In my free time, I like to practice and develop my design skills in different areas as I think that today in Graphic Design is is becoming evermore important to be a well rounded designer who has knowledge in more than just one area of design. Therefore, I have tried and the course that I take at Arts University Bournemouth focuses very much on giving us a well rounded experience and practice of different areas of design. I think that this gives us an insight into the differing design processes and approaches to different areas of design and really allows us to be able to see which branch of Graphic Design we would like to enter in our future careers.
One of the areas that I decided to practice was my Adobe Illustrator skills, particularly using the pen tool to create flat illustrations. In my Graphic Design study at A Level, I had been researching and completing artist copies of Airside. I greatly enjoyed working in this style and so decided to continue creating designs of my own in this style. I decided on some photographs which I wished to transform into the Airside style. My 3 designs are displayed below:
I designed some business cards to give out for networking and in preparation for graduation and finding a job at the end. I experimented with a few of my ideas with different logos to represent myself and mostly using one bold colour to be striking and impactful. I tried different layouts and then decided upon a centralised layout with one side red and the other white which can be found photographed at the bottom of my business card section of this blog post.
Final Business Card
As I have a keen interest in editorial design and layout, I wanted to try and design a book to collate and display my portfolio work in to be related to a field of Graphic Design that I can see myself going into in my future career.
I thought about how I could make use of my bold red as part of my colour scheme and looked at my experimentations that I had completed for my branding experiments and started to create variations for cover designs. I focused on using a bold red rectangle to create visual impact and draw the eye to the book. I liked the idea of having a separate piece of card on the cover to create distinction within the content and create a different experience and interaction with the book. I thought about how I could layer designs. I created a design using my shapes underneath with the text already underneath where it is shown on the overlapping red card. I also created some versions which were more minimal and used more whitespace.
In this design, I thought about how I could use my “framing” icon to link with its use throughout the inside pages of the book for the headings.
I saw how I could create links between the cover design and chapter pages by using the rectangle of red. This would help the section to be clearly marked so the reader knows when a new project has started. I would create consistency and by using the same layout and typefaces for each chapter and the same structure as the cover. I also decided to add a small image in the top left corner to create some visual difference to the chapter pages to make it easier to distinguish and to relate to the particular project.
For each of my headings, I decided to add my frame symbol which helps to draw the readers eye to this point on the page. It also helps to relate to my frame concept which spans throughout my other branded content.
I organised my images in a similar style throughout the book by using white bordering which is able to draw the readers eye inwards. However, this bordering is not always on all the edges. I wanted to create the impression of breaking out of the grid and also create more dynamic to encourage page turning.
Frame Final Projects
a rigid structure that surrounds something such as a picture, door, or windowpane.
a person’s body with reference to its size or build.
place (a picture or photograph) in a frame.
formulate (a concept, plan, or system).
My overriding concept which spans across my branded material is “framing”. I wanted to portray the idea of structure and order. A frame is something where the content and context can be replaced but the surrounding remains the same. When I design, I use my design process for each project which often uses many of the same steps but the outcome and context in which I am working in is different. I felt that using a frame is a good way of portraying this as …
Therefore, I have designed some A5 cards which feature an almost full page image of the final piece of my project which uses a white bordering to create “the frame”. On the other side of the card, it uses the frame symbols to surround and create the framing dimensions of emptier space. The back is where the user will find the description of the project. These cards will be able to be slid into a container which has a plastic window in the front and a stand to allow the user to keep the work and display it.
Printed Portfolio sheets
I have also designed by portfolio in the form of A3 sheets which bring each of the components of my main projects together into separate pages. These sheets are shown below:
During the summer between second and third year, I am aiming to develop some material for self promotion to prepare for networking and job searching.
