Protected: Dissertation Editorial – Inspiration

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Protected: Dissertation Editorial – Inspiration

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Reflection on Field – Publish!

For Publish, we had the opportunity to either work individually or in small groups of our own choice. Of course, I jumped at the chance to work in a team, especially as I could pick people to work with who I knew that I could rely on to all play their part and share the workload between us equally. I found being able to pick our own groups made a huge difference to being put into groups, especially after having a previously bad experience working in a group that I had not personally chosen. We knew that working in a group would allow us to take on a heavier workload, as there was obviously more of us to share the work between – this meant that we could really push ourselves to create a great project that we were all proud of.

We chose to create an editorial piece that could potentially benefit and be used in the real-world – we decided on creating something for the University and students, and more specifically for our own course of Graphic Communication. We started looking into the idea of creating a new prospectus – there is already an existing prospectus for the whole of Cardiff School of Art & Design and after noticing that some of the other courses within CSAD have a prospectus for their own individual subject, we were surprised that the Graphic Communication course did not currently have one. We had found the gap that we wanted to fill. Finding a gap in the market was a great way to decide what we wanted to create and I am able to take this way of working into my other projects – I can look at what is already out there and more importantly, find what is not already out there, so that I can fill that gap myself.

We wanted to play with form and layout, so decided on creating a multi-layered cover in which we played with size and positioning. It turned out to be much more challenging than we thought, but this was exactly what was so great about this project. Through being experimental and pushing ourselves to try and create something outside of our comfort zone, we have learnt something new and can now reuse this skill in any of our further work where it may be suitable. This is something that I feel I have been able to do a lot more this year, rather than being restrained by tight briefs, we have been allowed to be experimental and playful while challenging ourselves to become overall better designers. In order to get the prospectus’ cover correct and aligned properly, I created several paper mock-ups until we were happy with how it was looking. Making mock-ups was undeniably helpful with a project like this – it helped us to get a full hands-on visual of what the final outcome would look like in the end and to see where corrections and modifications had to be made. Doing this was much more telling than just looking at an InDesign file on a computer screen and I believe that if we hadn’t actually printed mock-up trial runs of the piece, we could have ended with a disaster when we came to print the finished piece at the end. Creating this cover was definitely a stand out learning experience within this project for me.

We made sure to be experimental throughout the prospectus. Every page, from the important course information and entry requirements, to the fun quotes, portfolio tips, and interview with David, was interesting and eye-catching. Overall, I was so pleased with the outcome of the editorial piece and it has really inspired me to get into doing editorial more as I really love doing it and I feel that this project has really helped me to develop what strengths I already had in the area.

Publish! – Journal

After being given the choice to work either individually or as a small team, I have chosen to work in a small group of three designers for this part of the project. I feel that working as a team will allow us to work on something bigger than if we were working individually – this will hopefully result in our final outcome as a team to be much better too. We have been assigned the task of creating and working from our own briefs to decide on the purpose and content of our journal. For our journal, we have decided to create an induction day booklet specifically for students interested in taking the Graphic Communication course here at Cardiff Metropolitan. After speaking to Ray about our idea, he thought it was a great idea and actually admitted that although some other courses within CSAD have similar booklets for their own study, there is not currently an existing booklet for Graphic Communication. It would be amazing if our completed journal could actually be used by the course, for example on open days, to be handed out to potential Graphic Communication students to promote Cardiff Metropolitan.

After doing some research into existing journals, we felt that we wanted to be quite experimental with our creation and may explore using different page sizes within the booklet and, cutting and folding in unusual ways. We would also love to hand-bind the journal by sewing them, however, if we are going to create the journals in mass (like we would have to in the case of an open day for example), the process of hand-binding each booklet individually may become too much of a time consuming process.

After deciding what we wanted to do for our journal, we began creating initial ideas by testing out a few different layouts just by using paper. From the photos below, our favourite test was the version positioned on the far right which we decided to develop further and use.

I made up a very rough paper mockup of the piece – I find that having a physical prototype like this is really useful in any situation or project that I may be set. We measured each page of the prototype and created the digital layout on Indesign, which we then printed so we would have a neater prototype to work from – this also proved to us that our sizing on Indesign seemed to be correct.

Publish! – Magazine Covers

Today we made magazine covers with Ray as part of our field module – we paired up with another person from our group and worked together to create two magazine covers.

