Animal Farm – How it should have looked

Early this year we were tasked with designing a new cover for the George Orwell classic Animal Farm based on our interpretation. Here is the finished cover I submitted.

Final Piece in minion

Below, however, is my own rendering of my design, published in hard cover copy. This is just a chance to revisit my old work and further accustom myself with Adobe Photoshop.

Finished display

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Field Level 5 (ADZ5888) – Reflection on the year

While the subject element of my course is, to me, the larger part of the course as it focuses on fundamentals of design. I would have learned less this year if I had no engaged with my Field module. I have learnt a great deal of the periphery of my subject, learning about broad concepts that, although background concerns, nevertheless play an important role in shaping my development as a designer.

Circle Line

In my first module we were taught by Chris Glynn who was teaching the Circle Line module. We were asked to make an 8 minute, abstract documentary style video exploring the visual language of the Circle Line with the intention to bring a sense of the circle line’s past in an implicit manner through the use of editing, animation, visual effects and musical composition. We were to use both our own and archival media in the form of footage and audio recordings.

The whole experience, from the initial walk along the Taff river to the trip up the valleys from Cardiff to Pontyridd, and on up the valley towards Ton Pentre we were encouraged to change our usual perspectives and focus on things we wouldn’t usually. The work we were to produce should give the implicit sense of the area and its history without text and without narration, something never asked of us before. I admit I found it very difficult to adjust to this new philosophy initially.  Towards the end of the second trip, however, I found myself getting into it and found myself discovering much that I would have normally ignored.

The video editing process was also a steep learning curve, because this film genre departed from most typical rules of filming, in terms of framing of shots, linear and coherent visual narrative and unfiltered audio. I am not normally someone who would be drawn to such abstract work, but that is the same reason I think it helped me grow as a designer.

Information is Power

For our term project I was placed in the group ‘Information is Power’ which explored the role of a Graphic Designer in creating Info-graphics. Our first introduction to the topic was a look back at the origin of info-graphics, their development and their value or more complicated existing systems as a source of quick visual information.

Our first project was to collect some information of whatever kind we wanted and to display it in an appropriate manner as an info-graphic. My team did a survey on the power of a hand drawn ‘no entry’ sign to deter people from entering a bathroom that was, in fact, open and functional. This was an interesting look at human psychology as much as it was a new experience in info-graphic design. I was really pleased with my submission also.

Visual Storytelling

We were asked to create a narrative through visual story telling on any subject we chose. The idea was to create a visual piece that used a systematic approach to convey statistics or other forms of information. This was a difficult brief as it was very broad in its scope. I decided to create a website comprised on various info-graphics. This was a big learning curve as it required extensive animation as well as web design beyond anything I had done to that point. The whole nature of Field so far seems to be to drop you somewhat in the deep end with a new topic of study and see what happens. I’ve enjoyed that aspect. Being tested like that with minimal pressure to produce something amazing because it’s new to you, but occasionally surprising yourself with what you manage.

One day project Craft & Kin – Revisited

I have previously written about my work for Craft and Kin and the brief my group was given. Unfortunately, when we originally undertook the task we didn’t operate very effectively as a team and our work was very sub par, in my opinion.

Since then, I have decided to entirely overhaul this and several other projects I have done through out the year (more to come on those other projects). When I last worked on this brief, I wound up with a confusing mess of semi decent ideas that hadn’t been refined into final idea. I decided to take my favorite elements from those ideas and produce the long overdue final product.

Introduction

A quick summary of the brief: We were asked to create a brand identity for a Bristol based barber shop. They wanted something cool and modern, but nothing too cliche. They wanted emphasis on the personalised service they offered to clients as that was one of their strongest selling points. We also had to advertise the particular services they offered in terms of hair and facial treatments. 

In our original project we had decided to research Bristol and came up with two interesting points of focus:

Here was our final product. I think in retrospect, we should’ve balanced our time more in terms of focusing on aesthetics more than cleverly tying the logo to something relevant. I think the balloon didn’t really work in the end. Our idea was to combine the balloon shape with the colours of a barbers shop pole. However a balloon with stripes of blue, red and white across its body look irritatingly like a blob of toothpaste.

