Category Archives: Level 1 Archive

Graphic Design Level 1


Evaluation Statement

I feel it makes sense to discuss my work chronologically, and I’ve picked a selection of “highlights” to illustrate my learning “curve”. At the beginning of the course I had limited experience of design, and a keen thirst to learn as much as I could. As with everything in life, enthusiasm is a good start, but isn’t the only ingredient needed…I think I have a rather “puppyish” approach to my work, rushing in sometimes without solid planning. The importance of a planning process has slowly grown for me, but to be absolutely honest, I still need to discipline myself.

This is quite possibly an excuse, but because I have some experience working for web design clients, I’ve found it difficult to “let my hair down” during this course. This will sound horribly dry and unimaginative, but I have a habit of treating the brief though its for a real client. I want to produce a pleasing result (as much as I can with my limited skill level) quickly and efficiently. Anything too time consuming or experimental just doesn’t fit a budget. I totally realise this is very limiting, as the whole purpose of studying is to explore and experiment – I just have to be aware of my inner bias on this one.

Blog entries I would like to highlight for the purposes of assessment are:

1) Visualising Your Ideas  (from Coursework, Part 2) This task was fun to do. I spent quite a lot of time thinking about how to problem solve, and engage potential volunteers. I hope its fairly appealing, though I think my paper folding is pretty basic.

2) Point of Sale Display (from Coursework, Part 2) By this stage in the course, I had struggled with posters and book jacket covers, and experienced a fair bit of frustration with work that didn’t pull together (I like things to look nice dammit!) So, I include these fruit and veg because even though my tutor felt they should be more dynamic, I still like them! Maybe they would be better suited to an illustration brief.

3) Signs and Symbols (from Coursework, part 3) An exploration of the symbol for love. An opportunity to explore  and develop an abstract shape. I learnt the need for consistoncy here as my shape varied in proportion along the way

4) Seeing the Light (from Coursework, part 3) This was the first moment I began to grasp the meaning of visual dynamics! I feel my understanding as wobbled since then, but this exercise was so helpful to me)

5) Abstract Cities (from Coursework, part 3) I really love colour. Its certainly interesting to learn about colour theory, and I have poured over various books on the subject, but its great to get stuck in  and experiment.

6) If the Face Fits Part 2 (from Coursework, part 4) Gaining  a bit of confidence with typography here, I really enjoyed picking the appropriate font.

7) Hierarchy (from Coursework, part 4) Despite my terrible spelling which is really embarassing, I loved getting to grips with Indesign, though it can be very fiddily fitting in a specific word count, and I need a lot more practise.

8) Magazine Pages (from Coursework, part 5) I’ve included this as I spent a lot of time on my paper roughs, and the finished project

9) Poster and Flyer (from Coursework, part 5) I really had to think hard about this brief, particularly due to working in black and white. I’m going to be getting some real life practise soon, as I’ll be making some posters and flyers for the Plymouth branch of the Samaritans fundraising events. I wish I felt more confidant!

10) French Hen (from Coursework, part 5) I loved developing this logo, with more time I would have explored the scale more, as my tutor pointed out the circle is rather dominant.


Please use the drop down menu at the top of the page to view all 5 assignments. Assignments 3, and 5 have some accompanying  printed work I have sent by post. Thank you for reading all this, I hope all the links work smoothly!

NB You are currently on the home page, please don’t scroll down any further down from here, as the layout of this blog displays every post on the entire blog, and it will be very time consuming to view!!!


