Author Archives: ruthtavistock

Your digital fonts

‘Create a DTP file that uses at least three different fonts, for example Helvetica Bold, Times New Roman Italic and Times New Roman Bold Italic. Identify where these fonts are housed on your computer and learn how to copy them to a new folder that contains your original DTP file. You may find that you have software available that helps manage your fonts. If you struggle with any aspect of this exercise, identify online tutorials that may be able to support you.’

Here’s my DTP file…

Here’s what I do know:

All my fonts are in Fontbook

Here’s what I don’t know:

Why, if you search for fonts via Finder, they are grouped in weird illogical looking groups. For example, need a font displayed under Fontbook. Or any of 21 others? No problem.

And you can copy and paste one onto your desktop. Voila.

Need any of the others from Fontbook? Not a clue. Only a select few are showing.

(What is the file extension .ttf stand for? TrueType Font. I gather OpenType are the best-ist.)

So. Off I trot to http://macintoshhowto.com/email/how-to-copy-a-font-2.html to get a bit more info. And…it contains all the advice I need (hooray)

It turns out you can do everything you need to via Fontbook. Two finger click on your chosen font, and ask it to display in Finder, from here you can copy it.

I copied the whole font family of Helvetica rather than Bold and Light separately. It didn’t seem important to faff?! Then I copied Times New Roman Italic.

I created a file on my desktop. Here it is…

I then dragged the font files and the relevant Illustrator file into it. Mission complete.

Happily, this was all fairly painless. I’m guessing Finder was only displaying .ttf files when I searched, and there are various other extensions. Helvetica is a system font with the extension .dfont. I’d never noticed!

Geek quest over.

 

 

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Working for a client

‘The owner of a local bookshop wants to create some sort of campaign that gets people talking about books and generally ‘starting a conversation’ about the enjoyment of reading. The client also wants to celebrate and publicise the differences and benefits of a real bookshop over larger virtual ones. They think your typographic skills are perfect for the job, especially in terms of the leaflet they envisage as a solution to the campaign.

In preparation for your first meeting with the client, what information do you need before you can creatively respond to the brief – and what questions do you need to ask to get it?

Document any initial creative ideas you have to answer the brief, or any potential expansion of what is being asked of you. What are you going to propose to the client in terms of how you’re going to approach the brief?

How might you develop a schedule to undertake this project? How many times do you think you’ll need to meet with the client and where do these points of contact fit with your creative process?’

In preparing to meet the client, I would do some basic research:

I would look at their company website and any relevant competitors in the area. A quick look at some statistics on reading and books might be in order. It would be helpful to see their current website design, whether they have a logo, and so on. If they already have a good web design in place, it may translate well into print. It would also be good to see what their general online presence is like too.

I’m aware they have asked for a leaflet, but I want to do a little homework about how best to launch their campaign and what my skills could best be used for. It may be a combined – print and digital. Some small business marketing campaign examples and stats would be helpful. I would also come prepared with some ideas that stretch the concept of a leaflet. Though I would limit my initial research time as I need to know more from the client before getting carried away in the wrong direction (or wasting time)

When speaking to the client, I would check:

The basics. What is your company name (check spelling) and contact details. (In case the business contact details are different from their preferred contact number/email)

What do customers value about your business? What are your goals for this campaign?

What sort of publicity have you generated in the past and how? What do you think was most/least successful? What relationships do you already have locally with schools, community groups, local paper etc?

Where/how do you advertise? Do you currently have any information about how your customers find you, and what is the most effective form of advertising? Do you have a mailing list? What feedback do you currently have from customers?

Who is your customer? Can you describe several ‘people’ that represent your customer base? What do they want from you? How can you help them? Do these customers have different wants/needs/interests?

Do you have a budget in mind for this campaign? What is your timescale?

My comments and suggestions:

For example, perhaps one type of customer is a parent with young children. Have you had a chat with someone from this customer group? How does she/he find moving around your shop with a pushchair or small child? Do you provide any fun elements in the shop? Storytelling club? Special offers for children’s books? Bundles to distract them on rainy days? Would a print campaign for children differ from one aimed at adults?

Bookclubs – mainly people run book clubs through libraries – but could you add value with a group discount or offering a venue or even a visit from an author?

Writing workshops – writers love to read. Can you make the shop a hub for creativity with a guest tutor or writing club?

Encourage your customers to write book reviews. Maybe the most entertaining ones could actaully become a small book or booklet?

