Grids: Final Designs

Karl Gerstner’s 58 unit grid as spread – 6×6 grid

Text with: 1-2 large images including captions

Text with: 3-5 medium sized images including captions

Text with 3-5 small sized images including captions

My three final refined designs for the grids project. Minor changes have been made since my previous posts to make sure that all of the elements are properly aligned to the grid and that the textual information is formatted correctly.

In previous projects it has been made aware to me that I have a tendency to make my designs too big and loud so this time I have tried to keep my designs simple and sophisticated. With my three designs I think I have achieved creating visually pleasing designs with very little, as well as learning a lot about grid systems.

Grids: Design Refinement

Original design

Above is my chosen design for the specification ‘Text with: 1-2 large images including captions’. I have chosen this design for my final outcome however it still needs refinement, on the right hand side there is a large amount of negative space which needs balancing. Below are a series of screenshots where I am experimenting with how I can best use the negative space.

Stepping the heading from the body text

Moving the elements to a more central position on the grid to balance the negative space

Balancing the body text in the bottom left with the heading in the top right

Balancing the heading and body text in the bottom left with a grey block of colour in the top right, however the block of colour ends up being distracting

Attempting to balance the body text in the bottom left with the heading in the top right however the layout is more awkward than balance

Using a small grey solid block of colour in the top right containing the folio to balance the heading and body text in the bottom left, once again the solid block of colour is distracting

Mimicking the tones in the photograph on the left with the heading and body text on the right, through altering the orientation of the heading

Below is my chosen design from my above experimentations. In this design I have moved the body text and caption from the bottom right to the bottom centre, helping to close up the negative space. I have also moved the heading to the top right, in line with the statues head on the left, in an attempt to balance the composition on the right sheet with the composition on the left sheet. Furthermore I changed the title in order to make it longer and add more tonal colour to the page. Finally I added a block of colour to the right hand sheet to reduce the harshness of the bright white paper, the colour I choose was selected from the photograph on the right and then reduced to 40% opacity to mute the colour so that it did not compete with the photograph on the left.

Grids: Development

After creating my 10 thumbnails sketches on both the Muller Brockman grid and the Karl Gerstner’s 58 unit grid I decided that the grid I preferred using was the one created by Karl Gernster as the grid allows for alot of creativity and freedom. From my 10 drawn thumbnails for this grid, I began to develop these designs digitally within the grid template.

For my layout designs I used content based around an article I found on It’s Nice That, the article is about a new series of work being produced by the photographer Catherine Hyland. From this article I took the main body text as well as the information on the author of the article and when the article was wrote.

‘Photographer Catherine Hyland has been travelling the mountainous landscapes of China and Mongolia to capture its vast, yet eerily empty tourist destinations. In her ongoing series Universal Experience, which she will continue to add to, she explores scenes of epic beauty that have been developed to become tourist destinations. Tackling themes of nostalgia and abandonment, she hopes to capture the intertwining of natural beauty and the artificially engineered viewpoints from which people choose to remember it by.

“The aim is to shine a light on both the strange and sublime nature of these spaces,” Catherine says. “Giant Buddhas that exist in small desolate villages in rural China, and expansive mountainscapes with barely any visitors. Whether it’s sites of historical importance or natural splendour each is approached with a heightened awareness of its significance as a place of beauty and grandeur. Landscape is seen primarily as a cultural construct and only secondarily as a natural phenomenon.”

Catherine’s large-format photographs, shot on film, show the awesome landscapes together with their barren tourist-targeting additions, contrasting the natural and man-made elements. The dusty mountainous shots are particularly striking, with their gradated colours and uniformly dusty tones.

Words by Jenny Brewer,

I then went on to the photographers own website and saved all of the photographs from the series mentioned in the article, this gave me a wide range of imagery to work with in my layout designs. When deciding upon what content to use for my layout designs I specifically choose to focus on photography, this is because the final spreads will be printed at A3, therefore I wanted access to high resolution imagery that would still maintain their quality when increased in size.

For our layout designs we had to produce 3 final outcomes each with different specifications:

  • Text (body copy) with: 1 – 2 large images including captions
  • Text (body copy) with: 3 – 5 medium sized images including captions
  • Text (body copy) with: 3 – 5 small sized images including captions

The text must also include a major title to the spread plus main headings and subheadings, as well as page numbers. Graphic devices such as typographic rules, shapes and symbols could also be included.

