Monday, 26 August 2013

More things I like

Anders Nilsen the title page is clever enough even before you look at the content. I discovered him through an article in The Guardian I haven't read comic books or comics since I was a child and read my brothers copy of The Victor and was a massive fan of Alf Tupper

Research point

The course asks what software I have available;

For drawing/Images JASC Paint Shop Pro. Dated, I've had it for years, but I can do quite a bit with it. Some bits are still a mystery, how to control the Magic Wand button, a lot of the layering stuff and adjustments of contrast, saturation, hue. It all sounds very scientific but I don't understand the underlying theory. I have The Visual Dictionary of Graphic Design so I will need to do some working out. I may have done something odd with it recently as some of my favourite features need a different approach....

For Desktop Publishing I have an equally elderly copy of Microsoft Publisher which I have learned to treat with respect. I save my work religiously as I go along as it had a past tendency to crash unexpectedly which does seem to have stopped lately, maybe that's because of my neurotic saving. It is limited I'm sure, compared to more modern software, but it has taught me to think laterally when I need to do something it appears not to support.

For both packages I find that I learn in response to the needs of my projects and that I am constantly finding hidden features.

(I dream of Adobe software when I'm rich and famous)

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Point of Sale Display - Part 1

First thought is what do people like, can I reflect their favourites back to them in an encouraging way.

 There are some clever art ideas using fruit but not all of them are that successful. I like the more simple ideas where eyes are added to the fruit but utilise the existing features. Take a look at this
Slight departure but this was an interesting project produced as a response to the closing of Les Halles market in Paris
I like this so much that it's hard to try and come up with a new idea. It's from the Robinson Supermarket in the UAE
I was already a fan of Emma Dibben's work for Waitrose
but also found Kathy Wyatt in my research
I had a similar project for my Illustration Module and was quite pleased with the results
 but it seems a bit of a cheat to re-use the ideas so I did some drawings in my sketchbook
I thought about apples on the tree

In real life the watercolour looked a bit wishy washy so I manipulated the colour once I'd scanned it.

 When cropped they may have some potential

 Maybe more striking against a coloured background?
 It's hard to add lettering afterwards. I've made this mistake before - should have learnt by now.....
 I think hand lettering would work better. I used tracing paper over a printout of the enlarged cropped image so that I felt more free to experiment.


Wednesday, 21 August 2013


One of my reasons for doing formal study is to open out my work for criticism and learn from the feedback of others. Working alone at home I just create stuff that I like a bit and of course  I understand it because I know my underlying thought processes that got me there so nothing I do stands alone. I participated in a discussion on Critique in the Student Forum and saw this as an opportunity to test the Critique Forum.

I'm not that happy with any of the designs but I found it surprisingly hard to hear the justified criticism from others even though I completely agree with them, so this has been a very useful exercise and I feel I have learnt a lot,

Of the designs I felt this was my best effort
but although the respondents preferred this to the very busy bucket design they liked the side view boat best
 which did surprise me as I nearly didn't include as I thought it was overly simple and looked maybe a bit rushed. I do really admire very simple design but don't have the confidence to send my work out there without overworking it.

In the spirit of over working I think the poster needs a sky
 and maybe a few fluffy clouds....
One of the respondents commented that the lettering had a friendly feel to it but in the spirit of enquiry I did wonder if it would have worked better with cutout lettering so I stole some from the head on poster

 I'm not completely convinced so I haven't wasted time doing "canal"

I do think that it doesn't need further text but I would like to add the website address so that anyone interested can Google further information. I'm using the poster to generate interest rather than as a brochure. I also quite like the QR codes you can scan with your phone to get full information which I would like to add.

but does it look too much like an afterthought?

Then another of my kind respondents didn't like the green and thought "canal" was superfluous so you could have:
Now I'm fighting the urge to add coloured balloons in the sky........ I think on balance I prefer the previous version but ultimately it would be up to the client.
Then I read another comment who wanted more information. I thought the canal could be made up of coloured lettering in Bradley Hand that has a repeating list of the attractions which would be visible to the interested viewer but doesn't detract from the simplicity of the overall design
(I hope you can read this)
 It's then possible to make the lines of letters ripple to make it feel more lively and less static (thank you  Chrisp for your thoughts)
 I tried coloured lettering to make it stand out more
but I don't think it works.
however I've decided it needs bolder colour
If it was going for publication it would need the wavy lettering made clearer, if costs permitted I would like it embossed over the blue but that's probably a bit fanciful. I'm also wondering now if the new design has outgrown the simple collaged boat
I tried making some adjustments to the lettering on my computer
Maybe the original lettering should have been bigger?
There is a danger in taking feedback that you rush around trying to please everyone and the design looses it originality and focus. I don't think that the original design was particularly innovative so there wasn't too much danger of that. I tried to be selective in the feedback I reacted to and I do think that the final design is better than the first ideas.


