Final Alterations – Steps 4 Pets

App Icon

Image result for change 4 life

Here is my original App Logo. Although I was happy with the overall design language. I realised there was a disconnect between this and the posters I had created. There was also no hint in the app design itself that the project is one under the ‘Change 4 Life’ banner. I have since made some rather large alterations.

App Icon 2

Here is my final design. Along with the posters, it will be the basis of my final submission. As you can see, it holds far more in common with the ‘Change 4 Life’ logo. I have utilized the colour scheme for both the background and the lettering. I have also used the closest approximation to the typeface as I could create. My decision to use capital letters is due to the real size the app icon will eventually be constrained to, namely around a square inch.

Along with my posters, I believe I have created a comprehensive design language to convey my idea which I also believe to be strong.


Persuasion – Developing my Idea

For the first project in my persuasion module I have been tasked with creating a campaign on a topic chosen by myself from a list. I chose to focus on health.

Originally I had hoped to do a campaign focusing on voluntary euthanasia. I explained in a previous blog post, my reasons for initially choosing this topic and for rejecting it after further research. I have now decided to focus on fitness and well-being. I decided to do my work under the banner of Change4Life. A government organisation run through the NHS in order to educate and encourage families to adopt healthier life choices in terms of diet and exercise.

My focus, while on the entire family unit, is specifically primary aged children. My reasoning behind the is that much of a child’s diet and exercise habits and choices are determined by the lifestyle of their parents.

The app concept is one that would allow a child to care for a pet avatar. The avatar would represent a pet that would need walking and caring for. The completion of tasks such as going to the park or taking a certain number of steps a day, would generate rewards which would allow the user to build their avatar in certain ways, such as increasing its abilities and buying unique items for them.

My research has been quite extensive,  this has allowed me to target my audience very closely. My idea is that young children will need supervision to accomplish the tasks set out for them in order to earn rewards and many will need a parent to download the free app. This will encourage all parties to get out and be more active.

Initially I intended to create a tamagochi type device which would be cheaply purchased and allow the child to have control of the avatar entirely independently. But it became clear that this would create a financial barrier to entry for the programme. Of course, a phone is still required, but according to that should be less of an issue.


Creating the app is one thing. But I had to build an entire design language that would be appropriate for the audience and work in multiple contexts. I elected to use a series of arcade style icon in bright, block colors and to begin by creating a number of posters.


I decided to make my posters as minimalist as possible in order to hold children’s attention. Too much information may be off-putting. Each poster contains an icon of an item that can be earned or collected in the game and each bestows its unique benefits. I wanted to make the experience of this game one of development and positive reinforcement.

This idea is partially inspired by the game Pokemon Go, where a player uses their phone’s GPS and camera to find Pokemon to capture as well as various rewards, in a similar vein to geocaching. This may seem strange as Pokemon go went from a sensation to a distant memory in a matter of months. I believe this is due to its lack of reward for persistence and its lack of variety and development as you play. This Role Playing format is very popular, for example:

  • Club Penguin was a massively multiplayer online game (MMO), involving a virtual world that contained a range of online games and activities. It was created by New Horizon Interactive (now known as Disney Canada Inc.). Players used cartoon penguin-avatars and played in a winter-set virtual world. Club Penguin was made available to the general public on October 24, 2005, and expanded into a large online community, such that by late 2007, it was claimed Club Penguin had over 30 million user accounts.[2] As of July 2013, Club Penguin had over 200 million registered user accounts
  • World of Warcraft (WoW) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment. With a peak of 12 million subscriptions in October 2010 and Blizzard’s final report of 5.5 million subscriptions in October 2015, World of Warcraft remains the world’s most-subscribed MMORPG, and holds the Guinness World Record for the most popular MMORPG by subscribers. In January 2014, Blizzard announced that more than 100 million accounts had been created over the game’s lifetime.

I believe there are a number of reasons for the success of these games. One was the community network aspect. Players had a huge number of fellows and could play and compete against strangers. There is also the aspect of character development. Both game featured a standard unadorned avatar as the starting character which could be improved and personalised, giving the player a feeling of accomplishment.

I plan for this app to incorporate both of these elements. The avatar will be a dog, a number could be chosen, their names as well as their fur patterns could be chosen by the player. They would then work towards training their pet and purchasing items for it. They would also have other features such as the ability to compare their achievements with other players on local or even national leader boards.  I would also have daily or weekly challenges that would vary from week to week, keeping the game from becoming too repetitive.

I designed this graphic to illustrate my idea.

Iphone mockup

As you can see, the app would be entirely self contained, requiring nothing but a mobile phone. I decided that since the purpose of the app is to encourage healthy life changes, there should be local events page that would allow users to advertise for activities and events. These could be a chat function allowing members to communicate within groups to organise various events.

