Introduce Yourself…

This first assignment is for students to familiarise themselves with how the course works and isn’t submitted for formal assessment. I’m hoping it will teach me the fundamentals on how to design and analyse my work rather than just drawing for fun like I used to do.

Design a series of at least three postcards (final size A6) that say something about who you are, your interests in graphic design and your wider cultural influences or interests…

After much thought I decided to try and make each postcard as different as possible. From having a career so far in a 1st Line Support IT background, it has taught me to stick to what I know and what I’m comfortable with. This lead me to decide I wanted to illustrate one using my laptop and digital pen as I’ve done so before, but on the other hand try something completely new by using pens in my sketchbook and uploading to Photoshop. Lastly I wanted to create one using only text.

I wanted all three to give an insight into my life so far. I listed some things that represent me as a person as well as listing my hobbies and interests. I also noted an artist who influenced me when I began to design the first postcard.

Postcard #1

As soon as I read through what the first Assignment was I had an idea of this first postcard. I’ve loved film and TV series from a young age so it made sense to create one on a subject that is heavily involved in my life. I love Star Wars and Marvel so I thought about combing the two somehow. I thought the easiest way to achieve this was to use Autodesk Sketchbook on my Surface Pro and pen.  

 Years ago I remember seeing a Banksy piece of artwork ‘The girl with the balloon’. I thought how amazing it was. It’s so simple yet so effective. I love how only three colours can create such a powerful image. This influenced me in creating this first postcard. I wanted to produce a simple image to make people question the thought process behind it. Less is more! 

I wanted to convey the fact that I like old and new films, of all genres. This seemed like a difficult task to do. That being said, firstly I sketched an old fashioned film camera, then Darth Vader from Star Wars, and finally Captain America from the Marvel films. Here’s the sketches…

I wanted the postcard to be like a snapshot from a movie. I went with a white background to emphasise the old film camera and two characters. I always appreciate a white background, whether it being on a billboard or a birthday card. I think it looks slick and straight to the point… and I’m also a very straight to the point type of person. Like many of Banksy’s artwork I wanted to keep colour minimal on this postcard, only having one character in colour.

I chose these two characters in particular because one is a ‘Hero’ and one a ‘Villain’. Polar opposites. I like people in life that are different to others. I believe diversity in society is key. Everyone in the world has been good or bad at some point in their lives. Fact. I drew Darth Vader using the ‘Force’ to hold Captain America in the air to clearly show who’s the ‘bad’ character. Once I’d finished drawing the film camera and Darth Vader, I was in a predicament. I liked the postcard without adding Captain America. It was simple and had a large amount of white background. That being said I knew I needed something for Darth Vader to be holding in the air. Something small.

Postcard #1 incomplete

I was stuck in a rut for a while until I noticed I was wearing Lion King socks. Then I suddenly thought to draw Simba, a baby lion, as if he were being held by Rafiki in the film. Here’s the final result…

Postcard #2

I wanted the second postcard to be based on one of my personal experiences so I chose a recent one, Glastonbury 2019. I love festivals but there are good and bad points to them which is what I wanted to portray on this postcard. I loved the festival but at the same time I hated it. People told me it’s like Heaven and Hell and they hit the nail on the head. Sketches below…

I chose to have this postcard consumed by colour. I didn’t want any white space or any block colours which lead me to draw this one with watercolour pens to create a messy and blurred effect because I think that represents Glastonbury life the most accurately. I based my sketches on a picture I took whilst I was there.

Pyramid Stage 2019

I included the three main things about any festival, tents, people and music. I didn’t want to sugar-coat the festival and consequently came up with the idea of colouring half on the festival in greyscale to show there’s more to the pictures of Glastonbury you see in the News and on Google. There are many downsides to attending. 

I took a picture of the illustration and uploaded it to Photoshop to just have a bit of an experiment with the different effects. I accidentally came across an effect called ‘Tiles’ which I thought emphasised the Glastonbury experience even more so than just the illustration. Here’s the final design…

Postcard #2

Postcard #3

This final postcard took the least amount of time but has the most meaning out of the three. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life not knowing which path to take. Which one is going to benefit me the most? Will I be happy? Is it the best suited for me? I was researching different images of paths and came across this one which really made me stop and think.

The picture has so many connotations. It implies we have numerous paths open for us to take in life. It shows a girl with multiple paths in front of her but she’s at a standstill, probably in a dilemma about which one to choose. I think sometimes we don’t get to choose what path we take, we just fall on onto one and start walking.

Initial thoughts

As you can see from my first rough design I wanted to use words to create image. I wasn’t sure how to do this so I carried on with some research into type based images. I think this image is so clever in the way it uses colour and positioning to create the effect of a wave. . The distinctive positioning of the words shows the audience clearly what the image is.

To create this last postcard I used Adobe Illustrator for the first time. I began to play around with the different tools creating shapes like the below…

I chose to use ‘CHANGEPATH’ as the text to use for the design. I chose those two words because I believe that you don’t necessarily choose your path but you can change the one you’re on, hence why I’m completing this degree. I want to change careers. I’d like to enjoy the work I do. I carefully played with different colours to see which went best with each other. I kept the background plain to emphasise the paths and how they all differentiate. My final postcard…

Postcard #3

Thinking of you

This assignment will allow you to put into practice what you have learnt in all the projects and exercises you have done so far, in particular your ability to work through the design process and undertake creative problem solving in relation to a set brief.


Greetings cards are an illustrated, folded card usually in an envelope that express a range of sentiments – such as celebrations, congratulations, thanks, regrets and condolences. They are often related to specific dates such as St. Valentine’s Day, religious holidays or big landmarks in your life, like turning 21 or the birth of a child.

The brief

Create a range of cards for sentiments or events that are worthy of a greetings card, but are currently not catered for by card manufactures.

The cards could be linked to other calendar events, obscure Saints days, sporting calendars or any other happening that is worth celebrating or commiserating. You may wish to explore some of life’s other landmarks that currently don’t feature in greetings cards, like getting your first grey hairs, being released from prison or any other personal landmark someone might want to share.


Your will need to design the cover of your card and the message inside. You may choose to include the envelope within your design work as well as explore the possibility of pop-ups or other forms of cards.

At least three finished cards will be produced, which can either be unrelated or work as a series linked to the same sentiment. Base the dimensions of your cards on a size of envelope that you have available to you.

Work through the design process, documenting it in your research file as you go:

• Analyse the brief
Read the brief, identifying keywords, communication issues and design problems

• Research and develop ideas
Identify the primary and secondary research you need to undertake. This brief requires some lateral thinking: develop ideas that are unexpected, obvious and fun.

