Receiving feedback can be both challenging and nerve wracking for me. The constant desire to want to progress hampered by a particularly long bout of brain fog that has lasted almost a year, married to frustrations that have been hard to communicate, have almost led to me leaving the course.
A TBI’s impact is hard to appreciate and bout of brain fog can suddenly descend, without warning, leaving me struggling with ever more severe cognitive impairment. I mention this not as an excuse, but moreover as an insight into my work. In retrospect Assignment 4 is by far the worst body of work I’ve submitted. Not because of indolence, but because no matter how hard I tried nothing seems to click, and the hard I tried the worst the disconnect and overwhelming feelings became. What I should have done was take a year out, get over this and approach renewed. However I am stubborn and so I struggled on. Not enjoying the course, feeling as though nothing was really happening and my work become chaotic and without form.
It was only recently that things began to fall into a place, very slightly I hasten to add, and I relaxed a little, then the work flow improved and my final catch-up exercise Hierarchy was enjoyable.
Now because this was submitted after I submitted Assignment four, as I said I have been chaotic in my thinking, my approach is a little more refined, and hopefully between finishing the course and submitting work for assessment I can polish my assignments up somewhat. In the mean while, for some reason using Illustrator and InDesign remains problematic so I’m continuing to use Affinity’s Designer and Publisher.
As an aside I really need to get my WordPress page in order. It’s a mess.
Onto the feedback, my responses are as always in ordinary font.
Overall Comments Part four has focused on typography’s history and application. Overall your response has been quite limited. You need to refer to all previous feedback provided to help you move forward and progress. Apply yourself to each task with a greater degree of commitment to learning new skills, that way you will undoubtedly see your work developing to the standard you are clearly capable. By taking a more rigorous approach you will become more confident with using type and layout. You have the opportunity to put into place all that you have learnt to date and apply to your work in Part 5. – See above, which is not an excuse more a explainer.
Project: The visual word Typography uses both written and visual languages, you were asked to explore this by visually representing a range of words. The ‘playing with words’ exercise you explored placing black san serif letters in different positions to express meaning of words. Your print, cut and paste exploration goes some way to showing some interesting results, for example the the word squat or shy. However, overall you have evidenced very limited examples of what could be achieved using this method. For example spacing letters out or crashing them together or overlaying them or splicing through horizontally and so on, the range is much more extensive than you have explored. Next you start working digitally, but why not expand your Helvetica black type exploration further? Adding illustrative elements to the words defeats point of exercise, it suggests type alone is not expressing the word sufficiently. Next you start to use digital techniques for type to suggest meaning. How for example does the word serious in bright colours express its meaning? Some of the further exploration such as sodden are beginning to work, but don’t add the puddle its not necessary. You need to write a self reflection on what went well, what you learnt and what you could so differently next time.
Project: Anatomy of a typeface To explore your understanding of how a typeface is constructed you were asked to undertake a typographic jigsaw puzzle. This is such a good exercise to understand specific characterises of typefaces, in this case Baskerville. This exercise has clearly been helpful to you. A tip when tracing type is to draw in the character baseline and x height tram lines, then the ascender and descender lines. Use a sharp 3H pencil and good quality tracing paper. Practise makes perfect. You may want to follow on IG jeremytankardtypography and look on his website. The film Helvetica by Gray Hustwit is also essential viewing. – I used a 3B pencil. Lesson learned and tip greatly appreciated.
Project: Different typefaces
You were introduced to some of the ways typography can be categorised, asked to create your own sample book of typefaces, and identify fonts you could use for a number of different design jobs. You have not evidenced this work so please use the following feedback as a guide. – Badly labelled by me. Now updated can be found here: https://wordpress.com/post/benskippergraphic.design.blog/404
This exercise will benefit from researching what a type sample book should contain and therefore how it’s used by designers. Research Letraset and Monotype Corporation and The Foundry to provide some background information and visual references. A sample type book would usually show a range of font families or at least light, medium, bold, italic and roman. It would also show one example from each font family as a set line of text using all 26 characters: The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog, refer to earlier exercise. – I do need to revisit this project, as a new approach using this advice and apply myself a little more.