What are the best ways to ‘start a conversation’ about reading and with whom? How do we start this conversation, and what ways can we encourage our customers to join in? Can we start the ball rolling in some way? What and Where do you love to read? What are your first memories of reading? Ask the owner to get personal about their love of reading. This could help with writing really engaging copy for their customers as the act of reading is often emotional and books are tactile.

My suggestions

I think asking marketing questions about the campaign is important before focusing on graphic design solutions. Assuming we have decided on a way to identify and reach our target audience, my next step is to offer some ideas…

Where the budget allows, I would coordinate the design elements together to create a cohesive look across signage, website, print, bags etc. This may be limited but it would be good to at least discuss whats possible.

Print ideas –

A leaflet – maybe one the customer can interact with – Perhaps inviting the customer to vote for their favorite book(s) or give a book review, this goes into a book related prize draw. Or something a bit more whimsical and fun (Gimme time to think on that) Perhaps something that unfolds in an unusual and interesting way, telling a basic story.

Flyers with upcoming events

Posters with upcoming events or evoking different eras, depicting people reading (setting a scene and creating a mood)

Banners/flags/boards outside the shop (not tacky ones!) celebrating reading/whats on/events/discounts. Where else can these be displayed?

Gorgeous bookmarks, mugs, coasters to complement the act of curling up with a book. Possibly car stickers (just a thought)

Advertising – I would push hard to design something relevant and eye-catching for print adverts, also encourage them to get good quality photos of their shop, staff, and products

Online Marketing –

Update online shop and any thumbnails/header images on blogs and social media with freshly designed images

Start something fun on social media (eg local facebook page) – for example, people reading unlikely books. A large grumpy looking hipster reading Barbara Cartland, Jeremy Clarkson deep in a Vegan Cookbook. Open the floor to suggestions, and images taken by customers etc

And finally…

How might you develop a schedule to undertake this project? How many times do you think you’ll need to meet with the client and where do these points of contact fit with your creative process?’

I would discuss a schedule with the client but it would depend on the amount of work involved. If they are planning a launch, that would be the overall deadline. It would be sensible to take a deposit, discuss what the work will be, give an estimate of my time. I would fix an hourly rate to allow for flexibilty, as they may wish to add jobs as we go along. But I would always be clear about how time-consuming/expensive a task is. For example, if a ‘small’ tidy up of their archived images will actually involve me spending many hours in Photoshop, it may not be worth their money. It makes sense to take as detailed a brief as possible, and for us both to sign a basic contract.

I can’t really be too specific about a timetable. All I can say is on the small amount of web design jobs I’ve done, it’s really obvious when to check in with the client – each time you’ve stepped forward a significant stage – They will give feedback, or request changes. As for timescale, they’re likely to set a general deadline with the understanding that they will have to provide any copy or images in good time. I have always worked via phone and email so far as these days clients can live hundreds of miles away…

BTW. I hope I’m getting paid to generate all these marketing ideas?? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding a client

‘As preparation for Assignment Five, first reflect on the area of graphic design you’re currently interested in. With this in mind, write a list of potential clients from the social networks, friends and family you’re in contact with. Do you know anyone who runs a small business or enterprise, is a member of a group or club, or is involved in education or community projects that need design work? You may want to extend your search to local organisations, businesses or community groups. Can any of these provide you with opportunities to develop the kind of work you’re interested in?

Make some preliminary contact with the potential clients you’ve identified to see if they might be interested in working with you on a project. At this stage, think in terms of getting a sense of whether they’re interested and the kinds of projects that might be on offer.

Alternatively, you may find that a project comes your way naturally or you may have a long- standing project that fits into Assignment Five.

Let your tutor know how you’ve got on with this exercise. If you’re having problems they should be able to help.’

Brief 1:

Luckily I have a couple of projects that have emerged on cue. One is for my friend Rachel Burch who is a professional landscape photographer. She has had to scale down her business in recent years due to health problems that severely limit her output, but is doing a brilliant job of making the most of her reduced abilities.

Rachel has been collecting her work to reproduce as a set of oracle cards. She would like me to design a box for the cards and an explanatory leaflet. She has found an online printing company she is happy with and has given me their details so I can view the dimensions and file requirements.

Brief 2:

Secondly, I have links with the Samaritans, and the Barnstaple branch has asked for help with designing certificates and liaising with local printers.

