Category Archives: ASSIGNMENTS

Assignment 6

Critical Review

The subject of my essay was designer James Victore. Here’s a selection of images to give you a flavour of his anarchic work.

And a visual demonstration of why some designers bother with designing beautiful typography – note this sarcastic pastiche

The essay itself will be posted along with my other assessment items, and a digital copy uploaded to the relevant GDrive folder.



Assignment 5: Client-led project

”Establish and undertake a small client-led project in response to another person’s graphic design needs:

  • write a brief
  • develop a range of ideas
  • finish your artwork to pre-press
  • work out roughly how much you might charge for the job
  • reflect on the process – how you found working with a client. You may want to get some feedback from your client about their experience of the process. Given the amount of time you spent on the assignment, how much might you have charged your client? How does your client feel about this price? How might you approach other client-led projects differently in the future? Summarise your reflections into a short evaluation (around 800 words) and submit this with your assignment.’

The timing of this meant two suitable projects came along for me to work on. One for the Barnstaple Samaritans and another for my friend who is a professional photographer.

Brief 1

The Barnstaple Samaritans have run a poster competition for local schools to raise awareness and celebrate 50 years of listening. Once the winning entries had been chosen, the Samaritans need certificates designed to present to the winners.

This task was obviously not a large project…As the Samaritans have a countrywide identity, it was really important to stay ‘on brand’. Consequently, there’s little scope for creativity as such, and it was very much a ‘closed brief’. This is not such a bad thing though! I like using the skills I’m learning to do something meaningful and useful…That feels good.

Designing the posters involved creating some options that were (moderately) decorative but in keeping with the Sams style. The challenge with this was to keep within the spirit of the brand but allow just a bit of embellishment that didn’t look out of place.

Here’s a screenshot of the Barnstaple section of the Sams website, and the competition poster designed/approved by head office.

Some years the Samarians use their secondary colours (the purple and the teal) other years they fade into the background. The green always remains.

I had a quick look online at certificates, along it wasn’t all that inspiring!

I had already discussed that these would be produced digitally. Calligraphy isn’t my strong point and hand rendering would be very time consuming. This was the first batch I emailed to them for approval:

The feedback was that they were unhappy with so much white space and wanted something that covered the page…

I sent a second round of ideas like so:

The feedback was positive, and they liked the ‘dotted line’ border. We stuck to the green only, as I mentioned this is the enduring colour that won’t age. At this point, we decided to switch to landscape and I produced the final set of posters. I won’t show them all, but heres a sample…

Certificates of participation



Winners (in total 3 schools won, as there were three age categories)


These were then printed off on a Samaritan’s home computer, framed and presented to the children involved.

That was ‘the starter’, here’s the main…

Brief 2 

Landscaper Photographer Rachel Burch has designed a set of Oracle Cards* inspired by Dartmoor. She would like me to design a box cover for the cards to be kept in. In addition, she would like an A4 leaflet to explain the cards, which must fit folded into the box.

Rachel’s photography can be see at

*Oracle cards, I have learnt, are similar to Tarot, but with no ‘sinister’ connotations. They are any size deck, usually with inspirational or thought-provoking comments on each card. They  are not intended to offend people of any faith. In fact I have come across both Buddhist and Christian inspired oracle cards.

Rachel’s preferred printing firm is at She has already started the project by uploading her images onto a set of cards and had one set printed by them to check quality. The typeface she has used is Fanwood.

She has emailed images of her cards, which gave me a good starting point, and her choice of Fanwood also suggests the ‘feel’. The mood is rather mysterious and is flavoured with a slight celtic/folktale aesthetic. Dartmoor, of course, has a rich history both in fact and folklore.

Some of Rachels cards. (She had lowered the opacity on the back and added her text in Fanwood – for some reason I can’t currently find this image, but you can see her work below)

Lastly, I need to bare in mind there’s quite a tight deadline as she has pre-sold sets, which need to be approved, printed and posted before Christmas.


The Box. Before I narrow my focus, I did some general research to open things up a little, in order to offer my client some packaging options. Although I’m fairly certain she would prefer card packaging, why not see what is out there?

Looking at oracle and tarot card inspiration. What packaging materials could be used?

Fabric packaging


Metal boxes

Wooden boxes

Card/mixed media boxes

Medium and heavyweight card boxes

Card styling. This part has already been completed by my client, but it’s interesting to see ideas.

I love this flamingo – the flourishes, the change in tone and the typeface.

Sourcing packaging materials

Wood – obviously you would need to think about fit. If larger than needed, whether it might be possible to add a few ‘bonus items’ or allow more room for a bigger leaflet. (NB I assume the cards would be inside a cardboard container, not loose inside the box) Postage costs need to be considered too. Here’s an example of the style of box…

The box could even be stained, painted or personalised for the customer. As this set may well sell as a gift item to be treasured, packaging and personalisation are things to consider closely. Some boxes I found were too small for the cards though.

