Changing Faces – One to One Consultation

Recently we were scheduled one to one meetings with David to discuss our projects and evaluate them. Seeing what ideas we had come up with, looking at how we could refine or build on them, as well as looking for basic errors and misjudgments.

By this point I had a very solid basis for my project. My core ideas had been laid out and begun taking shape. My color scheme or blue/cyan tinted monochrome was solid and my imagery was coming along.

Page 1&2 #5pages 3-4 #5

Still far from a six page spread. The last spread being columned text and nothing more I decided to just leave it out and save some space. Since my last version of this I had entirely redesigned the second spread with my photo series of a dying candle. Details of this can be found in a prior post. Here were the major points of improvement suggested to me.

  • The quote on page 2 is not pulled from the article and therefore must be removed.
  • The text would be far more flowing and dynamic if it was not justified
  • there is no need for a stand first on the second spread
  • All pull out quotations should have a common font size, color etc.
  •  The candle image should not have a border and the title along the edge should instead be in the foreground of the image (this is something I had tried previously but changed last minute)

What I’ve changed

Pages 1&2 #10

In my first spread I have completely reworked the typesetting. Unjustified the body text (this was done throughout the article) and adapted a new pullout quote. I have also created stylized wax dribbles, the details of their creation and reasoning behind them are explained in detail in a prior post.

Pages 3&4 #10

On the second spread I did something similar. The stand-first remains as I neglected to change it by this point. However the quotation has been adapted, the image on page four has been expanded and the title placed in the foreground in white font that is of the same family as the heading and pullout quotes (Bodoni 72 Oldstyle). I also increased the contrast of the image to make it appear more stark and highlight the change as the eye progresses down the page.

Pages 5&6 #10

Similar things have been done to my third spread. Another wax splash, a pullout quote in blue and a final image that lends the article an air of finality. The progression from dark to like as the reader progresses was an idea David nudged me towards and I feel it works very effectively.

My thoughts

These improvements from my fifth version to my tenth were made in just two days, possibly my most productive two days in the course of this project so far. This task quickly went from something I was desperately trying to make presentable and get over and done with, to a piece of work I’m genuinely proud of and filled with enthusiasm to have completed and professionally printed.

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Changing Faces – Process

Although I am yet to put the final touches on my project, I am already aware of what needs to be done to make it as good as I can. This is due to my method of refinement I have used for the past couple of weeks. It’s pretty simple and not exactly a new idea.

After creating a solid basis. Laying out my text on the six page spread, devising a column and margin system I was comfortable with an just generally laying down the ground rules. I began Devising my theme. That was a process of sitting around and thinking about the meat of my subject.

I did quite a bit of research online on websites such as Pinterest and Behance. Not only for layout of my text. But imagery and general applicability of various themes. I have accounts on both websites with albums of collections of my favorite pieces. They should be linked to this webpage.

Here is just an example of some of the changes I made and the feedback that encouraged me:

Here is the first double page spread of my fourth version of the article. And here are some of my inspirations:

I really liked the use of serif fonts for the titles with the leading reduced to squash down the text to make it more black in contrast to the white background as well as the small subheading standing proud of the body text, centered above it. I found both of these spreads on Pinterest making them difficult to attribute to an original designer.

Overall I was told that the imagery was strong, he color scheme too. However, the text felt quite stuffy and unimaginative. I knew this was true but I needed that basis from which to advance so I was happy to receive the feedback. Also that the attribution for the quote was too large. The other criticism was in the placement of the heading. I had made a point of asking about it because I felt it looked a bit too much like the cover of a murder mystery book. It was suggested that possibly I should change the placement so it was less centered and lined up with another element of the page.

Page 1&2 #5

This is my subsequent attempt. Number 5. I dropped the heading to be inline with the bottom of the body text on the opposing page. Played around with the text placement and generally applied the changes suggested. It certainly improved the piece but there’s always more to be refined.

After this point I went on a bit of a design spree and made huge sweeping changes until my one to one consultation with David. Following the universal approval of my heading for the article. I decided to use the candle metaphor as my main source of imagery. It fit with the aesthetic and all in all made for quite an elegant solution to the heading with no purpose other than to look cool.

