Space Cosmodrome (Process)

This project was for the module ‘Consumerism’ and therefore focused on brand creation and identity.

Problem // The UK’s first Spaceport needs a unique selling point, concept and brand. The proposal must be believable as a commercial brand in the space sector.

I researched the existing space sector, space history, air travel, Cornwall, and more to try to find an exciting insight that would drive the project. To me, the experience of space was what was most fascinating. See my pinterest board for the project to get a feel for the journey that my visual research took.

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‘A Word in Your Eye: type’ Development

I finally got around to writing about some projects from Semester 1. This one was completed just before Christmas.

The brief for this project, A Word in Your Eye: type, was to take the answers from an anonymous questionnaire and design a typeface based on an aspect of the person’s personality.

Base Pair (Colour)
My typeface: Base Pair

I used the answers from my questionnaire to sum up my person in six words, I went for sentimental, proud, comic, erudite, articulate and quick-witted. I researched as much as I could about these words and personality traits and I made a pinterest board to gather some visual language. Continue reading

Final Major Project Proposal

For my foundation in Art and Design, the final major project is self directed and culminates in an end of year show in the first week of June. I will use this blog as a place to post updates about how the project is going as well as reflecting upon its progress.


MY FMP

I propose to design the brand identity for a fictional cafe/restaurant and design and produce various relevant items such as the menu, signage, staff t-shirts and the takeaway cups etc. The cafe/restaurant will use organic, sustainably sourced and Fairtrade produce and the branding that I will design will reflect that in both the aesthetic and the materials that I use. This project will allow me to use the skills on Adobe Illustrator that I have been developing throughout the pathway stage. Hopefully this project will give me the opportunity to do a more commercial, real world type project which draws upon elements from previous briefs.

I have started a Pinterest board for this project: FMP. Hopefully I will create more boards becoming more and more specific as the project continues.

I am really looking forward to getting stuck into this project.

R

‘Me, Me, Me’ Development

The ‘Me, Me, Me’ project was a magazine design project. We had to design and produce one issue of a magazine all about ourselves. I decided early on that I really didn’t want to make mine too personal or include any photos of myself so I needed to find someway of making it about myself but without any of that.

I did some general research on Pinterest into smaller publication and zine design – my board. I produced research sheets on masthead/cover design, page layouts, and paper folding/engineering.

Covers and Mastheads Research Sheet
Covers and Mastheads Research Sheet
Page Layouts Research Sheet
Page Layouts Research Sheet
Paper Engineering/folding Research Sheet
Paper Engineering/folding Research Sheet

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This research helped me to work out what sorts of designs I liked and how I might push some of the boundaries of magazine design. For example, I decided that I didn’t want to have a standard sized magazine with a regular layout and structure, I thought I might have some more interesting paper engineering.

In my sketchbook I did lots of initial ideas, development and sketches and gradually my magazine came together. I named the magazine ‘Rosie Magazine’, since Rosie is my name, and it’s my magazine.

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After designing the masthead and the general concept, I planned the structure, layout and construction of the magazine. I decided to make a small, A6 sized zine which was an accordion book with a cover. I wanted to have text articles on one side and the corresponding images on the other side and I wanted the content to be a selection of favourites from the month. For example, in January I might talk about my favourite place, song, recipe etc. that I had found during the month. In this way, the magazine would act as a personal monthly favourites and as a way for readers to get recommendations.mag4mag5

I brainstormed some ideas for content and wrote the articles and editors letter. I did some extra research into more specific parts of the magazine like cover and contents page and I found this a really good way of working- Ie doing lots of research throughout the project, not just at the beginning. I also went through my photos from January and picked out some that were relevant. If I could have had more time, I would have liked to have taken photos specifically for this project.

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I decided to try and attempt to use Adobe Indesign to layout the magazine but I had never used it before so I watched some Youtube tutorials (this one was particularly useful) and eventually managed to get my design laid out.

