FMP – Designing The Briefing

Once the research was done, concept was figured out and content was on the move, it was time to do the hardest part of this project, the design. In terms of style I was always fairly confident in how I wanted it to look, but the most difficult process would be figuring out how to fit over 100 articles onto one sheet of broadsheet newspaper.

I always have an idea in my head of how the design is going look, if only a vague one. Most of the inspiration for the style came from The Independent resign, directed by Matt Willey. Even though it is no longer printed, it still stands as a beautiful piece of editorial design that manages to condense a lot of information while still being expressive. I was particularly a fan of the large serif headlines that drawn the attention to different articles.

Using placeholder text I started to explore different designs and layouts for the front cover. I quickly landed on the font FreightPro for the display, which is a very prestigious and bold typeface, especially in capitals. For the body copy I used A2 Type’s Antwerp, mainly at a light weight, as it is an incredibly intricate and interesting typeface that fits in perfectly with the style I was going for. Once again, having a style in mind always helps speed up the design process. I definitely could have explored more styles but figuring it out early allowed me more time to write the articles and figure out the typographic system.

After creating a visual style, I then started experimenting with different layouts and and compositions. The front page was going to have the bulk of the articles, while the inside was going to cover the stories in more detail. Unlike previous projects, I started to record all of my design attempts and break down the parts that I liked about each one. In terms of speed, it may have slowed me down a little bit but it allowed me to create a much more refined core design so I am definitely going to practise it in the future.

In the end I condensed over 120 articles down to the bare essentials, so needless to say that was one of the most time consuming parts of the project. However, as the articles were broken down over time I was able to keep working on the design and refine the typographic system.

 

The final design is probably one of the most intricate pieces of work I have ever put together and I am fairly proud of it. There are still improvements that could be made, but through my process and also from the feedback I received from my tutors I was able to create a strong piece of typographic design that was successful in what I wanted it to do.

Along with The Briefing, I also wanted to create a process book that would dive deeper into what my project is about, along with how I actually created the one sheet newspaper. In terms of design, the process book is far more expressive and bold in comparison to the more refined and detailed newspaper. This is mainly due to the fact that I was tired of designing in an intricate way and just wanted to create some expressive. The final design of the process book ended up standing alone as a strong piece of typographic design and I am pleased with how quickly I was able to come up with it.

This project has turned out to be one of my strongest, which I think is mainly due to how much I enjoyed breaking down the problems in modern news media. It got a bit tight time wise towards the end of the project, an area that I could always improve on, but in terms of the design and execution, I am very pleased with the final outcome. It will definitely go down as one of my favourite projects but I think the personal freedom of the brief allowed for that. I will definitely continue to pursue the concept and maybe see if there is a similar area of media that could use the same treatment.

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Bear books improvements

To kick start the process of improving on this years projects I decided to do go back and improve on my, newly named, ‘Three Small Books on Big Bears’. Designing the books was probably the most time consuming thing I had ever done, but also one of the most fun projects I have taken part in this year, so it wasn’t too bad.

The feedback that I got from David Wrenne was excellent. Definitely the most detailed and constructive feedback that I have ever gotten from a tutor. He listed everything that I had done well, but more importantly he broke down what needed to be changed in order to improve the books.

One of the main criticisms he had was that the books where too similar to each other, and that a lot of this had to do with the fact that they all used the same colour scheme. Originally the books used 2 colours, a dark grey and a creamy white. The colours worked well together but when looking back I did notice that after a while the pages got repetitive. A lot of this was down to design, but from the start I had decided that I wanted the pages to have similar layouts, which was mainly due to time constraints.

I figured that the best way to make them stand out as individual books, while still keeping them as a trio, was to give each one a unique colour. Now the original colours will still play a key part, as they are basically black and white, but there will also be a hint of something different in each book. I went for a simple light grey on the first book, as it fit in well with the design and is very easy on the eye. The second book has a deep blue, which complements the depth of the American woodlands in the background. For the third book I kept the same colour scheme, as I felt that the white fits the polar bear perfectly. Here are some previews of the pages with the new colour scheme.

For the front covers I had quite a lot of contradicting opinions. David thought that the covers were too similar, whereas a lot of my peers and family members really liked the simple design. To try and figure out what to do I did some research into other books covers that utilized the same design over a series. An interesting set of covers that I found where the new Lord of the Rings book covers.