In a following post I shall explain my further changes  the article as well as the construction of the subsequent two double page spreads and the imagery to adorn them.

Changing Faces – Wax Work

With my main theme being the lifespan of a candle. I wanted to expound on this throughout my article. One idea I had was the transition of light to dark. The first double page spread would contain swathes of white space. The imagery in the following spreads would gradually darken in a nod to the message of the article. I decided that as well as these main images, I should add some small detailing to make the page more appealing to the eye. I was very careful with this idea however, as I have a tendency to overfill pages to the point of crowding them.

Here are some examples of further experimentation with wax on paper. I was very pleased with the center left image, which simply has the page flipped showing the wax silhouetted on the reverse of the paper. My previous attempt had involved smearing the wax to draw images. This was effective but the results weren’t right for the article in my opinion. They looked a little childish and fun in a kind of Quentin Blake way.

This time I decided to let the wax fall naturally. I propped an A3 sketchpad against the window and dripped wax down it. The images aren’t excellent as I was again using my camera phone. But I had no intention of using the vanilla shots. They were high definition enough to be edited effectively.

Here are two of my finished pieces, post editing. I removed the background color and increased the brightness and contrast on the wax. I then removed the color information and implanted cyan onto the monochrome image. This worked even batter than I could have hoped. As they were they were too cluttered however. And I was making the effort to avoid this.

Here are some of the close crops I made to apply to the pages. Wax has a certain density that means it pools at a certain size. If I was to use the full page shots, it wouldn’t have looked right. These images were scaled to fit my page properly.

#11 spread no1 psd

Here’s the most recent version of my first double page spread. The inclusion of the wax drip doesn’t crowd the page at all, but evens out the point of focus somewhat. The heading should of course be the main focus on the page. But prior to adding the drip it seemed a little lopsided. I’m very happy with the results.

Changing Faces – Imagery

At this point my theme is well established. However I need some more imagery for the article. I decided that since I have such an abundance of candles left over from my previous piece (see previous post) that I’d so some experimentation. I wasn’t able to secure a decent camera for this so the images are from my phone.

20170508_181531

I had the idea of using the melted wax as an implement from drawing. So I sketched out a simple map of the earth in pencil before lighting my candles and setting to work. I didn’t want to simply drip over the right areas one at a time as I thought this would not create the desired effect. I wanted a swirling, dynamic and slightly abstract image.

By smearing the lit candle across the paper and the wax dripped from it. I ended up with something similar to a watercolor. The effect of this was just what I’d hoped. There was some ash from the wick but I feel that only adds to the image. I used blue and black candles because I wanted a slightly washed out, bleak look but still bright. It was only after I finished this piece that I really thought about how I could apply it.

Earth Drippy

Here’s the Photoshop edited piece. I simple removed all the paper coloring so the image would sit nicely on my final piece without the off-white box surrounding it.

20170508_182152

This is a continuation of the same image. I just kept on melting. I was aiming for an effect like a waxy puddle gather beneath the earth. It came out looking a little more like a platform as if the planet was on a stand however. Because of this I did a little more editing to see if I could salvage it.

Earth Melting

Here’s the final piece. I’m not entirely satisfied with the outcome but I’m happy to have explored the concept. Painting with wax offers a great dynamism to images. The depth a color and texture is really great. The images don’t really do it justice because my camera phone makes them look very flat. I’m not sure yet how I can apply this to my project but it’s a good piece to have in case it comes in handy later.

Changing Faces – Themes

Leading on from the heading I created (shown in my previous post) I decided it could be the basis for my theme. I need imagery to illustrate the contents of the article or at least, suggest and compliment the article’s content. The heading has been instrumental in my decision making since I made it. It’s also the case that I really liked it and didn’t want to have to change it to fit with a different theme.

I realized that despite my use of ink in water to achieve the effect. It looked rather like oily curling smoke like that of a candle. I felt that a candle would be a good metaphor for the issue of diminishing natural resources in the world. A candle is a made object that gives off heat and light which people need, but it is a finite resource. Once the candle burns down to a bass, the fire runs out of fuel and suddenly all is dark.

