Tuesday, 29 December 2015

OUGD503 - Brief 01 - Chicago Latino Film Festival - Final Design Mockups

Below are images of my final poster designs mocked-up. In reality, these posters would not be found hung up by pins. They would be found in urban environments, pasted on walls and in billboard areas. I simply mocked them up here to show how they would look, and to display them as pieces of artwork in their own right. I am feeling very confident about my submissions, because they are individual and unique on their own but as a series of four pieces of artwork they come together to form a consistent aesthetic which I find interesting. 

Monday, 28 December 2015

OUGD503 - Brief 01 - Monotype - Initial Idea Generation

Once I had established the message and theme of the campaign, I was able to then begin generating ideas. This brief requires me to communicate using typography only, so I began generating ideas using Illustrator which works with vectors. I wanted the type to be as clear and sharp as possible. My initial experimentation was with type choices. I was looking to select typefaces which are bold, legible and make a maximum impact. At this stage, I am not necessarily thinking conceptually with my type decisions. I was really just trying to figure out the appropriate tone of voice. 

I played around with a number of slogans/strap lines that could form the basis of the campaign. Here I was really just focusing in on abandoning labels, trying to find an effective way of saying it without sounding cheesy or clich├ęd. There have been campaigns already that tackle similar issues that came across as being slightly pedestrian and predictable, I definitely want to avoid this. I want to create something with conceptual power, something that will talk to a wide range of people. I want to educate, advise and inform, spreading positive social and cultural change through the power of type.  

OUGD503 - Brief 01 - Monotype Brief - Concept Research

I decided to do some reading, searching for articles that tackle the very wide topic of labelling, stereotyping and marginalisation within society. I know a fair amount about this topic already, but I thought it would be a good idea to add further context to my knowledge to allow the campaign to have a relevant tone and be applied effectively to society in 2016.

I found a useful article by Vaughn Shirey for Queerview:

"It seems like in an age where sex, gender and sexuality are constantly being shoved down the throats of adolescents, there is no escape from the inevitable questioning of one’s personal identity. Lurking around every new acquaintance, unseen pressures from both parties seem to boil until someone pops the sexuality question. Even if the question is never asked, people will always assume based on stereotypes, mannerisms and actions. Of the numerous times that the question has been brought to my attention, I have still failed to grasp an answer that I can fully stand behind. While labelling sexuality can have important implications in terms of personal identity, ultimately the negative consequences of being so strictly defined by the parameters of “gay,” “straight” or “lesbian” outweigh the human desire to categorize and belong.

While recognizing sexual and romantic attraction toward a specific gender is a monumental step in personal development, rushing to label and address those attractions to others leaves plenty of room for later confusion both internally and externally throughout friends and family. While it is generally a good idea, at least for the then and now, to inform your immediate family of your feelings, abstractly claiming a queer identity is far better than coming out as one specific thing. Why? The complexity of human attraction is not fully understood. Going with the flow of attraction seems to be the most stable method of identifying oneself. To conceptualize this, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community should move toward adopting the queer identity as an umbrella term for all sexualities. In fact, “queer” should not be the final step in this transition but rather a step toward just being you.

The catch to this proposition is human nature itself. Bound by observation, we categorize everything into groups in order to determine what we personally do and do not enjoy. And here is the problem: I might choose to identify one way, but say I meet someone whom I really like but doesn’t fit my predefined mould. Does that person know about me from friends or acquaintances? Has that person heard about my declared sexuality and become curious as to why I am making advances? With common culture dictating the innate presence of sexuality from birth, suddenly coming out again as different from the original declaration might seem strange and even hypocritical to the outsider. That is why it might be better to let whatever happens happen and not worry about conforming to a specific label.

Instead of focusing on the difference between individuals, the labelling of one’s sexuality or the mechanism of attraction between two individuals, you can make communication clear and abundant by promoting yourself and letting what lies within you become reality. The future of decision, the future of attraction and the future of defining individuals by mundane characteristics depends on this transition from obsession to a statement of “whatever happens, happens.” Of course, this means reinventing the individual and our notions about sexuality, which is no small step for a large group of people, but with enough support, it would be an easy transition within an entire community."

Below are a number of links that also helped me become more informed on the topic, and ultimately shaped the tone of voice and messages within the campaign.


OUGD504 - Brief 04 - Screen Considerations

For this brief, it is important to consider user experience and interactivity as part of the design production. Nowadays, there is a huge abundance of screens available to users to view digital content on. Computer screens, mobiles, tablets and even TV sets come in a range of sizes with varying screen dimensions and resolutions.  I did some quick online research into this issue. What I discovered was intriguing.

