was really helpful in understanding how they work and why they should be used. I found the youtube channel Adobe Creative cloud useful for general tutorials on getting started and using photoshop. I also used Terry White’s youtube video tutorials on photoshop. This was helpful as i didn’t know what each of the photoshop tools did before so I learnt the uses of some of the important ones such as the cropping tool. Another adobe tutorial i found useful was the one about working with and combining images.
I wanted to get some general podcast cover inspiration, so I went to Spotify and had a browse through different podcasts, paying close attention to the details of the image provided to get a feel for what i should include in my image. I asked myself what each image was trying to say and if it interested me, then why? I found that most of the covers incorporated bright colours to catch the eye of the viewer, and the name of the podcast was usually embedded into the image. I then used the free image site pixabey, in order to search for free, high quality images that I could use in my designs. For my first design I started searching for photos of trees made out of letters, but there were none that I particularly liked or were what i was imagining in my head, so I changed my mind and browsed images of just trees, thinking that I could create the lettering effect myself. For inspiration, I looked at Matthew Price’s article ‘How to design a podcast cover: the ultimate guide’ which gave me lots of helpful information and tips on the design process, and here i got to see lots of examples to learn from. For a further introduction into Photoshop and for future inspiration, I looked at the step by step tutorial on How Amr Elshamy created “Round things”. This was really fascinating as you get to see the amazing finished product and are walked through the different stages of the process as well as the tools used.
Before responding to the task, I decided that I would extend my theme of modern pictograms in my work. Previously, I used images taken from health and safety signage but wanted to vectorise them for manipulation with type, whilst maintaining its aesthetic. I returned to the original sign I found the graphics on, as well as the deisgns I had created from previous tasks, for a reference of how they should look. I uploaded the images to the document and lowered their opacity, allowing me to trace them but still view them for a reference
I researched sticker designs to see how the boarders fit around their subject. Considering I will use pictograms and type, I decided to research how sticker boarders fit around both these.When intricate or sharp corners are used, they generally have simplified boarders, creating a breathable and softer background. I thought rounder boarders, used with geometric subjects, would contradict ideals that modernist designs stood for, as it looked lazy and sluggish. However, I thought it important to have a generous boarder to reinforce the corners when pealed. I decided that I would strive for straight edges for uniformity in the designs original structure but combine rounded elements when necessary. In addition I wanted to avoid basic forms for the stickers boarder, aiming for a combination of straight and curved edges, rather than conforming to generic shapes as the overall sticker shape.
I noticed my research examples used a lot of colours, primarily soft pastel like colours. Rather than overwhelm the viewer with bright colours, the forms serve this, leaving the colour to convey tone. I think I’ll experiment with Black and red, two typical modernist colours which will be in line with my pictogram designs. I think I would have liked to explore colours more, using them more as elements of shade and tone for depth in the design.
For my first idea, I experimented with taking the pictogram and making them look like they were talking around a microphone. I felt it looked week so decided to explore more with the microphone I created using the pen tool. I wanted to include my podcast name’s initals within the microphone, leading to become a monogram which I felt was quite bold. I felt the stand looked week so I removed it, making the mic the main body. I thought I could include the title as a subtitle to the podcast. Since the microphone was full with the monogram, I decided to include it in the exterior, resembling sound waves like the layers of colour I added in the mic.
For my third Idea I experimented with people talking around the microphone more. Instead I used different pictograms. I experimented with how they sat together, I made their bodies resemble text boxes by making the armpit and shoulders more angular. I also experimented with their positioning, finding that ordering them in descending size helped lead the eye towards the microphone. The sticker formed a triangle, inspiring me to add a play button for the background, as it had connotations with the podcast. I needed the background to contrast so I used red colours (in line with modernist ideals). I found it still looked flat, so I added a smaller dark red triangle to give it depth. In addition I distorted it to look a bit more playful and 3D.
My second Idea was my favourite idea. I explored the pictograms through only using two, making it feel sleek. I experimented again with using the intials of the podcast within the graphics, finding out that I could actually use the type to form the body parts. I found that the T could form the armpit and the M could form the armpit and waste, whilst creating a more feminine design. I went with this and experimented with making the type sit in different locations, trying to maintain consistancing in form with both of them, leading me to go back with the pen tool and select several anchors, dragging them in to make them skinnier.
I decided to research how to use the pen tool on Illustrator. With this research under my belt, I wanted to use it efficiently and decided to learn the shortcuts for the following tools: Add anchor point (+); Minus anchor point (-); Anchor point (shift, C); Pen tool (P); selection (V) and direct selection (A). These shortcuts allowed me to manipulate the paths and shapes more efficiently. I found it helpful as I learnt how to creat curves within a line, rather than having to use the shape tool. Initially I would use too many anchor points, but gradually became more confident. I learned that you could use guides to draw the handlebars out and create symmetric curves. I found using the shortcuts easier for moving anchor points around, as before I would accidently move handlebars. In addition I also learnt that I could draw the paths with no fill and a contrasting colour stroke to help trace my images. I also found it useful to lower the opacity of the image I wanted to trace to still have a reference.
In addition, the shape tool and pathfinder helped me. Initially I experimented with overlapping shapes and combining them with the pathfinder tool. This was helpful to an extent, I later returned to my designs and recreated them to be one path, via the pen tool. Regardless I still used the shape tool. I found Holding down shift and scaling spheres helped me create heads more efficiently than the pen tool.I think I also would like to improve my skills with the pathfinder tool, making my shapes also include more variation in form.
I experimented with creating outlines to represent sound from the podcast in my first design. I didn’t want to over crowd the design, so I experimented with adding a subtitle along the exterior of the microphone. I had to learn how to set type to a path to do so, and used the outer line of the design to do so. I think this is one of the techniques I want to develop. Instead of using it almost as ornamentation, I would like to experiment with making an intricate design just using this tool.