A cut above

Here you can see my new logo. I think this was possibly in reaction to the poor layout and definition of the previous iteration of the logo that led me to go all the way the other way. It could also be that in other projects since I have some promising results with silhouettes. I first quickly crated the shape and then added a thick, bold typeface that would stand out (left). I also made sure to pick a sans serif typeface to class it up a little and give it more unique charm.

In the second image (right) I inverted the entire image and added shading that I realised looked like a shiny emboss effect. While unintended, I felt it bestowed a more premium feel. Having just visited Zenith media on a field trip and seen the intricate detailing that can be applied to paper products, I was tempted to use a few in case I had these printed for real.

Logo Comparison.jpg

Despite the modern, minimalist design I was aiming for, I decided there was a lack of flare in my original designs, and so I experimented with gold and silver effects as well as using embossing effects on my type and my image. As well as this I decided black and white were too harsh and background colours an I reduced them to dark grey and very pale grey. On the bottom version I also added a texture to the background to give it a thick card effect, further differentiating it from the foreground imagery.

Happy with the logo, I next turned my mind towards creating ephemera and other items for the branding to sit within.

 

Here is my first item. The business card, front and back. I decided to go with my latest logo design and continue the minimalist theme on the rear. I was happy to have slightly more crammed in as the rear of the card is where the vast majority of the information should sit. I continued the gold and silver embossing effect throughout and decided to use icons for everything to give a more visual idea of the experience.

While I was very happy with this design, I could help feel that too not use the inverted design would be a waste. I decided I would find a place for it.

We originally planned to add loyalty cards, but never got that idea off the ground particularly. I decided, therefore that I would kill two birds with one stone. I need the cards and I wanted to include my white design.

Here is the final product and a rendering I made. I am very pleased with the outcome as the logo on the front is unmistakable. But cannot be mistaken as the business card. I am also proud of the maintenance of the gold and silver colour scheme with one red circle breaking the rule and drawing the eye to the selling point of the card. The gold ink stamps are also a unique touch that would be hard to forge.

Here are my shop signs. They are simply the same as my original logo except on the shop banner the  type has been moved to fit the provided space.

My Thoughts

While the original project was simply a test with no effect on my year’s performance. It had been niggling at me that I had left this project done to such a poor standard. I felt very confident at the time that I would produce something far better and I feel like I have fixed that.  Brief’s whether they are real commercial projects, or simply a one day experiment like this one, are very useful as they set specific boundaries to work within and objective goals to reach.

This now feels like a piece that, with a little bit of refinement, in terms of dpi of images and final consultation, that I could imagine waling past on the high street and being offered one of the business cards.

 

Visiting Zenith Media

Zenith Media is one of South Wales fastest growing print manufacturers. Ian, our lecturer organized the trip.

Thanks to Zenith’s links to Cardiff Metropolitan University, we were given a full tour of their facilities.

We were first given some background information about the company’s recent past and the reasons for their successes. All of this was extremely educational because as much design work as we, as students have done. There’s nothing like the real world of business.

Here we saw an engraving machine that manufactured plates that would later be inked and used for printing possibly hundreds of thousands of sheets of copy.

Four plates are necessary as a full colour page is composed in the CMYK colour gammit.

The enormous printing machines had open troffs at intervals with rollers evenly spreading each colour across the engraved plates.

As a quick aside. Zenith also does smaller batches of digital print for smaller customers or trial runs. I noticed that their ink cartridges look recyclable. Apparently every effort is made to recycle waste from each stage of the printing process.

Some examples of stacked printing jobs awaiting binding. This included a piece clearly for Cardiff Met.

What amazed me during the tour was the number of components of a print job that could be adjusted with an almost limitless number of combinations of paper weight, paper colour, texture, ink colour and formula (some are mineral based, some vegetable based etc) and extra effects such as embossing, debossing,

In the first image, there is the bossing and debossing machine which is antique, the technology hasn’t changed awfully in the interim so there is no need to replace them.