Appreciate this could be extremely time consuming to do for every example shown, however you could choose one typeface, show whole family and set line of text The quick brown fox… In your sample book. Consider production of your booklet, is it to be digital only or a printed version? If printed how does binding work, gutters, grid etc? Try a few different styles of design and structural formats. Start by planning your booklet as double-page spreads and use grid structure see Grid Systems in Graphic Design … by Josef Muller-Brockmann. Once you set master document up in InDesign you can add to it throughout your studies. Grid Systems in Graphic Design now purchased and slowly wading through it.
Flower rota: Not evidenced – Now Submitted
Boys club: Not evidenced – Now Submitted
Engagement party: Not evidenced – Now Submitted
Project: Typesetting This section explored typesetting by looking at magazines in terms of how easy they are to read, and using Lorum Ipsum to typeset text. Not evidenced – Now Submitted
Project: Project: Hierarchy You were asked to typeset headings, sub-heading and body text for three different pages. You have not evidenced this work so please use the following feedback as a guide. – Now Submitted
Research different magazine, analyse examples identifying particular styles that visually communicate content to specific types of audience. Research how graphic designers marked up layouts for printers before digital technology. Use trace method as suggested earlier, this will help you analyse fine detail such as line lengths, words per line, gutter and boarder widths, paragraph spacing, text alignment, changes in fonts and sizes and styles etc. Ensure notation is analytical rather than descriptive.
Thumbnail sketch a range of your designs. Select one or two to develop further, draw accurately, then transfer idea digitally using InDesign. Always self critique what you are doing against excellent published work by professional designers, that way you can check detailing of your design work such as — line alignment across columns, widows, consistent use of paragraph breaks, orphan line from previous column on its own in next, image placement and captions.- The referrals to InDesign are noted please read Affinity Publisher in my own work.
Assessment potential I understand your aim is to go for the Visual Communications / Creative Arts Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. However, from the work you have shown in this assignment, I am concerned that you may struggle to meet the assessment criteria, and recommend that you instead consider taking the personal development route rather than seek assessment (see Conditions of Enrolment, Section 2 a). – This comment was the right one to make by Laura at the time, but now I’m getting there I’m using it as a gauge to show I can gain the required points from assessment by revising work.
Feedback on assignment
Creative and analytical thinking, Visual and Technical Skills For the Show Me… assignment you produced a cover and short article for a magazine on typography. Research: Did you start by researching subject specific magazines in this sector, such as Eye, Baseline, Creative Review etc? If so you need to evidence with notation of critical analysis using skills learnt to date. If not consider what they could tell you? How could they inform your understanding of graphic design in context to this assignment brief? Consider how your design of magazine needs to stand out in the sector. What point of difference do you want to focus on? Ideas Generation: Good to see you exploring type style for masthead. What other previous exercises did you use to explore ideas such as spider diagrams, doodles, thumbnail sketches? Use research to inform your ideas, push the boundaries of what this sector would expect. Development of concept: Good to see you have developed two ideas, next time explore a broader range of different typographic arrangements with different images. All your ideas show full bleed image, did you consider cropping? The wood and metal type image is totally relevant, consider researching a selection of images with this content, to provide you more choice. Digital iteration of solution: Final cover design shows potential to develop further. The typographic arrangement requires refinement. What program did you use? Consider alignment of text, use columns and gutters as guides? Consider sizes of type as it looks really large? Use various sizes and wights of type to differentiate between headings, sub headlines, and descriptions? Final spreads again show potential, layout just needs a few adjustments. You choice of font for body text is too large and the style too round for such a short measure. Always work to approx. 8-12 words per line. Try reducing by 1pt might make enough difference. There is not quite enough difference between main text and captions so try using a different style such as italic or font or colour or weight. When using italic use from font family do not just italicise a roman font. Also review text alignment across columns and use baseline grid, always either indent paragraphs or line space. – The one thing I have been consistent in doing over the past years is panicking. By attempting to meet assignment deadlines I have deliberately missed important exercises, leading to a very chaotic approach, which has helped no-one. Now things are calmer in my mind this skittish approach will be easier for me to manage and control.