OCA Graphic Design 53

• Visualise your ideas
Use mood boards to explore the feel of your sentiments, visualise your ideas through thumbnails and create mock-ups of your cards.

• Critique your work
Write a short rationale for each of your ideas explaining your decision-making process. Evaluate your design work, try and include other people in this process.

• Finish your artwork
Create at least three finished cards that are of the highest visual quality that you can achieve at this time. Use appropriate DTP, image manipulation and/or illustration software to complete them. Remember to check for spelling, typos and accuracy.

Brief analysis

primary research

Greeting card, an illustrated message that expresses, either seriously or humorously, affection, good will, gratitude, sympathy, or other sentiments. Greeting cards are usually sent by mail in observance of a special day or event and can be divided into two general classifications: seasonal and everyday. Seasonal cards include those for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, graduation, Halloween, and St. Patrick’s Day. Everyday cards include those commemorating birthdays, anniversaries, or births; cards of condolence, congratulations, or friendship; as well as get-well cards, gift cards, bon voyage cards, and thank you cards.

greeting card history

he exchange of illustrated greetings among friends dates from ancient times. In Egypt the new year was celebrated by the exchange of symbolic presents, such as scent bottles and scarabs inscribed au ab nab (“all good luck”). The Romans exchanged strenae, originally branches of laurel or olive, frequently coated with gold leaf. Symbols of seasonal good will, such as a Roman lamp impressed with the figure of Victory surrounded by strenae, were inscribed with Anno novo faustum felix tibi sit (“May the new year be happy and lucky for you”). The acknowledgment of the new year with exchanges of good will continued in Europe through the early days of Christianity.

In the 15th century, master wood engravers produced inscribed prints which had the same intent as the modern Christmas and New Year’s cards. One of these, by Master E.S., shows the Christ Child with a halo before a cross and holding a scroll on which appears Ein guot selig ior(“A good and happy year”). During the 18th and early 19th centuries, copperplate engravers produced prints and calendars for the new year, and greetings by organizations, merchants, and tradesmen were common.

The valentine is also regarded as a forerunner of the greeting card. Its history is related to pre-Christian Rome when boys drew the names of girls from a love urn on the feast of the Lupercalia (February 15). The custom was introduced to England by the Romans and continued through the Christian era. In order to adapt the practice to Christianity, the church transferred it to the feast of St. Valentine.

The paper valentine with inscribed sentiment dates from the 16th century, and the first printed valentine may have been the frontispiece of A Valentine Writer, a book of verses that offered assistance to the inarticulate and was issued as early as 1669. By 1800 hand-painted copperplates by such artists as Francesco Bartolozzi were in demand. These were followed by woodcuts and lithographs, all in quarto size, some further embellished with an embossed frame. With the introduction of penny postage and envelopes in England in 1840, the exchange of valentines increased, and the use of lace paper, delicately ornamented, became popular. In the U.S., crude woodcut valentines were produced by Robert H. Elton and Thomas W. Strong of New York but gave way to the lace paper delicacies imported from England. The less expensive creations of Esther Howland of Worcester, Massachusetts, first appeared in 1850.


Facts and Figures

Latest Figures from the GCA Market Report 2018

The latest GCA Market Report shows that in 2017 the UK public spent £1.7 billion on greeting cards.

The report, which covers sales January – December 2017, is the only research based on actual retail sales figures, with data confidentially submitted by UK publishers to market analysts Echo Research (formerly a division of Ebiquity).

The total retail value of single cards sales in the UK stood at over £1.506bn in 2017.

Everyday cards are now worth £1.163bn.

Nearly 100 million Christmas single cards were sold, bringing the total for the Christmas card market to one billion cards sold in the UK.

In addition, an estimated 900m Christmas cards were sold in boxes and packs worth around £230m, as well as millions of cards bought from online operators, such as Moonpig.

The greeting card card categories covered in the report are:

  • Christmas – (single cards only)
  • Open Birthday/Blank Cards
  • Occasions/Age/Relations
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Easter – Single Cards
  • Easter – Boxes and Packs

The vast majority of greeting cards are still bought in bricks and mortar stores, rather than online and they remain an important, highly-profitable product for all manner of retailers, being sold in one in six retail outlets.

Facts About the Greeting Card Industry

  • The greeting card industry is directly and indirectly responsible for the jobs of 100,000 people in the UK including: publishers; artists, photographers and image suppliers; verse and prose writers; printers; paper and board companies; envelope and cello wrap suppliers; specialist finishers; warehousing and distribution companies; trade fair organisers and retailers.
  • No other country has such a tradition of card sending or card display in the home – the sending and receiving of cards is an important part of our culture.
  • We buy more cards per person than any other nation – 33 each a year.
  • But the industry’s rule of thumb is that 85% of all cards are bought by women.
  • The UK card industry is acknowledged to be ten years ahead of the rest of the world in terms of design.
  • Greeting cards are stocked in more types of outlet than any other product – with one in six retailers stocking greeting cards.
  • There are over a thousand publishers in the UK, most of which are small businesses with fewer than five employees. Out of the 450 plus members of the GCA over 350 are small/micro businesses.
  • It’s a creative industry with strong bases in London, Nottinghamshire and the North, especially Yorkshire and Lancashire, where it has replaced many of the heavy manufacturing industries as a major employers.
  • Charities estimate that £50m is raised for good causes through the sales of charity Christmas cards each year.
  • Greeting card making is also the number one craft hobby, according to Crafts Beautiful, the top consumer craft magazine, which receives more enquiries about greeting cards than any other subject.
  • The commercial Christmas card was invented in 1846 by Sir Henry Cole, the chief organiser of the Great Exhibition, pioneer of the penny post and founder of the V&A Museum.
  • One of Sir Henry’s first Christmas cards, sent to his Grandmother was recently sold at auction for  £22,500.


What is currently being sold?

The easiest way for me to see what was on offer was to take a trip to the supermarket, Morrison’s. All large supermarkets such as Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s all sell Greetings Cards in their stores, and usually a wide variety, depending on the size of the store. Even some small shops like Londis and Costcutter sell a small selection of Birthday Cards. Here’s what Morrison’s had to offer…

As you can see Morrison’s have categorised their Greetings Cards making it easier for shoppers to select the card they require. There was a huge variety of cards from birthdays for all ages and family members to passing your driving test and getting a new house. With it being October at the moment I’m sure it won’t be long before a Christmas category is added.

An impressive selection from Morrison’s but then I decided to check what an online card manufacturer was offering. I chose to look at Funky Pigeon as I often order my cards from there due to convenience!

