Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Media Blog

I have set up a blog for the design for digital media module. It will be where I am posting over the next few weeks. Click HERE.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Sticks and Stones

Sticks and Stones Magazine
was produced my a friend of mine Robert Loeber. Normally I'm really reluctant to read any of these online "zines" mainly because I waste too much time on the internet anyway. But once I started reading this I didn't stop until I'd finnished it. It has interviews with Yokoland and Alex Bec amongst other features. I checked out some of Alex Becs other work and was really impressed, I did his hand lettering style.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Module Evaluation

1. What skills have you developed through this module and how effectively do you think you have applied them?
I have improved my skills on Illustrator in this module and I think I applied them to fairly good effect on my poster designs, although I think I could have pushed myself to use Illustrator in a slightly more creative way. I have really improved my skills with Indesign in this module, using it to layout my A2 boards for the “what is good” project and my A3 spreads for the Colour 4 print brief, I have grown to really like the program and I think I can use it quite effectively. In a way I think I have stayed within my comfort zone a bit too much during this module, sticking to things I already know. For my next module I want to move away from Illustrator and relying on my computer so much.

2. What approaches to methods of research have you developed and how have they informed your design development process?
I really treated the summer brief as a research project which I really enjoyed, it allowed my to take loads of photos using my film camera which I learnt a great deal from. I also did things like recording all the songs I played over summer and documenting typography from all around my house. Unfortunately we weren’t able to use a great deal of this research to inform the development of our designs as we moved on so quickly. I also carried out questionnaires to gage people’s views on politics for my “good” brief. I made a lot maquettes to research and inform the development of my point of sale. I spent a great deal of time reading and researching different print methods, colour models and the costs of printing. That was really useful and informed the development of many of my designs especially in terms of the use of colour.

3. What strengths can you identify in your work and how have/will you capitalise on these?
I think that I am good at using type but I have definitely further improved my skills in this area during this module. I think I am also quite good at dealing with fairly complex issues and ideas that other people might shy away from in their projects, such as political policies and creating a questionnaire to help people learn more about politics, that was quite difficult. I think I am fairly good at identifying my target audience and being able to make work appropriate to them.

4. What weaknesses can you identify in your work and how will you address these more fully?
It is very easy to stick to what you know and do best, which I think I may have done to a certain extent during this module. In the next module I intend to move away from the computer screen a bit and use a lot more photography and things like that, I want to push myself to experiment with new methods and techniques. I can be a bit indecisive when it comes to making important decisions about the direction of my project, which I think can slow the progress of my work down a lot. Towards the end of this module I had become better at quickly making good decisions about which direction to take my work in, I hope to keep this up in the next module.

5. Identify five things that you will do differently next time and what do you expect to gain from doing these?
1. Not use Illustrator vector graphics so much, I don’t think I am especially talented at using vector graphics but I always seem to come back to them because they are easy and usually look pretty good. However things like photography and typography may offer a more appropriate and visually effective solution.
2. Be more committed from the beginning of the module, so I don’t have to rush so much to get it all together at the end.
3. Try to time manage better so that if two deadlines clash again I will be more aware of it and more prepared.
4. Be more effective with my decision making so that I don’t waste so much time wondering if I am doing the right thing, I would be more effective with my time and get more work done.
5. Work harder, although I have worked very hard this module I think there is room for me to more constantly put in the hours.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Your Vote is Good

These are my final A2 layouts for the what is good brief

Saturday, 22 November 2008

First Things First

This is the 500 word essay I wrote for my critical studies presentation, I think it expresses my views on the First Things First manifesto quite well.

Michael Bierut 10 Footnotes to a Manifesto

Michael Bieruts essay 10 Footnotes to a Manifesto is a response to the First Things First Manifesto 2000, which was published by Kalle Lasn and Chris Dixon in Adbusters in 1999. First Things First 2000 itself was an updated version of Ken Garlands 1963 First Things First manifesto. The journalist Rick Poyner rewrote the statement updating the references and sharpening the argument but keeping the original sentiment largely intact: that graphic designers should reverse their priorities and instead of using their talents to generate demand and sell commercial consumer products should focus their attention on projects with a more worthy social cause.

