Padd Solutions

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I have now decided to create a brand of bottled water for this brief. This would be given to graphic students on arrival, and they would be able to drink it before taking the plunge to speak to people from their course. The bottle will also act as indicator of who is on the course, as all the graphics students will have them. I hope that this will help people without friendly support to conquer nerves and allow them to talk to one another, thus making early connections before the introductory period.

Now, I have found a really helpful blog called 'the die line', which is dedicated to packaging design. It has really helped me find some unusual packaging that are not already on the shelves in the u.k.

As you can see I found some interesting results, all of which take a different approach to packaging.

'This water' has a real simple feel, which works nicely because it balances nicely with the colour of the fruits. I would ideally like to inject a little more colour into my packaging because a bottle of water does look boring.

I included 'Another Bloody water' because of the tongue in cheek approach, and to show that you do not need illustration or imagery to create successful packaging. However, I would say this type of approach would not appeal to the audience I am targeting because I feel that they want to see something more aesthetically pleasing, although I cannot be sure of this until I have done research.

The 'Mojo' branding is my favourite. I love the colour, the typeface and the way the designer has used left the bottom section transparent. Personally, I feel wary of drinking something I don't know the colour of. It is packaging that stands out to me and feel the target audience would appreciate something like this more than the others. It also proves it works across a broad colour range.

I included the 'Tapd' brand to show a more commercial style of product. Again, I like the transparency, as if their is nothing to hide, and I also like the minimalistic ilustration/logo.

The last orange drink adopts a more organic, illustrative style which is inkeeping with the more modern approach to design. Agencies and the big corporations from Coca Cola to Adidas seem to push illustration and less polished, almost generic design. I think it gives the product a more homely feel as though it is personal.
After getting a new brief this week based around designing a graphic response aimed at next year's first years, I identified a few problems which I could resolve, some of which were;

'Finding you way to college'

'Getting to know people from the course'

'managing heavy workloads'

'Preparation and Attitude'

'Being nervous on your first day'

Out of those I decided that my problem should be 'Being nervous on your first day'. My reason for choosing this was down to my personal experience. I found it incredibly hard to talk to people because of a lack of confidence and not knowing anyone, which was also the same for the majority of others. After coming in on day one, I was told to go to the canteen and when I went in there, there was loads of people sitting on the tables. I realised quickly that there was no way of knowing who was on my course to begin with, so I tried to mingle the best I could. I never did find anyone on the course so doubts started to run through my mind, like was I in the right room, had the course team already collected the students. It was a difficult 10 minutes.

With that in mind I want to create a product which will calm peoples nerves and also allow them to identify who is on the course with them. It will be both an ice breaker and also a talking point. The products packaging will be both informative but also entertaining, and I do have a few ideas to begin with.

Just to clarify;

What is the problem?
How to conquer nerves on your first day

What are you going to do about it?
Create an informative as well as entertaining product

How are you going to do it?
By creating packaging for the product

When are you going to do it?
Research into contemporary packaging - Tuesday/Wednesday
Idea generation - Wednesday
Decide on idea and create visuals - Wednesday
Identify possible typefaces/colours/slogans/copy - Thursday
Create Proposal boards - Thursday/Friday
So far I have attended 8 sessions of my print elective at Vernon Street. It has been both fun but sometimes a little bit of a distraction. However, I have developed my skills in area which I have not had much time in before. Although, it was not my first choice the elective has been run at a god pace and a felt I have benefited from it.

I thought I would include some scans of various prints I have done whilst down there, as I feel it is important to include pieces I create away from the studio. I have focused the whole of this project around cans, which I looked at in the 100 brief (Hell, am I sick of drinks cans?..)

The intaglio printing methods I have looked at are: Drypoint printing, Mono printing, Lino printing, Collograph printing, Etching and Aquatinting. I think I enjoyed the mono and the lino prints the most but the aquatinting also gave some nice results.

I realise that I am not the best printer, however, I do play to my strengths so I found printing textures like this through experimentation had a greater benefit as I can use them to create things like this.