As expected, Funky Pigeon has a huge selection of cards. But it should because that’s what the business is for, whereas a supermarket is essentially for food and drink so Greetings Cards won’t be top priority for them. Plus with online manufacturers you can get more personal by adding your own message, name and picture if you desire. On the down side you do tend to pay more for cards online than you would in store. Based on the cards I buy the price difference is only about £1-£1.50 different.

Secondary research

Firstly I spent some time searching ‘Days of the year’ on Google to see what days there were that I wasn’t aware of. It turned out there are many more than I thought. For example today’s date (24/10/19) is ‘Mole Day’. I mean, who would know that?


I had an idea of Star Wars day (May 4th) in my head and checked to see if that was on the website which it was. Being a big fan I knew that this would definitely be one of my designs. But then I had to decide which others…

what cards?

So firstly I jotted down the ideas I had come across for the cards that I would actually consider designing…

I ended up choosing Star Wars Day, Harry Potter Day and Starting your own Business…

Star Wars day

I chose Star Wars Day (May 4th) because I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I knew that by choosing this day I would have a challenge to design something that would do it justice. I scoured shops and the card manufacturers like MoonPig and Funky Pigeon to make sure there wasn’t any existing cards for the occasion. I think that this card would do well on the market as the amount of Star Wars fans there are is incredible.

Harry Potter day

I chose this day (2nd May) because, again I’m a fan. I think this card would have an even larger chance of selling if it was available to buy. I might be speaking as a fan here but I don’t think many people don’t like the Harry Potter films/books. I had an idea in mind for this design which was fairly simple which I hoped would work.

congrats on starting your own business

I ended up choosing this card because I think it’s such an achievement for someone to open there own business and pursue their dream. Plus my partner is hoping to open up a Coffee Shop in the near future so I’d love to give her a card for that. Also, I think it’s becoming more common for people to start up their own business in this day in age, and with there being every other ‘congrats’ card currently on the market, I feel this one could work too.

mind maps

I started to mind map each card to get the ideas flowing…

At this point I had some rough ideas of what designs I could use for each card. I thought I needed to have a look at some imagery on each topic of card to get an idea of what colours and text could be used. I created a Mood Board on Pinterest which helped greatly with further inspiration.

the designs

Star Wars day

I began to rough sketch some design ideas I had into my sketchbook…

These were very rough sketches just to get a feel for what could be possible when going onto the actual designing and selecting suitable imagery. I started to think, as a fan, what would I like to see on this card? I thought to myself, I ‘d like to see Darth Vader as he’s a classic Star Wars character, and that would definitely draw me into looking at the card. In my head I wanted the background to be Galaxy like, with stars. Then somehow incorporate his head onto that background and possibly play with the colours red and blue to symbolise the light and dark side of the force. I knew that the font should be similar as possible to the real Star Wars font which is bold and a dark yellow shade. With these ideas in my head I began another quick sketch with a bit of colour and shading to put my ideas to paper…

I then searched on Google for Galaxy images which turned out to be difficult to find one with a good resolution. I found one I really liked but the resolution wasn’t great when I enlarged it to a card size. Darth Vader images which was a minefield until I amended the search to Darth Vader Mask which lead me to one I thought I could work with…


I then tweaked the galaxy image making it as clear as possible but then decided to shrink it and crop it to then copy and paste to make the background up of three images of better quality. My next hurdle was which font to use. None of the standard ones were very fitting so I went onto Typkit so search for more suitable alternatives, to which I found a few. They were all quite different but could pass for the theme. I was torn between the top two fonts…

After asking family and friends for feedback on which font looked best on the background I went with the majority (which was luckily in my top two) the second one down. The bolder more visible font. It looks more like the actual font Star Wars uses which is a bonus. Once I had the font sorted I placed the image of Darth Vader onto the Design. I lined the image up so it was central but it looked a bit ‘plonky’ for my liking and didn’t really flow with the background as much as I hoped. To combat this I changed the opacity of the image and as a result made the background look darker and more space like and the image tied in better as you could almost see the stars through Darth Vader.

At this point I still felt like the card needed something more. I then went back to my Mind Maps and Moodboard and remembered I wanted to incorporate red and blue somewhere. Then I had the idea to find two pictures and place one each behind the eyes of Darth Vader. I searched Google for suitable images and managed to find two which were exactly what I was looking for to finish the design. I managed to find two images which each symbolised the light and dark side.

Sources: – fight

Harry Potter day

Similarly I rough sketched a initial ideas to see what I had to work with…

I developed an idea I had a bit further to see if it was going to be possible to design. I wanted it to be a simple design this time because I think Harry Potter is so famous that even his scar is recognisable to fans. I added a bit of colour to the sketch and annotation to look back on if I struggled with the design.

First I searched for Harry Potter images and came across just what I was looking for. Much easier than the search for a Galaxy. I found a simple yet easily identifiable image…


Once I placed my image onto the white background I started to think about what text to use and what font. I thought because the image is so basic, maybe I should put some text that Harry Potter fans could see from a distance as sometimes the top of cards stick out when they’re on display in a shop. I decided to use a Harry Potter quote from one of the films. I placed it above the image and then went through all the fonts to see which looked the most ‘Potter’ like. I chose the Font BlackBeard as it reminded me of the Harry Potter font. I coloured it burgundy to coordinate with the colour in Harry’s scarf. I then decided to have more text underneath the image saying ‘Happy Potter Day’ which is almost a play on words as it’s a card for Harry Potter Day.

The design was too plain at this point. I thought it needed more colour so I tried various background colours until I chose the same shade of orange as the scarf which completed the design…

Congrats on starting your own business

Initial sketches…

I then developed the best idea I had into a more in depth sketch. I liked the idea of the growth of the plant as it symbolises the growth the person who created their business has gone through.

I searched google for ‘plants growing’ and ‘growth’ and ‘seeds to plants’. I picked this image as I think looks professional and portrays the message of the card.


I cropped the image and placed into Photoshop. Similarly to the Harry Potter design, I wanted to keep this one minimalistic too. Due to the genre of the card, a ‘busy’ design could look tacky and not fit for the genre which would result in lack of sales if it went onto the market. I wrote the text and didn’t like any of the fonts available so went onto Typekit again and downloaded several I liked the look of. I picked one called Mono-45Headline because it had a professional feel to it and also made the card look contemporary. I coloured the text the same colour as the plant leaves to achieve consistency.

I wasn’t fully happy with the card like this. It needed something else. I went back to have a look at my initial sketches and saw the arrow to which I incorporated into the letter T in starting which made for a nice touch and took the card in a more positive direction (excuse the pun). I did play around with background colours but none went that well with the image so I stuck with white but I did create an orange border which added a bit of extra colour.


I kept the insides of the cards fairly simple. I kept the colours the same as the front cover for consistency. I added quotes into Harry Potter Day and Star Wars Day because as a geek myself, I’d quite like to see a quote inside. With the business one I just put another positive message inside.

