Improved Type Specimen Poster

After receiving the feedback on my type specimen poster, I have gone back through it and made some changes accordingly. There wasn’t an awful lot to be changed, however, the main feedback I received was that the three paragraphs were difficult to read, particularly over the ‘a’. To amend this I adjusted the colour of the text by putting it up to 80% grey rather than 60%. I also completely removed the black-grey ‘a’, leaving the fainter one below – I felt this improved the piece greatly – it both made the text easier and clearer to read, and also opened up the whole piece more creating better pace and a good amount of whiter space.

Another suggestion that I had been given was for the alphabet that I had positioned horizontally down the right hand side of my specimen – it was suggested that I put them vertically. I simply tried this and immediately decided that it looked better vertically.

I rearranged a few other parts of the poster too, including the glyths positioned in the tail of the ‘g’, and moved around some of the smaller blocks of text just to improve the overall look of the piece.

Click here to view (in PDF form) my new and improved Caslon Pro type specimen poster.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this project and am happy with the final outcome of my type specimen poster. I feel that I was experimental with it, particularly with the larger letters, but have not overdone it. I am happy with the way the ‘g’ is the main feature of the poster and that even with the large, fainter letterforms down the right of the poster, there still feels as if there is white space in those areas and the piece is not over-cluttered.

Caslon is a good font for body text. It is used quite a lot in magazines, journals, books or as a corporate typeface. ‘The Descendants’ is the title of a movie which uses a version of Caslon Pro in their logo. Another movie that uses Caslon Pro is, ‘Les Misérables’.

The letters, ‘a’, ‘g’, ‘m’, ‘w’ and ‘Q’, are probably the most recognisable individual letterforms of Caslon Pro – each has typical features of the typeface, usually noticeable by the serif. For example, the tail on the ‘Q’ is quite a distinct. Caslon is also known for its readability, affability, and authority. For these reason, I tried to use these letters in particular in my type specimen poster, in order to show off the typeface to at its best. Caslon Pro is actually quite similar to Baskerville, with some small differences – basically, it’s the sexy version.

I am particularly happy with how I made the text in the first and third paragraph curve nicely to align itself around the ‘g’ – I did this by adding anchor points and  adjusting them to position the text. I feel that it works well, especially as they are justified on the sides, without having any ugly rivers, orphans or widows.

I am happy with the hierarchy of my poster and feel that the viewer’s eye is lead around the piece well, starting with the title and the ‘g’, then the alphabet positioned vertically down the right side of the page, then onto the paragraphs. The larger letterforms in the background are not too in your face and add just the right amount of interest, meaning they are noticed but are not distracting.


Improved Animation

When we were originally set the animation project, I struggled with the time limits and didn’t manage to complete the animation that I had first set out to. At the time, I wanted to find the time to finish my animation and have finally got round to. Although I had first wanted the animation to be of the whole Incy Wincy Spider nursery rhyme, I realised that this would make a much too long animation, especially as the original brief stated approximately 30 seconds. The new and improved animation that I have made is about 50 seconds long and I am much happier with it than my old one. Even though it seems quite a  simple idea, it took me a long time to make, especially as I decided to make it by hand instead of using iStopMotion. I wanted it to have an almost ‘rough’ handmade look and feel to it and I think that I have achieved this well by editing each image individually on Photoshop – I put all 500 of the images into MovieMaker and the final outcome all started to come together. For the sound, I layered up several different audio tracks to pull the final animation together – in the background, you can just make out a sketching sound effect as if you can hear the spider character being drawn, then at the end there is a tapping sound as he runs away. Over these tracks, I added music, while making sure that you can still here the other sound effects beneath.

My final new and improved animation:

Improved Image Piece

As stated in my previous blog post on my image project final piece, there were a few minor changes that I wanted to make to improve the piece overall.

I decided to remake the entire piece in Illustrator rather than Photoshop to ensure that the piece was not pixelated at all – I used still used Photoshop to layer the eye and the map images, but then recreated the hand-drawn illustrations on Illustrator. In the beginning of the year when we first began this project, I was unfamiliar with Adobe Illustrator and had not used it much, however, my confidence on it has grown hugely since then and I knew that by using it for the silhouette and baby outline it would avoid any pixelation that occurred when I did the project back in the beginning of the academic year.

As mentioned in my previous blog post on the project, I wanted to simplify the silhouette. To do this, I removed the unnecessary outline it had and feel that it looks better without it, because you can still tell exactly what it is without it. I also adjusted the opacity slightly so that it was more hidden. The second change I wanted to make was to make the baby outline bolder in order to make it more visible. I have done this only very slightly by adjusting the stroke by about 1pt. Now you can see the baby on looking closely at the piece – it is just what I originally wanted: you have to look closely, but it’s not so faint that you are unable to see it at all.