I know I'm premature here but I could not sketch out ideas and then never try to create visuals for them. I have a few ideas floating around and I have them down on paper. I haven't decided on a final idea yet but this has made me rethink. I started out with my sketch and set up my document size and margins which was all fine. Then I got the artwork I wanted for the background. I decided on a few typefaces, some of which are featured here.

I wanted a square format and a four column grid. The type size needs reducing I think because I only could just fit on the 500 words, which are also subject to change anyway. I think I want my final to have photography of Craig in it and I hope that my ideas for that will be possible, all bearing on whether Craig will have some spare time. So, this is just an example and mock up of what could come of this brief. I, personally like it, but it doesn't set the world alight, but then again it is legible and it has a nice format and composition.

What I did find is that my sketches needed tweaking on the computer to look how I wanted them to look. This tells me that I need to work on my strategy for problem solving when not at a computer. I have done this kind of thing for years now and I understand it probably is not helping. I shouldn't go to the computer without a clear focus but surely it doesn't harm to tweak things.

Now I have to decide on an idea and do a full scale sketch with all the type hierarchy I intend to make use of.
Just watched 'Yes Man' today starring Jim Carrey. I am not going to discuss the movie because it is kind of irrelevant but Jim Carrey, in my opinion, is a real funny guy. What I noticed the most was the movie ending and especially the credits. They looked so cool, and I had to see who was responsible for them.

Imaginary Forces were the team behind the titles for this movie and others like Minority Report, Transformers and The Number 23 to name a few. These titles are not riddled with 3D nor special effects. I love simplicity and this is simplicity in the form of t.v graphics.

I just love everything about it. It sums up everything I like about design in terms of creativity using colour and typography. I sound a little stupid sometimes because I am not quite sure what to say. I like it because its pleasing to the eye. It flows well and its composition is great. It does not have a huge in depth meaning or concept, it just is what it is, and what it is, is awesome.
Had to buy this t-shirt, just because I loved the typography, the choice of colour and composition. It reminds me of an 80's futuristic style. The type is not entirely legible at first but I liked trying to decode it. I know it says Element Skateboard Project, but I'm a little disappointed it just repeats that instead of thinking up something else, but I still like it. Graphics is starting to take over my life, how sad am I? that's a rhetorical question, by the way.

Just been looking on and if your not familiar with it, where have you been? and more importantly, look at what you have been missing... Today I just wanted to gaze and ponder and beautiful graphics rather than look for specifics. Amongst a range of design pieces I found a website with some really nice typographic pieces. I can see they must take inspiration from Si Scott or vice versa but someones I see Si Scott's work and there is a lot to take in. This seems a little more simplistic but it does not have any less impact. All these examples are from SHCH Graphics Group and the website link is here.

These examples seem to be heavily influenced by Si Scott's work. The use of a sans serif typeface and the curvaceous lines spiraling around the letterforms seems to be a Si Scott trademark. However, the other examples show a different approach that I feel works better. For some reason I feel the sans serif typefaces sit a little uneasy within the illustrations and I feel that the organic, curvaceous typefaces work better. The two examples shown are my favourites from the website overall, but there are many more examples to see, so I urge you to take a look.

Finally, these two examples I felt summed up their approach to typographic design. Words cannot describe how perfectly these examples look and how they are structured. The first, which as far as I can see does not seem to be digitised is mindblowing on first impressions but I love the way it all seems to almost grow and interlink. The second example of the phrase 'nice' is more simpilified approach to Si Scott's style. I actually prefer this to his work which could be controversial but I just prefer simplicity but I appreciate the elegance as well. The colour injected just finishes it off and compliments the phrase 'nice' well.

I hope you'll agree there is some awesome work here, hence my appropriate title choice.

I feel better about my blog, because it actually looks like a design blog now. The last few entries have opened my eyes a little, I do have quite small eyes though.
I have been looking around for inspiration and ideas on how to construct my dps' for the new brief, and luckily I have found some nice examples on the net. I still want to buy some other magazines to get an idea of the current trends but the stuff I have found here seem like good examples to start with.

The first few examples I got here and picked out a few that stood out to me for aesthetic purposes and then looked at them in more detail to understand how I really feel about them, and what that might be.

