Friday, March 26, 2010

VisCom2, Type2, Image Making: Inspiration

So this is an awesome example of our current project I ran across on flicker. Found it through the book cover archive blog site.

Graphics/Illustrations/progress/final photos of a redesign of 4 chapters from a classic educational book; Time Life Science Library's Man and Space. First printed in 1964.

This book project combines info graphics in a book format, and employs bodies of text not to different from our magazine layouts we are working with in Type 2.  I love the compositions, full bleed diagrams, and the playfulness with empty space. I hope that my compositions turn out just as great.
The use of line and the gradations that they used on them really adds a sense of depth to their otherwise flat, vector based art.

VisCom2: Ellen Lupton Info Graphic Reading "Diagram"

This section was particularly my favorite from the book thus far. I found myself marking several pages for different elements to consider. Both graphic use of line, and the wide variety of ideas was very helpful. She covered a wide range of ideas, and even the brief overview of Edward Tufte's sort of theory on info graphics provoked some thought. I'm torn between the idea of the absolute bare simplicity and minimalism that much successful design pulls from, and the extra fluff that adds character to it.  In the end however, I think I have to go against my initial instincts and love for minimalism and have to agree with Ellen on this issue. That fluff, or "chart junk" as Tufte puts it, is what often draws the viewer in, and really gives the designer the ability to express themselves and their style into the work. With the barebone approach that Tufte supports, the viewer is only approached with a simple graphic that gets the point across, but only leaves them with the knowledge. The designer doesn't leave much of an impact on the viewer in terms of their stylistic approach. And while I agree that the idea of the designer remaining annonymos is something beautiful, it tends to diminish the human designer into a designer, or group designers together as a whole.

A few elements I saw that I haven't really thought about are typography, transparency and overlapping, and being selective in what you show.  One reason why I've been straying away from location based diagrams so far is the showing of the map. There are so many diagrams that use the map. However, a few diagrams in the examples completely blew me away with their simple solution to their problem. One simply placed the dots/ icons on the map, and then deleted the map altogether, leaving only the distance between the points. This created simplicity and really played up typography and the graphic qualities of the colored lines they used.  Another diagram used only a few countries, but rather than using the whole world map, they only used those countries, and left the distance between the countries as an abstract thing by putting these countries that would normally be across the world from each other adjacent to one another.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

VisCom2: Info Graphic Research

Okay, so here is research facts for 6 of my 9 icons from the last project. This data will be used in various info graphics for my magazine spreads.

Type and Image: Everest Book Format

Project 4 for Image making is going to be a series of 4 books that pertain to different aspects of our icon narratives. All the classes are sort of forming into a super project from our icons in Visual Communications. But we are redesigning the covers of 4 books and designing them using digital photography and montage. An icon will also be present on each book from our set.

So this is the books size/ template I'll be using for the Dust Jacket designs.

I'm thinking about doing author information and a book description on the inside flaps of the dust jacket, but I'm not sure yet. I might rather leave those for the design, we'll see. From here I'll start a series of sketches for possible design ideas. I know I want the series to be cohesive, and I want some shared element between the spines of the books. This way, when they are all set up next to each other, the spines will share a continued graphic. I'll post some inspiration for book covers later as well.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Type2: 1st article for zine content

This first article is a New York Times article, written about the first man to climb Everest, and his experience there. I would like to find some less obvious articles though, so I'll keep looking.  Maybe one on high altitudes, or the formation of mountains.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

VisCom2: "Ascending Everest" Crit Post.

The icon set has been completed in it's colored forms. In the end I actually ended up with 2 colored sets with 2 different applications.  Background choices were difficult but were ultimately left as a simple square with rounded corners.  This related to the trail marker of outdoor trails.

Here's the set:

Application to images and clothing and equipment brands was really my inspiration to the set. I would love to see these icons presented in a North Face catalog, or other outdoor zines.  The black background is needed when interacting with photography.  The background elements make the icons illegible otherwise.  The orange set was made to really pop from the imagery, and set it apart from any dark backgrounds where the squares might be drowned out.

Type2: CNN Heads Up! (Crit Post)

So the Weather project has come to an end in time for Spring break. This poject certainly had a big impact on my way of thinking about type and the way it's created. They aren't some rigid, computerized, bitmapped, creation, but something that's alive and malleable.  The type can speak so much more than the word it shows.

Here are the final mounts for the project.  The bus graphics, the billboards, and the interstitial. I'll upload the interstitial soon.

At first, I took the experimentation literally. I baked earth to make drought, I blew paper to shoot wind. Thinking literally, I thought the point would come across thoroughly and quickly to the viewer, but I was mistaken. My peers were pumping out much better imagery than I was at the time, and I think that they had more open minds as to their process and materials to work with. So after a crit or two, I took to cut paper and layering. 
I wanted the viewer to experience far more than a giant logo. I didn't want an overwhelming commercial feel, but a personal hand crafted one. The cut paper let me loosely render forms and get expressive in their shape.  The layering process was really like working through photoshop, and even more so when I layered the photos in computer to create the final pieces. 
Creating a compelling composition was difficult. There was a system with the logo and a chosen slogan that had to be applied and paid careful attention to. The buses also gave tough areas that couldn't be covered, like wheel wells and doors.  So working around such elements and still maintaining legibility was the key to this project.  Something so experiemental still has to be readable to passersby when the bus might only give them seconds to see the image as it passes.  The billboards also presented the same issue, as the driver only has seconds to pass by and recieve the message.
Cohesion was the second half. Everyone could make an interesting image, but did they all look like part of the same campaign? This would all come together in the interstitial, and really had to function as a whole.  I decided that a light gray pallet with whites would work well to my narrative of a dry region.  The slogan was kept brief, and the band helped to separate the CNN logo from the image behind.  Overall, I'm pleased with the outcomes, but part of me still would like to work with different processes in rendering type.  I look forward to future experimentation.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Type2: More Buses, More Billboards

So here are the newer round of my bus and billboard graphics for my CNN weather campaign.  I'm not satisfied yet with the typeface, and I think I'll do it all caps. (For the "Heads Up!" Slogan) The logo and the under case seem to conflict with each other. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Image Making: 7 Sins Project Crit Post

So in the beginning stages of the project, I started with brainstorming through some ideas on possible concepts for the project. The best ones included collaging books and major works of literature that reflect each sin, taking photos of architectual forms that represented the sins, and light and color.  Colored light jumped out at me most, and seemed a practical concept. So I ran with it.

Here were some initial sketches.

After some experimentation I soon started pumping out some pretty interesting images. Trying to capture an idea through abstract forms and color was difficult, and increased my interest in abstract imagery.

Here are some of the images further into the production phase.

And finally after several crits and many iterations, these were the final images for my accordian fold book, Seven Sins in Light. The order is as follows: Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth, Wrath)

Once again, iterations and sheer ammount of work definitely helped develop better work and better quality.  I also haven't worked much with long exposures, and working under both time and pressure.  These 15 second long exposures became mini performances.