Saturday, 17 August 2013

Which design works best?

The exercise says "ask other people if you can" so what do you think?

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Exercise - Too much or not enough information - Part 2

When I think of minimal information to create good design I think of David Downton who has said in interview that he looks at his pictures to see that he can take out without loosing the effect. Saul Bass also edited out excess information with his use of simple cutouts

Christine Kim is exploring what can be left out in some of her work  especially with some of her cut paper collages. I think it's fine art rather than graphic design though the more I look at work listed as Graphic Design the more confused I am.

For background illustration I went back to some of the images generated in the first part
 I've played with collage in the past and I like the simple effect so I tried replicating the ideas this way

 I think the flaw in many of my previous designs is that the lettering looks like it's an afterthought (maybe because it often is...) also stock lettering may look too polished alongside the collage. With this in mind I cut out lettering.
 In the spirit of leaving unnecessary bits out I hope the picture of the boat speaks Canal, also the festival is about more than just boats.
 As a minimum it needs to have the date venue and time but I don't like this handwritten addition which looks amateurish . Partly I didn't plan it very well but also I'm not keen on my own handwriting.
 This version uses the collage to grab attention then adds the details for the interested observer in Batic Regular which I think is compatible with the collage.

The side view collage doesn't work as well for me. I added the lettering which is Elephant. I think it works with the image but the whole effect is a bit bland.
It may benefit from coloured lettering but I'm not sure how well that would stand out on a crowded noticeboard.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Things that I like

Marie Claire asked ad agencies to create adverts that highlight the dangers of an unregulated cosmetic surgery industry - there's an article in their August 2013 issue which is well worth reading, All the campaigns were great but I particularly like this one from Johnny Fearless;

Looking at jewellery She says she has an illustrative leaning, maybe this is what attracted me to her work.

I buy local honey from St Albans Cathedral shop;
this is the paper bag they give me - I like the simplicity of the design.

Looking, reluctantly, for a new (second hand) car I was given a beautiful glossy brochure from Fiat for the Fiat 500 It's come a long, long way from the car my granddad used to drive, amazing high definition glossy photo's. Way out of my price range but an enormous leap from any brochure I have been given before and actually a beautiful item in it's own right.

I'm reading "100 Ideas that changed Graphic Design" by Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne which is sending me to research in all sorts of directions.

I fancy a copy of this little book which is apparently full of lovely details

Striking simple work by Bradbury Thompson

Chocolate wrapper from Poland
Francois Bard especially his dog portraits. So many animal pictures are stilted sentimental and unbalanced, it's lovely to see one done well.
From the Times Magazine 03/08/13

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Exercise - Too much or not enough information - Part 1

I've selected my event from the local paper
Looking at some other designs for inspiration
A selection of designs for the film Black Swan 
London Transport has so many great designs I couldn't select my favourite
I jotted down some ideas, I feel more comfortable with lists than mind maps - is this something I should be working on...?
I did some thumbnails.

sometimes the problem is that there are too many ideas and I can't begin to decide which I should pursue.
Tole painting is big on canal boats with images of flowers an castles being typical
I liked the idea of using face painting (one of the activities in the festival) and face painting the advert
onto a willing volunteer, like This may in part be inspired by Stefan Sagmeister's rather off putting (to me) self harm promotion While I was at it I watched his TED talk online about sabbaticals 
I imagine the face would be something on the lines of;
but I found it very difficult to draw a mock up (this would frighten small children!) 
I didn't have a willing volunteer so I tried doing myself in the mirror - I'm not sure I really want to show you the results.....
Overcoming the fact that I haven't got the face for this I think it's difficult to read so
I rejected the face painting idea (plus I don't think it is enough about the canal festival) Also I'm rejecting the beer glass idea which may not attract families.
 Some more sketchbook ideas and another thumbnail
 I like the way coloured pencil goes over a black background so I drew some buckets
but a black background isn't going to give the right idea on a poster (and would be expensive to print) so I used Paintshop to change to a more suitable (and to my mind canal like) colour.
I used publisher to put some lettering on
First impressions aren't that promising but it's a bit better with a few more letters - this certainly isn't a candidate for  the minimal information option in this format
 I think it stands out a bit better with white lettering

I still haven't maxed out on the information. I could do with adding the URL for the organisers website, advice about parking, the names of the performing bands and might like to inform my audience that the event is in it's 11th year. It is already a busy crowded poster and I think anything more would make it unreadable but think I tend towards minimal information to wet the audiences appetite - we will see with the next attempt!
This design could work better with hand drawn lettering, white with a black or dark green border, maybe a good quality photo of a more colourful bucket or better still a jug (maybe a bucket gives the wrong idea?) I would like to experiment with a watery background and probably ought to ground the bucket onto the roof of a canal boat.