They have been running a poster competition for schools to publicise ’50 years of listening’. I’ve been asked to design a ‘thank-you-for-taking-part’ certificate, to send out to all participating schools, and ‘congratulations’ certificates for the winners.

In addition, selected children’s posters will be reproduced by a professional printer to heighten awareness in the local area. I have agreed to source the most appropriate printing solution.

 

 

Open and closed briefs

‘A local youth centre has asked you to create a poster to promote their new club for teenagers in the area. On the surface, this is quite a specific brief and the client seems to know what they want. Use divergent and convergent approaches to develop a response to the brief.

For example, is a poster the best way to attract local young people? Use divergent thinking to develop a broader set of proposals that takes into account any underlying problems or potential opportunities you can identify. Then use convergent thinking to focus on the solution that best meets your client’s needs.

Reflect on your results, and the role divergent and convergent thinking played in broadening and focusing your attention’.

I’m not completely sure from this brief whether we are being asked to actually produce a poster, or focus on generating ideas only? I’ve assumed it is the latter – but I will return to this if my tutor asks me to produce a poster.

What options are there to publicise a youth centre?

Physically – Local paper, library, existing youth groups eg skate park etc? painting a mural/graffiti, mascot, banners, local ads, flyers, posters, balloons, partnership with business, shop window, newsagent, competition/events.

To clarify some of these ideas – for example if there was already something available for teens such as a skate park, it might be possible to join forces with them? If a wall or area of the youth centre can be decorated, can we have a mural or some graffiti celebrating the centre? This image could go in the local paper and online. Is the centre going to be involved in charitable events? Is there a budget for T-shirts or other forms of identity?

Online – Facebook, twitter, snapchat, instagram, pinterest, blogs, websites etc

Here’s a few screenshots from a Lynda.com marketing tutorial, which show the relevant demographics for some popular social media. We can see that these may not be ideal for our target audience… (Though I’m definitely over 29 and I use Pinterest a lot, so we can take these as averages!!)

This led me to check what is the age requirement for signing up to social media. For many of them its 13 years old. There are some exceptions: LinkedIn is 14,  WhatsApp 16, and Vine 17. ‘Some platforms, such as YouTube, WeChat and Kik, have a minimum age required of 18, although kids aged 13-17 can signup with parent’s permission.’ – Adweek.com

Research

My first thought was to research marketing for young people both online, and directly from the target audience. It makes sense that teenagers know most about this subject!

The advice I read could really be summarized as a caution about how easy it is to patronise teens. If at all possible its best to get them actively involved and help write copy for us. Not to mention asking for their honest feedback.

Happily, I know a lovely young person who was kind enough to answer the following:

1) If a new youth centre was opening in your area, how would you or your friends most likely hear about it? Eg through school, posters put up locally or online?

2) And, if you or any of your friends use social media, which is most popular? Eg snapchat, instagram etc?

The feedback was that posters were the most likely way to notice something local, and Instagram was the most popular platform online amongst girls.

It seems logical to me that although we might jump to the conclusion that young people are glued to their mobile phones or addicted to the internet, we might be missing the point. This centre is local. The internet is global. To some extent, relying on the internet is a miss match if used indiscriminately.

Pulling this together

  1. Encouraging participation. Let’s get young people involved during the planning stage and helping with publicity. We need their input!
  2. Make sure we are clear on marketing before we actually design anything for print or digital output to ensure value for money and effectiveness
  3. Plan what we need to produce, when and how to distribute it. What is needed immediately, and what is needed longer-term (news updates, future events)

Suggestions

Participation – At the most basic this could involve young people in a central location handing out flyers or alternative kind of info to their peers on a busy shopping day. To expand on this, discuss with the poor teen volunteers how they might stand out without feeling really stupid! They might hate the idea of T-shirts or balloons. Find out from them what appeals. Perhaps they are demonstrating some of the activities available at the centre if any of these are portable but its really important to know what is feasible and generates enthusiasm.

Logo – Establish where this is most relevant. It would make their organisation recognisable on paper and on screen. However just because it’s possible doesn’t make it essential. I would be careful of imposing design flourishes to enhance my own ego!

Posters and flyers – Posters could be produced along with the flyers and put up in prominent locations. I would suggest based on my feedback not to forget that people do still walk about their neighbourhood (perhaps particularly if they are not yet at the age of driving)

Website/blog – We will need some way to advertise future events and keep people in the loop. A blog would be a cost-effective way of doing this. Again I would discuss this with teens, and make sure any online content is available as a web address on posters and flyers. I would need a bit more information before thinking about Facebook or Instagram simply because there are questions about who can join and their identity. I would suggest looking into this further as there may be child protection issues with allowing entirely open online participation.  I would assume that the client setting up the youth centre would know about this.