In the second image there is a job, midway through production. It is some memorial piece with regards to Amy Whinehouse. You can see that certain elements that needed to be exentuated have been given a glossy finish.

During my time at Zenith I learned of the sheer scale of operation required to create beautiful works of print on an industrial scale. The number of professionals with small specialised roles in keeping the whole operation in motion was impressive and quite daunting.

I learned an awful lot about the importance of networking and being willing to put yourself out there and encourage this to proceed to your benefit.

Common Ground – Final development

While the project itself has come to close, I felt it was necessary for me to continue working on my branding work for ‘Common Ground’ or the Regeneration Research, Enterprise and Education Hub (RREEH).

I was unfortunately unable to finish the work by the deadline set and so the work I presented, for me, at least, was sub par. I have since been working on refining my designs into something I can truthfully call a finished product.

What I had at this point was a solid idea that required further work. So, my first alteration had to be my most fundamental. I decided to rework my logo.

 

This was my first attempt at a new, more minimalist logo that combined imagery with typography. There is a not indecipherable ‘CG’ within my logo, but it also works as a geometric shape.

All logos.jpg

Here are some variants on the original design, I wanted to impart colour and play into the logo without changing it too much. My only issue was that the logo was too geometric and mathematically perfect. I was reminded of the requirement for a handmade style of logo and this early design certainly did not tick that box.

 

Here you can see my refinements to the logo. First I decided to round the edges to give the the logo a less sharp and angular appearance. This coincided with my typographic choice. I decided to use a hand drawn type.

Capture

Here is my font design. I was very happy with the outcome of my typeface and I decided that the logo would have to conform to the the typeface. As a result, I took what I had created and used Adobe Photoshop to warp and distort my logo until I decided it was in keeping with the typography.

My next step was to decide how to implement this new visual language into the desired mediums. Kate asked for an abundance of colour in the design to show the fun and interactive side of the organisation and to make it more appealing to youth. She mad it very clear that one of the chief concerns of the organisation was to connect young people to their heritage. To this end I decided to refer back to one of my earlier designs.

new logo white 1

I decided to compromise between a hand drawn aesthetic and a geometric pattern.

original rounded full

Here is my first rendering of my new logo. it shares the colours of the earlier design but contains more quirky and personal typography.

 

On device mockupHere is my vision for how the website would look. My intention was to create something unique and eye-catching. I feel that there is far too much conformity in modern branding. There is a definite push towards minimalism and simplicity that is so overpowering that much of the graphic design I see when I am out and about looks as if it has been printed with a cookie cutter.

The idea for this website is to make it easily accessible and intuitive when accessed from either a desktop, tablet of mobile device.

Here is an example of a letterhead for the organisation. There is colour but not too much. The size of the image at the base of the page is adjustable, I made it large to highlight it as a design aspect within the piece, but it could be easily reduced to avoid overcrowding a page or simply to reduce printing costs.

You see the evolution in the design from left to right as I sought to integrate the website design into the letterhead design. I wanted to create something that would stand out and be instantly recognisable. I can’t think of a single brand or organisation that shares much in common with the design language I have created here.

Business card template

And here is how I see the business card looking. I believe it is extremely important to create an immediate impact so I increased the ratio of space taken up b the logo on the front of the card. It is also as vibrant and colourful as the rest of the elements. The rear is very minimalist and unadorned to create a balance. I also think it is important to show the information clearly, laid out in a professional manner.

My Thoughts

As the project is concluded it is difficult for me to get further feedback from Kate and other representatives of the RREEH and so I will have to leave this project here. I am pleased with the progress I have made and feel that the work I have produced is of a decent standard. I don’t tend to create work that is universally like. My work tends to be slightly more niche and to divide opinion. This is certainly an example of this.

 

Common Ground – Three spheres

Sadly, I was unwell in the week leading up to our presentation to Kate of our rebranding of the Regeneration Research, Enterprise and Education Hub (RREEH). For the presentation itself I had to cobble together what I had accumulated up until that point.

