As they say a good designer has room for development and flexibility, and so here I am. My recent feedback from my tutor included a line which has made me chuckle a bit as well as think about how an idea I’d shelved could be developed. Here the comment:
‘…a sassy hen with sophisticated confidence.’
Now who am I to deny the world a sassy hen? So a return to the shelved idea and an attempt to create a hen with sophisticated confidence. Folk, before you laugh it is possible to do. I merely developed the idea, and thought about sassy, strutting your stuff, and a little bit of Pinterest research gave me the shot of inspiration I needed.
The logo wording was added above this time and I used Thirsty Script Extrabold and placed it on a curved text line above the chicken.
Now the final mock up of the new design, which I have to admit I rather like.
For this assignment I chose to look at Book Covers as it’s an element of design I thoroughly enjoy and gives me the opportunity to write about Typography (as best I can). After reading the brief I took a couple of days to think about what needed to be done, in the meantime I began to build a library of resources in that I felt would be helpful and inspirational in Pinterest. This is especially helpful if you’ve had issue with memory. (https://www.pinterest.co.uk/Benjskipper/assignment-five-graphic-design/)
I made notes on the theme and design choosing to use a retro feel to the covers to introduce the reader to the classic mid-twentieth century ‘third’ horizontal type cover with images akin to the type used by the Pelican non-fiction series filling the centre section. As young persons books are produced by the Puffin section of Penguin I downloaded the necessary logo, isolating it on Photoshop ready for use.
As Ladybird are also now owned by Penguin I dug out a book on birds for extra visual reference for the interior of the Typography title as this would help shape the projects. Another important part of the Assignment is to identify an A to Z list of Graphic Design terms, which was sourced from three very good books; Thinking withType, Graphic Design Rules and Type & Typography.
The next stage was to generate a Master book document in InDesign, which will be used for the format, though illustrations for the cover and a montage will be done through Photoshop and Affinity Designer, saved as PNG’s for transfer. A separate file was generated for the Cover as this would be spread over two pages and a spine. Further work was done on appearance echoing Tschichold’s classic mid-twentieth century horizontal tri-band books, using the non-fiction colour band of yellow to help identify the book. The series brand for DesignCraft is mounted in an ellipse, similar to the title banners used by Penguin. The type is a mix of Bitter (140pts) and Edwardian Script ITC (175pts) with Helvetica used to populate all supporting text including Headings.
I then drafted a couple of covers in rough sketches as well as the spines. I’m still having issued with InDesign so for the moment am producing the covers in Affinity Designer and will then try to swing these over to an InDesign based cover. The Spines were the first to be made as they were relatively straight forward.
The covers themselves were kept as simple as possible, using the style of the Pelican series of books as inspiration. The Photographs cover was a manipulated photo of my daughter taking a photo. Chosen to connect with the reader but to also give a positive representation of a peer enjoying the art of photography, I also added a blue filter to match with the yellow cover, a device used in late 60’s photocover Pelican and Penguin books. This also lessens the harsh shades of the black and white photo.
The Colour used with circles of primary colour overlapping one another in Blue, Red, Yellow sequence. The original idea had been to use three very faint circles on a white background, but this approach lacked vigour for a cook aimed at children and young people. The three circles were then placed over an Itten’s colour circle which is bordered by two colour swatches made from the Fruit and Veg exercise I undertook earlier in the course. I decided to given each circle a linear gradient to show the hue range, as well as add a hopefully eye-catching cover.
The final cover was made using an electronic trace (hands are spasming at the moment so grip is poor), of a letter A I’d seen on Pinterest. This coloured with a range of pastel shades I’d chosen from the book 2000 Colour Combinations. I paired the A with some fluid decorative text, in this case the chalk like CoolHandLuke with its learning overtones, and joining the two together on Photoshop. This was then placed over a font sampler located again on Pinterest. In also added An A to Z Guide underneath the title to help introduce the format of the book.
For the back covers I looked at the current crop of Penquin books and the Ladybird book for inspiration regarding the information carried and how it’s presented. I used the white stripe to help highlight the titles of books I’d imagined were part of the series. Other details included the FSC marking for recycling, international prices and barcode as well as series overview. The spins is pretty straight forward, following Ladybirds theme I eventually settled for featuring the name of the book in the white section, and the logo at the top. The three covers were then created as full documents.
The next phase was to write the introduction text, so applying the 5W’s (and the H) to the task I came up with a writing plan, factoring in for 250 words per page. This will be based on the internal page set up of the Ladybird books, but also involve reader interaction through the use of a Portfolio Fillers. These will form a series of creative tasks for the reader to complete and add to their own Designers Portfolio.
The next stage was to make the initial Designers Portfolio tasksto go at the bottom of the pages followed by the A-Z for the contents. I chose to justify left my paragraphs for the sake of brevity and for the body text use 14pts and for header and footer text use 12pts with a 20° shear.