Assignment 5

The Gerald Anthony Furniture Trust

8 page booklet

Gerald Anthony Booklet4


Gerald Anthony Booklet42Gerald Anthony Booklet43


Gerald Anthony Booklet44Gerald Anthony Booklet45


Gerald Anthony Booklet46Gerald Anthony Booklet47


Gerald Anthony Booklet48

 Website Homepage Mock-up

finished website mockup


Business card

business card




Following feedback from my tutor, I have taken the opportunity to re-design a few parts of this booklet. It hadn’t occurred to me that a “double logo” is potentially confusing. With this in mind, I re-designed the front cover and included the date prominently as its an annual report, which presumably would be issued yearly!  Inside is the financial summary for 2014 – I think this is correct, as it would be the previous financial year. I have also added a few more photos, but  I am still assuming the charity would not be providing many pictures, and suitable free creative commons imagery isn’t always in abundance. It can also take time to photoshop any images to increase their suitability (for example I have isolated the picture of the lamp onto a plain white background). This takes time, and consequently costs the charity more money.

However, I would suggest that they may want to consider purchasing a small amount of stock photography. For example this image from, but it would depend on their budget.

My mock up using their comp. You could argue this picture looks a little too much like a furniture catalogue, and may have too much of a commercial feel.

Front Cover Mock Up 1

My  updated booklet (Given the time, I would have completely removed the double logo from all areas, including the stationary, but hopefully this is a step in the right direction)

Gerald Anthony Booklet 17-4-15

Gerald Anthony Booklet 17-4-152 Gerald Anthony Booklet 17-4-153 Gerald Anthony Booklet 17-4-154 Gerald Anthony Booklet 17-4-155 Gerald Anthony Booklet 17-4-156 Gerald Anthony Booklet 17-4-157 Gerald Anthony Booklet 17-4-158

Having settled on a re-design, I decided the final step for me was to approach a printer and get a quote for having my booklet professionally printed. They were extremely helpful, and talked over the options. Here’s a photo taken with my mobile phone of the various booklets they showed me, ranging from a 250/130 weight cover/inner pages, to 350/160, in uncoated, gloss or silk. It was really helpful to actually handle some examples, and literally get a feel for the options available. I chose a heavier weight, as the the printer explained that it would create more stability for the small number of pages in the document .Obviously if this was for a real client, they would need to decide on the budget available for printing, which would effect my decision.

Printer samples, photo taken at their office.


I decided to take the plunge and actually go ahead with the print, as it wasn’t a large amount of money, and it just feels like the best way to learn! The results will be posted for assessment. I’m pleased with the booklet, but I would stress that it’s printed on a heavier weight paper, which could be an issue for a charity budget. There is also likely to be some scuffing on the spine after only a small amount of use., due to the flat colour and paper thickness. It’s a little over the top to use a professional printer, but I’m happy to have learnt from it.








Assignment 5 – Roughs

“The Gerald Anthony Furniture Store is a charity that helps poor and displaced people furnish their homes with the basics. It has been running for over 100 years, staffed mostly by volunteers. They would like you to design a generic business card, letterhead, and paper mock up for the home page of their website. In addition they want you to design their 8 page annual review”

I began with a brainstorming session.


I was thinking about what the charity offers in terms of furniture or electrical items, and how it would need to appeal to a variety of ages (daft as it sounds, a charity that deals with second hand furniture needs some young fit people to lift it!)  We have a local charity in Tavistock called ReFurnish that is a very similar sort of charity. Here they are


I really wanted to avoid a patronising tone. I’ve been on benefits, as many people have, and this sort of before and after approach makes me uncomfortable.

furniture re-use network

It was useful to explore other real life charities and how they present themselves to the public

cornwall and plymouth furniture re-use project devon community re-cycling furniture donation network furniture station green furniture aid lighthouse furniture

If this was a real life client, I would need to gather a detailed brief from the charity. They may already have certain colours/fonts that form part of their identity. Its likely that they already have both printed material and a website I could view – the question is, how much of a change do they want and in what direction? What are the key words they would use to sum up their “mission statement”? Also, who is providing the photos? Is there anything that must be included?

I would also discuss what computers and software they normally use. For example I much prefer to use Illustrator, but if I produce a letterhead in Word, using a Windows system font, this might precisely match their needs. I have converted pdf to word and its really unstable! The text can move and its a pain in the….