Here is the explanation of the work I had completed up to that point.

sketches page.jpg

Here is the refined set of my illustrations. I elected to look at the three ‘O’s in ‘Common Ground’ I felt that I could use them to blur the lines between a typographic and image based logo. In the process of refining this idea, I decided the ‘O’s should be circles that contained information pertinent to the organisations structure.

In the three circles logo I created a rough approximation of the tributary organisations that Common Ground would bring together to achieve its stated goals. The graduate cap represents the academic input of Universities. The tree roots represent the grass roots organisations that would be the backbone of any project. The dragon emblem is a quick sketch of the Welsh Assembly logo as they play a major role in the funding of these projects.

Here you can see the development of the idea. As Kate had asked for something hand drawn I decided to simply take the best of my illustrations and digitise it. I used a filter to reduce the complexity of the shapes and maintained the three circles at the forefront of the design.

The reason the circles remain blank is that I was keeping in mind Kate’s request for versatility in the logo itself. Due to the fact that the organisation has aspirations of expansion. My idea is that the circles can house various images, logos of lines of text depending on the context in which the logo is being used.

Points

Here were some of my initial designs for these tokens, spheres, points or whatever they end up being called. The idea being that a specific project may have the input of any local interest group and so these would need to be altered and adapted to fit that.

three spheres shitThe map

Here is an example of how the theme would transfer across to the website. There would be an interactive map which could be expanded as the organisation expands. The circle theme continues with the demarkation of the live projects that the organisation is party to. These would be interactive.

A visitor to the website would hover their cursor over the dot that interested them and a relevant image would appear in an expanded circle which would act as a link to further information about the project and information about how to get involved.

My Thoughts

The work that I presented, it must be admitted, is far from a finished product. I actually travelled up to Cardiff on the day to present as I knew the feedback from Kate would be incredibly important. I was gratified to hear that my name ‘Common Ground’ was her favourite of the group and she would be following up with it and likely using it in her future development of the organisation.

Despite this being the official deadline for the project, I will continue to adapt my work and refine it until I have a final product I feel proud to display.

Common Ground – Experimentation

After our session with Kate from the Regeneration Research, Enterprise and Education Hub (RREEH) I still had a number of ideas swimming around in my head and I decided to explore them and see whether I could weed out some of the lesser ones and further hone my project.

The first of my ideas was a logo that would also work as a design language throughout the organisation’s brand. A central circle ringed with smaller tributary circles. The ‘hub’ for want of a better word, is the centre where all the the collaboration takes place and the smaller circles represent either the organisations which are associated with the organisation or the categories of project they oversee.

As you can see in the right most image, the tributary circles would each contain the geographical information for the project concerned and be expandable (for the website). For articles of ephemera there would be an expanded circle detailing the individual project at full scale with details on the project, the contributors and information about how to get involved.

I had intended possibly, for the third level of circles, those that surround the tributary circles, would act as various skills and abilities that the project was currently short of. Possibly if there was a lack of surveyors for a large renovation project, a circle could be dedicated to giving information about the work that was needed and the specific skill sets they were looking to recruit.

Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 16.27.43

Another idea I had looked at was the idea of setting the organisation out as a constellation. My reasoning behind this is that it works as a metaphor for the mission statement of the organisation. A constellation is a very human creation. The stars that make up a constellation have little connecting them, but an observer can link them in a way that creates something greater than the sum of its parts.

Each star in a constellation is a piece of the puzzle, of the whole. In the same manner, each group which comes together under the ‘Common Ground’ initiative is a piece of the puzzle. An important element that when combined with those around it can create something that did not formerly exist. In the same way, ‘Common Ground’ brings together individuals and groups to combine to and achieve things that, without the combination of skills and resources, would not exist in any meaningful way.

My Thoughts

I am glad that our session with Kate yielded some positive results and allowed me to refine my work instead of just throwing out as many ideas as I could come up with. The obvious side effect of this, however, is that either new ideas must conform to the existing body of work, or the existing body of work must be put to one side and much progress will be lost. Common Ground is a very solid name in my opinion so I must try to make my work fit into the space that that name occupies.