Michael Bierut breaks down his critique of the manifesto into footnotes. In his second footnote he picks up on the overall make up of the 33 signatories to the manifesto. Most of them have made their reputation doing cultural work at the fringes of commercial graphic design, for clients like museums and publishers. Specialising in work for the cultural elite, they have resisted manipulating and selling to the average man. Therefore Bierut (2000) stingingly points out “A cynic, then, might dismiss the impact of the manifesto as no more than that of witnessing a group of eunuchs take a vow of chastity.”

First things first says that graphic designers shouldn’t waste their talents selling commercial junk however Bierut (2000) counters this by saying that “Good design is not simply an esoteric ideal but a tool that can be used to ennoble the activities of everyday life” In fact the history of graphic design is full of people who have transformed humble products into something beautiful and intelligent.

The First Things First Manifesto 2000 states that “too an extent we are all helping to draft a reductive and immeasurably harmful code of public discourse” by this Adbusters (1999) are referring to “a mental environment so saturated with commercial messages that it is changing the very way citizen consumers speak, think, feel, respond and interact.” Bierut (2000) counters by saying that “humans have always used the market place as a place for communication and culturalisation” he backs up his point of view with a quote from Susan Nigra Snyder and Steven Izenour (1999): “If your model is the cultural mish-mash of the everyday landscape then commerce is the very glue that holds it together” Micheal Bierut makes the point that if the best designers where to be removed from this landscape what would happen? And who would benefit?

Matt Soar (2002) calls Michael Bieruts response to the Manifesto “ stinging and facetious” I believe that the only reason it could be seen as stinging is because of the weaknesses and over simplification of the Manifesto. Monika Parrinda (2002) says that “(the manifesto) is ultimately reductionist in the way it sets up socially responsible work as something separate – something in opposition to the commercial sphere of graphic design”

According to Micheal Bierut the biggest promise of graphic design is about common decency and identify and treating the ultimate end user of our services, the public, with respect. Soar (2002) actually concurs with this viewpoint “at the very least designers should perhaps work to address their many audiences as citizens rather than consumers.”

Monday, 17 November 2008

Paul Rand

I have been reading Michael Bieruts book seventy nine shot essays on design. I read about Paul Rand who I'd never heard of but apperently is godfather of american graphic design. I had a little search around the internet to find out a bit more about him and i came across this video, in which he says some pretty interesting stuff about graphic design.

Nice monochrome prints by Crush

Monday, 27 October 2008


I saw this just now and thought it was amazing

Reel / 2008 from Universal Everything on Vimeo.

Monday, 20 October 2008

More Printing

A nice example of a CMYK print from Studio Mikmik

Another nice CMYK print from Ill Studio

This site FormFortyFive has some nice work on it and looks like it is updated a lot

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Tings and Tings

Right its sunday and I've been a bit lazy this weekend but thats all about to change. I'm working on my "Good" project trying to get the concept right which is coming on pretty well. I also submitted my poster to Don't Panic which in the end I was pretty happy with, I spent a large amount of time feeling pretty demoralised with it just beacuse I spent ages tracing it and colouring it and then I thought it was shit. So I'm glad I got it to work half decently in the end.

For the "good" project i have decided that having your own opinion is good. So I am trying to promote people to think for themslves and be more interested and open minded towards other peoples opinions.

I was looking at the Adbuster website and particualy like their One Flag campaign I really like some of the abstract designs and how they represnt diversity and unity like this one by Kate McIness.

Tou can see more of the entries and read about them by scrolling towards the bottom on the link above.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Colour Techniques

OK I'm back at my parents for the weekend and with it being cold outside and me still recovering from a (freshers) cold that seems to have gone on for weeks I thought it would be a good time to do some blogging.

I've been trying to find some good examples of different print techniques from around the house which has yielded some pretty unusual results. None of them are particularly interesting in terms of design, but it was interesting going around the house trying to work out how a whole lot of different things had been printed.

CMYK - I've noticed a lot of flyers around Leeds that use pure Cyan, Magenta and Yellow as there main colour pallet a bit like the one above. I'm guessing they do this because using pure Cyan or Magenta etc. will give them pretty much the most vibrant colours available using this printing process because it is a subtractive colour model, and maybe because it is trendy at the moment.

DUOTONE - I found a couple examples of what I'm pretty sure are duotone prints around the house. I imagine both are from pretty small print runs and they chose to print them in duotone to save money rather than for any aesthetic reason.

GREYSCALE - The Guardian is usually printed in full colour. But for this edition of G2, from yesterday, which focuses on the current economic crisis they decided to print it in greyscale to represent and evoke the gloomy mood of the economy and recession. I think this is a brilliant idea from the guardian which is consistently well designed, especially in comparison to other daily newspapers.

