Grids: Page Layout Research

Brief: To develop an understanding of the use of grid systems in graphic design and to develop and awareness of spacial arrangement, structure, harmony and graphic coherence.

Part 1: Produce mood sheets of visual research relating to grid systems and master grids. Include technical advice and sensitive and refined graphic design page layouts.

Part 2: Produce thumbnail double spread sketches based on Joseph Muller-Brockman’s master grid and Karl Gerstner’s 58 unit grid. 

Part 3: Create 3 different double page spread designs using the same material and the master grids provided. The first spread should consist of text with 1-2 large images including captions, the second spread should consists of text with 3-5 medium images including captions, and finally the third spread should consists of text with 3-5 small images including captions. 

To begin this project I visited a number of sites to collect research on publication and layout design, some of the sites visited included Behance, It’s Nice That and Creative Review. Below are a series of mood sheets I produced documenting my finds.

Designs I found myself particularly drawn to were ones where images or text would go right up to the edge of the page, text and images would be printed going across the two pages, text had being overlaid on top of an image, layouts playing with the orientation of top, and layouts where not all the elements were perfectly aligned. I would like to incorporate some of these features when it comes to producing my thumbnail double page spread sketches.

Grids Workshop

Exercise 1 – Proportion

 Josef Muller-Brockman and Dieter Rams are both designers who had systems and rules for approaching their work which would allow them to quickly produce good designs. Grids are a form of system that allow designers to effectively organise content for their work. The Fibonacci sequence is a system of numbers commonly seen in nature, with a ratio of 1.6 between the numbers. The numbers are as follows 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, etc. This ratio can be utilised to create visually appealing designs. The golden spiral uses fibonacci numbers to create a grid that is meant to be visually appealing, the impressionists were particularly fond of using this grid in their designs.

For our workshop we were giving a template with a 233 x 144mm spread marked out, then using cut up paper we had to create compositions within the template. The elements we could create using the paper however had to have Fibonacci numbers as the measurements for their height and width. This meant that all of the elements were using the golden ratio. Below are contact sheets of the spreads that I produced. I thoroughly enjoyed creating this and believe layout and spread design will continue to be an area of interest for me.

Exercise 2 – The Golden Section

Exercise 3 – Van De Graaf Canon 

Exercise 4 – Layout

To explore composition we were tasked with drawing a 9×9 rectangular grid, onto this grid we then experimented with the composition of text and shapes of varying sizes. Above are my experiments, initially we used only text of the same font size, then we went on to introduce a variety of font sizes as well as some shapes.

Overall I found this workshop particularly useful in helping to understand layout and composition, especially through the application of grids which I had previously not worked with before. This workshop will greatly aid me in my current project exploring the use of grids for layout design.

Vertical Project: Green Screen Workshop

On Tuesday the tutors ran a one day workshop on green screen effects, which they linked to our current project, the vertical project. However, in order to slightly distinguish the projects from another they set the theme of the workshop to be fake memories.

For the workshop me and 11 other level 4 students, a mixture of graphic design and illustrations students, grouped together and began brainstorming ideas. The idea we decided upon, inspired by the theme of fake memories, was the lies your parents would tell you as a child. The lies we came up with was getting curly hair from eating bread crusts, when an ice cream van plays music it means they are out of ice cream and when you eat apple seeds an apple will grow in your stomach.

For our green screen short film we decided to focus on one lie as the film could only be a maximum of 1 minute long. The lie we chose was when parents tell their children that if you eat apple seeds a tree will grow in your stomach. To visually convey this we created several vines (which consisted of cut out paper leads threaded onto ribbon), and our short film would involve one member of our group eating an apple (a prop made of card), and then having vines appear and grow from her stomach (which would be controlled by other team members wearing morph suits). To utilise the blue screen we made a cardboard cartoon outfit for the team member to wear on top of a morph suit with a flap in the centre to conceal the vines which would soon appear.

Currently our footage is being processed and compressed by their tutor who ran the workshop. Hopefully soon the footage will be returned to us so that we can edit and add sound to our work.

Semester 1 Results and Reflection

This week I received my semester 1 results along with written feedback on what I did well and what I can improve on in the future. My results were extremely positive, I passed the semester and was praised on my work. This came as a surprise to me as before the assessments we had not received any mock grades and we weren’t show any work from previous years with their accompanying grade, therefore I had no idea what to expect in terms of how harsh the marking would be.

There were two main areas highlighted as needing improvement in the future, luckily however they are both easy things for me to do. The first improvement is to include more day-to-day examples of work in my archives, for example collecting typography from shops I walk past for my typography archive. Furthermore in my archives I should begin to include aspects of my own personal interests regarding the topic of that archive.