My Thoughts

I do have my concerns that I am focusing too much on the functionality of the application rather than the design language it would employ. The two are so intertwined and so, what might work on a printed page, may not translate all that well into a an app on a small phone screen.

I will continue to advance and refine this idea as I have found inspiration for additions and features comes faster than I can implement it.

Visual Story Telling Brief

We have been asked to create a narrative through visual story telling on any subject we choose. The idea is to create a visual piece that uses a systematic approach to convey statistics or other forms of information.

There are numerous forms of visual information we use on a daily basis without even taking conscious notice of them.


  • Street SignsImage result for uk street signs

The world is full of street signs, many countries have their own approach to these signs, but all of them follow a theme. They all revolve around the use of isotype.  Isotype is a means of communicating simple messages in a visual form that is more universally recognized than text. Visual representations of the message are created to quickly bring to mind the subject matter and allow those who see the symbol to react accordingly.

One reason Isotype is used so universally in road networks is to allow people internationally to comprehend their meaning.without having to understand the language. While many signs include some text, they are designed to be comprehensible regardless of this.


The term hieroglyphics refers to a system of writing using ancient Egyptian symbols. The hieroglyphics involved a series of ‘picture’ words. Consisting of several hundred words, this system of writing was intensely complex and very labor intensive. The first hieroglyphics were used on buildings and tombs. It is believed that the Egyptians first began developing this system of writing about 3000 BC.

Similar to istype, hieroglyphs were ancient examples of using pictures as language. They would represent actions or events and tell a story in a linear fashion.


Wingdings is somewhat of a phenomenon as it is a commonly available typeface that consists of seemingly random symbols in place of alphabetical letters.

‘In the early ’90s, it was one of the first times people realized fonts could break through to the mainstream. One of the creators of Wingdings, Charles Bigelow, of the legendary design studio Bigelow & Holmes, told me Wingdings marked one of the first times a font became part of the popular culture.’

‘As a means of writing sentences, Wingdings fails — but that was never its purpose. It was created to be used as a unique tool for the pre-internet era. It was akin to emojis, but with even more utility.’

‘Today it’s easy to cut and paste images from the internet, but it used to be a lot harder. There were few ways to get images, files were way too large for puny hard drives, and they were of poor quality. Even worse, it was tough to get pictures to play nicely with text. Fonts like Wingdings provided a workaround by giving people high-quality, scalable images that didn’t clog up their hard drives.’

Wingdings then, is not much good for story telling of any kind. Unless, it seems, you are a conspiracy theorist. In my research I found an odd story regarding Wingdings and the events in New York on September 11th, 2001 or 9/11.

According to some, the Wingdings font predicted the events of that day. This theory comes from the fact that if you type Q33NY in Wingdings it will turn them into images that seem to relate to the events. It’s clear to me that this is very dubious. But the story seems to have gripped many people and as far as stories telling goes, this story made a large impact on people.



Pet Portraits

This blog is primarily a tool to enable me to record my learning process as I progress through my university course. One aspect of that, for me. Has been to take on design work outside of work parameters in order to improve my skills. 

Over the past months I have been working to build a pet portraiture business in order to help pay my way while I study. Although it does not strictly come udner the rubric of Graphic Design, it has always been a hobby.

Illustration has allowed me to visualise work before attempting to recreate it digitally. I’ve never posted about my portraiture work before. But I feel it is relevant to my practice, so why not? 

I was commissioned to draw a Weimeraner called ‘Blue Bell’ as a Christmas gift for a client. I was given free reign to select my favourite image from a great number. 

Bkue Bell the Weimaraner

This was my favourite image. I like to capture dogs looking composed and relaxed. I also was happy with the lighting, it is natural and comes from one distinct source. 

Stage On

I always work entirely free-hand, I find that although it is never truly faithful tot he image, I manage to capture the likeness of the subject and add my own twist. Who wants a photorealistic portrait agent hey already have the photo? 

Stage Two

Once the basic shape is refined to my liking I begin to add the darkest shadows first. 

Stage Three

I begin building layers of shade and texture into the picture, I do patches alla cross the body instead of completing it section by section to ensure I don’t have disparity in contrast or  shading. 

Stage Four

I continue to add further detail,each breed is different, some longer rhaired dogs require a lot of detailing in the fur as it has irregularities. But Blue Bell is beige and short haired which made things easier. 

Finished Piece

Each portrait takes several hours, start to finish, but I always enjoy the process. I think people interpret so much expression is dogs faces, so capturing that is very important. 

Making my Mark

In our recent brief to create 100 marks or logos to represent our unique design practice, I learnt a great deal about what works and what doesn’t.

 Our pieces were awarded points by other students who each had six stickers to award. Three blue for professional execution and three orange for creativity and communication. There are more details of this in a previous post of mine. 

