developing ideas

The Brief
Create cover & spine designs for three books by HG Wells that work as a set. Paperback format, include title, author’s name, publishers name and trademark.
Stunning, contemporary, work as a set, timeless fiction

Research plans and sources
The above scan of my initial notes suggests areas for research – identify three HG Wells titles, research the themes and content of those novels, previous cover designs for those titles, the type of people the novels have been aimed at previously, what books are these titles surrounded by in bookshops and what are the covers of those books like, what are the current trends in book cover design for science fiction titles and for classics/early 20th century fiction titles, what are contemporary trends in art, design, photography.
Explore research plans with Google search, Amazon search, visit local bookshops, have other designers done similar research on HG Wells, discuss with fellow OCA students
Mind mapping
I explored key words ‘contemporary’ and ‘stunning’, along with themes of Wells’ novels such as forward-thinking, enlightenment and suspense. I briefly sketched initial ideas around simplicity and minimalism, the contemporary ‘white cube’, but with a nod to the iconic ‘orange Penguin’ paperback design to reflect the concept of timeless fiction, acknowledging the repackaging of the content.

Sketching in Illustrator
I developed these ideas a little further in Illustrator, which was useful as I was able to visually explore the impact of colour in single and multiple bands to contrast with the ‘white cube’ and use colour gradients to suggest dynamism (artboard outlines are lost in the image below!)


6 small words to design by

Analysing a brief using who, why, what, where, when, how

Brief 1
Who: young busy women
Why: new product, needs to counter perception that oats are bland and unappealing
What: packaging for Quaker’s “Chilled Creamy Oats”
Where: where would product be placed? what (competing) products would it sit alongside?
When: ascertain deadline with client
How: size and shape of packaging – any restrictions? printing and materials budget?

Keywords: delicious, healthy snack, eat well, love treats, natural goodness
Outcome: packaging that is fresh and that makes women want to pick up the product, that reflects healthiness and naturalness while emphasising tastiness and ‘treat’-ness of the product

Brief 2
Who: define your own market
Why: a creative challenge
What: explore a theme; a metaphorical journey on the theme of connections
Where: dependent on the who and how!
When: dependent on the who, how and where!
How: define how you will target the market

Keywords: dramatic, contrast, inter-connection, imagination, dynamic, explore, surprise, juxtaposition
Outcome:  surprise people with the links that have been made and the way that they are represented and communicated, demonstrate imagination

Brief 3
Who: people aged 13-16 (clarify that this is target audience, wider campaign is aimed at parents)
Why: to get young people to think about effects of drinking alcohol
How: open to ideas about media or format appropriate to reach target audience


POST cards

I started out with a mind map of the things I do and like, which I guess are also the things that influence me! A lot of ideas got gradually dismissed, like the arty photos of my extensive pencil collection (carefully arranged by colour), and the plan I had for a series of postcards that looked at communicating through symbols (proofreading marks, symbols used in knitting patterns and letters as symbols).

Finally, I ended up with postcards I’m fairly happy with. I hand drew two (nouveau and initial) in my A5 sketchbook, then scanned and edited to A6 size in Illustrator. The third (essentials) I did straight in Illustrator. I also designed the reverse of the postcards with explanatory notes in Illustrator. I’m getting to grips with Illustrator and Photoshop very slowly. I have a couple of books that are useful but I prefer to learn as I use something rather than work through a book. I probably take the long way around various tasks but I think I’ll get quicker as I use these bits of software to do more sophisticated work.

Here’s my mind map and a couple of work-in-progress sketches I did. And just because I quite like it, one of my pencil photos (rejected because it doesn’t really say anything about my design influences, but says a lot about the obsessive collector in me!!)

POST card inspiration

A selection of images that I found while doing some reading around that influenced my postcard designs.

From top left: (i) Designed initials of artists associated with Austrian art nouveau movement, including Klimt. Source: Bridgeman Education Library; (ii) Work by Klimt, contains a lot of elements I doodle while at work! Source: Bridgeman Education Library; (iii) Arts & crafts inside cover of an Everyman book. I’m building a collection of these books but this photo from here ; (iv) an example of ‘the wish list’ (my favourite feature!), printed every Saturday in The Guardian’s magazine


As ever, my usual response to starting something new is to think for far too long and to leave starting it for far too long.

So, Open College of the Arts graphic design 1, task 1: 3 postcards (minimum) about me. Much thinking has been going on, much desk-bound daydreaming, but not much actual action. Too many ideas, not enough ideas, not-quite-right ideas, damn-how-do-I-make-that ideas.

Let’s focus on the positives. I have:
1. sorted out this blog
2. settled on a (fluid) plan for this blog
3. bought (and have done a little doodling in) my sketchbook
4. acquired various Adobe products that I have to learn how to use
5. fallen in love with Evernote
6. taken art books out of the library (and looked at them)
7. decided on the content of task postcards
8. set myself a challenge to see how much I can get done in 2 weeks

Let’s go lzbth x