The A to Z terms were chosen from the books listed in the Resources Used below. Unfortunately there was no X suitable and no Y or Z subjects, so I left these blank.
The final stage was to use Affinity Publisher to set up 14 pages of the book including end pages. The body text was Helvetica at 15pts and 12Pts with Bitter being used for the index header. All text was horizontally tracked at 6°, with a Leading Override of ether 12 or 15 Pts. Where italics were used these were made by giving the section a 20° shear.
I laid out the images used in either two or three column grids as per Müller-Brockmann setting them up in the spirit of the Ladybird books. Not only do these act as visual cues but also introduce technical elements of the book to the reader but also portraits of influential designers including the father of modern European printing Gutenberg.
The introduction, which I appreciate, is meant to be over four pages was interspersed with relevant imagery, which acted to introduce themes as well as add colour and interest. I then highlighted the background of the picture captions and Portfolio Fillers with the same shade of yellow as I’d used for the spines. This not only added interest but echoed earlier cover designs. The index was added to give a concept of overall book size, and it felt odd to leave it out to be honest.
The Mockups help to add flesh to the bones of project and help to bring the project to life. I believe the overall designs and contents meet the brief, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the assignment. It allowed me to utilse the skills that I’ve learned over duration of the course as well as utilise DTP including Affinity Designer a little more.
The first thing that leapt out at me with this assignment among the myriad of detail was colour. Its colour, and its combinations, which acts as a cue to remembering details, just think of how often red and yellow are used for example. The obvious choices are McDonalds and Shell petrol, but what about Lipton Tea, DHL or the Soviet Hammer and Sickle? Here the predominant colour is red, chosen not for so much for its value as symbolising danger but for passion.
New Design Group in their essay The Psychology of Colour in Advertising state that;
‘Red is associated with passion and love but its strong intensity also signifies excitement, determination and courage.’
And of yellow that;
‘Yellow is bright, reminiscent of the sun and full of energy. It also signifies playfulness, amusement, curiosity and happiness…’
It’s easy to see why these two colours are often combined in logo’s especially fast foods.
The issue with colour is that once you start looking you soon start seeing patterns, and very few companies go beyond the three colour palette. The other factor to consider is that any logo or brand must be simple in shape for it to be effective, for it serves three purposes;
1. Identifies the brand and all that it is – Rolls Royce and NASA are two classic examples.
2. It’s easily identifiable and stands out from the crowd – Pam Am hit the nail on the head with Ivan Chermayeff’s iconic design as have Levi jeans.
3. Its simple in design and colour palette – remember the rainbow Apple logo? It stayed with the company for 21yrs (1977 -1998) before being replaced with a simpler design.
In the Ambrose and Harris’s The Fundamentals of Graphic Design branding is described as:
‘The creation of a visual identity [that] seeks to take key behavioural characteristics of an organisation & use them to build an image that can be presented to target customers, other stakeholders and the world at large’.
This is something that big company’s have done throughout the years and done well; IBM, Paramount, John Deere and Land Rover are examples of emotive branding, targeting the consumer as well as present innovative companies to the prospective investor.
IBM, or International Business Machines is a great example of this, starting out making food slicers and time card punching machines at the turn of the Twentieth Century to being leaders of AI in the Twenty First. Yet its logo has remained pretty much the same, signifying stability, which is what both consumer and investor like.
No where else do we see such staunch use of branding as in the field of engineering, be it agricultural or motor. John Deere has built up quite the reputation in the field of agriculture. Their green tractors are as synonymous with quality to the farmer and farming to the casual observer. The same can be said for the Land Rover ellipse, and the JCB rectangle.
Ultimately brands and logos are the result of careful study by the marketing teams who factor in such as aspects as corporate identity, products and brands, company values, consumer perceptions and preferences, competition, quality and trust. Then a designer is approached and had the unenviable task of designing a suitable logo.
For some the results are iconic, the Nike Swoosh, Coca Cola, IKEA are good examples. However there are always the not so good, and even the greatest design houses can have an off-day, Wolff Olins 2012 London Olympic Games logo is case in point. Proof that a logo has to have mass appeal to be successful, and to have mass appeal it must be readily recognisable. As Olins himself said on logos’:
‘[Logo’s] serve the same purpose as religious symbols… they encapsulate and make vivid a collective sense of belonging and purpose’.
Sadly if they’re too abstract, as the 2012 London Olympic Games logo was seen to be, then they fail in achieving the first hurdle of their brief.
For me, the factors that make a logo stick in my mind are those that are easy to recall and associate with a particular colour; red – Coca Cola, green – John Deere, blue – Ford and yellow – Shell.
There there’s physical design, the simpler the shape the easier it is to recognise; Chanel, Nike and Levi and Channel Four are great examples.
So it would appear that logo’s that are the simplest in design are those that tend to stick in our minds the most. Thought there will always be the one that stick out for the wrong reasons.