Publicity – is there going to be a launch event? Who will be there? How friendly are the local press? Although we are looking at sparking the interest of teens, parents do still read local papers and they may well appreciate hearing about the youth centre too. This also applies to ads. It may be worth designing an ad for print depending on the budget.

Summary – I would suggest making use of technology where appropriate, but also using more ‘old fashioned’ methods. Ideally, the two approaches would compliment each other.

Divergent and Convergent thinking

Obviously generating ideas about how to publicise a youth centre involved divergent thinking. It was useful to think beyond a poster and avoid knee-jerk solutions. Convergent thinking gradually funnelled and honed the ideas based on the research to try and make some concrete suggestions as to where to direct our attention. It’s clear that the two ways of thinking and problem-solving work very well and are much stronger when used together.

I feel this brief remains open and at discussion stage, because this would be an ongoing dialogue with the client and local teens. As I said before I would really want to know as much as possible about their thoughts and reactions before designing any material for them. I think this task is as much about community relations and marketing as it is about graphic design. It’s been interesting to hear from young people that they don’t believe a poster is obsolete!

My main concern with this task would be not to make assumptions about what appeals to young people and imposing a strategy we think looks good without speaking directly to them. Naturally if I was researching this for a client I would try to expand my ‘focus group’ to more teens, male and female. Being able to talk to some of the target audience in the area would be great if at all possible.

 

Refs:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/young-entrepreneur-council/9-tips-for-marketing-to-k_b_4682018.html

https://www.cio.com/article/2687952/online-marketing/9-digital-marketing-tips-for-connecting-with-teens.html

https://theteenagemarket.co.uk

Online Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole Lynda.com

Kind thanks to Rosie!

Assignment 4

“London’s Design Museum is developing an exhibition on the legacy of information systems in our everyday lives. The show is called ‘Open this Way’ and charts the development of how information has been used to guide, inform, manipulate and organise our everyday social and private worlds. They want you to design an exhibition map, a signage system, and a proposal for a mini-website.

The exhibition is broken down into a number of different sections:

  1. Do it like this: a survey of operators’ manuals, user instructions, diagrams, and other forms of information that tell people how to do something.
  2. You are here: the legacy of maps, plans, road signs and other forms of information that deal with physical spaces.
  3. No ball games: safety information, restrictive signs, and other forms of signage and information that tells you what to do.
  4. This might contain: a survey of packaging, shop sign and other forms of commercial information.
  5. Press now: the development of interactive, moving image and other forms of digital information.

Develop a map and signage system that informs visitors what to expect from the whole exhibition, where things are and how to navigate around the space. Your map should fit onto one side of an A4 leaflet. Your signage system will be spread around the different rooms of the exhibition, so think about where your signs might go, how much information needs to go on them, and an overall design that can accommodate different amounts of information.

You might want to locate this exhibition in a real gallery, museum or other space. Alternatively, devise your own series of rooms.

In addition, develop some ideas about how this exhibition can be organised into a mini-website that will be linked to their existing site http://designmuseum.org/. They will commission a web programmer to make the site so they simply want an idea of how it could be structured and how it might look.”

First I had a look at how this subject relates to crowd behaviour…

Real time crowd simulation from Interior Archictects

This is quite a technical subject that Im not able to fully grasp of course! But its clear that the larger the building, the more thought needs to go into how people are likely to move around a space. I have also come across the concept in exterior spaces where pathways are added at a later date after people have walked about. This ensures pathways are constructed along a route that people actually use!

Crowd Dynamics – there are companies that specialise in consultancy

Learning from retail wayfinding

Revisiting some signage inspiration I gathered for an earlier task. Not the use of several planes to allow people to read from different approaches

Unusual shapes to catch the eye

Shape, movement and colour…

I have a good collection of signage/wayfinding inspiration on Pinterest. For some reason, its not currently embedding into this page – please do follow the link instead

https://pinterest.co.uk/strawberrycanoe/signage-environmental-design/

Here’s some screen shots from my board

 

The images I collected made me think about materials, shapes, placement and colour

In this example, the angular lines and bright colour break up the space in and extraordinary way

Again this use of angular lines and bright colour follow the contour of the steps but also work across them in a much more dynamic direction than straight up!