Each one has a circle in the centre of the page, with a black background and text above and below it. The only difference in each cover was the colour of the circle and the illustration behind it. When looking at my covers I thought that they were quite similar in the sense that they have a consistent shape that changes colour, with the only major change being the different environments behind it. I think that they are simple and with the colour changes, have just as many inconsistencies than they do consistencies. This is why I have decided to keep the covers the way that they are. Although I did make some changes to the text so that the title stands out even more.

Front Covers.jpg

Going back and improving on the books was a lot of fun. I was quite pleased with them when I first designed them, and obviously it is always tough to hear criticism of work that you have put so much effort into, but that is how the design industry works. After getting a lot of help with grammar from my parents, I have finally sent the books of to get printed out properly. Hopefully they will be done in time for me to take pictures of them and put them in my portfolio, as real images are a lot better than digital mock-ups. You can view the entire project, along with my other work, on my portfolio site –www.tobycottrelldesign.myportfolio.com

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Three Small Handbooks On Big Bears | Term 2

Front Covers

The three week field project is over, and I have my final outcome, finally! Although I had a lot of fun designing these three books, I don’t think I have ever been so stressed and nervous about a project in my life. That may sound a bit over the top, and maybe it is, but I tried so hard to make these books the best that they could be.

When starting the project, titled ‘Significant Information’, I was struggling to find an interesting topic that hadn’t been done before. I had loads of ideas, for example I was thinking of doing something about violence in video games and films, or maybe an animation all about how famous musicians and athletes get where they are today with practice. I then came up with an idea of making an infographic all about infographics, which would show statistics about them and what the most popular designs are. Although unfortunately due to the popularity of infographics, the idea had already been done before.

So I went back to the drawing board, but not for long. I couldn’t decided on what I wanted to do so I just said “screw it” let’s do it on bears, bears are cool. I was also wearing a bear jumper at the time so that probably contributed to the decision. Another part of the reason was that I wanted to take advantage of the freedom of this project, and the fact that I could do it on something as cool as bears was awesome. It also meant that I could experiment with the imagery and form of the bear, as well as the statistics.

So as a quick bit if primary research I went to my local Tesco’s and started asking people questions about bears. Surprisingly only 3 out of 30 people could answer where Black Bears come from, the answer being North America (they are literally called the American Black Bear). This made me determined to inform people about bears, and I made a pledge to myself and the animal kingdom to make this task a great success.

My very initial idea was to create a poster on bears but after my first tutorial with David, he suggested making handbooks, which I thought was a great idea. A handbook for each bear, with the bears being polar bears, black bears and brown bears. I envisioned the handbooks being short and sweet, so an A5 size paper seemed to suite them quite well.

So to start of the design process I drew and vectorized three bears, which would then set the style and colour pallet for the handbooks.

 

Bear shapes

3 Bears

Once the bears were sorted out it was now all about the content. I wanted to split the book up into 5 sections. All being double page spreads, so it would be 10 pages of content in each book. The sections covered the basics of the bears, which included their size, what they eat and where they live. David also suggested a page of typography would work well to split the book up.

The first couple of designs went well. I created a good front cover, and started to develop and explore the theme. My first main tutorial with David was incredibly useful, and he really helped in the development of the books. He thought that the books needed to be more open, with the text being smaller and the icons bigger. And after doing so I realised how much more it opened the book. Below is an example of how the pages changed.

Old Size

First draft of the size page

 

Size Page.jpg

Final version

As you can clearly see, making he icons bigger and the text smaller really brought the pages to life. Having a plain colour background was another suggesting that David made, and again it really improved the final product. It made the contrast between text and illustration a lot clearer, while also simplifying everything.

One of the initial ideas of the books was to design the bear’s environment, but after some testing I realised that this would be too much work and would limit how many pages I could create. I still wanted to feature their environment in the book somehow, so I found some amazing pictures from photography blogs on the internet (not copyrighted) and added them subtlety into the design. Each bear has its own environment, and each page will feature it in some way.

This project has been so much fun, and I have really enjoyed making the three books, even though it was a lot of work! I have learnt so much about design and page layout, plus how to handle information and make it understandable and clear while also being beautiful. I am looking forward to improving these books until they are perfect, and then getting them printed off at a professional printing studio. Below are the mock-ups of the three Small Handbooks for Big Bears, editions 1, 2 and 3.