The brief was to produce 2 covers – each cover would have the same content, meaning the only difference would be in terms of the actual design itself, such as the layout.

There was a range of different things we had to think about before jumping in to the designing stage. In our pairs, we discussed: the journal format – what size we wanted it to be; the graphic approach we would take – whether we wanted it to be visually dynamic, quietly thoughtful or if it would indicate the journal content, for three examples; the title – we decided on wanting a simple but descriptive name; a masthead – whether we wanted a consistent design of title or whether we could afford for it to vary while still retaining its identity; and of course, the cover design and layout – we talked about what we actually needed on the cover. Finally, we had to pick from the following topics to base our magazine on:

  • Contemporary Poetry
  • Contemporary Textiles
  • Creativity in Wales
  • Philosophy
  • Cycling
  • Astronomy
  • Humorous Fiction
  • Natural History

We chose, cycling.

We started by looking at other already existing magazines and found that a lot of the titles were short, often one-syllabled, and catchy names. For example, some key magazines that are popular and well-known include: Vogue, Time, Look, Forbes, Shout and Elle. We also looked at bike magazines, and found that probably the biggest one out there was, Bike.

The name that we decided on, for our own magazine cover was, RIDE.

We knew that we wanted to create something unusual and eye-catching, which still followed the general rules of a could magazine or journal cover – we decided to do this through being experiment with the graphic approach and making it a visually dynamic piece.

Our overall outcomes were good and received extremely positive feedback from Ray.

Ray mentioned that it would be interesting to try out a different image in the layout in order to see how the rest of the context and layout would work around it. I have tried this out in my own time at home and feel that the cover is very versatile.

Field begins

Tuesday 18th, was our first day of field, ‘Publish’ with Ray Nicklin.

We were set two tasks to complete by and present on Thursday (tomorrow): the first of which was to create a photostory, and the second was a research task.


After being put into small groups, mixed with students from other courses in CSAD, we were given the task of creating a three-volume, small format photostory. We were told to pick one object and then compose a story around it.

At first, my group chose a mug as our object, but after struggling to make three volumes with this as a character, and Ray suggesting that perhaps a mug was ‘a bit boring’, we changed to a new and better object… an egg. The story that we decided on behind the egg is that, the egg is trying to decide whether to be boiled, fried or scrambled, so each volume shows the process of each of these.

As there was only two of us in my group, a girl from textiles named Kayah, and myself, we began by creating a storyboard to plan out what we wanted on each page of our photostory. We wrote a list as well so we knew exactly what we would need to take photos of. Because we had chosen an object that was unavailable for us to get our hands on in university, we had to take the photos we needed from home. We both agreed to capture all of the photographs ourselves, meaning when it came round to picking the photos to put onto the pages, we had a choice and could pick the best version. Below are some examples of images that we took between us:

After taking and choosing the photos, I edited them all in Photoshop and posterized them all in order to give them a cartoon-like look to them, before putting them all together on Indesign. I added text to only two pages in each booklet – the front cover and the back cover. We wanted to keep a simple effect throughout the booklets, so have used large images, filling the full pages and in some cases as double page spreads. I have tried to experiment in some places too by using a tiled image effect on some pages using miniature thumbnails. I have also added minimal text in a newspaper-style typeface.


Today we did a black and white practice print of our booklet, but discovered that we had not arranged the images correctly on the templates. We immediately fixed this by rearranging the images and flipping some of them vertically. On our second printing – it worked!

I used a scalpel and metal rule to cute the edges off of the printed pieces, then Kayah folded them in the right way. A final slit in the middle of the now folded paper meant we could fold and push them together into the 8-page booklet form.

I am really happy with our final outcomes of our mini photostory booklets. Below are some photos of our booklets all together and an example of one volume in particular.


For the research task that we were set, each group was given  different decade to look into and we then had to create a 6 minute presentation about the history of magazines during your given decade. My group was given the 1940s.

Both Kayah and I, researched the decade and found plenty of useful information to write about the era in our presentation, alongside a range of visual examples. The most interesting thing that I discovered from my research was that a lot of magazines and editorials from the 1940s are in aid of promoting the efforts of WWII. We discovered a variety of magazines that were around throughout the decade, including:  Seventeen (which is still a popular magazine today), View, LIFE, Look and Star Weekly. Below is the presentation that we put together and then presented in front of the class. From the feedback we received from Ray and everyone, we seem to have covered the decade well and included all the key areas of magazine design at the time.

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.