It was found that in 2012, screens with a 1024×768 were the most often used screens on the web. That is, until now. According to the latest data from StatCounter, 1366×768 screens just surpassed 1024×768 as the most popular screen resolution used by the visitors to StatCounter’s global network of sites. Three years ago, 1024×768 still accounted for almost 42% of all visitors to the roughly three million sites that use StatCounter. Today, that number has fallen to 18.6% and 1366×768 screens now account for 19.28%, up from just 0.68% in May 2009.

It’s worth noting that these are global statistics. In Europe, the higher-resolution screens already overtook their predecessors late last year and in the U.S., 1024×768 still holds on to the top spot (but just barely). Another resolution that is slowly declining in usage is 1280×800. This used to be an especially popular resolution on laptops, but most modern machines now offer higher resolutions.

For the most part, though, what sadly hasn’t changed much in recent years is the pixel density of these displays. 

This may change once Apple rolls out its Retina display technology to a wider range of its Mac lines, but right now, it’s almost as hard to find a small display with a very high resolution in a mainstream machine as it is to find a screen that isn’t widescreen.

I took this information on board and applied it to my design process. I figured that Grace Jones' largest fan-base is most likely to be located in America, and according to the stat, the resolution of 1024x768 is still widely used, so this was the resolution I employed when designing my website mockups. Really I should have looked into this issue at a much earlier stage, in order to accomodate to the most widely used screen resolution. I could very easily modify the designs to accommodate for the 1366x768, that it is a very relevant consideration to make. 

When designing for mobile devices, I looked into the dimensions/resolutions of the latest iPhone and Samsung models, as these are amongst the most popular mobile devices in the world. The standard iPhone 6 model has 326ppi, and a resolution of 375 x 667 points. I used these dimensions to design the mobile device mock ups. I did some quick research into screen resolution:

Screen resolution provided by the device manufacturer defines the number of pixels (the tiniest addressable points) available on the screen, and it is usually quoted as width × height. Generally speaking, more dots allow designers to fit more content on the screen, such as GUI elements, apps, and websites. Bigger resolution doesn’t necessarily mean better quality though, as there are other important factors, such as pixel density, diagonal screen size, and many more.

Physical vs. virtual pixels

It is also worth mentioning that for many graphic designers CSS pixels are a more important factor than physical pixels listed by device manufacturers. CSS pixels, or virtual pixels, are the dots defined in the CSS standard, which may be different from the physical ones, even though the CSS dimension is named ‘px.’

A CSS pixel (px) equals 1/96th of 1in. Its relation to physical pixels depends on the viewing device. For a low-dpi phone, 1px is one device pixel (dot) of the display, while for printers and high resolution screens 1px can mean multiple device pixels.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

OUGD504 - Brief 04 - Desktop Site

After setting up the final wire-frames, I was able to redesign the website more confidently. My main feedback from the crit was the focus on making the website more exciting and engaging. I also needed to make it feel more temporary and campaign like. The focus was now on GIFs. The landing page is a GIF which transitions into the main page of the site. The user is presented with a flashing image, encouraging them to interact with social media and 'join in the conversation'. When they exit the message they are presented with a wall of GIFs, all of which are taken from a selection of Jones' music videos. The images have lyrics and tweets overlaid which flash on and off at a regular pace. The messages on the GIFs alternate and change when people tweet using the hashtag: #letsgonightclubbing or simply #gracejones. 

The user is then encouraged to scroll through the site using the bright yellow scroll bar to the right hand side. They will find background information about the record and tour dates to a promotional set of gigs. The last page is very minimalistic; it includes three icons and a large banner saying 'PRE-ORDER NOW', which should encourage users to pre-order or at least sample the album via the internet. This is the ultimate goal of the site. 

OUGD504 - Brief 04 - Evaulation

Brief 04 Evaluation
Brief four was very different to the rest of the briefs in this module, and for that reason, it was the most challenging for me. I hadn’t designed for web before undertaking this brief, so it was an exciting challenge. This brief has opened my mind to the applications of screen based graphic design, and has definitely broadened my horizons in terms of areas of interest within this field of visual communication.

Something I found engaging and exciting was the briefing by the visiting professionals from Only Studio. They briefed us in a way that I hadn’t experienced before. I was initially quite intimidated by the extremely open nature of this brief, but I soon came to realise that this was a positive thing. Open briefs allow for more experimentation and exploration of ideas, media and processes. Brief four gave me a lot of creative freedom in that respect, which I enjoyed.
Initially, I found it hard to settle on an artist to base my campaign around. I also found it difficult to find inspiration on the internet. I finally settled on Grace Jones, because I have been listening to and appreciating her music a lot recently.  One of her most successful albums was re-released as a deluxe edition last year, so I thought it would be a nice idea to create a campaign website for the re-release. I followed my usual design process throughout this brief; beginning with primary visual research, then secondary research, mind mapping and gaining feedback at multiple points throughout the development.

Learning about the importance of wire-framing and prototyping was interesting, as I hadn’t explored this before. In addition, the second visiting professional opened my mind to the importance of considering user experience. The workshop about lean personas was very useful in helping me to identify and define my target audience.

