Explain: Improvements Typography

In my video I decided that using moving imagery of my mobile wouldn’t be enough to convey the information about the five stages of sleep, as the only information on the mobile is the brain wave activity scans for each stage of the sleep cycle. I felt it was essential to add textual information to my video however I did not want to simply add frames of digital text as this would not integrate well with the abstract nature of the imagery.

As I wanted my video to be mainly imagery based and easy to understand I began by reducing the information for each stage of the sleep cycle down to it’s basic keywords. I then printed these keywords off and distorted them with a scanner. Not only did this make the type more abstract but it also gave the type an eerie unusual nature similar to that of dreams.

Once I had experimented with distorting the keywords I choose the most successful distortion of each keyword, the distortion that best balance legibility with interesting forms, and refine the scan in Photoshop. I refined the scans by cropping them down and then increasing the contrast to improve clarity.

 

Explain: Improvements

Mobile made up of four discs, each representing a different stage in the sleep cycle 

Printed on acetate suspended with invisible thread

For the project Explain I made a mobile out of a wooden embroidery hoop and embroidery thread, from this mobile hung several threads with paper discs attached. Each discs would contain factual information on why we dream. Acting upon the feedback given to me at this crit I have remade the mobile out of transparent materials, the discs are now made of acetate with my vector illustrations printed onto them and they are hanging by invisible thread. These materials allowed the mobile to appear more dreamlike as the elements appear to be floating and can be seen through one another. Furthermore acetate is very reflective so interesting visual effects were created due to lighting.

To record my mobile it was decided that I should create a moving image piece, and that the way in which the mobile is filmed should optically convey the elements that it is informing, for example rapid eye movement. The advice given for creating a moving image piece was to add a soundscape to the video, also to make sure that the video is very short so that it is manageable.

I also decided to focus on one strand of the mobile to use in my moving image piece, the strand I choose was the strand documenting the 5 stages of sleep. I choose this strand as the various stages of sleep could be creatively illustrated in the piece, for example during the rem stage of sleep eye movements could be conveyed by moving the camera in certain directions.

Semiotics: Crit

During my crit I had a large body of work to present however I did not have a final outcome. In my work I had explored a range of areas relating to body language, for example proxemics, flirting and advertising analysis, however I was struggling to refine my work in a creative and effective outcome. Whilst discussing my work with the tutors and other students many possible ideas for how I could progress my work were highlights, such as:

  • Go back to proxemics or an area of body language I am interested in
  • Analyse a single particular gesture of interest
  • Look at combining body language with another theme
  • Look at a way of giving people dating advice based on body language
  • Cut gestures or body language out of magazines
  • Analyse eye shapes or something small where you have to look at details
  • Research gestures in jobs such as dancers
  • Look at the ways in which different jobs change the body
  • Investigate the speed of gestures
  • Create GIFs mixing frames from different gestures
  • Look at the books ‘Decoding Advertising’ and ‘Notes on Gesture’
  • Whitechapel gallery books on body language
  • Look at how artists show expressions in fine art
  • Censor body parts in body language
  • Analyse when gestures become meaningless
  • Distances between people and what they mean
  • Look at gestures in film and focus on how one gesture is portrayed, for example how people hold cigarettes

From the wide range of ideas given there are some that particularly interested me, these were looking at how the gestures in jobs change the body as well analysing a specific gesture in film, for example how people hold cigarettes. Both of these ideas however would require extensive research to produce a well researched outcome, therefore due to not having much time before assessments I decided to go with the idea of mixing gestures together through GIFs. This idea was inspired by my contact sheets where I used self portrait photography to capture myself reenacting flirtatious body language. It was suggested that I take a series of photographs for one gesture, and replace the key from from that series with a frame from another gesture. This idea I thought was quite amusing and it creates confusion and distorts the intentions of both gestures, even though they both aim to appear flirtatious.

Art of the Accident: Improvements

Since having my group crit for the art of the accident project I have made several improvements to my book. I started by increasing the size of the book from A5 to A4, the largest size that a book can be printed at within my budget. I then added factual information to the book in order to incorporate type.

To successfully integrate type with my book I referred to my research for the grids projects. I then drew up several thumbnail sketches for layout designs. The process of researching layouts and then drawing up thumbnail sketches is what I did during the grids project, therefore I replicated it for this project as well as I believe it help me to develop my ideas better and faster.

Layout inspired by my grids project research, combining my photography with factual information about rust

Duotone image with factual information about rust

Another change that I made to my book was to edit my duotones. I felt that my previous duotones were too flat and did not fit it with the bright and textured rust photography that is also found in the book. To improve these duotones I started by cropping further into the images. The focus of my book is too look at rust in a natural settings, such as Brighton Beach, and then juxtapose that with industrial rust, such as my photographs taken at Portslade. Therefore for my duotones of Portslade I wanted to focus more on the mechanical and industrial nature of the machinery, so by cropping further into the image it focuses more on these forms. I then went on to increase the contrast in the duotones as well as change the colours to be more vibrant. These changes helped to improve the message conveyed by the images as it is more apparent not that the images are focusing on the industrial and mechanical forms. Furthermore the images now look less flat and fit in with the rest of the book consisting of highly textured photographs.

Finally I changed the font used within the book from Baskerville to Geneva. Baskerville is a serif font that appears quite old, I initially chose this font as I felt that an old looking font would represent rust well as rust forms over a long period of time on an object. However I changed the font to Geneva, which I feel better suits the book, as it appears industrial. Many of the photographs used within the book focus on industrial and mechanical forms therefore it felt more appropriate to use a Geneva as opposed to Baskerville.