SPOT COLOUR - I came across a couple of examples of spot colour around the house the first one is the Graphic cover that everyone will probably have seen, which is printed with a spot neon pink and another special glow in the dark ink only printed on the 'ink' of the 'pink'. The other example is a book of my dads which is printed in black and red (i don't know weather this is a CMYK red or a spot red) and a spot metallic silver which definitely couldn't be achieved through the CMYK process.

Thats all for now I will try and find some examples of RGB and monotone soon.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008


Well with it being more than half way through the summer holidays already I thought it was about time I did a post. I seem to have hardly done anything this summer, I have been working a lot and have earned quite a lot of money which I suppose is the plus side of staying in York and not getting up to much.

The summer project is going OK, as always with a project I only really enjoy it once it is all coming together and I can see that I have made all the right decisons. At the moment I am still agonising as to whether I'm doing the right thing. I havn't really got anything to show yet it is all a bit of a work in progress. I have, however, been shooting a lot of film lately on my old SLR which I have been really enjoying. I basically learnt how to use a proper camera(SLR) shooting digital, now I know how to expose and compose a shot properly shooting film is a lot more satisfying. Here are some of the fruits of my labour:

I got my reading list which was quite exciting. I've read about half of 'How to be a graphic designer without loosing your soul' A lot of it is more relevant to someone who has graduated and is just starting out on there own as a graphic designer. I think it's a testement to how well written it is that I am still going strong half way through even though a lot of the book isn't relevant to me now. It has given an interesting insight into what it's like to be a graphic designer in the industry.

I also found this little beauty hiding in my dads office. The Penguin Book of Kites, Its full of brilliant modernist, very minimal illustrations. I really like its style, it was published in 1976 so to think it was all done long before computers is pretty cool.

To finnish off here are some of the designer/blogs/websites that I have been looking at recently:
Andy Chung
Leslie David
Jonathan Stuart

I always check Manystuff, they usually have a lot of interesting design work - Manystuff

I also came across this site that has load of shortcuts and tips for Illustrator, they are the kinds of things that are really useful to know, you can save so much time.
Adobe Illustrator Shortcuts

Friday, 6 June 2008

What is Graphic design?

I don't know if it ever possible to answer the question "what is graphic design?" because it will inevitably mean something different to every graphic designer. But with this buzz I will try and describe what graphic design is to me. First to understand what graphic design is I think it is important to know what "design" is. this is the introduction/definition of what design is from wikipedia:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaay not know about Wikipedia

Design, usually considered in the context of applied arts, engineering, architecture, and other creative endeavors, is used both as a noun and a verb. As a verb, "to design" refers to the process of originating and developing a plan for a product, structure, system, or component. As a noun, "a design" is used for either the final (solution) plan (e.g. proposal, drawing, model, description) or the result of implementing that plan (e.g. object produced, result of the process). More recently, processes (in general) have also been treated as products of design, giving new meaning to the term "process design".

Designing normally requires a designer to consider the aesthetic, functional, and many other aspects of an object or a process, which usually requires considerable research, thought, modeling, interactive adjustment, and re-design

What is Graphic design?

Graphic design

The term graphic design can refer to a number of artistic and professional disciplines which focus on visual communication and presentation. Various methods are used to create and combine symbols, images and/or words to create a visual representation of ideas and messages. A graphic designer may utilize typography, visual arts and page layout techniques in varying degrees to produce the final result of the project. Graphic design often refers to both the process (designing) by which the communication is created and the products (designs) which are generated.

Common uses of graphic design include magazines, advertisements, product packaging and web design. For example, a product package might include a logo or other artwork, organized text and pure design elements such as shapes and color which unify the piece. Composition is one of the most important features of graphic design especially when utilizing pre-existing materials or using diverse elements.

What is Graphic design?

Work by Massimo Vignelli

I think this epitimises graphic design to me in terms of it being systematically done, organised and timeless. I like the idea of good design being a joy to use and interact with, good design should make peoples lives better.

This is the American Airlines corporate identity which has been in use and unchanged since the sixties. This reinforces my view that good graphic design should be timeless. It should be beautiful because it offers a solution a problem in an elegant way.

To me information design is very interesting. graphic design in this sense can be approached in a very intellectual way and the aesthetics of a piece are directly derived from its meaning and function.