Self assessment

I loved this assignment. It enabled me to experiment hugely with different fonts, backgrounds, images and effects. I can see how every exercise lead to this assignment as I’ve used tools that I learnt from them and put into practice here.

My favourite card is either the Star Wars or Harry Potter one. I liked getting creative and playing around with the positioning of images with the Star Wars one and was very happy with how it turned out. The Harry Potter one is simple yet effective. I only used three colours on that one and did think back to Occam’s Razor when creating it. Less was more on this design.

If I had to criticise myself I would say that the Business card is the weakest. In the back of my mind I’m still thinking is it too plain? or does it need that orange border?

Also I’ve learnt that research is so so important before designing anything. Even if you don’t think you’ve learnt anything, you have subconsciously.

Going forward, I do need to learn to time manage a bit better. Sometimes I dwell on things and try to change designs when they are finished. I need to know when to finish a design. I always want to improve my designs so it’s difficult to leave them alone. But for the first time, I didn’t want to change a design, which was the Harry Potter card. I felt I could keep picking at the other two designs, which could’ve potentially ruined them completely.

Point of sale display

Your local green grocer has asked you to produce a point of sale display to go above the fruit and vegetables in their shop. They want the display to be seen from the street through the shop window to attract passing shoppers in order to boost their trade. The shop is in a small precinct which also houses a baker, a newsagent, an independent shoe shop and is on the route to and from a well respected primary school.

The final reproduction size will be 2 x A1 landscape so you will need to produce your artwork at a smaller scale.

Either take photographs, create illustrations or use a combination to develop two images – one of fruit and one of vegetables. For each range you may choose an individual piece, dissected or partly sliced sections, or create a group of several pieces.

Then identify any wording you might want to use. The most important things to remember are what the shopkeeper wants to achieve and who the message is for (the audience). The posters will be seen from quite a distance and mainly in people’s peripheral vision so the visuals need to be clear and dynamic.

Illustrating food is a challenging area of work. Focus on the food in your image. Remember to create a visual distance between you and the food. Put yourself in the place of the customer and ask, “Does this look edible? Would I like to eat it?”. Be especially conscious of the way you use colour to describe tone, shadow and surface marks – poor colour choices can result in food looking mouldy, battered, and ultimately unappetising.

brief analysis

getting started

I was intrigued when I first read through this exercise. I didn’t know that the images above products in the supermarket were called ‘point of sale displays’ so I was eager to have a look at some examples. Unfortunately I do my food shopping online so don’t get to see much of these type of displays so I knew I needed to take a trip to a supermarket to get started. I also needed to research what the actual definition of a point of sale display was to enable me to go forward when creating mine.

I heard that Photoshop was the best tool to edit images but I did some research into why this was. When searching what the best software for editing photos it was a toss up between Light Room and Photoshop. One website said ‘Photoshop is a pixel-level editor, meaning you can get up close and personal with every little dot of color that make up your digital image’. So I chose to go with Photoshop as I completed some exercises on it previously. Source:

point of sale display

Point of sale displays are a form of printed promotional material installed by retailers at or around the point of sale. A space that’s often wasted by retailers, savvy store owners will use eye-catching POS displays here to take full advantage of the premium advertising space surrounding the store’s point of purchase section.

As shoppers head to the point of sale in order to make a purchase, the till point provides retailers with the chance to upsell products and increase in-store spending in the final moments before a transaction takes place. So, whether you opt for free-standing display units to encourage impulse purchases or invest in eye-catching hanging signs suspended above the till point, a professionally designed and strategically located point of purchase display can make all the difference to your customers’ average spend-per-visit.

One of the primary reasons that shoppers abandon their trolley or basket on their route to the point of sale is when checkout queues just take too long – but engaging POS displays on the along the path to the checkout can dissuade customers from leaving the store before they’ve completed a transaction. From showing off a new range of products to advertising one-off promotions, keeping your customer occupied on the path to the point of sale means you’re more likely to hold their attention, and able to prompt them to add impulse buys to their basket.


From keeping your consumers occupied in the queue with an eye-catching display to shifting last season’s dead stock, there are so many ways that retailers can benefit from introducing POS displays to their store:

  • A cost-effective solution: Rather than investing in higher-cost permanent display solutions, the competitive prices that come with a cardboard POS display allow retailers to invest in multiple custom-made display materials without going over budget
  • A design that’s unique: From adorning displays with your logo to choosing a themed design that shows off all the most attractive features of the product itself, a customisable point of purchase display gives you the power to add something unique and eye-catching to your store
  • A way to jump on seasonal trends: As the seasons change, so too should your stock – and a point of sale display gives you the platform to jump on any upcoming events or timely themes. While hijacking seasonal trends may not be appropriate around the rest of the store, the point of sale offers an ideal space to sell those smaller items that are relevant to current customer needs
  • An increase in spend-per-visit: Appealing to the impulse buyer is one of the easiest ways to increase your customer’s average spend-per-visit, and placing low-cost items and promotionally priced products by the till point will make it hard for shoppers to resist adding extra items to their baskets


I found this image via a Google search . It’s not specific to one fruit or vegetable but the fruit looks edible and the editing of the images has made everything look more vibrant and appealing.

Similarly, this display in Tesco is basic and straight to the point. The images are huge so can’t be missed by supermarket shoppers and look edible.

I went to Morrison’s to have a look at what point of displays they are using at the moment…

These displays are quite small in my opinion and could do with being double the size to help shoppers see where different fruit and veg are. I like the use of colours. The black background compliments the bright text which fits well with the cartoon images.

Design ideas

So I started to jot down my first ideas into my sketchbook…

  • Should there be any background, or use the fruit/veg for the entire poster?
  • What Fruit/Veg?
    • Pineapple
    • Pumpkin (Seasonal)
    • Peppers
    • Avocado
    • Strawberry
    • Asparagus
    • Sweetcorn
    • Red Onion
  • Should it be one piece of the fruit/veg or multiple pieces?
  • Will the font be bold?
  • Who is it aimed at? (passers by but mainly parents?)
  • Should I use humorous text? Maybe puns?
  • Do I take photographs or sketch?

