Monday, 21 September 2009

Interest and Influence

There are innumerable sources on the planet from which to take influence and interest within whatever it is you do. 
One thing I always use for new ideas and inspiration are other design blogs.
Whether its professional, as part of a hobby, or even just something to experience I find these are great sources for pretty much anything you could need.

Due to their nature they are constantly updated, full of other ideas which influence the blog writers and whatever else they see fit to talk about. It becomes a never ending chain of resource, resources which are all personal to whomever puts them together.

One Designer's blog I regularly visit is one written by Jacob Cass, an Australian Logo and web designer. JustCreativeDesign is the name of his blog and business. What really appeals to me about this blog is his huge enthusiasm and passion for what he does and he is always looking at new ways in which he can pass on his knowledge and use it to benefit other designers.

Type and it's surroundings

Looking back through my newly created archive of work I think it is evident that my strong/most exciting area of graphic design is through type and typography. However I don't think I could work solely with type and lettering, I gain so much from looking deeper and creating an atmosphere for my type work to shine in, for example the Observation and Communication project below, using emotional and powerful drawings alongside the lettering really creates something exciting.

I've always been interested in how type works and the ways in which it can be arranged/manipulated to produce something wonderful, but there is still a part of me which will always want to push the type to its full potential through the development of an atmosphere in which it has space to grow and evolve in.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Composing the poster

The idea was to keep every aspect of the poster handmade, including all the typography used. Initially I looked into hand producing letters that resembled typed words, however after stepping back and taking a real look at how it came out I decided it didn't really tie in with the project. The letter forms were supposed to resemble the building and the style it had be drawn in and so after more thought I adapted a much more earthy and rough style of lettering which really brought out the life in the drawing.

I used very soft, very thick graphite sticks and holding them by the tip was able to create strokes that were both heavy, yet still concentrated and controlled, creating a style of type that could fit snugly into my drawing.

After constructing the type I would use in the poster, I set about cropping my main image so that it would fully emphasise my idea and attract the attention of the public. I decided on a view which contained only a small but detailed portion of the drawing to really throw itself into the onlooker's eye.
I scanned the letter forms I'd drawn and using photoshop cut them to fit and adjusted the colour to greyscale to match the rest of the image.
Here is my first poster outcome, however not my final choice.

The reason i decided not to use this as my final image was that the letting crowds the rest of the image and allows it no room to breathe, it feels cluttered and rushed.
So as a solution to this problem I added a lot of white space around the image and used this space to arrange some of the letting as shown:

Sunday, 6 September 2009

The Sinclair Building

A project titled 'Observation and Communication' which brought together a culmination of powerful techniques and processes, which would mesh together to form an incredibly in depth body of work working towards and producing a poster advertising/creating awareness of a chosen building in Sheffield.

I took to the streets in search of a structure I personally found interesting both aesthetically and historically, which took a good while before I found what I believed was the perfect subject. A business that had grown over 30 years getting larger through filling a block of terraced properties, which then was renovated into a sleek modern facility for both the Sinclair China and Glass shop, and four stories of luxury apartments. The Sinclair Building on Sheffield's Glossop Road stands out from the surrounding buildings mainly due to its night black colour but also its ora of elegance and sophistication. What could be better to explore graphically than a subject with multiple personalities and a history of architectural traits?!

Above is an example of some initial sketches I took whilst standing outside the building on the street, this was in fact something I had never done before in a busy city so in itself was a big experience. To have so many people walk past and try to take a glimpse of what you are doing, you create interest in every passer by which can be both daunting and exciting at the same time.

Dry Point Etching
A technique which I was very familiar with due to having produced several pieces during my Fine Art A-level course. Dry point etching and printing is without a shadow of a doubt one of my favourite ways to create drawings and prints. It has all the abilities of producing an outcome of great detail similar to using a very fine tipped pen.
Detail is very important to me and even in very simple looking pieces I always look to create depth and emotion within the work, always looking at how I can make it exciting. Etching really gives me an opportunity to fully explore depth and detail due to the fine-ness of the marks made and how they are positioned, for example in the piece below you can see how I have cross-hatched the shadow and left the majority on the light areas unmarked.
Cross hatching allows you to show different tones by increasing or decreasing the amount of lines used in the hatch rather than blocking or smudging as you would with pencils or pastels.

Sketching and creating images of our chosen building and its surroundings was the main focus of this project, the poster had to have a hand made feel, although it would all be composed and finished using photoshop and my scanned images later on.
After much drawing and experimenting with different techniques in doing this, looking at colour, monochrome, tinted drawings, I came to a decision of which of my pieces to use for the final outcome. It is an A1 charcoal piece which to me really explores the black of the buildings bricks, but at the same time adds a richness and incredible rush of emotion and excitement, perfect for the nature of the architecture.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Convulse and screen printing

At the time this project took place I had never even seen screen printing take place before, but now I love it. What really appeals to me about it is the sheer accuracy and sharpness you can get from your images. Below is an example produced by a small group of us when exploring screen printing.

As can be seen here the lettering comes out very fine, especially considering the small spaces and shapes within it.

Now for the brief, to design and create a book which has both image and text based around a single word, this word was to be picked at random from a dictionary to add an extra element of individuality and excitement to the project. When i say create a book, this could include books, fold-outs (like a map), pdf books, leaflets. However I felt a book format suited the brief best and it has a much more hand made feel.

As you may or may not have guessed from the title, the word I ended up with was 'Convulse' which to me at first was rather hard to generate ideas for and in the end I went for its meaning 'to convulse with laughter' meaning to be suddenly overcome with laughter and happiness.

Layout played a very big part in this particular project as I wanted to reflect my chosen word not only through image and text but the way each element was displayed and arranged. I went about this my adapting a classic layout style but making the images and copy used interact with each other in a way that I feel emphasises the atmosphere of the book.

After the screen print sessions I was eager to try out my newly learned skills and apply them to a finished piece of work and so I incorporated this method of printing into the centre pages of my book. Using a graphics tablet on my mac I hand scribbled a Charlie Chaplin quote in black on white and printed it at A4, then rubbing the print with vegetable oil to make the white parts transparent I exposed it to the light in the screen printing machine and experimented with my idea.
The printing was a success in terms of quality and precision, however looking back I feel it lacked in excitement and depth.

In fact I feel quite strongly about this for the whole project, although the outcome was very polished and professional looking, parts of it came off to look a bit, well, lacking in creativity. I mean it was still a fantastic outcome to me, but it just lacked that little something special, that extra push which takes it from being fantastic to one of a kind.

But you always learn from your mistakes so I shall take all that I learned onboard and will use it to better myself in the future.