The second lot of examples were from plucked from various designers accounts. I am usually skeptical about using examples from there because most people on there are usually younger students or uninformed people. However, after looking through a few examples I did find some that seemed quite professional but also some that were a little off the wall, and they broke the rules but without knowing what the rules were.

These are two other examples from deviantart that I liked and I thought they were well structured. I particularly like the article about George Tscherny, the blocks of colour really focus the eye and lead it around the copy. The images fit nicely around the copy too. As well as a good balance between type and image there is also adequate space for all to fit in harmony.

Found this link on designing grid systems. It's a nice short guide to understanding how grids work. Some of the main discussion points is about page layout and proportions. The golden section is also mentioned which also links to the maths of dividing up a page and using proportions to draw the grid.

It's a good read and it gives a nice overview of grid layouts. The examples further on do relate more to web design than print, although the first page does have a print example.

I will post some more examples of layout design that interests me later when I find some.
So this is just some of the examples I found in my layout books. As well as giving me a nice guide to work with when I sketch my own layouts, it also gives examples of different grids like column and modular. I have scanned a few examples from the book that caught my eye.

The first example is actually from a poster but I felt it was a good example of how to make a grid but break the rules to give the layout an unique feel. The main thing I want to point out is how the typography overlaps and is so tight together in terms of leading, that the ascenders and descenders come into contact. The book states that this gives the typography a logo like feel and I would agree.

The second example shows some layout designs which all conform to a simple grid but are not limited in terms of creativity. My particular favourite is the layout featuring the number three. I find the text wrapping on the number appealing. The gutter between the column of type and number creates a nice shape which is visual appealing. It no longer makes the information basic, instead the eye is drawn to the curves.
I have looked at one Sagmeister piece in a past entry on this blog but, now I have discovered more of his work I am blown away. Like Carson's work, the stuff that Sagmeister produces is totally off the wall to the point where you think 'how can he get away with this?' 'how is it graphic design?'. It's as though he has brought an artistic approach which can be applied to the conventions of graphic design. I just envy his work because it is has a certain style which I have never tried, and I would deem it out of my comfort zone. The use of materials and techniques leaves me thinking how did he come up with this. He cannot have made a plan, sketched out ideas and came to this idea through logical thinking. The try and test theory seems more appropriate to his design practice but how can he set any deadlines if he works like this, how much does he experiment before he has something good enough for the client?

I would love to have the guts to try out stuff like this but I think my head tells me to play safe and gear design much more toward the commercial side. I think it must feel like, where would I start? Confidence is obviously an issue. Confidence in your own ability, and he seems to have it.

This is a piece that I found interesting, although it's less spontaneous than the example above. This poster was produced for a paper company, and had to include one punctuation symbol.

The layout design of David Carson surely pushes the boundaries to the extreme, where type and grid is concerned. There has to be a carefully laid out grid under the huge amount layers Carson's work appears in. What I have learnt from all the books I have looked at, for my research, is that the grid is only guide and that it should not limit creativity. I think the grid helps us layout huge amounts of body copy effectively so it can be read and understood fully. I think how, as designers, construct the rest of the layout is more about aesthetics than functionality.

Carson's work arguably is more aesthetic than logical or practical anyway, as you can see by the examples. However, I think this amount of creativity and spontaneous mark making gives the spread character and I for one would be more inclined to read it or want to work it out. I suppose it all depends on your audience. People who are reading instructions or analytical figures would feel the functionality outweighs the aesthetic but someone like us who want everything to visually engaging would want just that in a magazine spread.

This spread was actually designed by Jonathan Kruse. The article is actually about David Carson and it encompasses his style in it but also shows a more conventional approach for the body copy but then by rotating it slightely it becomes a little rebellious, much like Carson's aproach.

I decided to have a trip to the library and found some good books on grid layouts, because I would say I understand that less than the anatomy of type. The chose these books basically because they looked newer, and I have found that books which were published earlier seem a little outdated and not that relevant to today's design practice.

