Group project evaluation

For the group project, we were split up into 3 groups – photography, typography and illustration. We were to choose which group we want to be in and I was torn between illustration and photography as both are great interests of mine. In the end, I decided to join the illustration group as I have more confidence working in this than photography.

We each had to answer questions given on the brief while presenting ourselves/style in it. Among the questions, I narrowed down to making a decision between 2 options – aspirations or desert island design book. I thought both questions allowed an imaginative answer which is what I had in mind for my illustration. In the end I decided to work on the aspirations question. 

I didn’t want to illustrate my aspirations in a very literal way. So I decided to work on an imaginative illustration that would hopefully convey the feeling of my completing my aspirations. 

Throughout the project, there had been a lot of changes made. Initially we had decided on making a newspaper format magazine. But after looking at how to design our illustrations, our group thought a double spread page in a newspaper was a bit too big and hard to handle. We also thought the paper weight of a newspaper was too thin, allowing the printing to go onto the next page; and it also wouldn’t be as durable as a book. Having discussed with the other two groups, we abandoned the newspaper idea and changed our format to a book sized 195x250mm. 

Another major change was the colors we could use. Originally, our group had decided to use black, white, grey and 1 chosen color of our own. But when we put the whole class’ spreads together, a flow that link our pages was missing. It didn’t reflect an unity as a class project, so we decided to restrict the colors further and use 1 color for the whole class. Hence the possible colors we could use are Black, White, Grey and Red.

I must say red was not on my list of considered colors to use at all as I was looking into cool colors more but not warm colors. I wasn’t sure of how my illustration would turn out as red and light blue are a great contrast and give very different feelings. However, the illustration did turn out alright in the chosen red. It did give a different feeling but I think it still works to convey the what I had wanted to in the beginning.

I edited the colors on photoshop by changing the blues to red. I’ve also added in more bubbles on the page because it looked a bit too plain and blank. It also gave the illustration more rhythm and pace.

After Jess and Rachel designed the cover, I helped out with working it out on the letterpress. (I love letterpress) We tried it out with 2 similar fonts and adjusted the leading. The prints came out really nice and had a handmade/ craft feeling to it, which ties in with the theme of our book – bringing handmade and digital together. 

I’m excited to see the real printed copy after seeing the mock-up. I think it’ll be a great collection of all our work and it’ll be a really nice copy as we’re getting it printed by professional printers. 

Through this project I have experienced the tension and strain of working on a publication in a big group. And I assume this would be very similar to what it’s like in an actual design studio or magazine publication company. Although we are each responsible for only 1 double page spread, we have to work together as a group and follow guidelines and instructions given by our leaders to make things work. If we did not follow the given deadlines we would have slowed down the whole process. It takes everyone to be involved and cooperative to make things work and get things done. If time allowed, I would prefer to have redrawn another illustration in red instead of changing the colors on Photoshop. It would have made editing the bubbles easier and the outlines might look better. I would also have used a different kind of paper for my illustration, proper watercolor paper or sth with a heavier weight/textured surface. (Oh how much I miss painting and drawing) Overall, I’m pleased with how my page looks like and am looking forward to getting the real copy. 

Type Radio evaluation

We were asked to design 3 double page spread or 2 double page spread and 2 single pages on an interview of a chosen designer of our own choice. After going through the transcripts and listening to the interviews on Type Radio, I’ve decided to work on Irma Boom. Having grasped what she’s like and got my own interpretation of her, I started to create visuals and thinking of how I could combine this into my design. 

I struggled with creating visuals that brought out my interpretation of Irma Boom – her duality and contrast between style and personality. I started off with making collages where I combined different people’s faces. I also tried to cut up some writing and jumbled them up so that it created an interesting pattern and sort of is like an encrypted message in a puzzle. However it was still a rather literal way of presenting my interpretation of her. 

I looked into how I could make use of the size and folding of pages to help present my chosen designer. I tried out having multiple folds on a page but I didn’t like it. I thought it would hard to place the text on the pages. I also considered using French fold so that you would have to look inside the folds to decode Irma Boom and get the whole picture of what she’s like. 

I decided to look at the research I’ve gathered on her at the beginning of the project and go back to reading the given transcript again. I then tried to think of Irma Boom as a metaphor so that it would carry my interpretation of her but not be too literal. I came up with a few of them and decided to make some illustrations and visual based on those metaphors. I didn’t like the visuals I’ve created and decided that the metaphors I’ve come up with didn’t exactly present her as what I had in mind. I listened to the interview on Type Radio again and flipped through my notes. I picked up how she said she doesn’t think of her studio when she’s at home and vice versa. Her quote of ‘when I’m up I don’t think of down, and when I’m down I don’t think of up’ inspired me to use a light bulb as the metaphor for Irma Boom. I tried linking it to the other aspects of her and it worked to bring out what I have in mind. 

I tried creating various visuals with my chosen metaphor of light bulbs. I used ink and tried writing with the light bulb. It was quite hard to control the amount of ink the light bulb dipped into. I also dabbed ink onto the light bulb and played with it to create different patterns. The prints came out interesting and abstract and I liked how they turned out. 

Having created suitable visuals, I then worked on the layout of body text. I thought using a trapezium layout would make it more unconventional. It’s not very often that trapeziums layouts are used. The gradual increase in length of text as you read through the interview/ go down the page also conveys how Irma Boom looks shy but is daring and bold in designing her work. It also reflects how you have to really know her to find out what she’s really like. 

I tested the layout with different formats and sizes, portrait and landscape. When comparing the two favourite formats I’ve got – 250x335mm and 190x255mm, I decided to go with the smaller one. Although the format was specified in the brief to be larger than A4, I thought the layout worked better on the smaller format. And having discussed with Hannah and David, they agreed and gave permission to use a format smaller than A4. 

Overall I think it is a really fun project. I’m pleased with how my magazine spreads turned out. And looking back at the ideas and visuals I had at the very beginning, I must say there are some great changes. I really liked the different day workshops as we had a lot of freedom in what we wanted to create. They also introduced a lot more ways of creating our own visuals. Magazine publication and layout designs are definitely something I would like to explore and work on more. 

Most of the important theories in layout design are summarized on this webpage. I find this page really helpful, especially since they provide clear explanations with annotated visuals/diagrams next to it. It makes it easier to understand as you can see how it works on the page. The baseline grid mentioned by Hannah during a crit is also mentioned on this page. I like how they have the little tips on how to do it on InDesign. 

I think the illustrations have very interesting angles in them. Especially the one where the angle of elevation is looking down from the top of a building onto the streets. Another painting that I found impressive is the one where the man merges into the starry-night sofa. I find it intriguing and imaginative. I also like how some of his illustrations have a collage-ish feeling to it. 

Carne Griffiths uses ink, tea and alcohol for his illustrations. His illustrations are beautifully done and i think the tea works well with them. There’s also an imaginative, dreamy feel to his illustrations as his works is described as creating ‘a journey of escapism’.

It’d be interesting to look at how he’s done his illustrations. Shall ‘investigate’ into this and see if there are any videos/ footage of it. 

Illustrations from a favourite illustrator (?) of mine – Jimmy Liao, aka 幾米 or JimmySPA. He’s a Taiwan illustrator and book writer. The illustrations above are taken from his book Turn Left, Turn Right. I like how his books and illustrations are very imaginative. He relies mainly on his illustrations to bring out and create the feeling/atmosphere of his stories, using only little text as narration. 

check out more of his works here –