. Further questions would be about printing costs and their budget. Here some options I researched

booklet options

I think their best option is to go for saddle stiched/stapled. This type of binding is suitable for a (smallish)  number of pages, which have to be in multiples of 4. Having printed out the word count, I think the best size is A4. Here’s A5, which you can see doesn’t really leave room for images.


Compared to A4 here, which leaves more space.

image image


They would need to think about pricing, and paper weight. Printing a run of 1000 A4 Brochures is likely to cost anywhere between £350 to over £600, depending on the paper weight and finish. Some companies offer 120 gsm paper, rising to 170gsm  with an  250gsm  cover. The charity may be keen to avoid gloss, and use matt recycled paper, especially as they recycle furniture, but this will cost a little more. They could use the same paper weight for the cover to save money.

The alternative, if they have a a suitable printer, is to print these out themselves. In that case, I would need to change the order of the pages like this ( which is why I want to know in advance how they want to print everything and of course the size of the booklet.)


For the purposes of this assignment, I’m going to assume they have given me the go ahead to use A4 colour,and produce a pdf for a professional printing firm.

Thats the boring stuff. Now to the logo. I was thinking about what sort of object sucessfully indicates furniture. I ruled some things out – a bed (implies a hostel/b&B etc), fridge, washing machine, cooker (not primarily concerned with electrical goods). I also was thinking about the fact that they recycle, and the initials of the charity (G.A) or (G.A.F.S) (!)

Some paper roughs.



It occured to me that as the charity has been going for a long time, that they be associated with an older typeface, or they may be looking to update.



Some pencil sketches of furniture, that I was thinking I might then choose one to simplify.  (The ink versions are on layout paper)imageimageimage  image

Computer roughs…Some of these get lost at smaller sizes (particularly the Baskerville ones) and don’t have a great deal of impact. The ones in the last two rows look the most promising to me.

I have seen this sort of letter arrangement before, (bottom right) – but I feel its the sort of thing that hopefully can be used in combination with something more individual.


typographic logos1-01

More typographic ones…The script based ones are too “arty”. Might work well for another project.



logo design option 2

Live trace in Illustrator and some fiddling…


furniture logos 2-01

Introducing some colour. Um I might sound a bit daft here, but the green is for ” recycling”, the blue for ” trustworthy” and the orange because its cheery, and a complement of blue. Plus some shades and tints.

logo design option arrrgh

colour options

These would obviously need adapting. I think the stool has potential, but needs further simplification (unless its was for an old style hand made furniture company)

furniture logos-01

It occured to me that 2 chairs angled together could be simplified down to fewer lines than I’ve shown here…but I haven’t pursued this as I have a vague feeling something similar to this may have been done by another OCA student!!

2 chairs-01

I drew a very simple version of a stool with the pen tool in Illustrator, and I think this works OK. Sorry no paper roughs for this, it just happened on the spur of the moment!

logo design stools-01


logo design option1-01

I’ve decided to go with the stool and changed the  typeface  from “Coolvetica” (!) to Browallia UPC as a more practical choice.  In my recent fictitious phone call with the imaginary client we have confirmed that they also have it! It works well at all sizes so can be used for body text too.

Here’s the logo in a variety of colours.

logo design option arrrgh

I printed out the logo in different sizes to check it works both large and small, and it does look nice and clear.

Next I sourced some photos for the booklet from a creative commons search via google

photo copyright


And from the website

Here’s an example of how I sourced my images

And the legal bit

I downloaded a variety of furniture, then narrowed down my choices, baring in mind the body text I’ve already printed out to give me an idea of space. Here’s some pics. You can instantly see some are more suitable than others. I was originally going to use the chaps moving the sofa, but as soon as I opened it in Indesign it looked pretty cheesy!

I went for hands to avoid the problem of identifying any service users (or shy volunteers)


Next I did some paper roughs to try and work out the layout of the booklet

image image image

Then I was ready to start work in Indesign. oops, I should say I had already mocked up the cover page in illustrator, tidyed the photos in photoshop etc etc….