 

Grids: Feedback and Improvements

In this group crit my designs were received well and I was praised for my bravery in attempting minimalist designs which are often hard to do well. The feedback I was give consisted a few minor changes. The text throughout all three designs needed to be reduced in size as the leading was very tight. Furthermore my first design (1-2 large images) needed a drop cap or another graphic device added to the right hand side page of the spread in order to add some visual interest. One major change that I did have to make was to redo my last design (3-5 small images), this was because the images were too small on the page and got lost in the empty space. For this design it was recommended that I looked at large scale photo books for inspiration.

To begin improving my designs I visited the library and collated a large body of research into layout design by photographing spread layouts from large scale photography magazines. The magazines pictured below include Foam, Source magazine, Parkett magazine, Art Review and American Destiny.

   I then revisited some of my previous designs for my 3-5 small images design.

The text handing down from the text creates an interesting layout on the left however the page on the right is too similar to the design for 3-5 medium images (seen above)

Breaking the grid on the right gives a refreshing break from the previous designs which all work within the confines of the grid, the image on the left page however may be too large for the 3-5 small images design

Final 1-2 large images design: A drop cap has been added to the body text, the body text has been reduced in size and the background colour has been made stronger to show up when printed as previously it was not visible when printed

Final design for 3-5 medium images: A faint colour has been added to the background to make the paper off white as the paper before was a very bright white

Final design for 3-5 small images: This layout is a combination of the two previous designs I was looking at. By breaking the grid on the right it ensure that the design is not too similar to my 3-5 medium images design, therefore giving the spreads flow and diversity. I have also included the text hanging from the image on the left which creates an interesting composition.

 

Art of the Accident: Group Critique

The feedback that I received during the group critique for my book was very positive, the tutors and the other students enjoyed the work that I produced and the feedback given was to help move the work on.

It was suggested that the book should be more monumental and could be printed A3 or A2, however due to printing costs the largest I could print the book for a reasonable price would be A3 spreads with A4 pages.

Another suggestion was that for the cover of the book I should consider using iron filings to actually rust the cover, however this process would be quite time consuming. I could also choose to screenprint with metallic ink or use metallic card and laser cut into it. There was also the option to laser cut into a metal cover, however attaching covers to the book may put too much strain on the binding and tear the book apart. I chose to use metallic card for the cover, online I purchased 300gsm pearlescent card in a copper colour resembling rust, this card is also dyed all the way through therefore when trimmed the edges would remain a copper colour and not go white. I decided to not laser cut into the card a gaining access to the laser cutter during this busy period leading up to deadlines across all courses and years was difficult.

For the final presentation of the book it was suggested that I contain the book within a thin metal box that needs to be cut into to access the book, however once again gaining access to the facilities needed to create the box is too tricky during this busy period, I would also need to be inducted into the workshops as previously I am not.

Finally it was suggested that I add text to the book, this could be scientific information about rust or a timeline of rust. I chose to include scientific information on rust as this book includes photographs from both Brighton and Portslade, therefore two very different kinds of rust are documented meaning two separate timelines would be required which could cause confusion if documented throughout the book.

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.

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970 Reflection

Essay

In December last year I submitted an essay as part of my cultural and critical studies module. This essay was looking at the how the information presented in text at an exhibition supports the key ideas and concepts presented within an object on display. The exhibition I chose to analyse for my essay was “You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970” which was hosted at the V&A, which looked at the many revolutions that occurred in the sixties and their influence on fashion, music, film, design and political movements. The focus of my essay was a series of four psychedelic posters by ‘Haphash and the Coloured Coat’, I analysed how the information presented in text supported the ideas of psychedelia, the influence of psychedelic drugs at the time, and how members of society in the sixties were searching for new ways of freeing their mind.

Today I was given by my essay along with my grade which was a B. I am very proud of this grade as it had been a year since I last wrote an essay and I initially struggled trying to structure and word my essay in a cohesive, reflective and analytical way. There will be another essay brief set in semester 2 and I am hopeful that after writing this essay and reading the feedback given to me, the next essay will be a lot easier.

Direct Feedback

“Good image analysis and very good essay structure. However, the quality of the discussions focusing on the chosen theme needs to be improved by drawing upon academic sources.”

In order to improve my essay it was suggested that I utilise my sources more. I listed books in my bibliography however I did not use them fully within my essay which will help to strengthen my discussions. Furthermore within my essay there were places where I included factual information but did not reference the sources.

General Feedback

After receiving our essays with personal directed feedback attached, we had a short lecture on general feedback and areas for improvement.

Improving on a grade B

  • Consistently introduce quotes and significant authors
  • Write an essay plan (think through your line of enquiry, how will you meet all of the brief criteria and the order of material)
  • Use images and your analysis of them to clearly support your line of enquiry
  • Make sure for every point or assertion you provide evidence in the form of a quote, reference or an image
  • Include summary sentences through out that link back to your line of enquiry / to the question you are answering (an introductory sentence and concluding sentence for each idea / paragraph)
  • Reflect upon the limitations and implications of the references and interpretations you are including (how the sources could be developed, include other sources to support your analysis)
  • Leave time to do a close read of your document to check for spelling errors, grammar and informal language
  • Caption your images to influence the readers interpretation in time with your argument

Improving on a grade A

Despite achieving a grade B I also noted down the points for improving on a grade A for future reference.

  • Be aware of your reader, make sure you are clearly communicating every point to your reader
  • Keep bringing your reader clearly back to your line of enquiry
  • Make sure you have a good bibliography, including a number of current references (the last year or two) and a range of sources
  • Clearly and consistently integrate images into your analysis to support your line of enquiry
  • Caption your images to influence the readers interpretations in line with your argument