Fabric bags – this site will print on the bag with your design or even photo on it. An image/text from the card set, or perhaps the customer’s name?

Perhaps there might be scope for a standard version (in card packaging only) and deluxe (inside a wooden box or fabric pouch) This could even be developed at a later date, as Rachel will need this done in good time for Christmas, not forgetting overseas shipping, we may need to simply get the standard version out and done first!

After speaking to Rachel, she confirmed that she would like me to use a box template from the same printing company as the cards she has already printed. This way we can be sure of quality and a good fit.

I downloaded the box template, which is a rigid box with a base and a lid.

The Leaflet. I also looked at various options for leaflet folding. Some are really elaborate, as demonstrated by Trish Witkowski at Her day job is at Foldfactory. There is an amazing array I’d never heard of – my favourite being ‘the travelling snake’.

The other brilliant thing Foldfactory offers is a free template generator. Could be useful eh!!

Rachel would like me to make a leaflet from an A4 sized document.

So back in the real world, I experimented with folding A4 paper to get a feel for what the options might be. It will need plenty of panels and to fit inside the card box.

8 panel

9 panel


The 9 panel option seems a safer fit, so I went with that.

I was confident I could find templates online, but it was much harder than I thought, as there are a lot of different folds and I wasn’t even sure what to call mine…

Here are some of the basics:

Apparently, a ‘z fold’ is specifically a 3 fold, and ‘accordian’ is 4 or more.

But when you factor in two-stage folding, I got a bit lost as to how to describe mine…

I did find this – so one of mine can be described as a “concertina fold three times, then crossed folded in half”. No template available for this particular one though! Sigh.

And this cross folded version achieves a similar result

I then decided the best way forward was to adapt Z and Concertina fold leaflet templates. I hunted around a lot to find the answer to my next question – does a z fold (ie 3 fold) leaflet have a narrow panel like a tri-fold (the last panel tucking in). The answer is….No. Or at least not in the examples I found.

I went back to and entered my requirements which resulted in a couple of templates I can modify for the extra folds. (Not before I spent ages trying to get it to generate exactly what I wanted but I just couldn’t make it fit my requirements) Hey ho, lesson learnt.

I actually feel I overcomplicated this hugely – it would have been far easier to simply set it up in Indesign without trying to find a template.

Design ideas

Rachel has provided me with a range of images to use, and the typeface was already established. I didn’t discuss alternatives fonts with Rachel as she had already spent hours setting up her cards, and I also think Fanwood is a good choice.

I printed Fanwood out at a variety of font sizes to check legibility.

I also played a little to explore its potential including a nice array of glyphs.

As I was looking at the ‘mysterious symbols’ in the glyphs panel (mysterious if you only speak English!) One thing that occurred to me is that maybe some of these shapes could be re-interpreted as design elements…For example, these remind me of birds.

Looking through Rachels photos, I tried to narrow down what I thought would work well as a cover image for the box. She has altered her images post processing to give an otherworldly, painterly effect, so I don’t want to introduce too many additional elements. As this is meant to showcase her photography, her images ought to take centre stage. At this point, I mocked up a few alternatives.

You can see I have paired Fanwood with a sans serif font. The red border obviously marks the top of the box.

I love this blue door with the gorgeous twsting symmetry of the tree above…

Then it occurred to me that the box lid doesn’t have to be restricted to portrait! This really helped me to have the option of larger text.

Next I gathered together my ideas relating to Dartmoor and the ‘bird’ shapes from the glyph panel of Fanwood. What emerged was growing shapes – birds, twisting stalks, flowers and brambles. I wanted to suggest that the flowers might turn into birds and hint at something otherworldly.

The bramble shape again repurposes the ‘bird’- (v shaped) element from the Fanwood glyphs panel.

I used these ideas to create a vector overlay to suggest Dartmoor as a slightly magical place. I then sent Rachel these options to ask for her feedback. (And also the plain ones)

A slightly different approach, where I isolated the bird in Photoshop…but I wasn’t that keen on changing her images so radically, as they wouldn’t match her card deck.

Rachel chose the above image.

The lower part of the box looks like this

I then printed off my design and assembled the box to check all was well….I realised my mistake, which was I should have printed off the plain net and assembled it prior to any design. As it was I hadn’t fully absorbed that this design needs to work in 3D (!) I didn’t fully visualise how the design and flourishes of the upper and lower box need to compliment each other, not get tangled.

I repositioned some of the vector plants and re-checked my work by printing again and assembling. This took several goes until I was fully happy.