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I wanted to print the zine double sided onto a sheet of A1 but unfortunately, the printer in the Foundation print room isn’t capable of doing the print double sided so I had to rethink. I thought I could print two sheets of A1 and stick them back to back, but as I folded them, they would become warped and stretch out of place. So in the end, I printed each spread separately and I glued them onto an A1 sheet.

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The final magazine came out okay but some of the pages got creased in the wrong places and I struggled to get all of the pages lined up. At a distance, it looks fine but on closer inspection, it could definitely be neater.

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Overall I really enjoyed this project, particularly writing and laying out the text. I hope to learn how to use Indesign better in the future because I feel like I didn’t use it to it’s full potential in this project.

R

‘The Information’ Development

This project was an infographic design project in which the brief was to gather some information and present it visually. I was really looking forward to this project because a while ago I had read the book Information is Beautiful  by David McCandless and absolutely loved it. I have also spent hours trawling through his website which is great.

As always, I began my research for this project on Pinterest – Infographic board.

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I was particularly drawn to the illustrative watercolour style of some of the infographics that  I found on Pinterest and I decided I would like to incorporate watercolour somehow- perhaps in a similar style to the book covers that I had done before Christmas. I started to come up with some ideas for the type of information I might present. I initially thought I would do it on something quite personal; I thought maybe I’d do something about saxophones since I play the saxophone. Or maybe a representation of the inside of a student fridge. In the end however, I decided to present facts and statistics about each of the planets in our solar system. This was partly inspired by this poster series by Stephen Di Donato and partly by the fact that I thought that watercolour would lend itself particularly well to illustrating planets.

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I started planning out a few possible ideas for presentation. (I was always taught that Pluto was a planet and so my loyalty means that it is included as one in this project, sorry NASA).

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For each of the planets I did lots of research and took note of key facts and statistics. I also started sketching how the facts might look and how I might present them.

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I then got out my trusty watercolour set and started to do some testing and experimentation. I tried out doing ink drawings with a black fine-liner and adding watercolour after and although I did like it, I discovered that I preferred the way it looked if I added white text on top of a watercolour wash.

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To develop this idea further I tried out the text with cut out white letters and with white acrylic paint. I liked both of then but I thought that to use either of these methods for all of the facts for all of the planets would be too time consuming. I resolved that doing it digitally would be quicker, look cleaner and work better.

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I taped off a piece of watercolour paper and created this test wash to be the background for a planet. I used lots of water and a combination of colours that reminded me of a sky or a galaxy or something. I took a high quality photo of it and placed it into Illustrator to add some text.

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I had a play about on Illustrator and I tested out adding layers of rings and altering the opacity to add texture and depth. I chose a font called Lino Stamp Bold for the larger text because I thought that it looked like it had been painted or printed by hand which I thought fitted well with the watercolour texture. I settled on having the text structured and turning some of it by 90 degrees to force the viewer to look closer.

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With most of my ideas solidified, I went ahead and painted a wash for each of the planets and put them all on Illustrator. The one below is for Earth.

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On Illustrator I added all of the text and for each planet I changed the exact layout to suit the combination of text that was on that particular one. I also added a smaller graphic at the bottom of each planet that depicted the scale of it in comparison to the others. This allows all the infographics to be printed at a large enough size to read but still communicate their size. It isn’t quite to scale because Jupiter is freaking huge but it gives the general gist.

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When I thought I had finished, I came across one major problem. I found that once I had put all of my infographics together in one document ready for printing, I couldn’t save it because the file size was too large. My computer crashed a few times and I was very stressed because the whole project had taken longer than I had anticipated anyway even without trouble at the end. I cleared lots of space on my computer and was eventually able to save the largest file size in the history of everything. I also caused a huge queue at the printer because it took forever to print out (sorry everyone). It’s safe to say that when it was finally printed out I was very happy!

