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 – Display Day

Today was the day our display would be showcased to the college in the canteen. Looking at how everybody had presented their information on their chosen topic, I found it interesting how everyone had collaborated and generated different ideas to entice the audience in and engage them in debate. I think it’s important to reflect not only on our own design piece, but everyone elses too, as there were some interesting styles and techniques used that I found interesting, and also felt quite jealous that they were able to execute them so well!

Other Groups

One particular display I think everyone enjoyed was “Say no to recycling”. The group adopted a Andy Warhol pop art style, which didn’t necessarily link to the topic, but did entice the intended audience with bright, vibrant colours and interesting visuals. They created leaflets that were handed out to from the stall, and also created a bin to illustrate the problem. I thought the halftone effect was very eye catching, and married well with the pink and yellow type, and the blue background. The colour palette was well thought out and is something that I will remember and use in future projects!26295306_1920207174962072_385637008904552448_n.jpg

Another display that was quite under appreciated (in my view) was the eco building, showing how plants could cleanse the air in built up cities. The interesting element of the display was the 3D model created by Dan. I know how much time and effort goes into 3D modelling, and it’s by no means easy. I think because it has become expected in modern design, it often gets overlooked and under appreciated. However, I think he did a fantastic job and has a lot of talent! I asked him what software he used, and it was Cinema 4D, a program that I had previously encountered from tutorials on youtube. Its certainly an area I want to explore and feel inspired by his design. The display its self was clear and easy to understand, and I thought it was a nice touch that the feedback was handed out on clouds, which were later tied to the table to further strengthen the purpose of the design.

Our Group

Overall, I think the design was well received. The issue itself has been quite prominent in the media recently, yet I don’t think people understood where and how plastic waste ends up in the ocean. People were shocked with the amount of time it took for a nappy to biodegrade in the ocean, and this shock factor could have been exploited further. It was a good exercise to gain initial feedback, and one key point was that we only focused on the negative aspects of the issue. Many people wanted to know how they themselves could make a difference, and this is something we had missed.

Also, it was clear that other groups had focused on what the audience could take away from the design to remember the issue, in the form of leaflets and cards. Again, this could have been added to our display with more appealing visuals that could have encouraged a positive reaction.

Our idea was to “fish for fish”. Initially, I pushed the idea of fishing for facts, which was overlooked by the group. However, feedback suggests that the plastic fish were distracting from the overall purpose of the design, and perhaps I should have been more forceful in pushing my idea if it was to benefit the group design.

In term of the group dynamics, I’ll admit i’ve found it difficult to communicate with them effectively. I’ve found that a lot of the time, someone may suggest an idea and it is too quickly adopted and the ideal solution, without exploring all possible angle, despite how ridiculous or unachievable they might be. I think it’s important to always push the boundaries, especially in the development stage, and consider the intended audiences needs. It was clear to see other groups had worked well together in collaborating ideas and working to each others strengths.

Many times during this project, I’ve looked looked around the room and noticed every group conversing and generating fresh ideas. Nothing was dismissed straight away. I don’t want to seem like I’m moaning about my group, however I do want to get a better grasp in the final week of this task and try and lead the group to achieve the best possible outcome possible. A lot of negativity seems to be in the air at the moment about the overall purpose of the subject, but that’s just design. Often as designers, we won’t be able to pick and choose who and what we work on or with. So I think this is an exercise of perseverance, and I think the group attitude needs to change in order to achieve a good outcome.

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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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APP – Skull Creation

I chose the tagline “Don’t let smoking define you” as my theme for my APP design. It allows the audience to understand that the habitual nature of smoking takes over your life, and defines you as a person through its negative attributes such as smell and taste.

I recently watched a youtube video for pleasure, where they used the find edge tool in photoshop to create a smoke-like effect. I was really keen to try this myself, so using an image taken of a skull, I did so.

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I wanted to give the impression that the skull character had been defined, and my idea was to use a brush stroke effect, as if someone had consciously made this character from smoking.

Using another effect in photoshop, I created the brush stroke effect as seen below.

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APP – Sourcing Images

Following feedback from my interim crit, I started to think about the negative implications of smoking, and how this may be visually illustrated to my audience in the medium of shock advertising. Some of the things I thought about were as follows:

  • Dog breath
  • Yellow/ stained teeth & fingers
  • Stale smell
  • Mortality
  • Fag butts
  • Dullness/ drabness
  • Habitual

I thought dog breath would be an interesting and unique way to shock my audience in to thinking about factors they may not realise whilst smoking.

My plan was to improve the my original design by giving the skull further negative characteristics, encouraging my audience to understand how smoking is perceived by non-smokers.

I took these images of my dog, Harvey, and want to attempt to mould a portion of his face to the skull.WhatsApp Image 2017-11-29 at 11.10.09 PMWhatsApp Image 2017-11-29 at 11.10.09 PM(1)WhatsApp Image 2017-11-29 at 11.25.40 PM

In the next stage, I wish to demonstrate skills in photoshop, merging the face of my dog to the skull I had already made. I envisage a few problems potentially getting the proportions to match up, however, I may be able to correct this using the warp tool in photoshop. It may also be difficult to blend the to together, but again I will try and rectify this using blending modes and layer masks.

APP – Past Project Inspiration

I looked back at some of the previous projects to draw inspiration from for the APP module. One that struck a cord was a digital paint-over technique I learnt when working at Lightmaker on work experience during the summer. Adam, the creative director, spent time showing me how to quickly transform images to sell an idea. It’s always important to bare in mind time constraints of a project, and none more so than this APP module. Since we’ve had the brief, I’ve been worried that working on my dissertation will take up the majority of my time, whilst also balancing my freelance work and starting a new job soon! This method allows me to quickly alter an image to produce a counter argument to smoking.

Below are before and after images of a 3D character. The brief was open to my interpretation, allowing me to take the character in any direction I fancied.

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Conclusions

I’ve found this retrospectively incredibly useful for the basis of my APP project. It’s allowed me to recap on some really vital fundamentals of photoshop. It’s also made me to be conscious of time constraints, and also thinking about texture to lift my design from a flat 2D image. I wish to implement this in my own design, using symbols of death to evoke negative feelings to my intended audience.