I pondered for a while around the choice of illustration versus photography. I finally came to the decision to use photography based on the simple logic that the article has a very serious tone. It describes a dilemma we face and the possible consequences of not acting. It also seems to scold humanity in general for our lack of foresight. In my mind, illustration is more lighthearted than photography. This is not a rule, but my drawing style is generally quite light and airy and I feel like the most powerful way of sending a message when it has so much importance is photography. It captures people’s imagination and will always be more detailed and stunning.

Process

I went out and bought different colored candles to experiment with. I also borrowed a DSLR from the studio. I wanted my images to be as crisp and high definition as possible. My experiments with my camera phone were shoddy at best. This was largely down to the low light and high contrast of the images. The idea was a light in the darkness.

Here are a few examples of my images. They were all taken in the bathroom of my halls. It was the only place I had where I could block out all other light. It wasn’t pretty. I was kneeling with my arm over bucket to catch the dripping wax with the candle burning one hand while I took the pictures with the other. I was really happy, however, with the outcome. I took over 60 photographs in total and selected 12 of the best to create my piece with.

Once I had selected the 12 final images I had to work out what to do with them. Despite my effort to block out other light, an unintended consequence of the tiny room I was in, was the single candle lit the place with orange light. As the candle burnt down, the background of each image became progressively darker. I really liked the flow this created between the images so I combined them.

Candle layered Flattened

Here is the result. I could not be happier with it. The steady transition really tells the story I was aiming to get. I really wasn’t expecting much from my attempts given the slightly weird lengths I had to go to achieve them, but it turned out great. The last image in the series was particularly difficult. I actually had to do a little Photoshop bodging as the candle I had bought just would not die down. It was still blazing, so I took the second to last image (bottom left) and adjusted it.

At this point I wandered if there was anything more I could do. I decided to try out playing with the coloration. The image is fine like this. But I wanted to maintain a consistent color scheme throughout my spreads.

Candle layered cyan

Here’s what I eventually came up with. I was absolutely thrilled with the result. I simply removed the natural color and introduced a deep cyan tint as well as fiddling with the contrast. It seems to give a richer feel to the image the light is softer but the effect of the change in light from start to end is even more profound.

Everything Will Change – Type and imagery

For this brief one of the key limitations is in the sourcing of media for my spread. All images and illustrations must be home made. This obviously constricts my ability to use spectacular wide shots of natural wanders and scenes of toxic pollution for example. But after discussing wth lecturers I realised the best option would be to use implicit imagery. The idea being to subtly add to the texture and depth of the article instead of using direct depiction of the topic to prop it up.

A really great website I took a look at is http://non-format.com/ which, among other things, contains spectacular examples of text being used in very abstract ways to suggest imagery, while maintaining its original purpose. Text is broken up, distorted or turned into negative space. It really gave me a lot of ideas.

This pice, for example, expressed the state of song visually. It conveys great excited creativity as music flows naturally and chaotically. The branches hold silhouettes of song birds. Without deviating from the typographic foundation of the page, imagery is incorporated.

This ad by Nike expresses the feeling of pushing yourself to the physical limit. The illustration of sweat pouring and being distorted by the wind as you run. The fact that the type itself is beginning to lose it’s structure also expresses the ‘red line’. The idea being to convey that you’re physically right on the edge and struggling.

 

One of my favourite aspects of these pieces is that they do not require colour. They are pure and simple, dealing in high contrast monochrome. Shape is all that is needed to convey something so powerful. It’s a case of doing more with less. Given that my resources are ‘less’, hopefully this method should give me ‘more’.

Here’s on I made earlier

 

Finished jpeg, cropped

Here’s what I came up with. I was reminded of previous projects such as the ‘Six Word Poster’ assignment at the start of my blog. I’m debating what I think of it, really. Visually I think it has a lot of depth and is very eye catching. It’s not the clearest of headings. But I’ve researched numerous designs online that were far more abstract and harder to read. I’m putting this down to artistic license.