Book One Full.jpgBook Two FullBook Three Full


Information Is Beautiful | First Project | Term 2

This terms field project was excellent. From the workshops, to the speakers we had in, the entire project was an invaluable experience. David had everything organised well, and we always has something to do. At the start of the year I was regretting choosing two very similar Field options that were close to my subject, as I thought it might of been better to try new things out, but in the end both of the projects have really helped me improve as a designer.

The first small task that David set us was to create an outcome based on information we had collected from the day we were set the task. And as it’s field, we were put into groups of three. My team members were Cara and Reece, with Cara doing Graphics and Reece being a Product Designer I thought that we had a good mix of ideas. With the team dynamic working well and after thinking of an idea, we got straight to work.

The information that we recorded was quite straightforward, it included counting the amount of people smiling, socialising and using their phones in three specific locations around the campus. What really made the outcome interesting was what we decided to do with that information. So after some debate we decided to make three posters displaying the information, but instead of showing the information using graphics, we wanted to use actual people around the campus. So we booked out the photography studio, and brought in as many people as we could find to take pictures of.

With Reece managing the pictures, and Cara creating illustrations, and me designing the layout. We came up with these three posters.

The Box (For Print)Zen Bar (For Print)Atrium (For Print)

We thought that putting everyone on a shelf was a good way of categorising the individuals, while also making it more humorous and light hearted.

In my opinion the posters were a great success. They display the information clearly and make people think about what they do when they walking around the University. Obviously there are always improvements that could be made, especially when it comes to printing as the posters came out a lot darker than expected. All in all the first project went well and working with Cara and Reece was a lot of fun.


Publish! reflection | Term 1

My first 5 weeks of field in the second year was Publish!, which was all about creating a publication or book within the 5 week time period. It could be about anything you wanted and in any style, which excited me as I really enjoyed the freedom aspect about that. It is a lot easier to be creative when you have no boundaries, although its a luxury that doesn’t come around often when you are working a live brief for a client.

The first exercise of Publish! was to create a small book out of an A4 sheet of paper. It was challenging at first as it wasn’t as simple as it looked. The way the page had to be laid out was very specific otherwise it wouldn’t have worked when printed out, so it was a bit of a struggle trying to understand how the folding and layout was going to work. In the end what I created wasn’t as experimental as I hoped it was going to be. I hadn’t left myself a lot of time to complete it, meaning that I had to just go with the path that I was taking. The outcome wasn’t terrible, but I would have wanted to do more with it.

The next part of Publish! was deciding what I was going to make in the next 4 weeks, and whether or not I was going to do that by myself or with someone else. I initially thought was creating a small informative magazine about rocks, with the focus on trying to make them look and sound interesting to people that don’t know much about them already. I was going to find the rocks myself, and then use the photography studio to take pictures of them (obviously). In hindsight, I think that I should have stuck with my guns and gone with this option as it was an idea I quite liked.

Instead I decided to do a collaboration with Dan Bird, a friend and fellow Graphics student. He was planning on making an illustrated story book, as he really liked the simple style of a couple of other dark illustrated stories that he had seen on the internet. I was enticed by this idea as I too really liked the art style he was planning on going with. Another reason being that illustration and drawing really isn’t one of my strong points, and I am always looking for ways to take me out of my comfort zone.

To be honest, Dan put a lot more effort into the final piece than I did. He is very talented when it comes to Illustrator and I lost a lot of motivation when I realised how further a head of me he was on this. And although I wrote the story, put in the text, and designed one scene, this was definitely more his book than mine.

I was disappointed in myself for not putting enough effort into the project, and I never want to let down a group again. If anything it has motivated me more to make sure that I make sure I put as much effort into group projects that I do my own projects.


The Hidden History of Cardiff | Subject/Field group project | 3rd – 23rd February

Credit to Mitchell Scott for the front cover

Credit to Mitchell Scott for the front cover

On the 5th of February we started to work on the first project of the term, making the ordinary extraordinary, specifically focusing on the theme ‘hidden city’. My group, which includes me, Mitchell, Geraint, Amy and Rhys, started to brainstorm ideas and figure out what direction we were heading in. The initial ideas were set around creating a collaborative compilation of all our work, with the main focus being the hidden history of Cardiff. We all gave ourselves a location in Cardiff that we could create the work around as we felt that the group all had different graphical and artistic styles. We wanted to then put all of our work into a book which would have included all of our work, along side facts and statistics about Cardiff and comparing the old and new.