The second improvement is to do with my craftsmanship. The presentation of my semester 1 work was regarded as good but the crafting could have been tidier. This was a problem I noticed just before the deadline for semester 1, I believe this was because for some projects I mounted my final outcomes early in the year when my craftsmanship skills were not as good as they could have been, therefore in the lead up to semester 1 I didn’t not remount this work and they remained rougher than work that I mounted later on in the year. For semester 2 however I intend to get all of my work ready for presentation at the end of the year, by mounting all of the work at once I will ensure that all of the work is consistent in terms of skill and materials.

Esther Cox

Esther Cox is an illustrator/graphic designer who works in a variety of practices, however mainly creates prints for fashion. She is professionally trained in fashion and textiles, but has worked in health and social care, textile restoration and a large range of other professions. Currently she sales a lot of prints for fashion, primarily menswear and kidswear, as well as stationery and homeware. Some of her recent clients include Marks and Spencers, Paperchase, Transport for London, Desktop magazine and Undo magazine. Due to her clients mainly being commercial most of her work is designed for spring/summer and autumn/winter briefs, and large companies will normally request the same colours and themes for each season each year, therefore a challenge with her work that she highlighted was that each season she has to find new and creative way of reinventing these themes. Her style is abstract, textural and focuses on mark making, and her creative process includes using painting, print and collage to generate visual elements.

I really enjoy the abstract nature of her work and her use of colour. Her work reminds me of the experimental work I used to create during my foundation, where I would cut up unsuccessful prints and paintings and play with collaging the elements together. This is an approach that I haven’t used since leaving my foundation, however after the talk given to us by Esther Cox I am eager to revisit it. The talk also encourage me to see that approach as a way of making final outcomes, whereas before I only viewed collaging prints and mark making together as simply for fun.

Vertical Project: Surrealist Collage

Below are three more influential collage artists that I found whilst collecting research for my vertical project on memory. The artists all have a surrealist element to their work and many are directly influenced by the work of the surrealist movement. I have analyses these artists and used their work as inspired for my own collage work, however mine will be applied to an animation instead of simply a print.

Andrew McGranaham

“I enjoy creating ‘scenes’ that could only exist in another time or dimension but still somehow seem familiar. I’m always challenging myself to do something new and unique. The improvisational and often freeform nature of physical collage is something I’ll never get tired of.”

San Diego-based collage artist and graphic designer Andrew McGranaham creates surreal, psychedelic collages inspired by ancient history, science fictions and surrealism. His imagery comes from vintage magazines and books, such as OMNI, LIFE Nature library and National Geographic. His work is far more graphic than that of the other two artists, as seen from the block colours and linear and geometric shapes.

Andrew McGranahan

Andrew McGranahan

Andrew McGranahan

Eugenia Loli

Influence by pop art, dada, and traditional surrealism Eugenia Loli uses photography from scanned vintage magazines and science publications to construct her collaged visual narratives. Her work is most closely related to the aesthetic I aim to achieve in my animation, she takes collaged elements and juxtaposes them into vastly different environments to their initial context, creating surreal and odd scenes.

Eugenia Loli

Eugenia Loli

Eugenia Loli

Sarah Einsenlohr 

The Montana based artist uses collage to create fictional environments from places of existence, this is to highlight the way in which humans have transformed the earth. She transplants the influence of humanity onto collaged images of untouched landscapes from vintage magazines. Her work is cleverly done as she seamlessly blends together collaged elements to create humorous surreal scenes. This level of sophistication when combining collaged elements together is extremely difficult and something I strive to achieve with my own work.

Sarah Eisenlohr

Vertical Project: Alice in Wonderland Dinner Party

We’re All Quite Mad Here! by Elena

Mad Hatters Tea Party by Unknown

Alice in Wonderland (2010) Film Directed by Tim Burton

Hollywood Regency Interior Design by Lisa Gilmore Design

“Yes, that’s it! Said the Hatter with a sigh, it’s always tea time.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

For my collage animation the imagery is inspired by the range of tasks and activities the gnomes at the Gnome Sanctuary in Cornwall were depicted taking part in, these tasks range from normal everyday activities to those which are bizarre and outlandish. One section of the gnome sanctuary had a series of gnomes positioned around a large dining table depicted having dinner. When I think of gnomes fairytales spring to mind, and as my animation is intended to also be in a surrealist style I decided to look towards the tea party from  Alice in Wonderland for inspiration for the dinner imagery.

The imagery above contains a long table or series of small tables, surrounded by chairs of various shapes and size. Upon the table are stacks of teacups, teapots spouting flowers, stacks of books, tophats, ceramic figurines, cakes and floating clocks. This juxtaposition of elements creates a fantastical, playful and surreal setting that I will aim to include in my own collaged designs.