Below are my 12 digital developed designs (4 per specification)

Text with: 1-2 large images including captions: Design 1

Text with: 1-2 large images including captions: Design 2

Text with: 1-2 large images including captions: Design 3

Text with: 1-2 large images including captions: Design 4

Text with: 3-5 medium sized images including captions: Design 1

Text with 3-5 medium sized images including captions: Design 2

Text with 3-5 medium sized images including captions: Design 3

Text with 3-5 medium sized images including captions: Design 4

Text with 3-5 small sized images including captions: Design 1

Text with 3-5 small sized images including captions: Design 2

Text with 3-5 small sized images including captions: Design 3

Text with 3-5 small sized images including captions: Design 4

Despite me basing my layout designs on the article wrote by It’s Nice That, in some of my designs I did choose to use dummy text. In some of my layouts I wanted to include larger amounts of body text however the original article is quite short, therefore I replaced the article text with placeholder text generated by Adobe InDesign.

From my 4 developed designs for each specification I believe that the most successful was design 1 for the large sized images, design 1 for the medium sized images and design 3 for the small sized images, however I do believe further refinements could be made. Design 1 for the large sized images the right side of the spread is too empty, therefore the addition of another image, graphic devices or altering the layout on the right could aid the design.

Semiotics: The Language, Symbols & Signs of…

Semiotics

Semiotics is the theory of signs, taken from the Greek word semeiotikos which means ‘an interpreter of signs’. Signing is vital to human existence as it underlies all forms of human communication.

Icon

The signifier (denotation) is perceived as resembling or imitating the signified (connotation). A pictorial representation, a photograph, an architect’s model of a building, or a star chart are all icons because they imitate or copy an aspect of their subject.

Index

An index has a factual or casual connection that points towards its object. Wet streets are a sign that it has rained recently. Smoke signifies fire. A nest image is an icon of a nest but an index of a bird.

Symbol

A symbol has an arbitrary relationship between the signifier and the signified. The interpreter understands the symbol through previous knowledge and experience – it must be learned and agreed upon. Spoken or written words are symbols. There is no reason that the word ‘cat’ should represent a cat instead of a tree.

Metasymbol

A symbol whose meaning transcends the tangible realm of simple one-to-one relationships. History, culture, and tradition all play a role in creating metasymbols, such as a dove with an olive branch as a symbol for peace. For certain audiences, religious and magical signs and symbols take on these properties.

The Language, Symbols & Signs of…

Brief: To research, visually explore and investigate a form of communication. In this project you should explore visual language and how personal/collective visual signifiers are communicated in relation to meaning and audience (e.g. semiotics). You should also develop an awareness of content and visual hierarchies, and develop research and self-evaluation skills.

The language of…

  • Language is a system of communication both written and visual which when used in various ways conveys a message. Some languages are read consciously or subconsciously. There are many examples of visual systems/matter that utilise a language of their own such as smoke signals and flowers. The messages communicated can be life-saving when denoting ‘friend or foe’ or as everyday as a team affiliation.

The Signs of…

  • A sign is an object, quality or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else. A gesture of action used to convey information or an instruction. We scrutinise each other’s faces all the time consciously and subconsciously looking for signs of agreement, affection, mistrust, interest, etc.
  • When a comet shoots across the sky ancient people saw this as a sign of doom, whilst others interpreted it as a prophecy of a forthcoming Saviour King. More mundane signs guide us every day and help us navigate ur journeys from A to B. There are universal signs (signage) and personally significant signs whether linked to relationships, profession or belief systems.

The Symbol of…

  • A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating links between otherwise very different concepts and experiences. Symbols are people, objects, events, designs, places and are at the pinnacle of communication, what is associated with them carries the impact of the idea. An example of fast evolving symbols are emojis, being refined and expanded on all the time.

On the brief a list of 30 forms of communication were provided, 10 examples each for language, signs and symbols. From this list I have chosen to investigate the option ‘body language: posture; attraction; flirting; tattoos and/or body modifications’ found within the section ‘the language of…’

Fine Art Printmaking Year 1

Fine art printmaking present an exhibition as part of our editioned print project. Our work spans a variety of print techniques and mediums, stemming from the traditions of screen print, relief, lithography and etching as well as the photographic and digital. 

Escarpment by Jill Flower

The print above caught my eye in particular from this exhibition held by first year fine art printmaking. During my latest group critique for the project “art of the accident”, Andy Vella suggested that for the cover of my book for my final outcome I could print onto metallic paper, therefore this print onto metallic gold paper relates to this idea. The print itself is also similar to some of the work I had produced for the project, gestural and focused on mark making, conveying a sense of texture.