I generated quite a detailed prototype design quickly, but got caught up in the idea of producing a website which was far too information/text heavy. I know looking back that I initially misinterpreted the brief, and it wasn’t until the interim crit with the professionals from Only that I realised where I had missed the mark.  My original ideas were unprofessional and didn’t fully answer the requirements of the brief. The crit session was very beneficial in helping me refine my concept; the feedback steered me in a more realised direction.
Overall I feel I worked efficiently throughout brief four. I made the artist the focus of the campaign, remaining respectful to her aesthetic and her original fan base, whilst branching out and attempting to appeal to a contemporary audience. I feel I came to a successful design conclusion through listening to critique and feedback whilst accommodating my own creative voice. I certainly learned a number of new skills in new software, whilst building on existing ones I have in the Adobe suite. I have benefited greatly from engaging with industry figures and contemporary design; I look forward to undertaking briefs of a similar nature in the future.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

OUGD503 - Brief 01 - Penguin Random House - Final Designs

Here are some images of my final cover design placed onto a mock-up of a book. I am pleased with the design because it isn't something I would usually do. I aimed to be as refined and minimalistic as possible. There were so many other more experimental, abstract routes that I could have gone down in terms of aesthetic, but I am pleased I explored a more modernist approach for this brief in particular.  

I believe my design is representational of the author and intentions of the book. Caitlin Moran is funny, witty and slightly sarcastic and these qualities are central in my final outcome. I have enjoyed completing this brief as I feel it has challenged me conceptually. 

Thursday, 24 December 2015

OUGD504 - Brief 04 - Concept Development

Following the crit, I decided to re-evaluate the aesthetic of my website design, taking direct inspiration from Channel 4's Newswall website. I decided to keep the type choices the same, and slightly tweaked the overall colour scheme. The emphasis here is entirely on the GIFs, using them to directly create hype around the album release. Below are a series of images of my experimentation

OUGD504 - Brief 04 - Inspiration

In the crit session with Only Studio, it was suggested that I looked into Channel 4's Newswall, a website centred around fast moving GIFs that deliver bite size chunks of the latest news stories. The guys from Only said that they really liked the numerous GIFs that I had created in the early stages of this brief, saying it was where my strongest concept lay. I took this feedback on board and examined Newswall, paying particular attention to the layout of the GIFs, how the type was displayed and the overall user experience. I also looked at one of my favourite art and design inspiration sites; BauBauHaus, because they display their images in a similar way, with a continuous scrolling feature. I am glad that I decided to re-evaluate my website's layout and aesthetic, because it did feel unprofessional and there was barely a sense of hype or excitement being created around the album launch. 

I think the layout of the GIFs on the Newswall is very effective. I believe the stories that are breaking or have more interest appear as larger GIFs on the wall, and the older, less relevant stories appear as smaller. This is a subtle and efficient way of communicating the latest information, something that has inspired the development of my own design. 

When you click on a GIF, you are presented with the bite-size news article which appears on top of the wall of moving images.

One of my favourite features of this website is the logo in the top left hand corner. It is located in a black bar that runs across the top of the website, and when the user scrolls down the page to reveal the content, the images scroll behind the type and fill it in. It is a subtle feature but I think its really interesting and gives the website that little bit of originality that other sites of a similar nature don't have. It has inspired me to experiment with similar effects on my website prototype. 

OUGD503 - Brief 01 - Chicago Latino Film Festival - Finalisation of Ideas

After taking people's feedback into consideration I made some final adjustments to the designs. Below are four very different final designs that I submitted to the competition.

With this design, I made sure the type was legible and the hierarchy of the information was correct. I feel this design is one of the most successful of the four, because it feels functional and logical. It is not overly complicated and doesn't attempt to merge too many visual elements together. I feel pretty confident about this design. 

This design is probably my favourite on a conceptual level. In the background, I used the film reel illustration to spell out the letters 32 to remind people that this is the 32nd film festival. I was trying to be playful and inventive here and I think it is successful. I was playful with the placement of the type as well, making sure it was easily legible and readable from a distance. I chose to use red because it bold and eye catching and contrasts well with the rest of the artwork. Red is also a colour I strongly associate with Latino culture.

In this design, I was aiming for maximum impact. The mask dominates the design, and the type supports the artwork. I tried to make everything balanced and have a sense of harmony, The bright yellow background is intended to stand out and grab the audiences attention, The thick black lines and the bold use of flat colour give the poster a highly contemporary feel which I am proud of. 

Lastly, I chose to include another design which blends the themes of culture with film paraphernalia. Here I have used Harbour Bold and paired it with a simple, striking depiction of a mask mimicking an old fashioned film reel. The background contrasts beautifully with the bold colour and nature of the chosen typeface. I am feeling pretty confident about all of the designs I am entering to this competition.