I came to the decision that I would use my phone to take pictures of the fruit/veg and then upload to Photoshop and play around with the images to see what could be done with them. I chose fairly common fruit and veg: Asparagus, Sweetcorn, Avocado and Pumpkin. I wanted to make a set of two fruit and two ve .I actually learnt that a lot of Veg is technically a fruit, one being a pumpkin. I chose it because it’s seasonal and many children enjoy carving them and the parents enjoying making pies or soups from them! I chose the Asparagus, Sweetcorn, Avocado because they are known to be extremely healthy foods, especially the Asparagus.

the designs

I put the fruit and veg on white paper to photograph as I knew it would make it easier to remove the background when in Photoshop. I played around with different angles and using the flash on my phone…

I managed to take a few good photos of each piece and then uploaded them into Photoshop. I played around with the images making them larger/smaller, rotating and adding effects. I scrapped the idea of trying to add an effect and focused more on the quality of the image. I changed the amount of pixels on the images which improved the quality, allowing me to have the images larger. I also used the colour tint and brightness/contrast to edit the photos to make them brighter and more crisp.

I created the backgrounds of the posters first using the edit images. I knew the Pumpkin could be the majority of the background but the others required duplicating and cropping the images to make up the background…

Now I had my backgrounds and I was fairly happy with them, I needed to think about wording. What would passers by like? What would I like? What would parents on a school run like? I wanted the wording to be humorous because I think puns always go down well amongst all ages of people. I wanted the wording to either be a pun or a saying.

It took a surprising amount of time to think of the wording. Some sayings and puns worked better than others! Once I had decided on each posters wording I searched through the fonts on Photoshop but none really stood out until I came across the DIN Condensed which is very clear and professional looking. I also made the text bold and ‘strong’ to make it stand out even more. I struggled with the colours of the text, trying many different variations on the different colour backgrounds. Initially I wanted white text for all for posters as I thought it would look professional and clear to a passer by but after trialling different colours and asking people’s feedback, that wasn’t the case. As you can see, I ended up with white text only on the Asparagus. The browns looked better on the Pumpkin and Sweetcorn and was easier to read from a distance than white was. I chose a dark red with the Avocado because it was a nice contrast between the fruit and blue background. I actually started with the Avocado’s at the bottom of the page like the others but soon learnt I had to move it to make any text readable.

I debated whether to leave the backgrounds all white but thought they were slightly too boring and thought back to the brief where it mentioned ‘clear and dynamic’. This lead me to play around with different colours to which I chose a medium shade of blue. This emphasised the Fruit and Veg’s colour and brought them to life in a sense. Blue could also be seen as the colour of the sky which would also remind passers by of a summers day and the fact that they are grown outside. The background also helped to make the for posters a set.

Self assessment

I enjoyed this exercise because it was more hands on that the previous ones. I liked having to go out and buy the fruit/veg and take various pictures to then use to create my own designs. This exercise allowed me to have freedom which was good fun. I knew what the brief was but I had to create posters from scratch, not recreating any like the last exercise.

I’m pleased with the end result. The fruit and veg look appetising which was a main focal point according to the brief. Plus the images are large enough for passers by to see clearly.

If I had to critique the posters I’d say they weren’t consistent enough to be a set. Ideally I wanted to have the text the same colour but that wasn’t possible. If I had more time I would have re designed the avocado one as it’s my least favourite. I had to move the images up from the bottom of the poster to enable the text to be read clearly. This was frustrating as the three other poster images were coming up from the bottom.

Too much or not enough information

Posters generally, have an image and one main line of text, most often the title, followed by additional essential information.

Look around locally and identify a coming event – it could be a jumble sale, a local gig, concert or play, an exhibition or sporting fixture – and design two posters to promote it.

Make the first poster full of details and descriptions about the event, when and where it’s taking place, what’s going on, how long it lasts, how much it costs and what to expect. Include all the details that you think your audience might need.

For the second poster apply Occam’s Razor to pare back the information to a bare minimum – be extreme: how little information can you get away with and how few words can you use? Challenge yourself to be as simple as possible, but don’t forget the essentials or the poster won’t do the job it is intended for.

Now ask yourself and other people if you can, which of the designs works best. What is the key information you need to include?

How did the feedback help you with your final design? Make notes in your learning log. Redesign your poster using the feedback to guide you, creating a new poster that utilises the best points of both designs.

I created a Brief Analysis table for this exercise and to use on future ones. I think it allows me to clearly structure what the brief is asking of me as a designer.

So I made a start on this exercise by trying to keep an eye out for posters around my city but didn’t have much luck so went to Facebook on the ‘Events’ section. This is actually one of the few good aspects of the Social Media site. It allows you to view local events in your area by day/week/month. I came across two events that I liked the look of which both had online posters advertising them…

I don’t think either posters are great. The Aquarium one is too childish with the cartoon animals so therefore isn’t fit for target audience of students. The structure of the Bonfire Night poster is lacking and the picture on the left is poor quality. The only thing I like about both is that the backgrounds are appropriate colours.

I chose the aquarium event purely because I like fish and recently bought my own tank. The existing poster showed the necessary info…

  • What? A night in the Aquarium
  • Where? Plymouth’s National Marine Aquarium
  • When? 24th October 7-10pm
  • Cost? FREE

Primary Research

As there wasn’t any posters around my city, I went online for research into different styles and techniques of posters. I wanted to see what worked well and what didn’t. A tool I like is Pinterest so I went on and searched posters and saved some that I liked the look of and could look back on when designing mine.

These posters are very contemporary but are mainly film posters and not local event posters. The budget for these posters would be considerably more than for a local event because they’re aim is to attract worldwide audiences whereas my local event is on a much smaller scale with only local people being the target audience. So, with this in mind I had to amend my Pinterest search to ‘Event Posters’. This search brought up the type of posters I needed to look through and analyse their pros and cons. Again, I saved a handful to a board for future inspiration if needed when designing mine…

These posters gave me an idea of what I should include on mine. They all have relevant imagery and backgrounds according to what their events are. All of their colours compliment each other which I think is important.  On the flip side, some of the posters aren’t clear and wouldn’t be able to be read from a distance. I’ll try to make sure my poster can be read from a passing car because traffic in my city is often manic and I always find myself looking around whilst stuck in my car.

Occam’s Razor

All the way back in the 12th century, the Franciscan friar William of Ockham gave the world a rule: “Plurality must never be posited without necessity.” Put more simply, the simplest answer – that is, the answer that requires the fewest assumptions  – is generally the correct one.

In the 800-plus years since Friar William laid down his maxim, logicians have turned it into a rule: Occam’s razor. Occam’s razor simply states that of any given set of explanations for an event occurring, the simplest one is most likely the correct one.

Occam’s razor makes no absolute assertions. It does not claim that the simplest answer is always correct. It merely suggests that, among all possible answers to a question, one’s best bet is generally the one that requires the fewest assumptions.


I do agree with Occam’s theory. Less is often more. I think a lot of people make the mistake of over complicating designs which ruins them.