On top of these minor changes, I also experimented a bit more with the filters on Photoshop before transferring it into Illustrator. I adjusted the vibrancy of the eye, making the colour, particularly the blue-green in the iris pop out, enhancing it greatly. I also played around with the contrast, to get the bright and beautiful colours that the finished piece now has. To get the effect of the map layered over the eye like I have, I used ‘colour burn’, which is one of my favourite effects on Photoshop and it worked perfectly in this situation.


Developing Story Book

After deciding on the jigsaw-puzzle idea for my new and improved story book, I developed it further – I remember having one of my own when I was younger, so I decided to make my storybook so that you build the puzzles inside of a book. I wanted to use a technique that I would not normally use so after looking back through old work, I remembered the workshop I had back in the beginning of the year on laser-cutting and decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to use it.

I measured and marked out cutting lines onto thick card and then created the measurements on Illustrator too – I then set it up on the lasercutter with Steve’s help and off I went.

The card that I was using was black on one side and then white on the reverse. Because of this, I decided to make the jigsaw-puzzles so that they were reversible too and negatives of each other. I drew out the drawings on the cutout card rectangles, ensuring to leave a border, and then after creating a pattern on illustrator, cut them into jigsaw pieces to create the puzzle.

Improved Story Book – Idea and Prototype

I feel that my previous story book was nowhere near as good as it could have been so I have decided to recreate it in a more experimental and unusual style. I have decided to focus on Humpty Dumpty alone, rather than two nursery rhymes. After brainstorming a range of ideas for my new book, including making a story inside of a box which could unfold to find the story inside, I eventually decided on a jigsaw-puzzle idea.

Because there are four lines to the rhyme, I decided to create 4 smaller jigsaw-puzzles rather than one large one with the whole rhyme on it. The reason that I chose jigsaw-puzzles in the first place is because, in the rhyme, the characters attempt to piece Humpty Dumpty together again, after he falls off his wall and breaks – so now the readers/users can try and piece Humpty back together themselves. My target audience for the story book is going to be children, seen as it is a nursery rhyme written for children in the first places – I feel that a fun and interactive story book would therefore be perfect for my chosen audience.

I have researched the nursery rhyme thoroughly and discovered that it originated in the 1800s with slightly different wording, however the wording is more old-fashioned and would be difficult to understand by a child of nowadays. Because of this, I have decided to use the more modern and well-known version of the rhyme, but will use a typeface that has an old-fashioned look about it – possibly a script style, most likely calligraphy.

The text that I am going to use is:

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men,

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

I sketched out four thumbnails that I would use for each of the puzzles – one for each line of the nursery rhyme:

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I then created some larger A5 prototype versions of the first two thumbnails to test them out. Because in thumbnail 1, 3 and 4, the illustration style seems consistent, whereas thumbnail 2 looks slightly different – I drew it slightly differently in the A5 version and have decided that it definitely looks better.

I started by drawing the illustrations along with the text, and then added a jigsaw-puzzle grid of 6×8 squares over the top. After seeing them in A5, I feel that this would work as a good size for each of the four puuzles – not too big; not too small. Also, I really like the calligraphic style of font I’ve used, particularly in the second one as I have tried to make the typography expressive by making it look like it is ‘falling’, just as it says in that particular line of the rhyme.

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Next I cut them up to complete the prototypes. Doing this helped me realise that a 6×8 grid was probably too fiddly and complicated to put together, especially by a young child – the pieces were quite small and there was definitely quite a lot of them.

After realising 6×8 made too many puzzle pieces, I decided to try cutting out the next test prototype to a 3×4 grid instead, meaning there would be 12 jigsaw-puzzle pieces, rather than 48 (almost 50!). Seeing the two versions next to each other (below), you can see that the 3×4 grid definitely works better and it makes it much easier to piece together as well.

When I come to making the real version of my new and improved story book, I plan on adding colour as I feel that this will make it easier again when it comes to the user (ie. child) piece the jigsaw-puzzle together is it will make it clearer as to which pieces go where – knowing a lot of young children myself, I know that children often use colour as an association aid. Another thing that I will change is the material of the jigsaw-puzzle – I will use a thicker card or cardboard when making the real thing, as it is difficult to get the pieces to ‘fix’ together when they are just paper and they constantly move around – when creating the prototype I had to use blue-tac just to get them to sit still and in the correct positions.


Final Editorial Critique

On Friday 6th May, we presented our editorial pieces for any final critique before we make any changes and the submit the finished piece next Friday. We all printed our work to the real size in black and white and then printed thumbnail versions in colour onto an A3 piece of paper, and then put them up on the walls ready for presentations and feedback.

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Firstly, we were put into pairs and then both peer assessed our partners work – this was really helpful as you were able to compare and even get ideas from other people’s work, and maybe spot something that your own piece was missing. Will filled out my peer assessment sheet with really helpful feedback:

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From Will’s feedback, some of the key parts are that he mentions that there could be a bit more white space, particularly on the third double spread, and also that the hierarchy could be worked on – he suggests subheadings and maybe more callouts, such as quotes. He says that this would also improve the pace of the piece overall. I was really pleased when Will looked at the lines and ‘scrambles’ across the pages and asked, “Are they to represent the woman’s memories?” – because, it meant that he understood the metaphorical imagery that I’d used and I was unsure if people would realise and understand this or not. Will mentions that the rag on the first page looks a little dodgy so this is something that I will definitely look at and correct.