As I was working on the layout I did have some alterations, for example, the sofa wasn’t looking great in the centre, but worked much better dragged to the right hand page. I also added bands of colour, and worked up the graphs in Ilustrator  before adding them into the page. It was quite tricky to get  everything aligned across the  baseline of each page. I did have to vary the leading a little in some paragraphs to get everything to fit. Once finished, I printed the pages out to see the results (which are now posted off for my Tutor to see first hand)

image NB I know this is a lot of ink! An alternative would be to have a white background, and the text in orange (or green)  instead.

image image image

I got a bit carried away with the stools! It may have been better to stick to another plain colour band here.


Also. in hindsight, it would probably have been better to add page numbers. At the time, I felt there weren’t really enough pages for it to be an issue, but it would have been a sensible addition (if only for the printer)!

The remaining tasks took a little less time, as I had already designed the logo and colour scheme. Here’s the business card rough.


The letterhead


And the web page


Please see the Assignment 5 entry for the finished items!



The French Hen

“Newton and Ridley, the brewers best known for their pub, The Rovers Return, are opening
a cafe/wine bar nearer the city centre….This bar is to be called the French Hen and will
be in direct competition with the cheap ‘binge drinking’ venues on the same street. The
brewery is also trying to enhance its own image as a ‘respectable’ alcohol vendor.

They want you to develop some ideas for a logo, to be used:
• on covers for the food and cocktail menus
• in colour on the signage outside, and as a cutout for a window detail
• on T-shirts for the staff and paper napkins
• for one side of a beermat, the other will carry advice on sensible drinking”

I began by researching wine bars etc online. One source was from the best bars in London as recommended by Time Out. Surprisingly, not all of them had particularly strong identities online, though others looked great!

Anyway, I ended up also searching elsewhere, and coming up with quite a large selection of reference photos. here they are:

And here’s a cut out displayed in a window


First I brain stormed around the subject of cafe/bistro/wine bars and the name french hen.


And some of my quick sketches in slightly varying styles


I like this one the most


It seems a good way of potentially representing the hen, aside from drawing one, is to use something symbolic of a hen, such as a hen house,  eggs, egg cup,  a feather, or tracks. I googled tracks. I don’t think this is particularly original, but surely paws prints are used even more?!

chicken tracks google

I wanted to think about circular logos, so again, heres another search.

Ooooh this one is lovely!


And there’s more….



image image image


image image image

A few more thoughts…


I worked up three logo options, the feather, a claw print and a whole hen. Here’s the hen. I used live trace in Ilustrator to get a nice vector. It came up really crisp. Yay.

You can see that a line drawing logo looks rather weedy, so I think I’ll use a sillouette.


Right then. We were asked to be aware of falling into cliches and stereotypes. So I had to get this one out of the way first!

french hen2

And some variations using the claw print.

french hen5 business card1french hen5

Another variation

french hen

The fonts are Little Days and Watermark. I like the idea of a circle logo with a ribbon, but I want to think about some different colour schemes.

I decided on quite a bold but sophisticated one (I hope!) with white, black and chartreuse. I’m not so keen on the grey (middle one, but I really like the other two. There’s a bit of a mis-match with the height of the numbers, you can see the difference in the last one.

frenchHen12.french hen4 frenchHen16

My final colour scheme is softer and more subdued. (Aiming for classy!)

french hen4 frenchHen10 frenchHen9

You can see the “scratchy” font works best with the claw. Any I prefer the loopy handwritten font with the hen, and feather.

Next I enlisted the help of my partner to act the part of the bar owner. He chose this colour scheme, with the claw print. (Yay!)

So here’s the final range for the French Hen Bar/Bistro.

Business card




Beermat (square, with web address as requested by the “Bar Owner”)




T shirt




Mock-up of Shop Front. I didn’t include a cut-out in the window, but the logo would scale up if needed, or the hen could be added if the owner preferred. (At this time he opted to leave cardboard out of his window !!!)


I really loved doing this, now I just have to open shop and find some customers!!!!





