Micro Projects

A few nights a week, I’ve been trying to find time to look at youtube to teach me something new, whether it be photoshop, illustrator, or after effects. Since starting a new design job, I feel I’m lacking in technical ability and need to strengthen my understanding of tools in all programs to move my work on to the next level, with more attention to detail.

Below are a few examples of my work:

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Project X – Screen Display

As a group, we discussed ideas with Tim about how we might get our message across. One idea was to use video in a screen. This is something that I’ve found interesting recently. In my spare time, I’ve been learning how to use after effects to animate typography using visual elements. Although a screen display would have been a good idea, we didn’t have access to those facilities in the room we were using. I wanted to demonstrate what I’ve learn recently in after effects in conjunction with this topic.

I wanted to visually demonstrate the effect of plastics in the ocean, using particles and disintegration effects to reveal the text.

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This could be used as a discussion piece, drawing the attention of the audience by animating a subtle message in an interactive way.

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Finally, I decided the ton of voice was slightly wrong. I think the clear blue water is too clean, and needed dirtying up slightly, to evoke a more shocking reaction from the audience. I layered a video of floating plastic, using a blending mode to achieve the effect. Towards the end of the video, there is a transition from a light blue colour, to a merky brown colour, signifying the direction the world is going if this thoughtless production of plastic and mindless throwing away, continues.

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Project X – Design Process

For our display, we wanted to created a banner and a graphic for the front page of the leaflet we intended to produce, which was light hearted and enticed the intended audience in. To do this, I felt a script font would be an appropriate choice of typeface as its informal tone lent itself well to the intended outcome. I wanted to convey the idea of fluidity, tying in with our theme, the ocean.

I started by descreasing the leading, the spacing between the characters, to give a fluid feel to the typeface.

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I then added a lighting effect to give directional light and shadows to the typeface. This would add a three dimensional feel to the typography, and a sense of realism. Screenshot 2018-02-05 20.48.02

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then started to think about the effect. I added a chrome style to the typeface, using a preset in the filter gallery. This was the beggining of the “fluid” style.

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I then added further shadow to the back of the typeface to give more realism and dimension.

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I then warped the text using a liquify filter to bulge the type were I felt appropriate, focusing the bulging on the bottom elements of the characters, and also where the characters joined. The end result, I felt, was quite effective.

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I then used the liquify filter again, using an image with multiple tones of blue, and warping the text to give a spiral effect. I added this with a soft light blending mode behind the text to further anchor the idea of the ocean. Screenshot 2018-02-05 21.05.49.png

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Project X – Refinement of Ideas

After looking at all of our feedback from our initial display, we made notes of the common and key areas of improvements. Some interesting comments were made, though some were also quite broad, however they helped us refine our ideas and approach to the next phase of the design process.

I think it was clear that people wanted more visual elements to the design to make it more memorable. The initial reaction to our display was quite negative and unappealing, seeing as it was just plastic waste dumped in a trough! Other successful groups had drawn there audiences in with clearer, bolder visuals and use of design styles that appealed to our target audience. Again, it was important to consider the end user, and encourage a younger demographic to engage with the design as well as the issue. The people in our group are quite bright and energetic, which I think was conveyed during the display day. However, the next display must stand alone, and we can’t rely on our on enthusiasm to see us through.

Another element that people wanted to see was the presentation of the other side of the debate. How can people make a difference? So far, we had only considered the negative effects of the issue, focusing our attention on the shock factor. Moving forward, I think it’s important to show how people can make a difference.

 

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On Friday, we all felt quite dejected after finding out that the displays would no be flat, on a board, instead of a “provotype”. Our understanding of the brief was that we were going to produce a provotype, however the goalposts had changed. Although this was annoying, it was also a good learning curve, as that is just life. Things change quickly, and designers have to adapt to these changes quickly and efficiently, to please clients, consumers, and audiences.

I tried to take the lead in the group, injecting some energy and enthusiasm to proceedings. This subject may not be to everyones taste, however, it was our job as designers to fulfil the brief to the best of our abilities, and leave our emotions at the door, so to speak. Following dialogue as a group and with tutors, and also considering our feedback, we discussed different design ideas that would help bolster our previous design, and help it stand alone. One of these was remembering one of our classmates ideas from a previous display, story boarding an idea in the form of pictures. We toyed with the idea of showing the journey of a single plastic item, from production to the sea. However, this was dismissed when we realised it would be difficult to document the whole process.

