Monday, 22 July 2013

Exercise; visualising your ideas

My random Googling for leaflet design sent me to Alfred Leete who designed the "Your country needs you" poster for WWI but also did some lovely transport posters ( and there are others in this article in the Creative Review )
The original pointing figure may have come from an American drink called Moxie The pointing hand goes back a long way in the history of publishing, Wikipedia says;

"Though rare today, this symbol was in common use between the 12th and 18th centuries in the margins of books,[2] and was formerly included in lists of standard punctuation marks.[3] It primarily fell out of favor because its complex design made it unfit for handwriting, and its wide size made it difficult to fit on a typewriter or on early, low-resolution, monospaced computer fonts.[citation needed] It was therefore not included in ASCII. It was, however, added to Unicode. Historian William Sherman speculates that as the symbols became standardized, they were no longer reflective of individuality in comparison to other writing, and this explains their diminished popularity.[4]
Manicules are first known to appear in the 1100s in handwritten manuscripts in Spain, and became common in the 1300s and 1400s in Italy with some very elaborate with shading and artful cuffs.[5] After the popularization of the printing press starting in the 1450s, the handwritten version continued in handwritten form as a means to annotate printed documents. Some were playful and elaborate, but others were as simple as "two squiggly strokes suggesting the barest sketch of a pointing hand" and thus quick to draw.[6] Manicules also became a printed character, and from the 1400s to 1700 with a few exceptions (such as figurines of pointing men and women) were horizontal, small, and uniform in appearance.[7] In the 1800s and 1900s, the pointing hand became more popular in publications, advertising, and directional signage.[8] Some fingerposts have relief-printed or even fully three-dimensional physical manifestations of pointing hands,[9] The United States Postal Service has also used a pointing hand as a graphical indicator for its "Return to Sender" stamp."

So as Google couldn't really help me (big difference between digital media and paper based communication....) I headed out into the real world and raided a rack in my local supermarket. There were a number of different leaflets from local attractions displayed randomly in a rotating stand with 4 faces of leaflets mostly either A5 or A4 folded in 3 though there were a number of flyers at 1/3 A4 size some and  booklets that fitted into the slots.

Design was pretty variable, one seemed to be an exercise in cramming as much colour and images into one small space to attempt to make it stand out. En mass there was no single leaflet that stood out and I guess they were relying on bored shoppers (or their children) browsing them. I also found a leaflet for a local lavender farm that had been put through the door and a promotional leaflet for an art gallery which I picked up from a table at an exhibition. None of the leaflets were asking for volunteers though I have seen some pinned to notice boards in shops and the library. I guess they may be put though a door but there could be some reluctance to do this due to fears of attracting unsuitable applicants? I guess you would want to target the "right" sort of people for your task. There was fair in my local shopping centre recently with stalls looking for volunteers but it was before this task so I'm afraid I have no leaflets.
I'm sure that the lack of variety in folding is down to cost, there must be machines that can print and fold the standard designs but novel designs may have to be folded by hand and would look less professional if they weren't folded accurately. It's a shame as I'm sure they would stand out more.

I had some fun exploring different folds

First I tried a variation on the A5 size by folding the 2 edges to the middle creating a leaflet that would fit into a standard leaflet slot but which looks a little different
A variation on this would be to fold so that one flap is bigger than the other. It is logical (and maybe too predictable?) to have the title running down the smaller fold

Folding an A4 paper along the long edge creates a tall leaflet which would fit in the rack but stands taller than standard competing leaflets and therefore may grab attention better however it would need to be sufficiently strong paper to stop it from drooping.

I like the idea of oblique folds to create a triangle which points the viewer to look through the text a bit like the pointing hands employed by early printers

 This doesn't work with the word volunteer behind the triangle as it can be seen when folded so would need adjustment

I'm not sure how easy it is to see how the leaflet unfolds, this exercise is exposing my lack of skill as a photographer, maybe a drawing helps, the upper white bit folds over to cover the hatched grey then it is folded in half again

This lead me to further triangular folds
 This one is fairly simple and opens like a card leading the reader to the written information in a consistent order (I think...)

the whole thing folds back where the pink arrow is to reveal an A4 sheet in landscape format.
Side 1

Side 2

The problem with this is that you can see the letters V and R from the word Volunteer inside so they need to be at a better angle

 which changes the inside layout
I think for readability the first triangular design works best
Sorting out lettering that fitted into a triangle proved harder than I had expected. I started with 120 words lifted from a website encouraging volunteering
which I manually typed into a triangle but the folded design required writing turned 90degrees from this which didn't look good done by hand
so I used random text filling from the Adobe design package
with lettering this gave me
I tried different layouts for the front
I think the last one works best
When doing the lettering for YOU I accidentally added cut out you which I think looks good and reads from the side when the leaflet is displayed

It needs pictures of happy volunteers and some colour to make it stand out but here is a folded mock up. The lettering needs to be moved more to the left but with some images or colour the balance could change.
which opens initially to reveal the lettering
It's a bit smudged because my printer is having a turn but I hope that's ok as it is only a mock up. The problem with this design is that you can still see a bit of the V and r when it's folded but if I make the volunteer smaller it doesn't have the same punch. Maybe the Volunteer word should be curved? (also I do know that the writing is upside down, this was due to my difficulties in getting triangular text and the limited time I had with the PC that has Adobe on it)

I'm not sure that this would be easy to mass produce because the folding is fiddly and needs to be accurate.

Monday, 8 July 2013

What is Semiotics?