I began my process by looking on Pinterest and creating a board for inspiration. I had already designed by portfolio website and some business cards during my second year of Graphic Design study. Therefore, I felt that I could draw some of my ideas from my existing designs. (Photos shown above have been gathered as inspiration on Pinterest and I do not own these images)
I began by creating some colour scheme options which are shown below and organised into rows. I then tested them against black and on my logo designs to see which seemed more fitting and representative of myself. I initially liked the idea of using lots of bright colour but felt that as I was planning on integrating my colour scheme into my portfolio book etc, it might be too overwhelming and busy and distract away from the portfolio work. Therefore, I decided that a more simple and monochrome colour scheme using greys, whites and just one statement colour. I felt that I would be able to more easily integrate one bold colour and it would work cohesively with other material well. I also felt that using one colour would then become more recognisable and be able to tie my work together more effectively.
The row below shows the colour scheme that I have chosen for my personal branding material:
I began by drawing out logo design ideas to represent my work and myself as a Graphic Designer. I had mostly experimented with ways of using the initials of my name to form a logo and an example of this is shown underneath which combines a lower case “e” at the top which as a whole looks like an “S”. I also thought that as my name is quite unusual, it might be good to use my whole first name in some way although when creating a logo, I think that it is a good idea to use a small mark which can be used at different dimensions to be flexible across different material and different devices (print and web).
These were the final 2 logo designs that I was deciding between but I felt that there were clear differences between the associations that you could make with each. I sorted through my analysis for each of my notes that I had made when designing my logos. I then thought about which logo better represented the area of design I wish to go into, the style of design I like and my personality.
First, curved logo:
Free-flowing and curved edges give the logo a friendly, comforting and playful look
The combination of 2 letters to form one creates a cohesive feel and handmade and more innovative that the serif letter.
Second, serif letter:
The serif letter fits with the tradition and type of design that I particularly like. It also relates more to structured editorial design.
The serif edges create detail and clean style which is how I like to design, paying high attention to details and a minimal and design with simplicity and use of whitespace.
The “E” becomes quite impactful and is easier to read and distinguish what is meant however is not as creative or personal as the other logo.
Overall, I decided that the serif letter E using the typeface “FreightBig Pro” was more fitting to represent myself as it felt neater and more structure and I like to follow order and rules. I felt that I would be able to add more playfulness and personality using colour and shape so I could display 2 different sides of my design approach.
Branding Design Exploration
The experimentation below shows some ideas for how my design could become more playful and exciting when paired with the more structured and serious use of the serif “E”. I think being able to make these match and work together would be important for representing myself as a balance of structure and organisation with playfulness.
One idea that I had was to create something that could create a framework to enter my traits into which would fit into my concept of “the frame” with creates something where content can be swapped out. I think it would be effective to look at ways that this can be implemented in different ways across my branding material to branch out and further build my concept.
In my free time over the summer, I decided to design a cover and a selection of inside pages for a magazine based around food containing recipes and articles about food. The photographs that I have used have not been taken by myself.
I began by compiling research of existing magazines and analysed some spreads which you can find in my previous blog post.
I started planning out my spreads in my sketchbook by drawing out the layouts and analysing my decisions which can be seen above.
I set up my document and decided to size the magazine as A4 as I believed that this would help to ensure that there would be a reasonable amount of content on each page with the ability to add whitespace to allow the content to breathe. I felt that making the magazine smaller could mean an increase in the thickness of the print. It could be more efficient by reducing materials, saving cost and paper.
I set the grid with 9 columns with a gutter of 4.233mm. Using an odd number of columns would allow for more flexibility in column widths for text and image and helps with using varying sizes. This also allowed different measurements either side for the surrounding whitespace. Therefore, this would create more of a dynamic look on the spread.
I wanted to create column widths that would contain an optimum amount of characters per line so I often make text fit along 3 columns which then created approximately 40 characters per line. Therefore, there weren’t too many characters that the eye gets bored or lost and not too short that the eye gets tired of moving back and forwards.
As I was designing the magazine to be the October issue of the magazine, I felt that it would be fitting and seasonal to use browns, oranges and yellows. Using a colour scheme throughout created consistency however, I think that it was important to add variation to the pages in order to create elements of surprise as each page could become repetitive and boring.