So, I got 'Grid Systems' by Kimberly Elam, 'Making and Breaking the Grid' by Timothy Samara and 'Layout' by Gavin Ambrose and Paul Harris. Just flicking through them in the library all of them were right up my street. They have plenty of full colour examples and they don't get bogged down in the technical side. Grid systems in particular has a nice transparent stock which allows you to see the grid placed over the finished artwork, which brings me back to my point about older books. That kind of thing would not have been done in an older book due to the technological constraints, but enough of that. On first impressions these books should serve me well and I will post up examples from them soon.
Ok, so we have another exciting new brief involving layout. This brief has evolved from some type and grid workshops I attended for the past few weeks. Now I have to accumulate all the things I have learnt from those workshops, eg. the anatomy of type (ascenders, descenders, bowls and so on), how to work in grids and columns, use the correct measurements (mm's, picas, points) and then design an article based on a fellow designer. In my case, the designer I got was Craig which is a good thing because I liked his work before this brief but had never spoken to him before, so I used my interview to get an insight into him before the course and also outside design, as I can take inspiration for this when I design the layout.

The interview I did with Craig went well and I certainly got a good amount of information from him. I am designing three dps' (double page spreads) in total and one of those will be an introductory piece of 500 words, the second will be the main body with 1,500 words and the last will also have 1,500. I did panic thinking I would have to write 3,500 words on him but luckily I found that we can re-use some of the copy.

This is what I have so far, and I am thinking that the main body of my piece will be interview based, because I feel it would just work better. My title will be 'One for the future?'. I will also feature some of his works and also some of the works of his favourite designer Peter Saville.

One for the future?

Craig Laing is a 21 year old student originally from South Oxley in Watford. He currently resides in Leeds where he is currently studying for a BA honours degree in Graphic Design at Leeds College of Art and design.

Craig has studied previously studied at Kensington Chelsea College and gained a good set of results for his National Diploma at the second time of asking. “I basically wasted my time the first time around. I acted like a t~@t and I just messed around.” Craig had to refocus on what was important to him, and his drive and determination for success eventually earned him a place on the Degree course at Leeds.

I had a chance to catch him out of his his busy schedule to get an insight into the man that is Craig Laing, both in and out of the studio.

What would you be doing had you not chose graphic design as a career path?
*He shifts in his chair, pondering the question with his hand on his chin* You know what, I don’t really know. I guess I would be in the army or something. *laughs*

Where would you be if you weren’t in the studio?
Hmm, probably listening to music or playing video games. I like all kinds of music from Norwegian black metal to James Brown, and everything in between. My favourite type of game would be strategy games. My favourite is Command and Conqueror: Zero Hour. I watch a lot of news on TV too. I just like to keep up on the current situation.

Do you have a creative background or family?
Yeah I do. My brother actually is the creative director at Hey Moscow. *Takes a drink of his hot chocolate* He crits my work and tells me how to improve it. He’s basically shaped me as a designer.

He would you describe your graphic style?
Erm, I would say it’s humorous but solid, it has a purpose but it’s also light hearted sometimes. It’s like Hitler on a stag do. I like the style of work of Peter Saville. He’s my favourite designer and my inspiration. My style reflects his aesthetically.

Do you prefer to work digitally or more traditionally?
Digitally for sure, but I did start out as more of a traditional illustrator. I used to enter competitions with my drawing and that’s more or less how I got into Graphic Design, that and the fact I was around my older brother all the time.

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
*Ponders for a few seconds* Erratic, perverse, and vein.

Which do you tend to first impact or aesthetics?
Impact always, the Nazi’s would have got nowhere on aesthetics alone.

Is there any works that you are particularly proud of that you have done over the course of the last year?
I did a competition poster for which was part of a competition and I liked the spoof design of the monopoly board I did. That was based around the financial crisis.

To find out more about Craig log on to

I found a cracking set of typefaces on this website, and I thought it ran inline nicely with what we are looking at the moment in type and grid. I have to say having 'Helvetica' as number is a little bit cliche and it's over use has prompted me as many other people to boycott it a little. It is a nice typeface but it just seems that everyone loves it but they don't know why.

'Glasgow' on the other hand is such a new typeface. I only discovered it this morning but I wish I could add it to my collection. It has a similar feel to the guardian font, and it comes in every weight imaginable and unlike other some other typefaces from light to extra bold it seems to fit perfectly. It does not look forced.