Sketchbooks Research and idea development, Context Continue to practice drawing letterforms, character spacing and leading. Refer to research examples past and present, to help your thumbnail sketches and develop layouts using grid structures. Consider how your log/sketchbook evidences all that you have done. – Sketching has been harder to do due to my fluctuating motor skills and muscle capacity the ability to manipulate a pencil is hard at times. However I do have a body of work and have found that using DTP has helped.
Learning Logs or Blogs / Critical essays
Research and idea development, Context Your research points asked to find out more about an area of typography that interests you, as well as documenting some vernacular typography. You must title your blog posts the same as in your course handbook. All exercises should be worked through in sequential order, as the course is designed for you to accumulate learning skills to use when answering the assignment brief at the end of each part. By skipping some exercises you have missed vital parts of your learning. Please delete advertising as your blog must look professional. Next time also upload to blog your assignment back-up work and final solution. – The one bug bear I have about this statement is the assumption I can afford certain luxuries. The idea of a WordPress site, for me at least, is to provide the tutor with information. The advertising remark comes across as peevish as it costs to remove advertising. I managed to pay for the upgrade for a year, but perhaps tutors need to realise that some of us aren’t awash with money and we must make decisions on where to spend our precious financial resources accordingly. Having a few advertising bars really is not the end of the world. Rant over. My WordPress site really does need some work as mentioned previously and that will be arranged in the next week or so.
Research point: fonts. First you should do a bit of background research on magazine design. You would discover that most mastheads have been specially designed for that publication and are drawn from the basis of a typeface but will not necessarily belong to a font family. Next identify all text fonts and group as sans serif and serif fonts, then sub-divide those into style and weight. Next, get some tracing paper, a sharp 3H pencil, a ruler and trace the typefaces to discover key characteristics of each font such as the shape of bowl or point of the foot or descender of the y g q j and ascender of f p etc. Refer to Anatomy of a Typeface exercise. Using your analysis of fonts in each publication you will then find it easier to identify each. Then show an example to compare and contrast the magazine font with your match. Your notation should be more analytical focussing on what you are discovering. – Noted
Research point: vernacular typography. You have shown some interesting examples of type found in public places. What is your understanding of vernacular typography? What typestyles relate to what periods of time? What techniques have been used? What technologies have been used? Be careful you don’t conflate the idea that all type in public spaces is vernacular. Research some more modern day versions such as the market stall, for example parish notices, farm notices and so on. – Time to go out with the camera, and avoid belligerent locals.
You need to critical analysis your examples to a greater extent, consider shape/form/structure of letterforms in context to graphic design, show a much better understanding of how type and typography communicate a visual as well as written language. Ensure you Harvard Reference all sources and produce a bibliography.
Suggested viewing/reading Its good to see you are reading books about the subject of graphic design, especially Type & Typography by Phil Baines and Andrew Haslem, so also read The Thames and Hudson Manual of Typography by Ruari McLean. David Jury is a writer about typography and books in particular Revising the Rules of Typography. Excellent reference and design of Baseline and Eye journals have fantastic articles that you can search online. With regard design sells How to… by Michael Bierut. Have a look at IG letterformarchive. Also search TedTalks.
Research is something I normally enjoy, but the past 12 months have seen me loose my passion for it, primarily because my concentration has simply not been present.. However it is returning slowly.
Pointers for the next assignment
The final part of the course focuses on layout by exploring how to design leaflets, flyers and posters. This is an opportunity to thoroughly investigate the best designers, see all recommended reading, analyse their work and how they craft excellent design. Learn by example and apply what you have learnt when exploring, developing and refining your own work. Always critique your work with comparable professional designs to help you recognise where improvements can be made. Part 5 send by post all of your work. – Last sentence makes no sense, so will clarify.
There’s clearly a bit of work to do, so I best crack on.