I had three or four designs of my 100 which received some awards, which I was very surprised by. If these I chose my personal favourite and decided to further refine the idea, refinement not being an option during the brief owing to the shear volume of work demanded. 

#85 The Wave

This piece was a personal favourite of mine so I’m glad someone shared my feeling. I’ve since done some sketching to advance this design and I’ve explored numerous variations. 

As you can see from the image, I was still open to any kind of alterations. The only consistent theme is clear geometry and a wave as the central theme. I feel that this is personal to me because I have always lived costally and been an avid surfer and lover of water sports of all kinds. 

I have two main lines of design going forward. They are marked in each stage by a letter for the design avenue and a number for the stage of design. 

‘A’ Series

The ‘A’ series follows most closely to the original sketch in the 100 marks project. I wanted a wave which emerges seemlessly from the circle in which is sits, that comes to a sharply defined point in the centre. 

Using a series of handdrawn geometric shapes, I aimed to give the mark the cleanest finish I could. I also settled on clean, clearly defined lines throughout with no texturing or complexity to allow the image to be shrunk and still be recognisable. 

‘B’ Series

Both series were designed in tandem and simply labelled afterwards to define them. With the ‘B’ series I was aiming to experiment with the use of negative space. Clean and simple is great, but a wave is just a wave. There are numerous brands which already feature this and I was worried I’d become one among many. 

I decided to create a logo with two waves opposite and the reverse one another, within a geometric shape which would be filled and leave the waves outstanding in negative space. This had the added benefit of creating an interesting shape in the centre that at first glance seems random until you realise it is a set of waves. 

Trying to make this logo implicitly oceanic rather than simple and explicit was a goal of mine. I wanted it to have depth and character. I think this design did a fairly good job at that and so I’m planning on moving to the next step and digitising it in Adobe Illustrator. 

Here are my two most advanced designs to date. Each is handdrawn to a greater degree or accuracy and detail. I will likely also digitise the ‘A’ series design at a later date. 

Designing with Adobe Illustrator

In our meetings, our group decided that we’d split the animating workload evenly with each of us doing approximately 15 seconds each. I asked to do the introductory 15 seconds. To do this I had only Laura’s character which she had made in preparation. We would all need the model to insure our work would be uniform.

Emily Frontback of Emily

Here is the model of Emily that Laura designed in Illustrator through consultation with the group. We each had a copy of the project to use when we animated independently. We aimed for a sensible character with a large expressive face and features that would suggest her to be a young teenager. She needed to be taken seriously but be young and represent the most vulnerable users of the internet in society. Old enough to be active online, but young and naive of the risks.

shitty desk space
#1 Bedroom 

Here was a quick mock up of the room Emily would be occupying. It’s quite obvious that I’m less than stellar at using Adobe Illustrator but it was useful to have everyone on the same page about the rough design.

With Laura’s help we adjusted and refined the design and improved the colour scheme.

desk space
#2 Bedroom 

This was a far neater and more sorted model using the bones of the original. The colour scheme is far cleaner and makes Emily the center of attention with her bright red heavily contrasted against the blue/green surroundings.

Emily at Desk
Emily at the desk

It took far longer than I’d like to admit to seat Emily at the desk. The layer system is the same as Adobe Photoshop. However the controls are vastly different and more complex. We also had issues of page dimensions. As you can see the original sat within the green box. I had to change the canvas size and widen the background to compensate for this.


Here is my first frame in its completed form. The minimal movement was a symptom of my lack of ability with Adobe After Effects. This will be less obvious as I progress through the project. I wasn’t able to hear audio in the After Effects preview, so, thinking on my feet, I downloading VideoPad Video Editor and inserted my rendered footage to add the audio. I will attempt to recreate it in my own time at a later date. I have had several big ideas that were too late coming to be used and I’d love to try to animate them.


The emojis were tricky to design, but I felt they were really important. They are copies of the official Facebook angry face emojis which was very intentional. Facebook has spent huge resources on developing a brand which makes them and their designs immediately recognisable to most. In particular, millennials. In using this method, huge amounts of the work of conveying a message visually has been done for me.

Animating with Adobe FX

In a recent tutorial we were given our first instruction on using Adobe FX (After Effects). This was to prepare us for our animation project in which we would create a 45-60 second short video. Until this point I had felt confident that it would be a relatively simple endeavor.

Here’s the video. It was a joy to build this piece for scratch. Although the work requires infuriating levels of precision to avoid catastrophic errors, it is deeply satisfying to slowly build up a video and call it my own work. The layering system is in principle, the same as in Photoshop and Illustrator which is very helpful.

This was my first experience animating anything at all. But knowing the complexity of the process, building endless layers and having to watch the same couple of seconds of footage over and over to ensure it all plays in harmony and no one’s limbs fly off, I feel like I have a lot to learn. Adobe FX is vastly more complex than other Software I have used so far and must mean it has far more potential uses.