Fantastic colour and shapes

Dramatic floor signage…number cut out from their backgrounds…

Stylish solution – moveable signage

I love this one!

One consideration is the size and proportions of the building – how high are the ceilings? Are there stairs? Corridors?

More questions…How much should my signage take centre stage? What else will be displayed in the rooms?

Where are people most likely to look? Can I use the ceiling or floor? What do they need to know?

I have a confession to make…I have been playing with a fantastic 3D rendering App, that allows you to design rooms to your requirements. I got a little ahead of myself and created an exhibition space. It can be shown as a 2D plan, an aerial view and 3D walk through (viewable if you also have the app!)

Here it is if you want to play (cost approx £5 -10 depending on features)

The plus side is that its allowed me to visualise my fictional exhibition space very clearly and I think thats vital – the downside is, as Ive reviewed my inspiration on Pinterest, it now occurs to me that my interior has no corridors, or ‘in-between’ spaces, which seem common in actual examples. (Though I would mention smaller exhibition space in Devon such as at Princetown or Bovey Tracey are all ground floor with no corridors or vast space) Perhaps my building is funded by the Design Museum as a small satellite?? Who knows.

I will work with what I have already done, bearing in mind that in real life my example is rather small, and signage might well be fighting with exhibition items… Oh and as much as I have provided a token pair of toilets, there’s no kitchen, or emergency exits plus other stuff you undoubtedly need in a public building! I also should have made a sizeable lobby. Tsk. Well I’m not an architect!!

So here’s my building in progress (add, click and drag to your requirements)

Experimenting with exterior. Is this right hand tree in the way? Probably!

Finished Layout

3D Views

Here’s my proposed room spaces

Entrance room (Ive removed the table)

Room 1: You Are Here…

Walking straight ahead leads to…

Room 2: Press Now

Room 3: This Might Contain

Cafe/Restaurant

Walking through the cafe leads to…

Room 4: No Ball Games

Room 5: Do It Like This

Passing through Room 5 takes you back to the start (Room 1)

As you can see, I have lightly furnished them – partly so I could orientate myself when I did a virtual walk through, and also to try and understand the available space.

I am also pondering the permanence of signage? Obviously the cafe, toilets entrance/exit remain the same. But what about signage specifically for this exhibition? It will be replaced when this exhibition ends. Does that effect how I go about this?

I really wanted to design my signage in response to a place, to see what might work in this environment. For example, I may be able to make use of the arches or the ceiling. Its hard to know what will remain visible, when I don’t know what the exhibition stands will look like…I suspect these are usually designed alongside our brief? They seem to go hand in hand.

Anyway here’s me brain storming ideas…

Thinking about materials used for signage and whether there could be a linking theme

Does signage have to be consistant or could each room have a uniquely shaped sign based on the subject? I imaged them partially 3D (appraise half the object projecting from the wall)

Can I work with the existing archways? The trouble with colour coding archways is you will see the colour from both sides. Looking at signage shapes…

If I number the rooms as permanent signage, how would that be displayed? How do I cope with different view points?

Thinking about 3D numbers suspended from the ceiling

Number suspended from ceiling and surrounded by wire (plus thinking about what signs are needed generally)

I came to the conclusion that I would like my signs to be:

Colourful (eye catching) or high contrast (e.g. white on dark grey)

Have consistant signage (to help the viewer)

Have permanent signage (toilets & cafe, room numbers and an exterior sign for the museum itself)

Have temporary signage (specifically for this exhibition)

Numbering the rooms allow me to encourage people to move one way in an (anti-clockwise) circular loop around the building, passing through the cafe and toilets in the middle. The numbers can be used in any future exhibition to identify each room.

Digital experiments

I do like a slate look sign so I made a brief amble towards retro signage but meh…

Because the whole exhibition is about signage what sort of tone do I go for?

I wanted to use a timeless sans serif, so I chose Futura. The angular crispness looks great, but also it has lovely curves because it is so geometric. I felt maybe Helvetica was a bit too predictable?!

I was still considering materials at this point, I loved the idea of making lettering from coloured glass but had no idea if this was feasible.

I would like to thank my friend Emma who kindly talked me through the use of glass as a material. She is experienced in lamp work and familiar with how to work glass effectively in 3D.

So. I could in theory commission glass signs. Either a clear glass base with enamel (with some sort of temporary cloisonné to restrict the spread) or ask for fusing, which would again involve a sheet of clear glass, with glass shapes laid on top and fused in a kiln. Then the clear glass could be turned uppermost.