The idea behind this is to subtly convey the imminent threat discussed in the article. The type as it stood original (Bodoni 72 Oldstyle) would be the norm. What you would expect. But the idea of this was to take something everyday and corrupt it. The idea being that the reader comfortable day to day existence is being slowly eroded and will eventually be unrecognisable and just a distant memory.

The lion’s share of the page of which my heading will sit is clean and white. The expanding pool of black is to represent contamination. A mark or imperfection denoting the beginning of something bigger. I found that Ink in water made for a much better image than oil. It is in the nature of ink that when dropped into water that it will spread and consume the pristine clear water until the whole thing is dark and dirty.

I made the image monochrome before adding just a touch of cyan to define the ink and bring a touch of colour to the page. I also took the image of the spreading ink and created a reverse colour version to sit within the letter forms that would be covered by the ink. This was my best way of making sure they would be distinct from the ink.

My Thoughts

I’m really happy with the way this turned out. I went into it with only the vaguest notion of what I wanted and numerous bits of ideas from different projects that I was unsure would work in conjunction. But happily the outcome was good.

Research on the Environment

Good News

(source)  – UK’s first coal free day since the industrial revolution

April 21st 2017, for a whole 24 hours. No coal was burned to power the United Kingdom’s National Grid.

(source) Paris Climate Change Agreement

As of April 2017, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the treaty. These countries make up well over half of the world’s emission output. The Paris agreement, successor the Kyoto Protocols, aims to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system“.

(source) Arctic And Atlantic Protected From Drilling

The Obama administration removed the Arctic and Atlantic from five-year offshore gas and drilling plans. In December of 2016, President Obama and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau banned drilling in 118.8 million acres of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. The Sierra Club explains that Obama utilized “a provision in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act that should make the withdrawal permanent.”

(source) Swedes recycle almost 100% of household waste

  • Sweden is almost there. More than 99 per cent of all household waste is recycled in one way or another.
  • 50 per cent of the household waste that is burnt to produce energy at incineration plants.
  • In 2014, Sweden even imported 2.7 million tonnes of waste from other countries.

(source) To tackle pollution, China to drop pursuit of growth at all costs

 Mon November 18, 2013

China will steer local governments away from the pursuit of economic growth at all costs and beef up their powers to punish polluters as part of a campaign to reverse the damage done by three decades of unchecked expansion.

(source) CO2 Emissions Flatline in 2014, Even as Global Economy Grows

 Sat March 14, 2015

A key stumbling block in the effort to combat global warming has been the intimate link between greenhouse gas emissions and economic growth. When times are good and industries are thriving, global energy use traditionally increases and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions also go up.

(source) 20 year old Dutch student devises method for removing plastic from the ocean.

  • 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans every year
  • This passive system which will be deployed in full by 2020 will potentially clear half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years

Bad News

(source) Arctic ice melt could trigger uncontrollable climate change at global level

  • Arctic scientists have warned that the increasingly rapid melting of the ice cap risks triggering 19 “tipping points” in the region that could have catastrophic consequences around the globe.
  • Temperatures in the Arctic are currently about 20C above what would be expected for the time of year,
  • (source) Since 1995, arctic ice covers have reduced by as much as 40%. At this rate, it’s estimated that Arctic regions will be without ice caps in the next few decades. Some scientists project that the Arctic will be ice-free by 2040.

(source) The world is warming and isn’t slowing down

  • For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected
  • If current rates of emissions remain equal or increase this could increase by a further 0.1°C per decade

(source) We’re running out of Bees

15 June 2013 –  Things that require Bee pollination –  Here’s a short list: apples, onions, avocados, carrots, mangoes, lemons, limes, honeydew, cantaloupe, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, cucumbers, green onions, cauliflower, leeks, bok choy, kale, broccoli, broccoli rabe, mustard greens.

(source) Sea Level Rise

  • According to Climate Central estimates, 150 million or more people are currently living on land that will either be submerged or exposed to chronic flooding by 2100.data graph