Refinement of my Idea

Throughout this task I have been determined to create a website as the basis for my infographic, a linear scrolling sight which would give the information in a narrative format. What I quickly realised in researching this, was the level of coding required to do this and my lack of said skills. I haven’t been put off however.

What I have now decided to do is create a series of animations. These brief slides will contain facts and figures, combining visual and typographic media to create a visually pleasing, educational animated video.

My idea here, is to create the clips individually before slicing them together with various transition slides and then possibly recording a voice over. The clips will hopefully therefore, become a seamless video. They will also, however, have another purpose.

Having kept these clips distinct from one another, I can turn them into gifs or other handy small file formats and paste them directly into a website. Using a template company such as Wix or WordPress, I can create something akin to the site I originally had in mind while avoiding the coding problem. I do actually intend to learn coding as the skill will be invaluable to me in future instances like this. But the tie constraints mean I haven’t got a chance of learning the method and creating the sight in the allotted time.

Here is my animated logo, which will double as the intro to my video. It is brief and simplistic, but I wanted a quick and concise method of information conveyance. One thing I have found consistently in my favourite examples of infographics is that they all follow relatively simplistic graphic style, there are minimal colours used and they do not contain any unnecessary clutter. It is for this reason, my video will consist of silhouetted figures and use only the monochromatic colour scheme.

Here is my second slide. This was the logical starting place for me as it goes back to our shared origins. It simply shows the first confirmed archaeological sights of wolf domestication with the approximate date along the bottom of the screen.

I will refer to this simplified world map a number of times in my work as much of our relationship with dogs is best conveyed on a global scale. Number of dogs compared to human beings. working dogs vs pets, countries categorised by treatment for dogs etc.

My Thoughts 

In every project i have undertaken thus far, I have always been working somewhat on the fly, not knowing until very late in the game, what my final product will resemble. In this project in particular I have struggled to pin down my ideas and be clear on what I want to create. This work however, has allowed me to focus my mind and refine what I want to create very effectively. Animation is a horribly slow and intricate process even to produce something as basic as I have. But every slide I complete is one fewer to worry about


Process & Development

As the study my group conducted involved measuring a flow of people over time, my first idea was to look at ways of visually conveying this flow. I made some very simple diagrams to illustrate this.


When designing my templates I decided each one would only have to be representative of one of the three floors studied. Seeing as the first floor was my chosen floor and it had the greatest variation in figures, I decided to use it to create my templates.

The above graph shows the flow of people and colour codes them by their actions. The teal colour represents the flow of people heading to the bathroom. The navy colour represents those who walked away. The yellow represents those who went in despite the sign. The green colour represents those who hesitated. As you can see, it forks and each fork joins either the blue or yellow column. That marks those who hesitated and then took one of the two aforementioned actions.

This concept is a play on the classic flow chart. While very basic in its layout, my main goal was to achieve  accurate measurements. All avenues within the chart are exactly proportional based on the data collected.

While this concept had its strong points, I felt that it lacked any unique point of interest that would set it apart and make it visually interesting. It very clearly and simply conveys the data. But it is lacking in aesthetic appeal.

As I talked about previously, my original inspiration came from spider web style graphs such as these below. I felt that the fundamental design was promising and I could potentially add my own twist to create something more aesthetically pleasing.

Of course, in my first attempt at recreating these diagrams, I immediately went off on a tangent and decided to follow through and see what the outcome might look like. What I came up with was far more reminiscent of a venn diagram.

1st floor ven diagram

With this diagram I wanted to convey the interlinked nature of the various actions taken.  The blue circle represents those who walked away, the green, those who hesitated and the red, those who entered the bathroom regardless. The number of rings in each circle form conforms with the number of subjects, this means for example that 29 subjects, on seeing the sign, walked away. The green circle is overlapping the red and blue circles because those who hesitated then went on to take one of the following action.

I had high hopes of this diagram, but I noticed an inconsistency I could not find a solution for. While the number of blue and red rings with a green ring overlapping them is consistent with the data. The diagram would posit that the entirety of those who hesitated then walked away. While all but two of them also went in. Being unable to rectify this, i decided to scrap the idea.

My thoughts 

While none of these designs ultimately made it to the final stages. They did give me valuable insight into the project and allow me to narrow down my ideas and refine my final outcome. I will talk about its creation in my next blog post. But I am certain it only ended up as good as it did due to this process of refinement.




Information is Power – Excercise

In our first lecture on information design we were asked to answer a series of random questions on numerous subjects. Each group would be given the answers collected from each question and asked to create a graphic that would appropriately convey the data therein.

Our question was ‘Who would you want with you if you were stuck in an elevator?’ The answers were very wide ranging and so we decided our first task would be to form them into rough categories. We grouped them into:

  • Close friends
  • Loved ones
  • Celebrities

We then decided on a colour to represent these groups. Each group’s information would be set on its own coloured background. Each answer would be represented by a vertical line. This seemed appropriate as the study concerned being stuck in an elevator.

In our first category there were two answers ‘My best friend’ and ‘My dog, Buzz.’ We decided a line created from a series of small circles would represent Buzz, the dog. And since we had no information to contrary we assumed the other individual was human and thus was represented by a simple vertical line.