The Posters

So firstly I had to think what background to use for the posters. Being that the event is an Aquarium night I wanted the background to be an under water photo. I did a Google Image search for an appropriate one to use. This took longer than I expected because of many images on Google being poor quality. I eventually found two I liked so began to design posters with both backgrounds so that I could compare and see which looked better…



So as you can see both backgrounds are bright and highly detailed. With this in mind I wanted to keep the text fairly simple. In Photoshop I opened both images ready. I changed the colour on one of the photos by adding a gradient which made it a more of a lighter blue and yellow background. I then added plenty of text (too much) containing event details. Plus I added the sponsors logo. I chose Futura text and made it bold for emphasis. I chose yellow for the font as it went well with the yellow gradient background. I then played with effects until I came across the Wave one which I used for the title.

Next copied the text from the first poster to the second so that I could compare back background looked the best. I also changed the text colour on this one to white as it looked more clear than yellow.

Next I stripped away the majority of the information on the above posters to apply Occam’s Razor. This created a very basic look but was straight to the point for the audience. I thought about what details to keep and what to remove. I went back to the What, Where, When, How questions. I made sure the title was large and already told the audience where because there’s only one Aquarium in Plymouth and it stated the event was free. Then I made sure to leave the date of the event.

These posters were too simplistic in my opinion. I had to play around with the positioning of the text so it didn’t get lost in the background which was tricky. At this point I was thinking which colour scheme/background looked better?

I needed feedback on the designs I came up with. Which worked better? What colour text looked the most clear? I created a poll on my instagram and let the feedback come in. The results were 84% for the white text and 16% for the yellow.

My partner chose the yellow because it went well with the background colours. I asked around from family to work colleagues and they all said they preferred the white text posters because it was more clear to see what the event was. I did agree with this. With that in mind I knew I had to alter the design slightly as both are extremes. One has too much info and the other not quite enough. I like the saying less is more so I didn’t want to add too much.

I added a slight ripple effect to the background image and the CityLets logo to go with the water theme which worked quite subtly. I changed the title by putting a word on each line to make it even more visible to the passer by. Also I lessened the wave effect which looked fit for purpose. I kept the date and time of the event at a good size and changed the colour to match one from the coral in the background using the Eyedropper Tool. I did think about using a yellow but the green looked more professional.

Self Assessment

I liked this exercise more than the previous ones. It allowed me to learn the impact of too much information and too little information. I enjoyed picking a local event and changing their current digital poster into something of my own.

It has especially helped with my Photoshop knowledge. I now know where multiple effects are and how to even adjust those effects. I can edit pictures and change their colours to gradient.

It was good to get feedback for this exercise because I haven’t much so far out of self doubt. the feedback affirmed what I already thought but with added suggestions and ideas which I used with the final design. With any future work I will ensure to gain feedback to make improvements.

Visualising your ideas

You have been asked to design a leaflet for an organisation, inviting people to volunteer for a task. In addition to a title the information has been broken down into four chunks each of about 120 words. You will also need to leave space for contact and address details. Working with a sheet of A4 paper or larger if you prefer, and ignoring actual words and subheadings, explore the different formats for leaflets that are possible.Consider and experiment with options for final size and types of paper as part of your visualisation.

The organisers are particularly interested in trying to attract new people. Your job is to find a way to make people want to pick up the leaflet.

Getting Started

I began by sketching types of leaflets but then decided to start folding A4 pieces of paper to get a feel for the different types of folds. Some were more successful than others…

The ones that I folded/sketched were too mainstream for my liking. So I then had a look on Pinterest for different types of leaflets for inspiration. I created a board of the types of ones I liked the look of and what I thought worked as a design…


I was surprised by the diversity of the leaflets that came up after only searching ‘Leaflets’. On Google I normally have to put ‘unique’ after something I search to get different images. I was expecting the usual types but that wasn’t the case which was good because the aim of my leaflet will be to attract new people. You don’t realise how much you can do with one piece of paper until you research the possibilities.

I liked the different shaped ones rather than square or rectangular. That being said I did like a couple square ones that had paper cut out into a shape so you could see the inside of the leaflet. Those designs aren’t very common. Speaking of common, I went to my local supermarket Sainsbury’s to see what type of leaflets they had in their stand. As expected they were mainly the same designs…

As you can see the majority of the leaflets are the Z fold design that open out into an A4 landscape page. I think that the design is fit for purpose for these leaflets because they are mainly for different attractions. The target audience is likely young children, I imagine ages 4-10 years old and at that age they tend to like books so to open up a leaflet and see bright colours and pictures would be a good selling point.

I won’t be using any of these fold for my leaflet as I feel they are too ‘samey’. None of the leaflets really caught my eye as they were all the same shape. In terms of colour and layout, I like The Lion King and the Longleat leaflets. They have a contemporary feel and use minimal colours that compliment each other. I probably prefer these to the rest due to the fact I’m probably more the target audience.

My Leaflet

What Charity? It was between Children’s Hospice South West or Gables Farm.

I chose Gables Farm which is a Dogs & Cats Home based in my home town, Plymouth. The staff and volunteers care for around 1000 cats and dogs every year. They have 82 kennels and 81 cat pens so can get very busy. They enforce a non-euthanasia policy which means no healthy cat or dog is put to sleep. They’ve been rehoming cats and dogs since 1907 and heavily rely on donations. I took my dogs their Dog Show event a couple of months ago which was great fun and it was all the more enjoyable to know the money spent was going to an excellent cause.

At this point I had two designs in my head. I sketched them and went on to made a mock-up of both…

I liked the idea of the cut out square design as I thought I could put a picture of a dog/cat inside the leaflet so it could be seen through the hole which would attract people to pick up the leaflet. On the other hand it would’ve been quite a basic design in terms of folds, only having one.

From the first time reading this exercise I wanted to create something a bit different to what’s on the leaflet stands at the moment. I saw a leaflet design on Pinterest that I really liked and with the ‘attract new people’ aspect, I decided on the hexagon shape. It’s unique but not too unique. I then went on to think about what colour scheme to use. I wanted the leaflet to stand out obviously but tastefully.

In Adobe Illustrator I opened an A4 landscape page. I began to use the shape tool to create my hexagon shape. Once I was happy with its shape and size I duplicated the layer twice and lined the others up to fit along, overlapping slightly to enable the fold. I then copied the hexagons and opened a new page pasting them onto it to create the other side of the leaflet.

I then went on Gables website to have a look at their house style. They mainly use Orange, Black and White so I knew I had to incorporate those colours into the leaflets to achieve consistency. I know if I see a leaflet or even a local shop I’ll search their website to gain more information and I’d expect the same colours/fonts to be used.