She explained the drawbacks are that glass is relatively expensive (particularly pinks and red hues) which could limit my colour palette, and I would have to choose a less crisp typeface, as these methods would produce ‘soft’ lines.

All this considered, I feel perspex is the maybe best material for the signage I have in mind? For my exhibition signs I am  imagining signage made from perspex, overlaid with solid white board (so the perspex is inset) But whats possible? This must be an important consideration in design?

If this was real life, I think the most sensible thing would be to consult the professionals and learn more about the available materials. For example, I found the website for this firm in Barnstaple…

You can see that each box holds a mouseover that lets you explore some basic information about materials.

Heres the subject page for acrylic

With the proper advice, I could price up materials and assess suitability to feed back to the client.

Just playing with ideas…

What about a grey flecked with ‘gold’ made from either perspex or some sort of acrylic stone composite….

I like this! Which led me to look at some variations… I was of course thinking about how standard road signs look, and showing the movement of pathways. All with a bit of bling!

In the end I decided that the black and gold would work best as the permanent sign, and to make my exhibition signage contrast by using colour.

On reflection this seems a bit too busy so in my final sign I toned this down.

I drew some little icons for the cafe and toilets in Illustrator… I wanted to be playful, ironic and hopefully entirely original with these – a lipstick and a screwdriver which you’ll see in a moment. I know in real life some signs probably can’t move away from what we expect to see.

Do they work? I don’t know its worth a try?!

I then worked up my 2D map in Illustrator to show the room layout and contents using the colours I had selected on the main sign and the signage icons for toilets etc

For the website, as I’d decided to name my museum “Design Museum SW” for South West, I’ve located it in Ilfracombe(!) This doesn’t seem that strange, as Ilfracombe has Damian Hurst’s huge Verity statue on the harbour, and the art gallery Fleek which has really contemporary artwork.

Consequently I found a good picture of Ilfracombe on Pixabay (Creative Commons) and worked up some designs…

I’ve got into the habit of using multiple artboards which really helps to keep track of documents and easily compare/develop ideas

My finished work

Permanent exterior signage

Exterior exhibition signage

Exterior mock up

Permanent Interior Signage

Room numbering

Interior Room Mock up

Interior Exhibition Signs

Room 1: You are here

Room 2: Press Now

Room 3: This might contain

Room 4: No ball games

Room 5: Do it like this

Map

Website Options

Homepage

Exhibition page

Vertical navigation option

 

Alternate option

 

 

Refs

http://josephine-environmental.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/searching-for-creative-signage-design.html

http://www.interiorarchitects.com/blog/design-intelligence-in-2016-an-alternate-virtual-reality/

http://www.crowddynamics.com/crowd-modelling-simulation.php

http://www.signresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/Retail-Wayfinding-Best-Practices_SRF.pdf

http://www.excellantsigns.com

https://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/2015/aug/25/museum-gallery-wayfinding-tips-signage-maps-apps

https://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/2015/aug/04/writing-gallery-texts-panels-common-mistakes-interpretation

http://eric-leyland.blogspot.co.uk

http://www.itsnicethat.com/features/how-to-design-a-museum-londons-new-design-museum-181116

https://designmuseum.org

https://fontsinuse.com/uses/11997/design-museum-identity-2003-2016

Road trips

‘A new TV programme exploring historic road journeys around the world wants you to pitch some ideas for an opening credit sequence. The programme will be showing car and cycling journeys along America’s Route 66, Land’s End to John O’ Groats and the Tour de France.

Develop your ideas for an opening credit sequence through a storyboard. The opening sequence needs to give a general feel of the programme, as well as presenting the name of the programme, the different journeys it’s going to explore and the name of the presenter.

This exercise is an opportunity to explore moving typography, drawing on the visual cultures of roads, maps and signage.’

It turns out Route 66 is Chicago to LA…across the width of America. Yes, I know its really famous. I just wasn’t sure where it actually went!

I gathered relevant images…

Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline, morning. Chicago, Illinois, USA

And some points of interest along the way…

Shea’s Gas Station Museum Illinois

Ed Galloways Totem Pole Park (Oklahoma)

Cadillac Park (Texas)

Retro Diner (Alberquerque)

Wigwam Motel (Arizona)

Grand Canyon

And ending at Santa Monica

I would think the most appropriate form of transport for this journey is a cadillac?