I chose a variety of different typefaces to be used exclusively for certain features of the magazine to act as markers to signify what type of content the reader has arrived at. I set each of my text elements as paragraph styles in order to allow for easy alterations to rules such as body text or headings.
For my body text, I chose Constantia sized at 10pt with a leading of 12pt. I picked a serif font for the body when displaying an article as many believe serif fonts to be more readable at smaller sizes. Traditionally, newspapers and other forms of print would use serifs which have therefore carried forward an association of higher prestige and status. When delivering an article, this could therefore come across as more trustworthy to the reading and subsequently might be more likely to encourage interaction.
I decided to use a sans serif typeface FS Albert when showcasing recipes as using sans serif could possibly allow the recipes to come across as more modern and the sort of recipes displayed come across as contemporary that encourage a relaxed approach and are based around having fun. By creating this distinction, it forms a marker for the reader to easily identify the content.
Headings for recipes follow the sans serif style and are bold and fun to reflect an outgoing and confident persona. The rounded edges to the type create associations of friendliness and comfort which could help to build trust and rapport with the reader. Within the type setting on the recipe headings, I decided to individually kern the letters as some letters seemed very close together. In the instances where there were 2 straight edges next to each other, more space needed to be added in comparison to a straight and curved letter which would need less spacing as curved letters naturally create more space between. This comparison can be seen below.
For article headings, I chose Constantia and HaloHandletter in order to again distinguish between recipes and articles. I felt that adding a combination added more personality and the handwritten type created a homemade and relaxed feel which could help to encourage the reader to connect with the author. The use of colour on the handwritten elements was chosen to match the colour palette of the photograph on the spread to create visual cohesion and balance.
Within the magazine, there are repeated components in order to create a recognisable style and to tie content together to feel professional and thoughtfully considered.
One key feature which is added throughout frequently, is the use of the thin rectangles used as framing on top of images or overlapped to create depth and dimension. Using this was able to add an element of detail to give a higher quality and delicate touch. It is able to add a subtle burst of colour and can be paired with colours within the photography to greater enhance the colour scheme.
Framing the content, shown in the example below, encourages the readers eye to be drawn inwards which allows the focus to be placed on the content and prevents the readers eye from getting distracted.
Below are the final layouts for the magazine front and back cover and inside spreads:
One of the areas of Graphic Design that I particularly enjoy is Editorial Design as I like using grids and structure to position text and image and am specifically interested in how as a designer you are able to create/ improve someone’s reading experience and make information more engaging to interact with or easier to take in and remember.
I decided to design a cover and a selection of inside pages for a magazine based around food containing recipes and articles about food as a project in my free time. This work will be displayed in my next blog post.
To start my process, I began exploring how existing food magazines and recipe books layout their content to convey information. I wanted to see the relationship between text and image and the balance between these elements.
I analysed “Olive” magazine and looked at the ways that they had combined the use of text and image. Often, on many of the recipe pages it featured a large image which can be commonly found among print with the theme of food as food is a very visual thing which is very appetising and appealing to our eye. Using a high intensity of photography or imagery of food can be very persuasive in getting people to try recipes or to be more excited or interested in reading a passage of text if it is linked with the image.
On many of the recipe pages, the designer had made the photography fill the full spread where the photographer had captured the dishes with the tableware. The designer had utilised these rounded shapes of the plates and bowls and the straight edges of trays and napkins and organised the type to fit around and be obstructed by the shapes. This created a more playful feel to the page and accentuates the shaping and imagery on the spread. The round shapes create discontinuity on the pages which is different to the straight columns of text. This allows the piece to become more “friendly” looking and is unexpected and exciting.
The magazine often makes use of three columns of text which creates consistency and adds to its visual language. Columns are sometimes reinforced by the use of images above which creates a neat and structured layout to look professional and be easy to follow. Splitting text up into sections breaks up the content into manageable bites of information which are more likely to be remembered and also more likely to be read. It makes the text less overwhelming.
(Above) shows how titles are in decorative typefaces
Headings are often style with handmade or decorative type which is representative of the theme of home cooked food and becomes creative and fun. This would encourage the eye to be drawn to the title which is important as you would want the title to stand out as it is at the top of the hierarchy. This is what could entice the reader to continue searching through the other content on the page.