So I started to fill all the hexagons different shades of orange to see which one was closest to the orange used on the website. I selected one and used it as the background colour for both sides of the leaflet. The front hexagon of the leaflet looked a bit basic with just the logo on so I created another hexagon and filled a slightly different shade of orange which I think worked well. I then went on to the text and added four chunks to align with the shape. I kept the colours simple with black and white and added several paw prints from the Symbols on Illustrator. On the final hexagon added a picture of a dog from Gables which aligned to the bottom of the shape and fitted well with the orange background. I then left some space above the picture for contact details. Here was the final outcome…

I then printed the first side of the leaflet on A4 plain paper which was a bit flimsy and obviously wouldn’t actually be used for a real life leaflet but it gave a good idea of what it could look like given the correct paper. After I printed the first side I thought how am I going to know which way to put the same piece of paper back in the printer to print the other side. After several attempts I managed to crack it but the hexagons were out of line with each other. I went back into Illustrator to see if I could rectify anything to which I moved the second side slightly closer to the edge of the paper. After that it roughly lined up but not completely which was irritating but due to the printer pulling the paper in I couldn’t do anything another than trim the white edges if there were any.

Self Assessment

I enjoyed this exercise because it enabled me to be hands on with designing which isn’t often. I’m fairly happy with the end product and I think it’s fit for purpose. If I saw something similar on a shelf I think I’d pick it up to see more. It’s a unique design and its bright orange which I believe would attract new people to the organisation. I liked the fact it was only a mock up as I’m not trying to be a writer so the content isn’t what’s important to me as a wannabe designer.

To conclude, the final leaflet would need to be on glossy or matte card. As you can see the leaflet did stand freely even with the basic paper so would look and feel much better on something more sleek. A4 plain paper is far too flimsy for any leaflet and would look too low budget to be on a shelf anywhere. I liked the size of the leaflet as you can fold it in different ways and have different hexagons showing. Plus it’s an easy one to pick up and pop in a handbag because if you fold all the hexagons together you’re left with one which is small.

Book Cover Design

Your brief is to design a stunning and contemporary cover for one of the 20th century’s most acclaimed authors, HG Wells. Known mostly for his science fiction writing, HG Wells also wrote social novels that are still relevant today, covering topics such as the mid-life crisis, class, feminism, materialism, consumerism and love. Your challenge is to create cover designs for three of his books that work as a set and establish the books as timeless fiction. The books will be published in a paperback format and need to include the title, author’s name, publishers name and trademark. You only need to design the front cover and spine.

Before getting started on this exercise I thought back to the previous one, Working to a brief. I analysed the briefs and obtained the key information. I’ve done the same with this brief. I’ve analysed what, how and keywords, in line with the design process structure. I’ve also made rough notes on my initial thoughts on the brief and any concerns I have.

When I first read what this exercise was I was intrigued. I haven’t designed book covers before, only magazines in my Media A-Level so I knew this would be a challenge, but a good one. Personally I think it would be easier to design the three covers based on the Science Fiction genre as opposed to Timeless Fiction. Science Fiction comes with a lot of dark backgrounds and bright colours that create pleasing contrasts. When I first thought of Timeless Fiction as a genre I thought of George Orwell as I’ve read his book Animal Farm which is a classic. Plus John Steinbeck and of course, William Shakespeare. Timeless Fiction seems to have a larger target audience which will make it difficult when designing as I can’t narrow it down as much as I’d like to a gender or age for the target audience. The challenge for me will be to take the three timeless fiction books and design contemporary covers. The way I’m going to look at the design process is to almost re-make the older covers by giving them a fresh, sleek look. Luckily I’ve got several books in my house to have a look at for inspiration. Some with contemporary style covers, and some not so much.

Primary Research

H.G Wells

H.G. Wells was a writer of science-fiction works—including The Time Machine and War of the Worlds—who had a great influence on our vision of the future.

Born in England in 1866, H.G. Wells’s parents were shopkeepers in Kent, England. His first novel, The Time Machine was an instant success and Wells produced a series of science fiction novels which pioneered our ideas of the future. His later work focused on satire and social criticism. Wells laid out his socialist views of human history in his Outline of History. He died in 1946.


H.G Wells Book Covers

Firstly I went into my local Waterstones to have a look at the H.G Wells book covers that are currently being sold to get an idea of what styles are being used in the modern day. The first four books I came across were The War of the Worlds, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Time Machine and The Invisible Man. I laid them out next to each other to compare and it was clear that they could be a set because their designs are very similar. All four use bright backgrounds and bright lines to create contemporary imagery. All use the same fonts and the positioning of them, as well as the positioning of the Penguin logo. This creates consistency across a set which I will use when I come to design my own covers. The covers and spines are simplistic which puts a modern spin on them even though they are timeless classics. I then found the same books with different front covers.

As a result of their imagery, these covers give much more of an insight to what the book’s story might be about. I’d describe these covers as more ‘busy’ than the previous ones mentioned. There’s a lot more going on which might be more eye catching to some readers but bearing in mind what my brief has asked, I’ll be steering away from covers like these as they don’t have the modern, contemporary look I’m hoping to achieve.

Book Sets in Waterstones

I then had a look around for sets of books to get a gage of what techniques they use on their covers. I came across the ‘A Game of Thrones’ set. Having watched the all of the series on TV it was intriguing to see what the book covers looked like. Across all three books the background is the same faded dragon like skin which makes the images stand out. The positioning of the title, text and quotes remains the same on each book which creates perfect consistency. In addition the colours are also the same on each cover. Overall I’d say the covers are a mix of modern and old fashioned. The reason being is that the images are seen as old fashioned and you can tell the stories would be set some time ago but at the same time the text is carefully positioned to create consistency which is important in today’s age.

I also found other covers by David Day that would work as a set which I liked because they are unique in the way that the imaged are almost etched onto the page. I’ve not come across this technique much which is why I was drawn to the covers. Again, the consistency of the font and its colours is something I’ll remember when I come to design my three. The spines are easy to read and simple yet effective which is all they need to be in my opinion.

Next, I stumbled across the Hobbit book covers. For me, these are the type of covers I’ll be looking to create. 2D imagery used to create a contemporary modern feel. Minimal colours used across all three, in fact only three colours used for the imagery against an all-black background which works effectively. The title and authors name are both in the same font/colour which shows the reader clearly that the books are a set.

Personal Book Collection

I used to read regularly when I was studying at school, before I started working. Luckily I never threw away any of the books. Here are some covers of my favourite fiction covers that are modern/contemporary…

Secondary Research

The History and Evolution of Book Covers

A book covers sole purpose has changed a lot from when they were originally used. For hundreds of years, the use of book cover functioned as a protective device for usually hand-made or printed pages, as well as keeping the pages together through binding them. The only aesthetical purpose of a book cover was to be a decorative tribute to their cultural authority. Back then, the design of a book cover was considered, but they weren’t engineered to market the internal material. Book covers today are used as a form of marketing and insight into the book’s content. Take a look at these examples from centuries ago –

These covers show that there has been thought put into the overall cover design, but they are not being used to market the internal value of the content. As time progressed, so did the book cover.