Next I turned my attention to the leaflet. I thought I could reuse the same elements successfully, though of course in practise it took a lot of tweaking! I wanted the leaflet to have a simple design and title on the visible panel when folded, then open into a larger design.

My first attempts weren’t sitting very well…

Although the front panel looks OK, the open image is a bit clumsy.

Then I went a bit overboard with the birds…

I can see the images are interfering with the text! Especially as this is black and white.

Eventually I managed to wrench my brain into ‘less is more’ mode and simplify a little. You can see I used the sans serif in the first section to suggest a separation from ‘about Rachel’ and the subject of the cards.

She wanted a full bleed on the back in colour – like this. A good choice, as it effectively shows off her image to full effect.

Once Rachel had seen and approved both the box design, and the leaflet I produced them as printable PDF’s. The box design had to correspond with the net provided by and their print requirements. Once finished, I emailed this over to Rachel, who uploaded the pdf for printing from their website.

I originally made the leaflet as a pdf suitable for home printing, but as her customer orders increased it became cost effective to pay for professional printing. Consequently Rachel suggested using I checked the print requirements on their website and made a few tweaks to fit their pdf requests – 4mm bleed, text converted to outline etc. Here’s a screen shot of the PDF they requested, and the colour setting.

I’m happy to say everything is back from the printers and my client is happy with the result. Phew!

She kindly emailed me some images of the printed items – she has taken this on the moor!

When Rachel kindly sent me my own printed set, I was able to see the results first hand…Lucky for me, she is happy with the box as it is, but there are some tweaks I would ideally make for future editions. Firstly, I would possibly not extend the design on the bottom of the box along the side panels, as they do clash a bit with the lid. (Though its a small point, I think it shows my inexperience of working with packaging) Secondly, as the leaflet changed from being designed for home printing to professional printing, I would like to reverse it out. Obviously home printing would use too much ink, but presented on a dark, almost black colour (to match the base of the box) would be a nice touch. I discussed these suggestions with Rachel and she remains happy with the base as it is, but would be interested in the leaflet change. We are now discussing a companion set with a new pack of cards. The sets will be themed daytime (this set) and night time (the next project) and will also be available as a pair. – so I can hopefully learn from my mistakes and produce a new and improved box design next time.

It will be difficult not to repeat myself, as of course I have been making comments as I go along, but here goes…

Reflection (approx 800 words)

I really enjoyed working on some ‘real world’ projects, particularly as they both went to print. The Samaritans was a bit frustrating, as there was a big gap between how I would like to work and the information/resources I actually had. I would have liked to get the brand guidelines from head office, so I had the exact colour match, and access to their specific fonts. In reality, I had to bodge certain elements in photoshop (such as the samaritans logo) and find a similar font to the one used. It would have taken a lot of pushing to gain this information, and in fact previously the competition poster was originally intended to be designed by me, but was simply designed by the graphic designer at head office when Barnstaple branch approached them. I understand their need for quality control but it was a bit frustrating! It’s difficult to explain this sort of thing without sounding like a diva as most people are happy with similar fonts, but its part of the unseen ‘magic ingredient’ that conveys a polished look – even if people can’t put their finger on why.

I didn’t charge for this work, as it didn’t feel appropriate (there are no regional paid staff in Samaritans at all) This is something I really like about the Samaritans, that they are very frugal and it is truly a voluntary organisation. The funding for the competition came from a local community grant, not the Samaritans themselves.

I know we have to be very wary about giving away our time for free, but I volunteer for them anyway, so it was simply part of that relationship. One volunteer is a carpenter, he built shelving for free – you get the idea.

Rachel Burch’s project was far more challenging as it was my first design using a net. She is a good friend, so I was (hopefully) fairly in tune with what she was after. Also, I know Dartmoor very well and share her love of the countryside there. My main anxiety was getting my work up to a suitable standard as I knew she had purchasers waiting! I found her very easy to work with, she gave me clear instructions and quick decisions too which was very helpful. There was very little I needed to clarify, as she sent lots of information via email which was great. I didn’t suggest alternative printers, as she has already had her work professionally printed many times – it really would be a bit arrogant of me as she’s already got the experience I haven’t!

Pricing is tricky, and I think it will take me quite a long time to work it out. For my web design work I usually charge £18 per hour, and I do usually invoice friends as I feel it’s reasonable to charge for my time. Naturally, when you are learning as I am with print design, I don’t feel its fair to charge for taking longer than usual!! So I would probably do my best to estimate the time needed up front, track my hours and discount a little if I feel some of the time is down to inexperience.