Folios were on the edges of the page which create a more dynamic layout to encourage the reader to turn the page and progress through the book.
The written structure of the text is organised in the same way which makes the content easy to follow. Making the reading experience easier for the user is the key aim for editorial design as helping the reader take in the content will make them more likely to want to interact with the book. Today, when people interact with information, there is a limited amount of time to communicate to your audience so content needs to be engaging and seem worthwhile. Therefore, it is very important to consider how your content is displayed as well as the content itself.
On this particular spread, the designer has made use of bright yellow which is able to add vibrancy to make the page fun and engaging. Yellow arrows are added which direct the eye towards content and also highlights which pieces of text relate to certain images. Headings use outlined text which is less impactful than if the designer had used solid black. There is already lots of impact from the yellow so the solid black may have been too strong and therefore have created too much confusion. The images are placed up to the bleed which spreads out the content and keeps the page looking less condensed as there is quite a bit of content on the spread. The images use a similar colour scheme of red/ orange/ brown to remain balanced. It is more cohesive and relaxing on the eye as it does not confuse the reader with too many things going on in one place.
Vogue is one of the most widely known magazines established in America first as a weekly publication, with content based around the topics of: fashion, beauty, culture, living, and runway. It has since become a monthly publication and has expanded out internationally to create 22 editions. The name Vogue translates as “style” in French. The magazine was described by book critic Caroline Weber in the December 2006 publication of The New York Times as “the world’s most influential fashion magazine”.
The first edition of Vogue began in 1892, founded by an American business man called Arthur Baldwin Turnure. The initial pricing for the magazine was set at 10 cents, targeted at the upper class in New York. It aimed to “celebrate the ceremonial side of life”, recording and spreading how the upper class lived in terms of their fashion, leisure, activities, social gatherings and places they had visited. Similar to today’s magazines, it aimed to encourage people to look up to their way of life, create trends and influence how people lived their lives. Magazines encourage readers/ potential readers to want to become part of this exclusive circle which is today becoming broader to make those in a lower class follow and try and copy celebrity culture.
Until the magazine was taken over by Conde Naste Publishers in 1909, the magazine had been targeted towards both upper class men and women. The content was then becoming more focused on the female reader; the content was increased as was the price. Until then, the magazine had been about etiquette and reviews of books, plays and music as a social publication. After this transition, content became more focused on fashion and lifestyle.
In the initial publications of the magazine, illustration was widely used on their covers which then changed in 1932 when the first colour photograph was used taken by Edward Steichen.
In July 1988, Vogue acquired a new editor; Anna Wintour who aimed to refresh the magazine to become more “approachable and younger”. She became the pioneer for the new era of the magazine and still holds the position of Vogue editor today. The magazine became more about what the masses could afford. Before she had become editor, the magazine had been criticized for being boring and was described as “beige”. During this time, one of the magazines competitors today “Elle” was becoming more popular and Vogue had begun to lose out some of their business. This would have undoubtedly encouraged a “shake-up” in their design to combat this.
The influence of today’s technology has meant the Vogue has expanded their content into digital formats in the form of a website and an app. The app has new content every day and people can choose to receive content recommended just for their taste. This ensures that readers find what they are looking for and are actually interested in making the experience easier and more readily available for being on the go as lifestyles become more fast paced and information delivery becomes more fast paced. Trends and content can become old news very quickly, so therefore having the ability to post quickly is a great advantage.
I have been exploring the September 2017 Edition of the Vogue magazine, analyzing the layout, content and design features. I think that it is interesting to see how particular content is laid out to focus your eye towards certain information/ content and what influence certain layouts have on how the reader interacts with the material.
Vogue uses serif fonts for titles, headings, body text and captions which look traditional, decorative and stylish which matches the magazines history and topics that it covers. In terms of readability, serif font has often been considered to be more readable than sans-serif fonts. Serif typefaces are also said to increase reading speed of long passages of text because they help the eye travel across a line. This is especially true if lines are long or have relatively open word spacing which vogue uses with its justified type for paragraphs of body text. However, there are also a wide range of different typefaces used within the magazine due to the extensive addition of adverts using the typeface of the brand so therefore typographic use is varied throughout the pages.