I've had feedback from my tutor and I need to show you more of my background reading and research. I'm not sure how to display this so please bear with me while I experiment.
I do find that a simple search on Google can send me all over the place.

Can I offer you a simple URL of some of my findings? If I can please try;
Which I looked at in response to the references to Semiotics in Assignment 1

Random quote when I was researching my postcards  for Assignment 1;
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming….. WOO HOO…. What a RIDE!”!  A short animation from a suggestion on the OCA student website which is brilliant.

Belgian graphic design studio, loved this

Researched Neville Brody at the suggestion of my tutor. Interestingly I watched his redesign of The Times newspaper as a reader and I agree he improved it subtly whilst retaining it's character

Also looked at the winners of the DandDA book design competition who made me feel very small with their great ideas

and watched a film on Helvetica which gave a background to the development of the typeface and opposing views on its use and relevance


Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Part 2 Exercise Book Cover Design

I know nothing of HG Wells work so I looked online and found a list of his books. With the internet it is relatively easy to identify which novels were "social" and there is a plot summary available but if I was to create a cover design I think I would need to at least skim read the novels to get a feel for the style and flavour. HG Wells wrote between 1895 and 1941 so some research on the fashions of the era of the individual novels would help to get a feel of the background though if the novels are to be republished maybe a more modern flavour would attract new readers. I would try to identify common themes and ideas for the three books as if they are to work as a set the covers should work together.
I assume that as only three books are chosen from his entire catalogue they have something in common or work together in some way. For example "Wheels of Chance"(1896), "Ann Veronica" (1909) and "Christina Alberta's Father"(1925) cover the same period as the Suffragettes and deal with independent women and older men. I think they would work together and could be linked with the suffragettes theme which would need researching.
Primary research would be to read the novels (or synopses) and look at the era through books, the internet and if time permitted museums, eg. the Geffrye museum in London has mock ups of living rooms of different periods and could give a lovely background. Secondary research maybe to read other peoples views of HG Wells and the novels and to look at past covers. Also to look at "Contemporary" book covers to see what is in fashion at the moment. Looking at the top 20 bestsellers and "hot" new releases on Amazon Contemporary seems to mean primarily lettering with a semi abstract background. Such as Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl"
 and although I prefer the cover of "Diary of a Dog walker" it looks more dated to me

Research lead me to the work of Lizzie Bass

I'm a little unsure how far I'm supposed to go with this exercise so I checked other students blogs and the interpretation seems very varied. I looked at images that I felt gave me a feel of the era.

 I particularly like the Votes for Women poster, but I don't think they count as contemporary.

1) Wheels of Chance

 I used a bicycle wheel and manipulated the image on the computer

 This book also involves a journey across the south of England so maybe a map could be used on the cover

 Which could be distorted.......

I quite like the final distortion but overall I think the wheel has more going for it as an idea

2) Ann Veronica

Ann Veronica is a biology student who is restricted by her father. I thought that trees and plants would represent her ideals of freedom and independence so I chose a snapshot from my phone
which I manipulated with  Paintshop

I like these two ideas best but actually chose the image on bottom left for my final cover as I think it fitted better

Though I don't know that they have anything in common with the pictures from Wheels of chance except that they are manipulated photos. My idea was to use them as background and maybe try and unify the books with lettering style.
3) Christina Alberta's Father

The third book is Christina Alberta's Father Mr Preemby, one of the characters believes that he is the incarnation of Sargon the ancient King of Sumeria so I Googled Sargon and amongst the many ideas I saw I came upon this lovely image
 taken by the Iranian photographer Rasoul Ali
So my suggested covers are using copperplate gothic light because it looks a bit like the typeface for Suffrage Science in my moodboard 

They don't look very contemporary to me so I'm not sure that I have fulfilled the brief. I think I needed to work on the books together and to look at lettering and typography alongside looking for images. With good layout and typography maybe images weren't needed.
I tried doing Ann Veronica a bit differently

These would need different coloured lettering (maybe embossed?) to make them stand out. They look more contemporary.
Wheels of Chance could then become;
I think I'm struggling a bit with Christina Alberta's Father because I don't know enough about the book. Going back to my ideas I considered bubbles for the laundrette
but this is very difficult to read and although I could research different interpretations of bubbles I don't think it works for me with the concept I have of the story.
Therefore I tried  drapes which I interpret as curtains though in 1925 when the book was first published drapers were fabric merchants. I took a photo of my curtains which are actually white but gained an interesting cast in the evening light
and then added the titles to a section of this

I think this is much more contemporary. If it was going for publishing I would maybe choose a different fabric image.
For the spine of all covers I would wrap the image around to cover it and run the title etc. along the spine which isn't ground-breaking I know but I think the information on the spine should be clear and simple to allow the reader to easily identify the book.
Some of my references;

The wheels of chance

Wheels of Chance (1896): This is the aforementioned satirical bicycling romance. It’s hard now to understand and take seriously just how threatened the bastions of Victorian England were by the invention of the bicycle. They saw people who they felt had no right to travel charging around on the roads at what seemed like dizzying speeds. Even worse, velocipedes were embraced by women, something which involved the exposure of feminine legs or even women wearing trousers. Surely society was about to collapse! Wells’s sweet novella follows the bicycling travels of the three members of a love triangle. It is one of his earliest and funniest looks at the aspirations and pretensions of the lower-middle class (a theme he’d return to in Kipps and The History of Mister Polly, among others).

Ann Veronica