In conclusion, I felt fairly confident about writing a brief and asking the relevant questions of my client, because I am some experience doing this. I’ve previously learnt that a clear brief is hugely important, so is managing expectations. What this has highlighted for me is the need to be both assertive when necessary and let go of control when appropriate. Tricky balance!


Rachel has now produced her companion set of images, so I’ve just completed a second design for her. As it’s very similar to the first, it took a fraction of the time. I was also able to explore the corrections I mentioned earlier. It’s currently going to print, if it arrives in time I will upload here.




Tutorials on folding and packaging

Print Production: Folding presented by Trish Witkowski (

Print Production: Packaging by Claudia McCue (

Making 3D Presentation Materials and Mockups by
Todd Gallopo (

Folding terms and templates

Rachel’s preferred printer(s)

Information and examples of Etsy oracle cards

Packaging options


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 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

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


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


Website Options


Exhibition page

Vertical navigation option


Alternate option




Assignment 3

“You’ve been contacted by a group of local shops who want to develop a campaign to encourage people to value local produce and shopping, to promote a greener agenda in terms of knowing where your food, goods and services come from, as well as a broader social agenda of encouraging people to value the interactions that only a high street can offer. Locate this project in your own area… Try and pick a range of real shops with existing identities to work with.

Develop visual material that communicates to your audience the key messages and values of the campaign. This material should provide some form of overall ‘umbrella’ visual identity but also allow existing companies or shops their own identity within it…”

I began my research in Braunton where I live – you can see it’s not overflowing with pretty architecture and there’s no central landmarks to identify it.

But what isn’t apparent from the pictures is thats its a very nice village – you can pretty much sum it up as having a cool surf-y vibe with plenty of nice cafes. Also you cannot under any circumstances call it a town. The locals are very touchy about that.

Its allegedly the biggest village in the UK

As I’ve lived here less than a year, Im not an expert on where I live, and I went to Braunton museum to have a look. The ladies in there were wonderful – really kind and helpful.

I also had a chat to a really helpful lady who works in one of the local shops. I explained that I was a student, and what the brief was… She gave me a really good run down of the demographic and how retailers perceive Braunton. She explained that the village wouldn’t survive without the tourist trade, but that added revenue makes this quite an affluent area. It attracts people here because of easy access to the sea and beautiful countryside. Although its a long journey, it attracts ‘DFLs’ (down from London). A few months ago we had a builder working for us – he said something similar, which was that people move here for the lifestyle (he did), its a very healthy outdoors-y sort of place (running, cycling, surfing etc). The shops sell nice clothes/ornaments and surf wear, and the cafes are all rather ‘up market’. To buy some items you’d need to travel 5 miles down the road to Barnstaple. This is all lovely but rather ironic for me as due to health problems I don’t get to be sporty. But still.

She let me take photos of some of their stock – we agreed that Braunton typifies  these kind of beach inspired colours and stylish prints.

A map I picked up at the museum which helpfully lists all the shops and businesses in Braunton

Self explanatory – newly refurbished information centre

The other thing I have learnt about Braunton, is that Braunton Burrows is a very important place in terms of conservation – the area is known for various species of flowers, butterflies and birds. Some of them are quite rare.  At Braunton, the river Caen opens into estuary, and Saunton Sands beach is a short distance from there.

I researched a bit about Braunton burrows  as its a UNESCO site…

I googled each type of butterfly, bird and plant associated with the area, and saving the images.

Im not sure where this is taken from, but it must be 9 miles away(!)

And Im pretty sure one of the birds was a curlew…

Marbled white butterfly (so pretty) and a Plover

The sand dunes (marram grass) are an identifiable all over Braunton Burrows.

And some quick research online in reference to shopping locally

My notes… Thinking about what physical form the campaign would take

More notes…


How to promote Braunton? Thinking about green issues…

I think the concept of shopping locally really has to do with promoting a sense of community and talking about why we love our local village/town/city. In seems a good idea to celebrate it, rather than nag people to spend money.

I needed a strap line…Something a bit less dull than ‘Shop Local’?! I ran it by my partner who grumbled he couldn’t possibly come up with something off the cuff when I’d spent hours thinking about it…. 5 minutes later he comes up with “Keep Braunton Breathing”. Perfect!

Next I was trying to decide on what to include visually – what elements best sum up Braunton. The beach huts aren’t entirely accurate as they belong just down the road in Saunton.

I felt surfing, bikes, birds, butterflies and sand dunes all depict Braunton very well, as they are all available in abundance.

I was having a bit of trouble with the bottom section – My initial thought was to show a curve from land to sea, but I was unhappy with the shape.

Meanwhile I had a look a typefaces… I wanted something quite modern, relaxed and friendly. It was helpful to print them out and select some potential ones.