Chance Housing Association

“The Chance Housing Association has been set up to try and help first time buyers get
onto the housing ladder and they want you to develop a brand image for their stationery”


We were asked to look at real life estate agents and housing associations. Here’s a selection. These are estate agents… you can see a couple are typographic only…

fulfordsabode  miller and son



And these are Housing Associations, all of these have some sort of illustrative logo.

dch group dcha-logo logo3 NorthWalesHousing_logo QXHA_CMYK sanctuary sovereign westwardtamar housing Wesley-Housing-Association-Ltd-3640 west devon

But this is my favourite! Pretty darn swish for Cornwall eh.

coastline housing

Although we have been asked to only use typography, I couldn’t resist a little experimentation with some rough sketches.

photo 1 white

photo 2 white

This is the little pic I would use.


OK. Back to the brief. We were asked to consider key words for this housing association –



Appealing to young people

You can see here, I was thinking about the lettering, what sort of typeface would reflect the “character” of the company, the angle, and the thought that the “h a” in chance also stands for housing association.image

I feel these straight lines are a bit boring, and maybe not friendly enough.



That brought me to consider a curved section for the main lettering. And some colour options, to reflect youthfulness, action and friendliness. (All open to interpretation of course!



I thought it best to start in black and white on the computer Here’s some very plain sans serif typefaces – Corbel, Comfortaa, Dax Light and Century Gothic. I  like Century Gothic, so I’m a bit miffed to find some folk online are now declaring it should be avoided along with the usual suspects, comic sans and papyrus. Tsk.

chance housing sans serif-01

It seems a bit like being a teenager again,  when someone  decides a band are so uncool because they have become  just far too popular and mainstream?! Well as you can see I’m using it anyway, So there.


chance housing

I like these colours, Here’s a few business card variations in blue. Not the most exciting but OK.



I wanted to inject a bit more character into the design. Here’s several fonts, and a few colour combinations. I’m not keen on the purple!


Chocolat Bleu


Fancy Not Medium



Classic Robot



And my favourite – Colombian Stroke. Its more obvious with some fonts than others that I’ve enlarged the letters “h” and “a”. By adding the curve, I think it just adds a bit of interest, and perhaps echoes landscapes…

The only thing I noticed on printing these out, it is that the serif typeface isn’t all that readable at this size, and colour. I changed it to Myriad Pro, and its a lot clearer.





image image


Once I had decided on the design, I created a matching letterhead. here are two versions.




And to finish, we were asked to print out a low quality black and white advert to show suitability fir a newspaper advert.

image image


Logo Research

I really like looking at logos. I think I might have mentioned Paul Rand talking about his designs on You Tube. It really fascinates me that he makes the point that sometimes a good logo is perceived to be perfectly apt only after it has become a mainstream image. I mentioned a good example of this in a previous post – the Nike logo was not loved by the managing director, it was a grower! That said, as much as logos vary enormously, of course there are some common factors.

Here’s some big company logos! What they have in common is one strong concept that has been beautifully pared down.

Mercedes-Benz-logo lloyds



Coca-Cola and John Deere have a long history, you can see from these vintage examples, that their branding has stood the test of time.


john deere

Here’s some more designs. You can see that many logos are either reversed out – like the Castelli scorpion or make use of negative space such as with Core Cidar. This combination of bottle and apple, perfectly shows what the product consists of, and demonstrates another feature of some logos – the fusion of two elements that illustrate a key part of the company product or service.

logo castelli ds_logo3 3258cfb454b2a40855f8da2938d5827a1 35fcee8b73d3353511d023657843c0fb1

More use of negative space…

8e8c9f1e21cae747836e7200bf85bc79 7f604c35ae83316175209c2905ca6d4f


If you hop over to Cool Infographics, they have a blog post entitled 40 Brand Logos with Hidden Meanings. (I can’t help thinking that sounds a little sinister?!) But it contains examples like the arrow in the FedEx logo, and some lesser known ones…

An assortment of logos that caught my eye.


talland spoon kubi kate hellerbell gnome gekko entertainmentwise echo auroraimageimageimageimage

Colour and Logos

Of course some logos are purely typographic. One of my favourites is Rapha. Part of the branding is these colours – black, white and pink.