Then David went through everyone’s work individually, giving feedback in front of the full class. Doing it in front of everyone was good as we were able to hear not just our own feedback, but everyone’s, so again we were able to maybe get ideas from what David said about other people’s work, for our own.

David gave me some great feedback – there was just a few minor changes, improvements and additions that he suggested. I made notes of all his ideas and comments – his suggestions included:

  • the dots in the head are a bit too dark and a bit too big
  • change title
  • needs a bit more hierarchy
  • are the page numbers really needed?
  • replace the brain for just more ‘scrambles’
  • the illustrations are slightly pixelated
  • the lines representing memories are too distracting
  • the rag of the text is too bulky in places
  • maybe change two heads to just one single head?
  • are the borders on pages 2 and 5 necessary?

Since receiving the feedback, I have acted on the points made:

I have reduced the dots in size, both the dots behind the blocks of text and the dots in the ‘scrambles’ illustration on page 2; I also adjusted the colour of them and put them to about 80% grey, rather than solid black.

For the title, I completely agreed with David when he said that it was not quite suitable, because I had second thoughts on it myself too, as I rememebred afterwards that in the article, The woman does not ‘lose’ her mind like my title, ‘The Woman who Lost her Mind’ suggests, she never had any memories in the first place – I have sinced changed the name to ‘A Blank Space’.

In order to add more heirarchy to my piece, I pulled out some quotes from the text and put them in orange – I feel this improved the piece a lot and I much prefer it with these add-ins. For the page numbers, I tried simply removing them and decided that the editorial looked best without them.

Like David suggested, I tried removing the brain and using just scrambles instead, however, I felt that it did not look right, and after showing several of my peers, they agreed and thought it looked better with the brain – it seemed almost, too much the same as just ‘scrambles’ again, like on most of the other pages. Instead, I kept the brain, but also added the scrambles in the background behind the brain which I think works better.

To fix the pixelated images, I remade them all on Adobe Illustrator instead of on Adobe Photoshop like I had previously done, so that they would be saved as vectors rather than bitmaps. (Of course, vectors don’t pixelate). This was quite time consuming but overall makes such a big difference – the piece looks much more professional and better quality.

As David has said that the lines in the background behind the blocks of text which represented memories, after drawing them into Adobe Illustrator instead, I was able to adjust the stroke to about 1pt, rather than 3pt which was too thick. I also adjusted the colour of the memories too and softened them to a slightly lighter orange which I picked out of the ‘triangle background’ of my illustrations, in order to keep in consistent still.

The problem with the rag being a bit too bulky in a couple of places was an easy fix – I simply added or removed words in order to get the lengths of lines correct and ensure there was no odd looking shapes forming in the rag.

For the illustration of the two heads, I decided to keep it as two heads after trying it out with just one, but realised it made it very similar to the illustration that I had on page 6 – they were too similar so I stuck with the two heads illustration.

I trialed it without borders, and straight away agreed with David that the editorial looked better without the borders on both pages 2 and 5 – it created a good amount of white space and actually added to the sense of hierarchy as well.

After making all of these little improvements to my piece, I feel that it has improved greatly and is not ready for submission on Friday.

Click here to view (in PDF form) my final editorial piece, ready for submission.


Second Group Tutorial

This morning, we had group tutorials with our peers only. I found it helpful because we were able to look at each other’s work and give feedback as well as receive feedback ourselves.

Since my tutorial on Tuesday with David, I had developed my editorial quite a bit. I had added the suggestion that David gave about the attaching ‘core memories’ to the scrambles. I researched and then wrote a list of key memories that I feel personally are important in our lives and also took moments in the woman’s life out of the article, then I picked out the best ones from it. Doing this added emotion to the piece, particularly as some of the moments and memories that I have used are rather emotive. I think the list is effective because when readers actually look closer and begin to read what the points say, it may spur happy or sad memories in their own mind. My list included:

  • first day at school
  • first best friend
  • first kiss
  • proposal
  • wedding day
  • first pet
  • graduation
  • family holiday
  • yearbook photographs
  • mugged by thugs
  • learning to drive
  • the ‘sex talk’ from Mum and Dad
  • experiencing disappointment
  • falling in love
  • doing something spontaneous
  • birth of child
  • accomplishing something that you didn’t think you could
  • last Christmas

As well as completing this illustration, I also drew up an illustration for the last page which I had not previously decided on. I used the memories idea and had lines escaping out of a human head, representing the memories. I then linked the imagery with the text on the opposite page to make the whole piece consistent – this worked so well that I added it onto the previous spread as well, so that lines were coming from the brain illustration I had done. The group seemed to like how I had used the lines and dots/points to metaphorically represent memories and key moments in a being’s life.

Click here to view my developed editorial piece that I presented at the group tutorial this morning.