I also researched all the shops that had websites, and took screen shots of their logos. Im aware I need to work in their needs and identities. I can’t see how to incorporate these logos without turning them to black and white to give some sort of unity – in fact I then discovered the Braunton bike shop does exactly this to display the assorted brands they stock on their website.

I was fussing a bit whether to variety in tone might be a problem…I adjusted curves for some very pale ones so they didn’t disappear.

It was then time to get into Illustrator and begin to put it together…

I reduced the ‘hill’ to a simple curve which I think works better…And I experimented with typography. Ideally I would like the text and image to both work alone, as well as together. This would potentially give me greater flexibility for the different needs and formats.

It occurred to me that the shop owners might want their logos featured prominently…But I hope not, as this is difficult to pull off. Ugh!

I would like to persuade them to keep them small and discrete…

Nope. Still smaller! This is mucking up the hierarchy

And finally…

Black & White finished versions

I also wanted to suggest ways that this campaign could be personalised by individual shops. (Im quite proud of this bit!!) Here’s some ideas:

The shops could choose the bullet points, and this demonstrates that different shaped logos all look OK and don’t fight the layout.

Some bolder colour variations  ( I find the pink/purple a step too far for my taste but I thought I should experiment!)

More muted colour…


Ultimately its highly likely certain colours might well be requested by the shop owners – to some extent it might be possible to produce a range, to reflect the different businesses involved. But this could get complicated. My inclination is to go for the sea as inspiration – hopefully it reflects that fact that Braunton tends to be quite ‘up market’?!

My Shop Local Campaign for Braunton, North Devon

An advert mocked up in the local free ad publication (EX 33)

A shop front mock up

I would like to think this design works for the following reasons:

  • the design can be used in a variety of sizes and formats
  • the image is simple enough to be scaleable
  • it can be used in black and white or a range of colours
  • the design can be adapted to the individual needs of a particular business.

Depending on the needs of the shop owners, this design could be used on stickers, carrier bags, on banners, posters and in advertising. And a flyer could be produced with further information about Braunton and green issues. There is possibly a balance to be had with this – on the one hand we’re encouraging ‘virtue signalling’ from consumers, on the other, I think its important not to nag or be too ‘worthy’ in the approach. Also, it occurs to me that although this is a ‘green initiative’ not all shops will be ‘green’ per se. They might import from a distance but still want economic support!

I think in real life this brief would be very tricky, as it could be ‘design by committee’ – the more people viewing my work at each stage, the more involved it would be. I really dread to think how long it would take to get everyone to agree! I would hope it might actually be funded by a central body such as the local council or an umbrella business group – with an actual person who can sign off on the design when they are happy with it!

Assignment 2 – Food & Drink

‘You’ve been commissioned to develop a small one-off publication for a Sunday paper that celebrates any aspect of food and drink. The publication will appear as an insert within a Sunday supplement, is A5 in size and must run to no more than 12 pages, including the covers…
For the content of the publication, draw on any aspect of food and drink that interests you.’

Maybe its getting a little boring when I say ‘Oh I loved this brief!’ – but there I go again, I really enjoyed this one, although it was a lot of work.

My preparation for it was to look at as many print layouts as I could, not just about food, but general interest magazines too. I actually only found one A5, which was the Guardian’s saturday guide thingy they always have:


I felt it was unlikely I would include a ‘contents’ page, as our booklet is pretty small, but here’s theirs, as you can see, the first column is double width.


Here the heading spreads across the entire double spread. The more I looked, the more I began to see patterns, or ways of fitting information together. I  looked carefully at the number and frequency of typefaces and weights, how the designers  broke up the grid in different ways (or used multiple grids) and so on. Above you can see the drop dap has a splash of blue, then repeated above the pull quote. Anything that created a sense of unity I tried to make a mental note of too.

I looked at mail order, special interest magazines (cycling, woodworking, regional, lifestyle etc…) And specifically food magazines (‘Easy cook’ and ‘goodfood’ are both BBC publications, one budget, one a bit more ‘up market’. As you’d expect, the budget magazine has more ‘punchy’ colours and clunkier fonts.



Apart from the size difference, I didn’t detect a great deal of difference in the layout between the A5 and A4.


These are all pages from the Tesco magazine, I was interested to see how they maintained variety and kept a sense of unity across pages. For example the blue ‘rough paint’ background behind the words ‘Great Start’ and the green behind ‘Make more of it’ are the same style. However, the columns of text vary, along with other features that break up the space in very different ways, and of course the typography relies on more than one font. Some pictures overlap, or ‘break out’ of their column, which makes things more lively too.

img_3560 img_3559 img_3558

There was a lot to take in and I was anxious to draw on ideas, but not simply copy! Next, I needed to work out my specific area of food. To some extent, I already had an idea what images I would use – I had already taken photos during my OCA photography course with this exact brief in mind. Unsurprisingly, food photography is blooming’ hard, especially for the likes of me, as I am a beginner. Still, I’m quite chuffed with some of them, and hope they will fit the bill.