It does not say how this print has been created, however from the design I assume it to be a relief print, possibly a linocut or an etching. I have previously explored etchings within my work and I would enjoy returning to the process to create the cover of my book, however for my final outcome I wanted to increase the scale of my book to a3 and an a3 etching plate would be quite expensive. An A3 piece of lino on the other hand would be much cheaper to use, although the quality of the line would not be the same it would create its own aesthetic.

Kerning Exercise

Brief: Use Adobe InDesign to format 4 landscape A4 sheets, each sheet will have a single word in 4 different styles and all will be kerned. On each sheet the chosen word will be in a serif typeface and a sans serif typeface, and will have an uppercase and lowercase version of each. The words notoriously difficult to kern are: railway, predictability, woodland and masquerade. 

For my kerning exercise I chose the font Baskerville for my serif font, and Helvetica for my sans serif font. Below are my final kerned outcomes.

I found this exercise quite challenging, however this was not due to not understanding the brief or how to kern but because I found it hard to know when to stop kerning the words. I became too precious with the exercise and spent a lot of time readjusting my kerning, however after a discussion with the tutors I finally settled on the above outcomes which I believe are resolved.

 

Introduction to Book Layout and Preparing for Print

Introduction to book layout and introduction to preparing for print are two separate inductions that are both based in Adobe InDesign and both work hand in hand. Introduction to book layout covers how to set up and create a document for a book in InDesign, then introduction to preparing for print covers how to save and export the document correctly for printing as well as imposition.

When creating a document for print it is important to keep in mind the following:

  1. Audience
  2. Format (book size)
  3. Construction (binding)
  4. Extent (number of pages)
  5. Elements to include (special features, pop ups, flaps, gate folds)
  6. Deadline
  7. Printing needs (colour or black white?)
  8. How is it being printed (digital, litho, screen printing, letterpress)
  9. Book cover (soft or hard?)
  10. Do I have everything I need? (Photos, illustrations, 300dpi scans?)

Before creating the document it is important to create a flat plan detailing what will be included in the front matter, content and the end matter. Once this is done you can go onto creating your document. In this induction we looked at how to create a new document with facing pages, then how to create a grid and determine the font size and baseline grid. We then went on to learn how to create master pages, one for our grid to go onto and one for our numbering system. Finally we looked at type and how to create paragraph styles, frames and adding columns to a frame.

After setting up our documents we moved onto introduction to preparing for print. We began by learning how to find information on the images within the document in order to check their actual and effective PPI, as well as the colour settings for the document. Once all of those settings had been checked we started to look at how to export the document as a PDF for print, this included making sure the correct version of PDF was chosen, making sure the document was exported as spreads instead of pages, including marks and bleeds, and checking the correct colour conversion setting is selected.

Once the document has been exported as a PDF it can be opened in Acrobat Pro where you can use the colour output preview settings to make sure the document is exported correctly, as this is how the printing company will view your document when you send it to them.

Finally we looked at doing our own imposition for our documents, despite the fact most printing companies will do this for you it is handy to know in case they request you do your own or for printing your own mock ups before going to print. This stage included a lot of technical information as Adobe InDesign is not designed well for doing imposition, in order to correctly impose our documents we had to add a postscript file to our software. Once this had been done we went through the process of creating imposition preset using this postscript file as the printer. Using this preset we selected print booklet, chose the booklet type we wanted and the signature sizes and printed the file. This file when printed had to be saved with a .ps extension instead of an .indd extension, the .ps file could be opened once saved and then exported as a PDF which is the file type most printing companies will request.

This induction was incredibly helpful, especially preparing for print. Previously I had been afraid to produce books as final outcomes for my projects as I was unsure on how to correctly set up a document and how to do the imposition for my pages, although I could easily find information online on how to set up a document I was unable to on how to impose my pages therefore this information was invaluable to me. Since doing this induction I plan on creating many more as part of my coursework as I can now confidently and efficiently create the documents and print them, therefore allowing me to focus more time on creating high quality content.

Art of the Accident: Material Exploration

For my final outcome I have decided to produce a book juxtaposing the bright and vibrant photography of erosion and weathering at Brighton Beach with the industrial erosion found at Portslade. Within this book I want to include sections of acetate with imagery printed onto the sheets, this was inspired by the book o.T. designed by Unica T and featured in Experimental Formats.

“The ‘o.T.’ book was created by silkscreening abstract collages onto large sheets of rigid perspex, which were then cut down to the final page size. The resulting book forms a series of fragmented images that when bound together build up into a deep and complex whole, broken only by three divider or chapter pages printed in solid yellow.” 

The idea of building up layers of imagery suits my concept well as when objects erode and weather rust can build up layers on top, but also paint and materials can chip away revealing layers beneath, therefore the build up of imagery through a transparent material seems fitting.