Vertical Project: Surrealist Animation

At the beginning of this project I brainstormed all of the possible topics I could research that relate to my memory of the gnome sanctuary. From gnomes I identified dolls and puppetry, and from that I went on to identify the art movement surrealism. Surrealism fits my concept well as my memory is focusing on the whimsical humorous nature of the gnome sanctuary whilst also trying to convey the weirdness and strangeness of the situation.

Inspired by the introduction to Adobe After Effects that I attended this week I decided that my final format for this project will be an animation, this was also previously suggested during early discussions with the tutors. An animation seems fitting as well for a memory, when we remember past events we don’t tend to see the memory as a still and detailed image but instead we remember key highlights from that event which progress through time. There an animation drawing attention to key visual and auditory highlights, and progressing with time seems appropriate.

To combine the format of animation with the idea of surrealism I began to research surrealist animations, as seen above. Many of the animations use collage which has been photographed to form a stop motion film, this approach is quick and easy to do however I find the outcomes to appear rough and the rough nature takes away from the imagery. The bottom two animations however I think is the most successful, where the collaged elements have been digitally animated. The smooth nature of the animation and the elements placed on a flat background gives an eerie unnatural feelings that relates to my concept.

The imagery I choose to use in my animation will be inspired by my previous research into the garden centre aesthetic, looking at garden centre displays where the objects are juxtaposed into their setting. I will also seek inspired from my own memory of the gnome sanctuary. Whilst at the gnome sanctuary many of the gnomes were sculpted to appear to be taking part in a variety of activities, ranging from everyday activities to bizarre fantastical activities, therefore I will generate imagery based upon this.

Introduction to Book Arts 2

After my first introduction to book arts during semester one I became extremely interested in the practice, which led to me signing up to the optional book arts workshop this semester. This workshop taught two new bookbinding techniques; simple japanese stab sewing and multi-section sewing using French link stitch.

Simple Japanese stab sewing

The first binding technique we tried was simple Japanese stab sewing, which is used for binding single sheets. This techniques involves binding pages and covers that have already been trimmed, together by sewing through holes drilled through the pages and covers.

Simple Japanese stab sewing

When using Japanese Stab Sewing there is a variety of sewing patterns which can be used, or you can create your own patterns. Below are some examples I have found of interesting Japanese stab sewing patterns.

The second binding technique we learnt was multi-section sewing with French link stitch and kettle stitches. Multi-section sewn books consist of small booklets of pages which are sewn together, this allows the book to lie flat when opened unlike Japanese stab sewing. To create our books we sewed together 5 booklets, each made of 4 pieces of A4 paper folded into a booklet to form 16 pages. To sew together the booklets we used French link stitch. Once the booklets had been sewn together, the book was pressed and then the spine was glued whilst the book was weighted down between boards.

Multi-section French link and kettle stitch sewn book with book cloth spine

Multi-section French link and kettle stitch sewn book with book cloth spine

For the covers we had two options, to either create a wrap around soft back cover with a spine scored into the material which was going to be used, or to glue book cloth to the spine and then a piece of card to the front of the book and one to the back to act as covers. For my book I chose to create a book cloth spine and attach two separate covers.

French link stitch and kettle stitches

French link stitch

Example of French link stitch

Vertical Project: Garden Centre Visual Culture

As suggested by the tutors, I visited Brighton Garden Centre to collect primary research on the garden centre aesthetic. What I was specifically looking for those displays often found in garden centres where miniature fake gardens would be constructed outside to display garden furniture and ornaments, but to my disappointment this garden centre did not have any. However, to avoid wasting the trip I did photograph their collection of garden ornaments.

After my visit to the garden centre I went to B&Q in the hope that they would have some constructed gardens on display. They did not, with exception of a few sheds outside, so I photographed some of their constructed kitchens indoors. The constructed kitchens capture the surreal nature of small fake constructed scenes juxtaposed into a different setting, however the content of the imagery is not garden or outdoor based which relates to the concept behind my work.

I find the surreal nature of the constructed kitchens extremely interesting however the photography does not help in my research towards my final outcome. Furthermore as garden centre displays is a very specific topic of research it is proving difficult to collect secondhand research online to contribute towards my project. Below are the best examples I could find of garden centre displays online, the ones I chose embody the surreal atmosphere I am trying to convey, this is through their bright colours, isolated elements and juxtaposition into their environment.

Due to the lack of relevant research collected I am unsure whether to continue with the idea of garden centre aesthetic, and instead explore shadow puppets which I previously identified here as another possible topic of research. Through discussions with the tutors tomorrow I hope to resolve this issue.