I had an idea that my newspaper supplement could be called ‘Eat Well’ – to combine the idea of both healthy eating, and eating with enjoyment.


I roughed out ideas for my cover

img_3492 img_3493 img_3494 img_3495 img_3497

But my ideas also need to work with the images I have already taken. I printed out some of them to get an overview…


Then gathered some more from Pixabay (which states permission for re-use). And I began thinking about overall page layouts.



With the help of a few trusty books

img_3518 img_3517 img_3516 img_3515 img_3519 img_3520 img_3521


I wanted to work with ‘real’ text, as tempting as it is to use the fake stuff! I didn’t think I would be getting much experience unless I used a particular word count and stuck to it. It took quite a long time to research the information I wanted – some of it snippets and random facts (e.g. I had a photos of grapes, citrus fruit, lentils etc so I looked up information on each)

I found several long articles which fitted my images for subject, from the BBC, the NHS, the Guardian and the Telegraph (both online). At first I found a website that estimated word count for you – but then realised I could simply cut and paste into Pages and turn on the word count feature there (doh). It became clear that I would have to heavily edit articles to fit them into a single page or pages, as each A5 page can’t carry a huge amount. I tried to edit down and make a coherent article in Pages, without editing the word count directly in Indesign (as that seemed like cheating!)

I then reached a point where I had my pool of images and some articles. I decided to place them roughly inside Indesign, at first just using the default typeface Minion Pro.

My grid – I wanted a fairly squarish set of divisions, but not so many as to feel overwhelmed, so I kept it simple.


Although I had explored many ideas with the cover, when it came to choosing an image, I just felt pulled towards a full splash of colour…


This close up of pizza topping (Pixabay) looked great. Like pretty much all the images, its landscape, not portrait which meant with every image I had to reposition it somewhat. Anyway. I opted for this mouthwatering image with a simple line of text.


I know I should have looked at other options….but I like this!!! On to the articles….

Experimenting with placement – I actually printed these out, placed them on the floor, and moved across the room to look at them from a distance. It gave me a fresh eye, and a sense of what might be eye catching to a casual reader.

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-15-02-01 screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-15-04-56 screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-15-05-32 screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-15-28-44 screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-15-36-31 screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-15-42-56 screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-15-48-32 screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-16-17-04

I find it helpful to consult my partner with some of this stuff – he felt the image shouldn’t be covered over with text so I did move them apart.

Text wrap? Hmm…

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-16-40-05 screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-17-01-27

I chose the one on the right (below) as I hope it has a sense of movement with the tilted text, and allows a fair bit of white space.

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-17-05-29 screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-17-08-40 screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-17-11-20 screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-17-17-36

I found this lovely picture of bread online, however it is very dominant, and I was a bit attached to my own picture of the boot (!)

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-17-32-26 screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-17-50-51


Here’s the body copy for the article. I had to stick to the existing subheadings, which meant some adjusting to the tracking to get a good fit.


I decided my bread would be a pale enough background to sit behind text and add interest

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-19-40-41 screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-19-29-19 screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-19-55-37

The recipe page – I searched for appropriate recipes to suit these images. I noticed that the Tesco magazine invites readers to read full recipes on their website, so I nicked the idea, and used it for my pancakes!


This was the most complicated page layout. I wanted to push myself, as I felt arranging snippets of information and brief facts was a bit of a puzzle, compared to a single article.

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-18-14-31 screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-18-26-04

Some images are cropped to a border, so really had to be arranged at the edge, others I could choose the position more freely. I was aiming for some sort of rotational flow, and a balance of red and green colour.

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-19-07-15   screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-14-06-15

My final consideration was the typography… e.g. some serif options


I spent a long time scribbling notes and considering what weights were available, and how each one looked on the page. I ruled some out as they sometimes had a very different ‘feel’ or too high an x height (I didn’t want anything long and lean)

Eventually ( and I promise I really thought this through) I actually preferred minion pro! So thats my decision – it stays!!

I went through the same process with sans serif, and settled on Raleway, which is highly legible, and relatively contemporary looking. Also (and I am feeling a little smug at my cleverness) its a google font, which means the exact same typeface could appear on the website.

Not sure this was wise, but as a final touch I looked into scripts and handwritten styles. This eventually led me to Clive Barker, which is the typeface on the title page about carbs (see below)

I then printed out a version using the ‘Print booklet’ option. It is not stapled, and obviously just a mock up, but allows some sense of how it would look!