Above I have begun to experiment with printing onto acetate. As acetate can only be printed on one side if I printed both pages of the spread normally the image on the right page of spread would be the wrong way round when the acetate was folded, therefore I discovered that before printing I had to horizontally flip the image on the right side of each spread. I also found that the acetate I was using was not transparent when folded and was instead foggy and misty, therefore higher quality acetate would need to be purchased for my final book.

As well as experimenting with printing onto acetate I also experimented with how acetate could be integrated into a book. The easiest way would be to bind single sheets together which could be done Japanese stab sewing, however in my book I want to include paper sheets with double page spreads containing full bleed images, therefore a perfect bound book would be more appropriate. A problem with this however is working out how to include both acetate and paper sheets in my book and how to order my content. As I also want to include full bleed images across spreads some of the pages within the book have to paper, therefore working out how to include both paper and acetate in a bound book was a difficult task.

After creating many mock ups I decided upon the structure above for my book. The plan above represents one section within my perfect bound book which consists of 2 sheets of paper with 2 sheets of acetate on top which is then folded in half, this equals 16 pages. The pale yellow in the plan represents pages made of paper and the pale blue represents pages made of acetate. The dark grey represents the back of the acetate which can’t be printed on due to the material being transparent. The bright yellow represents a page of paper that can’t have any imagery on, this is because that piece of paper would be visible through the acetate and would therefore interfere with the imagery printed onto the acetate. As I begin to organise my book content I can simply duplicate this plan to create more sections, therefore allowing more content to easily be added to my book.

Art of the Accident: Zine Workshop

Due to a change of plans at university the graphic design students were invited to join in with the zine workshop for the illustration students. We were given a handout with various book structures on for us to experiment with for our zines. Having previously made poster books in my book arts induction and for explain the unexplained project earlier this semester, I decided to create a zine that used french binding, a bookbinding technique I have had no previous experience with.

As graphic design students were not initially meant to take part in this workshop we arrived unprepared with no imagery or work to put into our zine. What I did however was take my monoprints which I had just created for my art of the experiment project, these prints I deemed unsuccessful as they lost most of the detail from the original photographs I was basing them on and therefore did not link clearly to my concept of weathering and erosion, however I still liked the marks made within the prints. For the zine I took the prints with the most interesting marks and cut the A4 prints down to a5 sheets of paper, cropping into the most visually intriguing sections of each print with help of my cropping tools.

For the prints to be french bound the a5 sheets then had to be folded in half, the A6 pages would then be bound on the long

 

edge opposite to the fold. What I discovered unintentionally about french binding is that it is a good binding technique for monoprints. When producing my monoprints I rolled out water based ink onto perspex, then I place paper on top of the ink and worked onto the back of the paper with pencil and charcoal to pick up the ink on the opposite side. By french binding my prints you can view the marks made on the back of the paper by gently prying open one of the folded pages to view what it inside. These concealed marks are visually interesting, show process and add another way in which the audience can interact with the book.

The style of binding I used to hold the pages together was Japanese stab sewing. I first used a boning tool to create folds in each of the pages, so that when the pages were bound the book could lie flat. I then drilled holes into the folded pages along the long edge opposite the fold. Finally I used stringle to sew through the holes and bind the book.

 

I found this workshop to be very helpful as it allowed me to take work that I felt was previously unsuccessful and turn it into a successful book. I did not initially think of moving these prints forward by using process however by creating a zine I’ve allowed the imagery to not go to waste.

Art of the Accident: Duotones and Tritones

Original photograph

Blue and black duotone

Blue, black and red tritone

Red and black tritone

Red, black and blue tritone

As suggested in my tutorial I began to experiment with colour. Using colours from the colour schemes I have previously created I experimented with creating duotones and tritones in Adobe Photoshop, which is a process I had never tried before. I liked the outcomes however I felt that the duotones and tritones took away from the initial imagery as the original photographs had a larger range of vibrant colours. Therefore from this I concluded that I did not want to edit the photographs from Brighton Beach in order to preserve their initial colour palettes.

Brown and black duotone

Brown and black duotone

Brown and black duotone

Instead of making duotone images from the Brighton Beach photography I made duotone images from my Portslade photography. I choose to edit these pictures as the original photographs were bright and vibrant with a yellow and blue colour scheme, this did not reflect industrial erosion which is orange and brown, these colours also clashed with the less saturated colours from my Brighton Beach photography. I find these edits to be far more successful as they remove the bright colours and make the images feel more industrial, as well as helping them to integrate well with the other imagery.