After talking to my tutor, it turned out that the problem stemmed from when I had taken each of the photos for the backgrounds on my big Canon camera and imported them directly into Illustrator without resizing them on Photoshop first. So when I put all of the planets together, the file had 9 huge photos, loads of layers and clipping masks and it made it enormous. Next time I will make sure to resize any large photos first before I mess with them on Illustrator.

I was also given a few comments for improvements, for example perhaps I could remove the little moons that I’d added for Mars and Earth because they are distracting etc. but I haven’t changed anything yet because the thought of trying to re-save the file makes me feel a bit ill.

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Overall however I do really like the final outcome and I can see it on the wall of a physics classroom, or perhaps as postcards to help teach children.

R

‘Just My Type’ Development

For the ‘Just My Type’ project, the brief was to design a new, usable typeface and to take inspiration from a country of your choice. I chose Peru.

I started by researching elements of typefaces and rules for typeface design. I tried to learn about what I think is hilariously named ‘type anatomy’. Lots of this went over my head but I’m hoping that at degree level I’ll be taught more about it.
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I also made this Pinterest board and looked into existing typefaces and typography. The brief said that the design had to be exciting and interesting so I looked at slightly more decorative fonts as well as very famous ones like Helvetica. I then started researching Peru to try to find something about the country that could provide the main inspiration for the typeface.

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When making this board I found myself drawn to the brightly coloured photos that kept cropping up. I decided that I should explore the vibrant textiles that form a large part of Peruvian culture. I found lots of reference images so that I could draw out the patterns and repeating shapes that featured in lots of the fabric.

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I also stuck lots of pictures of llamas in my sketchbook because why not.

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So after deciding to focus on pattern I got to work sketching ideas. I used the zigzag/chevron pattern as a starting point and tried to incorporate the shapes into the letters. When I had done my research, I had discovered that type designers often start by designing the H and the O and then spell the word ADHESION (apparently this covers most of the shapes that are used in the alphabet). So I started there. The image below shows only a fraction of the sketches that I did.

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After coming up with a few ideas I selected a design to take forward. I chose it because out of my initial ideas, it was one of very few that I could see working for more than just a few letters and I thought it had potential to be quite structured/geometric and therefore fairly simple to construct.

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I went through each letter to get a general gist of how each one might work. The idea was to have each letter feature a pointed top so that when they were put next to each other, they formed a zigzag shape. Obviously, some of the letters proved VERY difficult to get to fit this formula. eg. I, J, M, Z etc.

I figured that it would be easier to test the harder letters if I had a grid or a template that I could use to get the letters matching. I chose the B to use for the template because it worked particularly well with what I was trying to achieve and it had both ‘curves’ and a straight line. I used gridded paper to help create the template.

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After I had created a shape with all the correct proportions, I duplicated it and used it to tweak all the letters. I found that it was impossible for letters with no horizontal line at the top (eg. M, N, U, V, W) to fit within the template so I decided to introduce another element that would tie all of the letters together.

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I thought that the problem letters could all have angled terminals that were the same angle as the zigzag tops of all the other letters. I created a new template that had more lines and all the correct angles and widths. I then made it on Illustrator so that it was neater and more precise and then I duplicated it so that I could put each letter into it.

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Here is the final hand drawn version of the typeface on the template. (Although, after the final group critique, I did go back and change the N)

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I decided to name my font Lana which means wool in Spanish. I thought this was appropriate since it had been inspired by fabric and textiles. The image on the left is the final illustrator sample sheet of my font and the image on the right is after it had been converted into a type-able font (!!). I used this really cool program and now I can use my font on Illustrator and Word as a useable and working typeface!

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I also created this more colourful and decorative version of the typeface sample sheet to highlight the inspiration behind the design and have a more poster-like final piece. Overall I thought this project was really interesting and I really enjoyed throwing myself into it. I am also really chuffed with the way the final design turned out and I have started to see fonts in a whole new light.