Assignment 2 Finished Version












Experimenting with Website Mockup…

Obviously I wanted to keep the continuity from print to web – the first common factor being the typeface Raleway. Apart from this, I kept the same sort of colour scheme, using rusts and greens. I also imagined there might be two menus for different kinds of information.

The black border is simply because I took screen shots as I was working


You can see that I was experimenting with the idea of the links – baking, vegetarian, meat & fish as ‘tabs’, in a ‘folder’. This large lettering would be OK as a home page, but ‘eat well’ would need to appear on every page, as a smaller title. Not sure about this amount of green…


You could take the opacity down of the main image…maybe shrink it narrower than I’ve shown here?


I could have continued to play with proportions, placing and hierarchy with these, but this is the one I settled on as working across multiple pages:

Final Website Mockup

The links in top navigation bar would change colour from rust to green on mouse over. Depending on the number of links needed for the ‘tabs’, they could align left like this, with room to add more…


Or centred, it would depend what else the layout required.



Following tutor feedback, I’ve made a couple of changes: firstly, as she rightly pointed out that pizza isn’t really all that healthy (sigh!) so I sourced a more suitable cover image; this colourful mixed salad.

Secondly, her advice was to remove the colour blocks under the text (p 6-7) for consistency – again this makes sense. I was struggling to make the text legible and it didn’t look great. This leaves the drop cap as the lone fancy piece of typography…Hopefully because it echoes the main title from the previous page its OK, but I’d be happy to ditch it too.


I’m happier with these tweaks, it was good to make the effort to put my tutor’s feedback into practise. This is one of my favourite projects from the course, as I feel I achieved the best outcome I’m capable of at this time. Although tackling layout does make me feel close to screaming, I also really like the challenge, and the sense of satisfaction when it comes together.





Assignment 1 – Underground Cultures

“Create a series of posters for the London transport system that celebrates the idea of underground culture in some way. This could be an aspect of London Underground’s own typographic or design history, an aspect of popular culture or music, or a celebration of minority cultures’ heritage within the city. Choose something that you find interesting to research and visually explore, or an area you currently don’t know that much about.

The posters will be A0 in size, but you only need to design them at A4 or A3. The scale of the poster invites a bold and playful approach that should be as much decorative as informative. Your audience will be people walking past the posters in the corridors and stairwells of the Tube, sitting or standing on train platforms or viewing them on the sides of buses, so they need to be eye-catching and colourful. They must have a strong visual dynamic but at the same time carry some information about the underground culture you’re portraying.”

Here’s an infographic about the history of the London underground itself (from Buzzfeed) much of this I didn’t know at all!


This infographic about British subcultures comes from menswear


Of course a few more groups have emerged since the 1980s. Peter York’s exploration of Hipsters was highly entertaining (Peter York’s Hipster Handbook currently available on BBC iplayer) He is familiar with identifying groups of people from a marketing viewpoint. We may all object to labels, but its often rather accurate grouping people together.  He also points out how often these trends filter down to the mainstream, such high street coffee chains, and I’ve noticed a fair few beard-y blokes in the Fatface catalogue!

Anyway. I decided to focus on music. But I got pretty bogged down reading about all the subcultures and complicated history. Its a fascinating subject, but there’s so much information, I was finding it hard to filter anything down, or refine visually with what I was looking at. The genres, and sub-genres are endless, not to mention that some well known music styles, such as Bhangra and Brit Pop could be associated with the Midlands and the North more than London.


The typographic posters of the London skyline incorporating London bands is very effective. They have impact both in monochrome and colour.Theres a lovely flow to these, and very effective composition. I noted the use of ‘white’ space (in the sky and for the thames) and the use of focal points (e.g. Blur and the london eye). So clever!

I looked at rave culture, reggae, and rude boys….hippies, punks, garage and grime…


Its hard to distill such a large topic and I felt a bit overwhelmed trying to represent quite a large time frame too. At some point you need to start to simplify…

I took a bit of time out to read and watch a few things about poster design. I found the design company Blind and others had some really interesting information. Here are my notes – I found it really helpful to try and properly clarify hierarchy in poster design, and think about what I want to achieve.


And some useful info from one of my graphic design books

img_3129 img_3126

This really helped me to simplify and sift through the information I had gathered.I originally thought I would link music styles to certain areas/tube stations of London, but this proved to be difficult – some music styles just aren’t associated with a single area.

I decided to pick a few styles/genres, particularly if they can be fairly easy identified visually. A few things stuck out – Ska/TwoTone is often connected to a checkerboard design, Mods a target symbol, and so on.

Obviously, there are issues about what sort of images I can source without infringing copyright. A creative commons search allowed me to pull together some other genres – folk and punk. Here’s my image resources for inspiration and some available to re-use:



There was also free vector of a trilby I found which was very lucky! Should be useful!!


