Changing Faces – Finalising the Piece

The deadline is right around the corner and so my Changing Faces Project is just about completed. After receiving feedback from David I had a few final changes to implement. Some of them were technical issues to do with misalignment from columns and some were design alterations of a more subjective perspective. I made all the essential changes and did some other alterations to compromise between what I had envisioned and what was recommended to me.

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The next stage was printing which caused me some issue as the recommended printer was overcapacity. I found a new printer promptly but was unable to get my work cut to size by them. The cutting process with scalpel and ruler was tense because my crop marks had not printed correctly and £15 and a lot of time was in the balance.

Thankfully my margins were large enough to cover any errors in cutting. I could simply trim slightly closer in to correct for any mistakes. This is something I’ll consider whenever I have to do this in future. The gluing and binding went rather more smoothly with some help and final adjustments could be made one all three spreads were together.

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Here is the finished piece. I was overwhelmed by how perfectly it turned out. The print quality was exceptional which made every tiny detail included and adjustment made, stand out. It really made my work look better than I could have hoped.

Across the course of the project my design has fundamentally changed due to constant edits and improvements. It really seems strange the amount of time it took to design three double page spreads. But completed,  it really allows me to understand the difference using professional methods can have. I feel I have learnt a great deal throughout this year and here is the pinnacle of my work. Looking back to the work I produced at the beginning, it really looks quite poor now.

Despite how stressful it was to have to create my own imagery, I’m very pleased it was a condition of the brief. It took ages but I developed my ideas and refined my images to a point where I could not see how to improve upon them. The colour scheme is clear and allows the piece to flow and remain uniform while not being repetitive.

I learnt a great deal from my research, not only into the topic of climate change but into typography and layout design. I am especially happy with the design of my pullout quotes. I used a bold serif font and reduced the leading to near zero, the size of the font allows it to remain clear while being compact, chunky and powerful.

The quality of all the work I have seen during this project has been exceptional and I am eager to see it displayed as part of our end of year exhibition.

Constellation Overview

During the course of my study in Constellation my understanding of the wider implications of my practice and the interconnected nature of all the topics I have covered. I have learned about the context in which views and attitudes change, allowing me to approach work from a more educated position. When I first understood that I would be learning what I saw as unrelated work as part of my studies I wasn’t overly keen. But it has taught me a lot. If nothing else, simply a uniform and fundamentally sound methodology for research and study.

During the course of the academic year I studied two distinct topics. My first course was Sustainable Practices. This was the study of the societal changes and technological advances of the past two centuries that have brought us to where we are today, the negative consequences of the systems that are now in place, and the methods and difficulties with trying to limit and reduce our impact on the world around us through technology and changing perceptions.

I really learned a lot from Sustainable Practices. I am very conscious of the impact my lifestyle may have on the world around me and do make the effort to limit it. And I’m sure everyone understands that we’re living in an unsustainable way. But this codified the issue in my mind. Let me understand each stage at which we dug ourselves a deeper hole from which we now have to emerge. I had understood that many constellation subjects were quite philosophical but this was factual and measurable which appealed to me.

I do think I took a lot on board during this first course, my blogging was reasonably consistent and I made a conscious effort to raise questions and start discussions about various topics raised during class. I don’t recall getting the finest mark on my formative assessment essay, this is simply due to my dislike of essay writing and lack of motivation. Given the opportunity to redo it I think I could improve it significantly.

In my second Constellation course of the year I learned about subcultural trends during the past century, largely from a fashion perspective this was Smells Like Teen Spirit. Learning the motivation behind various aspects of peoples dress. The significance of small details in terms of their perceived meanings and the fluidity of style which is an ever changing amorphous thing which is an expressive, symbolic method for instigating change on a cultural level.

Prior to this course I had never had much interest in fashion, in many ways I still don’t. But the significance of fashion as a tool is something that I had never before understood. Subcultures like goths, chavs and in particular punk had always seemed to be a form of tribalistic identity politics played by attention seeking idiots. I still feel that many of them are. But in particular the punk movements history, origins and accomplishments really surprised me. The liberalising of many Western cultures, Britain’s in particular, is a great feet and something from which I greatly benefit.

I enjoyed the process of analysing images of various people dressed up in strange ways and learning about the significance of small symbols and objects. The colour of clothing, the material, the level of ware, it’s previously held meanings. I do wish I had blogged more effectively about this topic. But it felt like repeating what I already knew for the benefit of others who most likely already knew it so I didn’t do as much as I should have.

My formative essay for Smells Like Teen Spirit was actually a pleasure to write. I found sourcing very difficult as finding the appropriate material to bolster my statements was a nightmare. Overall however, the whole experience was a positive one.

At the beginning of the academic year I really was skeptical of Constellation is general. I thought it would be a distraction from the job of creating pieces of visual work with which to fill my portfolio and I have to admit I was really happy to believe Graphic Communication would be very slim of written essays. However I have come to understand through the course of the year that I need to be aware of the wider picture to be the best designer I can be.

 

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.

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.

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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.

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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.