Justified text creates straight, neat lines along the edges of a passage of text. To justify your text you add white space between the words in each line so that all the lines are of equal length. Justifying text helps to guide the readers eye down the page to encourage them to carry on reading. Creating this neat and sharp lines also creates a traditional look and implies impressions of status or prestige meaning readers gain trust and view the content as professional and reliable.
From looking at the ratio of text to image on the spreads, I found that there is more of a focus on photography and the magazine is mainly visual, often because of the high frequency of advertising of fashion brands. Use of images is often large/ full page which forms a striking and bold visual to grab the readers’ attention. Some spreads also make use of a border of whitespace around the image which helps to direct the eye inwards. Using this bordering also helps to create statement which is best used when the image uses a dark colour scheme to contrast against the white background.
Variation of layout for the images is very important in ensuring that the reader does not get bored or tired. Creating different organisations for pages keep the reader guessing and adds an element of surprise to keep them turning the page.
Many of the pages used central alignment, particularly then using the white border for smaller images which is a traditional style and creates a focal point of one page of the spread. However, on some of the adverts, the images are aligned further to the left or right with a vertical block of white space usually implementing the brand name in the corner of the page which become more dynamic and encourages the reader to turn the page.
When there is a larger passage of text to read, a drop cap is often placed at the beginning which helps to direct the readers eye to begin their reading journey. This use of hierarchy highlights to the reader that it is an important section to read (the main text). Vogue continuously use a lower case for their “drop cap” which is slightly less impactful then an upper case and also creates a trademark feature recognisable as their magazine.
On pages where there is both text and image the content is usually split up into 3 vertical sections which provides order and continuity so the reader finds the reading experience easy to follow and repeat. Having these smaller column widths is able to make the reading feel inviting and less overwhelming. The grid seems as if it would have 7 columns to align content. It is said that using odd numbers “creates visual interest. An odd number of details is more effective at capturing your gaze. Odd numbers force your eyes to move around so you are therefore more likely to remember things.
In this spread, the designer has made use of a large photograph using black, greys and green creating a neat rectangle in the centre of the left page. Having this one image helps not to distract our attention away and to be bold and striking to gain that attention easily as the focal point of the spread. The use of white space as a border round the image helps to draw the eye inwards and helps to surround the content as being related and grouped. The use of whitespace in the right corner and surrounding the spread helps to create breathing space to allow the reader to intake the information easily and to not feel overwhelmed by content. The body text has again been split into 3 small manageable columns which mean that the reader might be more likely to read the passages. There is a clear hierarchy between the text components on the page as the heading is made very large to introduce the piece with an italicised description of the passage to allow the reader to decide if it is something they are interested in. The body text is then justified to draw the eye downwards for easy reading experience and a column width containing about 40 characters. Optimum column widths for magazines is often found to be between 38 and 45 characters as too short and the readers could get tired from keep having to move back and forth and too long and it can be more difficult to follow and readers can get lost when moving onto the next line. Therefore, this column width should be more relaxing and easier on the eye.
This spread is an example of one that has lots of content with a combination of text and image which work together to create a cohesive piece. Firstly, the use of the overlapping images on the left page create dimension and depth. The use of the dark textured pattern against the light sky on the photograph creates great contrast to be striking and emphasise the sharp, neat edges which looks clean and professional. Text and image are lined up to create structure and order to be easily followed and provide a clear journey for the eye to explore the content. The white boxes over the photograph on the right page creates an element of interest and is unexpected. Its high contrast allows it to stand out and this also allows it to be obvious what the text is referring to by its proximity to the image and the cues that point to specific areas of the image. The designer has also separated the content through the use of a dotted line embellished with a plane icon which draws the readers eye back left to the next paragraph of text and is also hinting about the theme of the next section. Although there is quite a bit of content on the page, it is easy to navigate through the alignment of text and image as well as the visual cues which are able to direct the eye through the spread.