Im more familiar with the Tour de France as my partner is a cycling nut, and of course I already know Land’s End to John O’ Groats (Yup. Thats in Scotland isn’t it) 

I also picked some images from along the route –

Bristol

What about Hereford cows milling about in the road?

John O’Groats

I also had a think about some cycling inspiration – which is thankfully easy to find in my house! Just a thought, but the spokes of a wheel make excellent shadow shapes…

The route of the Tour de France does vary year to year, but there are usually spectacular mountain climbs, and the big finish at the Champs Elyses.

These images from a cycling magazine give a flavour of the sort of mountain scenery that might form part of the programme

Yes. He owns several bikes…

Dusseldorf

Pyrenees

Champs Elyses

Then I looked at how some travel tv programmes have handled the opening credits:

Around the World in 80 Days

This consists of a vintage style map, dates and train information, and ‘torn photos’ with images along Micheal Palin’s route.

Long Way Round

Here Ewan and Charlie’s route is suggested by these yellow lines snaking through the scenery

And directing us towards each chap with the use if these diagonal lines

Theres no mistaking this is a road journey via motorbike!

This website has a great archive for opening credits of all kinds. I’ve never seen the film, but the Captain America title sequence is well worth viewing its really dynamic!

Next I needed to distill all this inspiration down into a rough sequence for my story board. Its clear it would need to include references to all three routes, and the two methods of transport. Mostly likely a series of clips from the programme – some of the highlights along the way with the presenters no doubt having interesting encounters with the locals, and a glimpse of the relevant maps showing an overview of their journeys.

As I mentioned I would like to include the shadow of a bike wheel. It also makes sense to have a close up of cycling gear and parts of the cadillac. there is a rather obvious connection of the two kinds of wheels – Im not sure how to avoid cliches here, as I’ve never thought about moving images and certainly never studied film! I’m hoping that part of framing a shot is similar to a still image in photography?!

I had a think about further ideas…We were asked to consider maps and signage. I think this would be part of the opening credits but probably a bit dull in isolation??

Meanwhile I found some tips online:

Avoid large typography…except for the main title

No novelty ones

I was pondering on some solid no nonsense sans serifs to echo road signage

Helvetica, Raleway and Aileron

Aileron has this nice shaped ampersand which might work well with the shape of roads?

My other thought was to be handwritten and playful

Skinny Regular, Salamander, Jinky

Daniel and Reenie Beenie

Are these inviting? Or a bit cheesy and could date?

I also discounted a few wild cards. Airstream does evoke an american diner, but this is also about European roads. Pleasantly plump is quite cartoon-y, and Century Gothic is too retro, it just doesn’t have the right tone

See what I mean?!! Awful.

What about something different?

Loaf and Signpainter. Loaf could possibly work as a bit rough and ready if they are spending many hours on the road? Smaller lettering is hard to read though…

I decided to stick with Aileron as I feel the mood of the title sequence should hopefully be inviting without needing gimmick-y typography.

What about the theme of the opening credits? Where is my brain storming? Sorry! This time I was pondering in my head! I’ll re-cap on my thoughts…

I was thinking about some sort of narrative, which would involve scene setting, showing the different routes travelled and of course the presenters.

I had the idea of Mel and Sue sitting in an American diner. I was wondering about a piece of paper coming flying through the air which hits one of them on the head, and they unfold it to reveal a map. And variations on this…Oh crikey I can’t actually remember the other stuff I cam up with!

Anyway, I decided to start sketching a storyboard, but without a definite sequence in mind, just snippets I thought would work – then I could cut them out and assemble them together.

I also printed out my font with the relevant wording and sketched a map of the UK, France and the USA, making photocopies to I had plenty to work with.

Anita Rani is for backup in case Victoria’s busy!! (She may not be a cyclist, but she looks slim and outdoorsy)

As I started to sketch I was drinking tea and thinking I better not spill it (which is my trademark) which gave me an idea – what if they DO spill coffee?

I have previously played with blowing paint across paper, and it can give nice paint effects but its quite hard to control. Oops.(I chose paint – it shows up better than coffee)

So I carefully blew the paint first…then drew my map. Like this. I don’t know how this would best be animated – but heres my concept.

Some little sketches cut up (I didn’t use all of them)

And my storyboard taking shape. I also had the idea of the shape of America appearing in the cappuccino – this happened as I was drawing – sometimes sketching  works as well as brain storming?!