As we started to get on with the work, which was going well, we had a mid-project tutorial with Ray. We presented him the idea along with some of the work we had already produced, but he felt that the project would benefit more from creating one piece of work which showcased all of our skills instead of it just being a compilation of our work. He particularly liked one of Amy’s original ideas, which was to create a map of Cardiff which would include information about each area in an info-graphic style. Here are her original sketches.

11005942_1030476973633792_107242645_n

After some discussion we decided that this was definitely the best route to go down and we all felt like it was manageable in the two weeks we had left. The main idea was to create a book, in the shape of the map, with each area being highlighted and having its own page that would show statistics and information about it. We decided that each area would be singled out by removing the other areas, and then using that blank space to put all of the information in. The original map was changed slightly as a lot of the locations were quite small meaning that we couldn’t put in a lot of information, not enough for an entire page anyway. To fix this we combined a lot of the map, so that we could feature information about multiple areas in one space. To kick off the creative process Mitch created a vector map of Amy’s sketch, and also assigned us the areas that we could each do.

11004098_1030554666959356_1198559850_nMap of Cardiff

Once we had our locations we were able to get to work, which was pretty exciting for me as I love to create info-graphics. The main area that I had to cover was on the West side of Cardiff, luckily there was a good amount of content to include as St Fagans is a very historical place. The only problem with everyone creating their own info-graphics was that we all had different styles, which could make the book look messy and unprofessional. In the end a lot of our graphics came out the same, as I came up with a good style that we could all follow. Which can be seen below.

City Centre Infographic St Fagans Infographic

I tried to go for a very simple style that would clearly show the main facts of each area, while including images and icons. The group seemed to like it so they also created their info-graphics in this style. Although some of the areas had too much information to fit in the small spaces therefore Rhys and Mitch created graphics which were more text based, which also meant them changing the font from Helvetica to Georgia.

Cathays Whitchurch

Once we had all completed our info-graphics and were happy with them we went to the print studio on campus to get them printed out professionally. We had them printed out on A4 and then cut around the black borders so that they were all relatively in the same shape although it was quite messy, ideally we would have liked to get them laser cut but we didn’t have the time. We bound the book together using some of my string so that we had a prototype to show everyone during our presentation.

In conclusion I feel like the group project was very successful and we achieved what we wanted. Even though we changed ideas mid project, we still came out with a good piece of work that we call contributed to equally. We always communicated and shared our ideas. There was always a fairly positive atmosphere as I feel as if we all wanted to do good work that would impress people. There were a few strong personalities in the group, which was good as everyone would always share their opinions on things and didn’t mind it if people disagreed with them. I think that personally I did well as a group member, I always communicated with the group and made sure that I never accidentally took the wheel and went with my own ideas without consulting the group first. All of these factors definitely played a huge part in creating our final piece, which I am very proud of, and I know the rest of my group are as well.


Making the ordinary extraordinary | Group Project | 2 – 3rd February

We have finally been given a project following the theme ‘Making the ordinary extraordinary’, which will be a group project taking place over the next 3 weeks. There are three sub-themes; hidden city, power & technology and migration. We have to choose one of these themes to base our work on, I went for hidden city as I thought it had the most potential for creative ideas.

Everyone was split into large groups depending on what theme we wanted to do. In those groups we talked about what angle each of us hoped to approach the project from. My idea was to look at Cardiff’s infrastructure, potentially the layout of the power grids and sewage lines, and then see if it was possible to see the similarities they had to an actual map of the city. To find the other members of the group we chose people who had similar ideas to ourselves, which surprisingly wasn’t too hard to do. There are five of us in the group, it includes myself, Rhys Buge, Mitchell Scott, Amy Dunstall and Geraint Jones.

We got together as a group Monday afternoon and most of Tuesday to brainstorm and come up with ideas, as the goal for the end of Tuesday was to come up with a proposal explaining the message we are trying to put across with our work. After putting all of our ideas together we came up with what we think is a good angle on the project. The basic concept is that we want to look back and compare the history of Cardiff to the present day. This is going to include as much information as possible, including crime stats, architecture, people, fashion, population, infrastructure, maps and even how society has changed over the years. This means that we will have to gather a lot of research, and we know that this optimism could potentially be quelled by lack of information on some of the topics. We have only just started thinking of what we could make but we know that it is going to be a series of pieces of work, not just one outcome. I am looking forward to this project, and i’m sure the rest of my group are as well.