Recently, in my Second year study of Graphic Design, we were required to investigate a topic related to a field within design. I explored a range of topics that I found interesting but decided to progress with the emerging approach to logo design called “Logo Systems”.
In Graphic Design, logos and brand identity have been an integral feature for communication between producer and consumer. Logos also play an important role in the buyers’ decision process. Logos and brands continue to be a central part of our everyday interactions due to the rise of digital culture. The new strategy Logo systems, has been described by Evan Brown as “one of the most interesting developments in logo design so far.” (Brown, 2016).
Logo System: a logo system acts as a ‘graphical framework’ that can shift and change for different situations, allowing brands to start a conversation beyond it’s own name, pointing to other ideas and issues that are important to them on any chosen day.
Previously, logos had been something “static” which remains the same throughout all mediums of use to ensure a recognisable brand to create consistency to build companies/ organisations as familiar providers and trustworthy.
Logos and branding have been in use for thousands of years, such as in Ancient Egyptian times in livestock branding. Branding is a concept that we have adopted most commonly today in a commercial context, however, branding can be seen as an identification process. As humans, we use semiotics when identifying logos and have continued to do so throughout their development. “Symbols are highly subjective and dependent upon cultural reference.” (Redding, 2010) We make sense of symbols by using the context that they are in to further our understanding.
Design historians and theorists Ellen Lupton and J. Abbott Miller (Klein 2009), stated that “logos were tailored to evoke familiarity and folksiness in an effort to counteract the new and unsettling anonymity of packaged goods”. Adding logos acted as a mark of quality, therefore helping to build trust between producer and consumer.
Now, with the development and widespread use of digital technology, brands put more focus on promoting themselves through these digital platforms such as: social media, websites, smartphone applications. With an increasing ability to reach a broader audience, there becomes a need to target themselves to different groups of individuals. Having a digital channel gives brands the ability to use flexible identities as these can be easily changed to fit different platforms as updates can be made cheaply, quickly and easily.
In our culture, we are exposed to a vast number of logos being showcased in a variety of different channels such as social media, websites and apps, that we interact with in our everyday life. The expansion of our digital culture, in terms of the frequent use of smartphones and social media, has meant that as individuals, we are bombarded with logos, brands and advertising. The high density of logos makes it challenging for individuals to sift through to find content which interests them or has relevance to their lifestyle needs. For this reason, brands aim to simplify their visuals for fast recognition and tailor their messages to sell their brand ethos and how they can add value to your lifestyle. (Naomi Klein, 2009) says that “it is not to sponsor culture but to be the culture”. If brands sell themselves as “attitudes, values and experiences” then consumers can buy into the belief that they are part of an exclusive group or culture.
There are many examples of brands that have taken on this trend and development to logo design and see it as a very powerful and valuable approach to logo design which allows brands to set themselves apart from their competitors and allow themselves to be particularly present online.
DC Comics used logo systems to apply to different storytelling. Each logo is designed with a particular character in mind. This helps them to relate to what they provide.
Google use differing illustrations, graphics for different days which are altered in different locations around the world. They use this to raise awareness for historical events. These act to unify people as they can be celebrations which a large group of the population takes part in or have some knowledge about. Sometimes these can be interactive as games. Google is so well known and established around the world that they can afford to use many different styles and be more adventurous while still maintaining an identity that is recognisable to its users.
Zocdoc is a health company that cleverly uses different slight variations which are each very similar to each other showing different facial expressions. These changes are minimal so it is very easy to recognise that they are still part of the same brand.
Logo Systems can be effectively used for digital forms due to their ability to be changed easily and implemented on different channels, being changed slightly for different purposes and audiences. They can be used effectively for contextualising and connecting the logo to different concepts. However, they are not always appropriate for all brands to use as it requires them to be well recognised, consistent, able to be transformed into different variations easily while still being recognisable as a single brand. Most importantly, the brand would need to be active on social media channels and other digital media. (Brown, 2016)