The purpose of this exercise is to design a poster and flyer for singing course, so the first step after designing the mind-map was to review examples on Pinterest for inspiration, which can be seen in the link below.
The image element of the exercise is straightforward enough and I’ll touch on that shortly, the real issue was the information to accompany it. On the face of it, it seems complete enough, but breaking it down into Who, What, When Where, Why and How makes it easier to see what information I have and what information I need.
Who? – Is their a named Point of Contact? Is the course for everyone or a select group due to age? Who are SingOut?
What? – What qualifications do you get? Is the course certified? What qualifications has the tutor got? Large choir, small group, individual lessons available?
When? Year – helps folk to plan, or be disappointed.
Where? Postcode for SATNAV’s
Why? Unique Selling point – learn a new skill; reading music perhaps?
How? How long it the course? Can I book online?
At this point I would be chatting to the client and getting this information from them as the gaps, whilst not big, are important. Remember we’re asking folk to invest their time and money in the lessons, so the more information the better.
However for the sake of brevity I’ve filled in the gaps as best I can:
Join [SingOut (remember the brand)] for an exciting opportunity during the day with [one of our qualified] professional [and experienced] vocal coaches. (reassure the potential customer)
[Join our friendly group and] Learn to sing different types of music, vocal techniques, meet new people and have fun!
10:30am to 12:00pm every Tuesday from 11 March 
The Community Centre, Charlotte Church Road, [New Town, NT1 2BA]
£60 for the [10 week] course
No experience needed/no requirement to read music [just a desire to sing (USP)]
For more information call [Nelly Melba] on 011779 8765432 [or visit] www.singout.com [to book your place online]
The next stage is the illustration, at this point and on looking at the brief and the samples of images I’ve collated I decided a photo would be the best way to sell the idea. Cue Mrs. Skipper and her patience.
These were then put through a filter to get the black and white feel I wanted for the poster. Think late 70’s early 80’s Pelican social history vibe. Still needs a bit of fettling though. The next job is to choose which is best to use.
The first task was to design the A6 Flyer, as it’s the most straight forward of the two tasks, and this time I’ve decided to have a bash at it with InDesign using a setting up tutorial I’ve located on the Adobe community forum (link below).
As I’m setting up the page the one thing I’ve considered is a simple logo for SingOut to establish the brand and make the flyer a little more eye-catching. Time to do some thinking on this matter and make some sketches.
The next stage is to realise the logo using Affinity Designer and Publisher, ensuring the form is simple, as well as making a simple beamed note to replace the ‘N’. This was then balanced and saved as a PNG.
I now created the front of the flyer and imaged it printed onto Yellow, I did notice that the silhouette I’d originally chosen not only looked odd, but was still on a white not transparent background. The image I now chose to use for both flyer and poster was converted with Photoshop to give the transparent background I needed. I also noted that in InDesign my PNG logo was blocky, even though originally done as a raster image in Affinity Designer. So I decided to carry on with the design in Affinity Publisher.
I then experimented with the logo a little, smoothing out the blocks with a 3D effect and gradient tool worked nicely.
I chose to use Helvetica for the back panel information, which included my information adjustments and then selected backgrounds of Yellow, Pink and Orange to see how they worked with the overall idea as well as a plain copy. Next task the poster.
Logo; I’m really not happy with it. So reviewing at the brief I’ve decided to have a play and try to refine it. So I set to redesigning it in Affinity setting the key letters of S and O at 200pts and the remainder at 125pts. I got rid of the note motif as its seemed somewhat clichéd and kept the form simple.
A quick change of the logo has made the word of difference and elongating it helped balance the White Space of the image.
The next step is to change the direction of the SingOut and we’re in business.
The final step is to make the A3 poster. This was arranged using a simple Grid pattern and a hopefully sympathetic layout. A little easier with a definitive logo and the information correctly squared away.
*At this point I feel it appropriate to put in a disclaimer; as I’m in COVID lockdown the chances of being able to furnish my ever suffering tutor with copies of the work are non-existent. But I will sort once a small bit of normality has returned.
So in review, another interesting exercise, the black and white palette combined with the limited information made for an interesting opportunity along with my first and second logos I have to be honest I far prefer the second. This type of poster/flyer would definitely look good produced on coloured paper, especially the pseudo 70’s manipulated photo.
A great exercise with more to it than meets the eye. Oh and if you’ve made it this far and are interested, I’m still struggling with InDesign. I’ll get there in the end though.
Exercise update 01012020 – Alternative logo
The final design and logo has been on mind. The more I thought about it the more I reasoned that any logo would need to be as stock as possible, not only to keep costs low, but also to help with legibility. I chose the Art Deco inspirted decorative font Wallington by Sandi Dez to now represent the company name. It’s eyectahcing, dynamic and not too florid and so easy on the eye. A good alternative to the original logo.