Not all logos are associated with colour, but  Coca-Cola is strongly linked to red and white. And there are others…

Purple Penguins

purple penguins


logo barclays


T Mobile





Yellow Pages



Royal Mail



Yodel. (OMG I love Yodel vans, I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to put a pic up on this blog!)


The Samaritans white and green.


Head Office requests that all branches stay “on brand”, by using the correct “Samaritans Green” both online and in print for consistancy. (I can’t remember the hexidecimal value, but you get the point!) Their font is also a custom one, with a particular letter “R”. Even charities are very aware of their branding these days!

I don’t think I need to state the obvious about what particular colours are supposed to convey! But I do know that companies spend big money on colour analysis, and market research –  clearly the impact of what a colour “says”, can’t be underestimated.

Here’s a link with some gorgeous packaging examples and a nice colour wheel with lots of associated words! Enjoy.

OK. Here it is in case you are in a hurry.


Poster and Flyer

“You have been asked to design an A3 poster and an accompanying double sided A6 flyer
to promote a singing course run by an organisation called SingOut (all one word). They
have very little money so want to print these posters on their black and white
photocopier. You can use a colour paper if you want”

I have experimented with a variety of styles here, from rough and playful, to more serious. It was really interesting being restricted to black and white, and also consider what shade of coloured paper would actually allow the ink to show effectively.

I had various ideas, and haven’t worked them all up on the computer. Some might come in handy for other projects.


This design is simple and clear, using Myriad Pro. The drawback is of course that it is reversed out, and would consequently use a lot of ink.

Lighter sing6-01

Here it is  printed out


And in plain dark ink on coloured paper. I chose blue because its fairly bright. I felt pastel coloured paper would be rather weedy, and red or purple too dark.


Here’s another very pared down one, using Clement PDai. I needed an “s” shape that would curve upwards and give me a “platform” for the word SingOut to sit on. This is one of those ideas I might re-use elsewhere, but not for this project, I feel its a bit too serious and doesn’t really reflect the subject effectively. A different style “S” would allow me to run the little word”SingOut” vertically instead  (see rough)

sing diagonal-01

This letter “s” is from a typeface called Clive Barker, combined with Futura. Again, I wonder if its important to make the theme of music more obvious.


sing diagonal 2-01

Here’s some ones with a more direct reference to the theme of making music. Here I used the pen tool to draw a treble clef, then changed the stroke to a dry brush for a distressed look. The font is A Little Pot, for a scruffy playful feel.

In my rough, I had curved the text around the shape of the clef. I was experimenting with contrasting the relaxed forms with neat left aligned text here, but I’m not sure how well this works.

A3 Poster

treble clef 3-01


A6 Flyer –  Front

treble clef 4 small flyer Front-01

A6 Flyer –  Back

treble clef 4 small flyer BackB-01

This final set are some variations based on musical notes. The serif font is Pistilli. Looking at this, I should have emphasised “Learn to Sing”!

sing 12A-01

sing 12DNewBigNote-01


You may need to squint (or tilt your screen) to see the light grey background shapes here!

A3 Poster

sing 9B-01


A6 Flyer –  Front

sing 9B Flyer Front-01

A6 Flyer –  Back

sing 9B Flyer Back-01

I’m not really clear how much free rein a designer has when working with copy. For example, if a client has provided all the text they wish to include, can you re-arrange the order?

How about re-phrasing/editing? And what if their feedback is that they would like the phone number or other contact details in large capitals?!!!!

I have experimented a little here with leaving out the cost on some versions, as maybe the charity might want to give this information when people make enquiries instead. Maybe the client would prefer I was more specific that there is no need to read music, and this could be added to the flyer. I”m not sure how much you are looking to grab attention, versus add all the info possible, particularly on the poster.