Category Archives: Coursework

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 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.




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 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.’ –


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)


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.



Online Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole

Kind thanks to Rosie!

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 –


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…



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.



Pixels – an alternative national heritage

‘A Sunday paper is running an article called ‘Pixels – An Alternative National Heritage’ looking at the legacy of onscreen technology over the last 40 years. They want you to playfully represent traditional views of heritage through the lens of the pixel.

Working within the limitations set by a grid of square pixels, and a range of no more than six colours, recreate a range of national landmarks, personalities, characters, flags, landscapes, names or other indicators of traditional national heritage.

Set your grids to any size and dimension, but remember that they want the qualities of the pixel to be dominant so the fewer pixels you use the better. You may want to work on graph paper, work at a low resolution on Photoshop or set up your own grid system on your DTP package.’

Having decided on a short list of the following: a stamp, teapot, slice of cake, jar of jam…

…union jack and policeman’s hat, I worked out the construction on squared paper

Switching to Ilustrator, I used the rectangular grid tool as a guide

It was pretty fiddily, and difficult to work out the placing of some of my coloured squares…

Here they are in their most simplified forms

I decided to add a bit more colour, and some variation within the tones to make it look more ‘pixellated’… Baring in mind it still needs to be easily recognisable.

And the finished work…

Pixels – An Alternative National Heritage

I think the slice of cake is the least successful shape – it is just a rectangle! I found it quite frustrating reducing simple shapes into squares. I really wanted half squares, diagonals, curves – all of which you can normally use even on the most pared down logo design!