R

‘All Booked Up’ Development

The ‘All Booked Up’ project was a book cover design project. It was the first visual communications pathway project that we’d been set and it ran for the 4 weeks running up to the Christmas break. We were allowed to choose an author from a list and the brief was to design a series of 4 book covers that were similar in style and had a familial feel. I chose Jean Rhys because I have read Jane Eyre and had heard of her book Wide Sargasso Sea which is written as a prequel. I did some initial research into Jean Rhys and also looked up some of the existing covers for her books. I felt strongly that I ought to know what the books were about in order to design faithful covers so I read Wide Sargasso Sea to give me a starting point. I realise now that, in the real world of design, there is not always the opportunity to do such things before starting a project and that I should perhaps have just read reviews, blurbs and synopses online. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the book and found it extremely useful to have read it for this project.

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My first port of call for research is often Pinterest and so here is my board for this project. I liked the idea of combining photography of the handmade with digital design as well as simple imagery and symbolism. I was particularly inspired by this work by Helen Yentus and Edel Rodriguez for Chinua Achebe’s books. I like the way that their covers are bold and expressive and yet still simple and considered.IMG_9710*SPOILER ALERT* After mind mapping a few ideas, I decided that fire/flame imagery was my favourite for Wide Sargasso Sea. In the book, the main character Antoinette experiences a fire that destroys her home and it is an image that also forewarns the devastating events that involve her in Jane Eyre.

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IMG_9717I ended up becoming really interested in the idea of cutting out silhouettes in black and using them to create typography and images. I was inspired again by the work of Saul Bass and his use of cut outs for image making. I also decided that I really wanted the covers to be hand made in some way, or at least I wanted them to have an element of texture to them. I spent a while sketching little thumbnail drawings of some ideas for layout. By this point I was convinced that black and a contrasting colour would be the way forward. I used watercolours to add colour to the sketches and loved the way that it looked as a background so the design in the bottom right hand corner in the image below became the one to take forward.

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IMG_9720After deciding on the general direction for the designs I tackled the other books that I’d chosen: Voyage in the Dark, Good Morning Midnight and After Leaving Mr Mackenzie. Each one needed to have a background texture in watercolour and a clear image that linked somehow to the content of the book.

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IMG_9723IMG_9724For Voyage in the Dark I went with a feather to represent Anna’s delicacy and fragility and a grey stormy background to reflect her view of London. For After Leaving Mr Mackenzie, it was a pile of coins and a golden wash to highlight Julia’s obsession with riches. And for Good Morning Midnight, I chose a wine bottle and glass and dark pink to symbolise Sasha’s dependence on drink.  I struggled a lot to try to get the pile of coins to work as a silhouette and I wish I had chosen an image that was clearer to identify when it is silhouetted.

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I did a quick mock up of the cover on Illustrator and finalised the design. I also started thinking about the spine, back cover and dust flaps. For the blurb, I wanted the text to be filled with the same image as the background to give the effect of it having been cut out. I spent way too long trying to get this to work as I was still in the early stages of learning how Illustrator works and after much googling I eventually figured out clipping masks and HALLELUJAH it worked!

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When it came to assembling the book covers, I painted four watercolour washes and cut out the words Jean Rhys from black card along with the images I’d chosen. I experimented with cutting out the letters for the titles by hand with a scalpel and although I really liked the handmade quality, I found that it took too much time and my hand ached so I asked about using the laser cutter instead. This worked much better and I really like the way that the titles look when they’re laser cut.

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IMG_2707I was even able to laser cut little penguins which I thought were adorable and really wanted to use but they turned out to be difficult to photograph and so unfortunately didn’t make it into the final covers.

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For each part of the cover, I laid out all of the components and photographed them on the background. I was particularly pleased with the way the cover for Voyage in the Dark came out and it was definitely my favourite.

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I was really excited when I finally printed out the covers and I was able to see what they would look like on a real book- lame I know, but it’s the little things.

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Jean Rhys CollageI am ultimately extremely pleased with the way the covers turned out and I have found that, since this project, my use of watercolour has increased a lot – I love it! Also, this project helped improve my skills on Illustrator enormously and I have felt much more confident since.

R