We later landed on the idea of sticking with a similar approach to our previous display, however, making it more visual and adding more design elements to encourage a positive reaction from our audience. I think, so far, this week has been more positive and we are beginning to work better as a group, and understand each others strengths. We created a group chat and have been in constant communication since leaving college today (Monday) and I think everyone feels more comfortable and understands the direction we are going in, and the work everyone needs to complete for Friday.

Project X – Feedback

During the display day, we asked participants to give us feedback on our display, asking questions that might help us enhance the display moving forward. This was a crucial part of the design process, as it gave us the opportunity to sample our intended audiences views, and take that feedback to generate more ideas and give a clearer, more effective message.

Below is the feedback form we produced. In hindsight, our questions were quite closed, and lead our audience to give minimal answers such as yes and no. However, some people did leave constructive comments, and I’ll outline these points in the next paragraph.

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We first sorted each feedback into piles of relevant, and not so relevant. Some college students weren’t as interested in the displays as we had hoped, and this was reflected in there responses. However, there were some good comments that we hadn’t necessarily thought about.

Although people liked the interactivity of the display, they didn’t have anything to take away from the display, like a leaflet. Also, a poster would have been an effective way of anchoring the display, drawing people in and giving more information. This is something we need to consider in the next phase of the design process.

Also, as a group we need to consider how the design can be understood without any input from ourselves. The display should be easy to understand, clear and concise, with impactful images and a strong message. I feel this has been lost during the process, and as a group we can work better to achieve this goal.

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Project X – Tims Recap/Reflection Session

Following a week of intense classes for Project X, many of us felt uncertain and slightly lost about the direction the project was going. A lot of us had concerns such as:

  • Deliverables – What is the final outcome going to be? How are we going to make a “provotype”?
  • Deadlines – When? Where? How?
  • Why we were looking at such divergent topics?
  • Why we were presenting abstract case studies? How do they relate to Project X?

I myself, felt bombarded with new knowledge and work, and trying to piece together what was due in for when was what I was particularly struggling with. Also, getting my head around the direction the project was going was also a concern.

I’ve found it difficult to communicate with my group at times. Many group members either don’t seem interested in the project, or have a negative approach, wanting to just get the work done in the quickest and most efficient way possible, without pushing the boundaries and thinking about how we can develop an idea.

During the session with Tim, (my tutor) I was able to voice my concerns, which in itself was helpful. Tim asked us to think about how we might address these issues. I think in my case, I need to try and show some sort of leadership, especially being a mature student and on the BA, stimulating debate and conversation amongst the group in order to generate a large pool of ideas and sub-topics within our given discipline (waste & pollution).

My main takeaway from Tims session was to consider the end user, asking myself how we can effectively engage the target audience, college students, in something they may not naturally take interest in. In slide 7 of Tims presentation to us, really resonated with me. He asked us to right a short sentence about how to restate the problem in a systematic way, using this framework:

“Redesign the [ topic ] experience for [ user ].”

Eg,. Redesign the social experiences of the elderly living alone. Redesign the public park experience to encourage the fitness of families

This enabled me to simplify everything we’ve learnt in the last week, and gain a greater perspective on what the project could achieve, and the direction the project could go in. I took a short time to think about my answer, and came up with the following:

Redesign the experience of the disposal of plastic waste, using gamification to engage the end user.

Everything seems a little up in the air at the moment, which I think is the source of my own anxiety over the project. However, next week is a new week, and I think it’s important we pull together as a group.

I think this short simplification class has been invaluable to me. I’ve grasped a better idea of the project, and been able to consider the needs of the end user, asking myself “what will make my end user happy”. From this, I’ve already been able to generate ideas, which I wasn’t able to do before due to the lack of understanding and uncertainty of the outcomes of the project. I feel like I’m now able to move forward into next week and relay what I’ve learnt with my group, enhancing our project collectively.

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APP – Typeface Considerations

My design will feature two parts of text. A statement, “Don’t let smoking define you” and a call to action. I’d like the statement to be bold, yet neutral, following research conducted on previous national health designs analysed in my research phase.

I looked at a series of different typefaces, thinking about the impact it would have on the intended audience, whilst also looking at the aesthetics of the typeface in conjunction with the tone of voice of my design.

Gill Sans – Although I think this typeface works, I feel the effectiveness could be enhanced by a different choice.

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Black Letter – An attempt to give a sinister feel to the design. However, the readability of the typeface is lost, and doesn’t fit with the modernity of the design.

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Final Choice – Gotham – I love how this fits in to the design. It’s neutrality was exactly what I was looking for, and looks very similar to other NHS posters already in existence.

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