Some answers were far more specific than others. Those which contained information about gender led us to create a symbol in the center of that individuals line. Male was represented by a jagged line and female, a more rounded one. We continued in this manner until we had displayed every piece of information we were provided.


My thoughts 

Our introduction to information graphics has really gripped me. The subject is a very knowable quantity. I feel that I am able to take something quantifiable and make it visually pleasing. A graphic designer’s job has always been to affect people’s perception of a piece of media. I love the idea of taking something as mundane but practical as a pie chart of a bar graph and making it into a kind of artwork while not detracting from its basic functionality, the conveyance of data.

Circle Line – Psychogeography


“Psychogeography: a beginner’s guide. Unfold a street map… place a glass, rim down, anywhere on the map, and draw round its edge. Pick up the map, go out into the city, and walk the circle, keeping as close as you can to the curve. Record the experience as you go, in whatever medium you favour: film, photograph, manuscript, tape. Catch the textual run-off of the streets: the graffiti, the branded litter, the snatches of conversation… Go out into the city, hungry for signs and portents, and see what happens. Open your mind, let the guiding metaphors of the walk find you.”

– Robert MacFARLANE, reviewing the writing of Iain SINCLAIR
The philosophy behind Psychogeography is fascinating. It reads somewhat like the practice of mindfulness. The notion that we go through much of our lives without truly being conscious of our surrounding and attempting to combat that by making a concerted effort to throw off a routine and mix things up. 

I am certainly guilty of, at times, wandering through life without taking the time of notice things. For example driving, I can perfectly easily arrive at a destination having driven there in a kind of uncocious autopilot. I drove perfectly well, but I didn’t truly experience the journey. 

I am not naturally good at looking at thing son a philosophical, none linear way. That is why I chose to study this module. I want to expand my thought processes to allow me a greater pool of knowledge from which to draw. 

The idea of this brief, I am coming to understand. Is to take the unique experiences you undergo as you travel through the world and convey them as best as possible to a wider audience. Each journey, even along the same path, will be entirely unique. The weather, the sounds, the temperature. Each will have changed subtley from one day to the next. 

This may sound like I am using layman’s terms to understand a very complicated concept, but that is how I am able to invisage the philosophy and so writing about it allows me to reinforce what I have learned. 

I intend on using this time to challenge my preconceived ideas and to review my thought process in rider to widen my perspective and allow me to appreciate ideas I may previously have dismissed. 

Circle Line #1

In our first field lecture with Chris, we were given an insight in to the work of the previous year’s group. They had created an 8minute, abstract documentary style video exploring the visual language of the Circle Line. 

The intention behind this video was 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. They used both their own and archival media in the form of footage and audio recordings. 

We were shown this work in order to convey our own brief that would follow in a similar vein. The course seems to have a great deal in common with Psychogeography which was one of our potential topics for our Subject ‘On Display’ brief which I had previously completed. 

In order to demonstrate the concepts we would be employing, Chris took us on a nature walk along the banks of the Taff river and told us to record anything that came to mind. Sights, smells, memory triggers, colour patterns, shapes, textures, anything at all. 

Sasha the Staffodshire Bull Terrier 

Lleuci the Shi Tzu 

The river Taff

I am not naturally good at thinking in entirely abstract ways. I like the media I consume to be quite matter of fact and to be explicit with its meanings. But I am beginning to understand the purpose of all this. We are aiming to appeal to a very base and pure idea of the world around use. Rather than explaining it in a linear manner we attempt to show the individual impact it has on the viewer. 

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. 

New and (hopefully) Improved

My personal tutorial gave me a new lease of creative life and I quickly began redesigning my project, taking all the best bits of my existing work and applying them to a fresh design.

 I immediately began scouring the library and the web for ephemera designs to act as inspiration, as a kind of mood board. One place I found a lot of useful resources was on Pinterest. It’s not much use for academic work as very little of it’s work is sourced. But ilI found some fantastic ephemera designs. 

Using these as my inspiration. I decided to create a grid design with a series of related images. 

Here is my completed poster design. I decided to give LenCorbusier pride of place in the center of my poster as it is difficult to talk about anything Brutalist without mentioning him, he’s the linchpin.

 I did try the poster on a white background, but the contrast between true black and the vibrant colours of my design gave the image far more force. My options were really only on the monochrome spectrum as the coloured text would be lost of a coloured background. 

David had suggested I use a typeface called ‘Akkurat’ but I was unable to source it and so I decided to go with Helvetica. The reasons for this are numerous. It’s a clean San serif font, given the topic a serif font would be inappropriate. It is also versatile. It comes in many weights and styles. It’s also just a really good fallback for most projects. 

Im really pleased with my poster at this point and it was the driving force behind the rest of my ephemera. 

Here is my ticket design, entirely derived from the poster to maintain a consistent graphic style.

I also mocked up a bus stop poster in order to demonstrate its aesthetic in a real world scenario. 

My T-shirt design with exhibition and venue logos (front)

And the same imagery as the ticket (rear)

My Thoughts 

I’m really pleased with the direction my project is taking even if it is at an alarmingly late stage. I’ve gone from doing what I can to have something to present, to taking a lot of pride in my work in a short space of time. With my new design principal finished and ready to apply to the remaining aspects of the project, I am confident I can complete the task on time and to a high standard.