I would like to use people for my posters but I’m lacking a strong face for Mods which might be an issue if I want to make 4 consistent posters. Here’s some images I thought would look great as the main focal point…The woman with the guitar could be cut out from her more modern background, and her hat made to look a bit more checkerboard, as a Ska reference. Jamaican culture had a big influence on Ska, so we could possibly view her as representing that link.




My next step was to work on some really rough designs on paper. You can see I was exploring the checkerboard, trademark trilby and referencing the underground map, designed by Harry Beck. I chose landscape as the format, as the brief mentioned the side of buses.



I explored using the style of the underground map as a background, or connecting with lettering. Perhaps running above or over objects, such as the trilby.


I think sometimes you can see what might work from roughs, other times I need to work things up a little to explore where it might go. Unfortunately I discovered some images online of lettering shaped from the london underground map – which made me feel like I wasn’t being very original.

I moved on to Illustrator to see what I made of the trilby. At this stage I simply chucked a checker board around it to see if that would work.


From there I worked up some others, at first simply using Myriad Pro as default.

Next I wanted consistency between the sans serif of the London Underground logo and the typeface on the main part of the poster. Unfortunately, the original was Johnston and I don’t have it. So I made a vector of the logo using Gill Sans as a substitute.


I also took the liberty of changing the colours within the logo to experiment (Whether you would actually be allowed to do this is debatable! It could be that they specify only the red and blue of their own logo) Here are my variations

gillsansska-01 gillsansska2-01 gillsansska3-01 ska1-01 ska2-01 skagillsans-01

It seems to me the checkerboard background has the most impact, so thats my first choice.

Next up is Mod. Again here are my roughs – as I need to be thinking about these as a set, I’m trying to think about how I can link these as a theme.


I wanted to work up a poster using the photo of the Vans (shoes) with a mod logo – its a strong image that will hopefully have good impact. And I also wanted to explore the bike. Oops I forgot the logo with the bike.

mod1-01 mod2-01Anyway.  Some variations.

mod3-01 mod4-01 Obviously I’ve used a diagonal background again, and experimented with making the ‘o’ a target, but I think perhaps its fighting with the circular logo?

mod5-01 mod6-01 mod7-01 mod8-01

I don’t feel the whole bike works as well. This is better


Next I chose to look at punk

punk1-01 punk2-01 punk3-01 punk4-01

I quite like the colours of the ones above, but the placement of the lettering is off.

punk5-01 punk6-01

Again, this looks cluttered…and the lettering needs re-positioning…

punk7-01 punk8-01

This is better I think – the lettering corresponds to her eye line, I’ve also moved her to the left.


And lastly, folk… these came together more quickly, and I think work quite well.

folk-01 folk3-01 folk4-01 folk5-01 folka-01 folkb-01

As I was working in Illustrator, I kept little jpegs on the art board of the previous posters, to try and keep a sense of unity between posters – obviously they need to work as a set. I then had trouble because I felt my Ska poster (which I had done first) was the only one with a diagonal set at a different angle. It should be simple to correct, but I found it quite tricky. I’m still wondering if the checks running at the bottom make your eye drop off the page? Hmm..I think its OK but I’m also aware that this is the only poster where the text overlaps the image. However, the logo is now positioned top right in all the posters, which I prefer.


Poster Set – Final Images








Plus points –

I think these posters are eye catching and do have impact.

They are clear and easy to read.

They are easily identifiable as a set.

Minus points –

They may be too similar!

In keeping to Gill Sans throughout, there’s no variation in typography.

The logo is not in precisely the same place. I feel it should be exactly aligned or obviously different, not ‘nearish’!


I think in an effort to ensure I have a set, I played it too safe.  It might have been better to vary the composition more, and experiment with typography. Clearly there’s a balance between consistency and originality which I could have explored more fully.

I fell into the trap of assuming that because ‘Ska’ and ‘Mod’ are usually written in sans serif capitals that I had to mimic that. I did briefly look at using a serif for the subheading for my ska poster, I now feel I should have carried that through.

These comments apart, I am pleased that my confidence levels have improved – I feel I can work more quickly than I used to, and assess strengths/weaknesses in my designs more effectively. At level one graphic design I often found myself thinking ‘thats not right, but I don’t know why’! The ‘why’ is emerging (I think!)

In preparation for the assessment, I reworked these posters in response to my tutor’s suggestions of enlarging the folk guitar and using flat colour. Here’s the final outcome. You can see I have varied the height of the titles to create some variation. I did try these at a uniform height, but when I mounted them on my wall, I preferred this arrangement.


Refs – Discussion of music & subcultures”