I also wante each map to go from ‘paper’ to digital, with the routes lighting up with a little glowing line and each dot expanding and brightening as we pass through it.

Some typographic notes to myself about the movement of type on the screen. The main ideas are that I wanted the dot/tittle over any i to appear afterwards. And for the titles to travel horizontally and vertically in a ‘grid’. Sometimes arriving from different directions, pausing and continuing their journeys until they have left the screen.

I wasn’t sure how much my story board should show every frame or just give a flavour of the general ‘story’, so I went for the latter. I hope it makes sense. I can see it in my minds eye, but I don’t know if my scribbles translate to anyone else?!

My Rough Storyboard

 

I really enjoyed this its was fun to ‘tell a story’ and generate ideas suited to a medium Ive never really thought about before. I wonder if we were really being asked to dwell more on the typography than I have, but I just got carried away with the wider visual aspects in general – so I hope it hangs together creatively!

 

Research Point: Film Titles

‘The graphic designer and film-maker Saul Bass saw the creative possibilities of making film title sequences more than simply a typographic exercise in delivering information, with his ground-breaking sequence for Otto Preminger’s The Man with the Golden Arm (1955); this was followed by the development of a form of moving kinetic typography for Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959), Vertigo (1958), and Psycho (1960). Since then, the creative use of typography within film and television programmes has become the norm. Find examples of opening credits that you think work particularly well, reflecting on how designers have balanced information needs with a creative introduction to the content of the film or programme.’

I’d also like to add ‘It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World’ – by Saul Bass, with the animated globe to the suggested list!

So what other opening title are worth talking about? Well…

The opening sequence of the Sopranos sticks in my mind for the sound track, and the car journey back to Tony’s house. Its hard to say why this works… But you enter his world by taking the journey with him – and one of the strongest parts of the show was the juxtaposition of his life as a crime boss and the apparently calm domestic life at home.

Logotype designer – Brett Wickens. Apparently when the creator of the show first saw this he was immediately happy, though he did feel it was a bit cliched…but Wickens wanted to be very clear that The Sopranos was about the mob, not classical music!

The Path animated by ACME Filmworks has wonderful opening credits, with a gorgeous hand painted animation style. Its an unusual and highly effective for the subject matter (about a family who belong to a cult). Each image tells an aspect of the story in a surreal disjointed morphing from ‘scene to scene’. It is the perfect introduction to a well made programme.

I was able to look up the development process – here are some roughs and a mood board the team used to help develop their ideas

The Pink Panther is great fun. He’s such an appealing character isn’t he? The humour is set from the start, as the letters fail to behave themselves  – the poor chap is no match for the unruly typography.

I haven’t actually seen Dr Strangelove, but Ive just watched the first few minutes in order to see the really fun typography with its wobbly hand drawn lettering and improbably soothing music. This sequence was by the American graphic designer Pablo Ferro…

Pablo Ferro animated the opening sequence for other famous films, including The Thomas Crown Affair, which is packed with visual tension

Catch Me if You Can is another film opening dripping with visual tension – I think its one of my favourites for its retro styling and complex animation with great typography. It suggests that the film will be gripping and intriguing , which it certainly is.

Title sequence by Olivier Kuntzel and Florence Deygas

And lastly, I have to go for the opening of Terminator 2. I love the character Sarah Connor in this film and it contained amazing visual effects for its time. It sets the scene so well with the combination of the soundtrack and the flames. What is on fire? A childrens playground. Everything is burning in an intense apocalyptic scale. A then a metallic face appears, which is definitely not human. SO scary. I think the ‘futuristic’ typography just about stands up today?

Ernest D. Farino – visual effects designer responsible for main titles Terminator & Terminator 2

It has been interesting to see how some graphic designers crossed over into animation, and to explore how the title sequence sets the mood of the subsequent film or television programme so well. As our notes suggest, a strong opening goes so much further than listing the relevant cast members.

 

Refs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4L9J-CUAl8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVUnUmPV33c
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1A7bJD3atk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sA1en26sgM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86znnjhYrq4

http://decider.com/2016/03/30/hulus-the-path-opening-credits-exclusive-interview/

http://www.artofthetitle.com/designer/pablo-ferro/
http://www.artofthetitle.com/title/the-thomas-crown-affair/

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/classic/making-nuclear-apocalypse-iconic-sequence-terminator-2-created-141209.html

http://www.artofthetitle.com/designer/ernest-d-farino/