With the introduction of new machinery and materials, changes were starting to be seen in the 1820’s. Mechanical book-binding also began to change how a book was covered, whilst materials were also being swapped for less inexpensive items – from cloth to paper.

Cover design began to shape itself even further during the Arts and Crafts and Art Noveau movements at the beginning of the 20th century. These movements began to infiltrate into the growing book industry through developing publishers in Europe, London and New York.

Artists from the Soviet Union were some of the first to produce radically modern book cover designs. Throughout the 1920’s artists such as Aubrey Beadsley and Alexander Rodchenko were known to create strikingly different covers, such as Beadsley’s first four volumes of The Yellow Book (1894-5).

In the post-war era, the book industry had started to become commercially competitive. Book covers were being used as vessels to express the style, genre and subject of a book and designers were still trying to push the design to its limit in hope of attracting more sales.

Book cover design has evolved even more through the rise and growth of the Internet – it is still as important, even if it is in a two-dimensional format. If anything, book cover design is more important now than ever as you’re less likely to see a book’s spine before the front cover – a versatile tool that can sell a book to a huge audience online.


I had a scan through the OCA resources Reading List and came across a piece called ‘Book Design: Layout’. This was useful read as it emphasised how important it is to plan the layout of the book cover. It encourages to storyboard the creation of book overs before diving straight into designing. It also re-iterated the fact that we ‘pre-read’ books based on their covers. The cover can often be the deciding factor on whether you buy the book or not if you haven’t heard about it before.

My Book Covers

Before starting this exercise I only knew ‘The War of the Worlds’ film adaptation of the H.G Wells book. I chose this book to design because of knowing the story through watching the film. I chose The Time Machine as I thought I could definitely come up with a cover because ‘Time’ could mean so many different things, not just a clock. I chose The Island of Doctor Moreau for a challenge. I wasn’t sure how to go about designing this one. Do I go with a Doctor or Island theme? Or neither?

I started to mind map each of the books I’d chosen to get down on paper any first ideas of the basics for the designs… background, colours, text…

I then sketched out some rough designs of some ideas I had for each book design…

Next, I chose two designs from each lot of sketches that I thought had the most design potential and developed them further annotated them with what colours/effects I wanted to use…

The most important thing to me was that the three designs looked like a set alongside each other. From my research I knew I’d use the same fonts and colours to create consistency.

I started with The War of the Worlds and chose the ‘Organism’ design for the cover because I felt it would allow me to experiment with different effects. I knew this would be the easiest cover to design as it was the most clear in my head. I wanted an all-black background to add an element of mystery to the cover and it would look pleasing with bright imagery. I used Adobe Illustrator for my designing. I created two circles which I toyed around with for too long, trying different effects out. I tried the 3D effects which made the circles look more like planets but I felt that was too obvious to have on the cover. I wanted the two circles to look like organisms or mutated cells.

I eventually came across the ‘Distort & Transform > Roughen effect’ which gave me the option to make the edges smooth or corner. . I liked both so naturally ended up having one circle smooth and one corner. Both circles now looked like little organisms. The smooth circle looked more innocent which is why I coloured it blue. The corner circle looked more angry so I coloured it red. I was going for the ‘Heaven and Hell’ look in a sense that the blue circle was on top and the red below. I then added brush effect to both shapes which gave them a bolder look and took up more of the page. I moved onto the text and played around with different fonts until I found ‘BC Alphapipe RB Regular’ online and downloaded it because it fitted well with the theme. I coloured the text white and placed the title in the middle of the page separating the ‘organisms’. Finally I added the Penguin logo and made white to keep colours down to a minimum of three, innkeeping with the title and author name colour. I knew the spine had to be simple but rather than going for white text on a black background I decided on using the same font outline in blue and red but black fill. Personally I’d be more drawn to a book on the shelf if there was some colour on the spine if you couldn’t see the cover.

This first design set the precedence and house style for the following two which did make the design process easier moving onto the next cover. I was happy that the cover was simple, yet effective and still contemporary looking.

The next design to crack was The Time Machine. I knew what my house style was which is half of the battle conquered thanks to the first cover. I was in two minds about which design was best for this one. I began to create a human shadow and created three versions of it. One big, one medium and one small to signify different times in that persons life which in my mind would signify going back in time and linking it to the title of the book. After playing with the design in Illustrator I decided against it because it looked more like an evolution nonfiction book rather than a timeless fiction.

I then started to create my distorted clock design.  I used the flare tool to create the middle of the clock and coloured it red with a gradient which created a ‘universe’ look for the middle because it looked like a white tunnel which could symbolise time travel. I began to add numbers around the outline of the flare to make it look clock like. I toyed with different effects for far too long but ended up going with the Twist one so it didn’t look like a conventional clock. I placed the title at the top of the cover this time and kept it in white with the same font. I placed the author name and Penguin logo just below.

I struggled with this final cover. Even though I knew the house style and layout I wasn’t sure how to create the island. That in mind I started with the title and authors name. I wanted the positioning to be the same as The Time Machine cover. Once I’d positioned them I had an idea of what space I was left to play with. I found a gallery of Symbols on Illustrator and browsed through them until I found the Palm Tree. I think the main connotations of a Palm tree are holiday, island and exotic which I why I chose this symbol for the cover. The colour of it couldn’t be the typical brown and green as that would be dull and not innkeeping with the colour scheme of the previous covers. So I coloured it red and white and added a wave effect. My initial thought was to add a spider image to the cover as everyone seems to fear them so the island could be seen as scary. But I came across a scorpion which personally I think is more fearful. I coloured it blue to make sure the cover had the same colours as the last two.

Self Assessment

I enjoyed this exercise and I’m fairly happy with the result. The reason being behind the ‘fairly’ happy is that I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I’ll always question my work. Could it have been like this? Should it look like that? It’s a good and a bad trait to have in this industry. I’ve been reading the book ‘Know Your Onions’ on the side which is a Graphic Design book. In the book it mentions if you aren’t happy with a design, you never will be. This applies to my cover The Island of Doctor Moreau… I’m not 100% happy with it. I feel it’s a bit predictable and maybe I should’ve come up with something a bit more unique. That being said it has been a learning curve. I’ve learnt how to use Photoshop and Illustrator which will stand be in good stead for future designs.

The exercise has taught me how to collect and analyse my own research which was new to me. I’ve developed more of an understanding of what book covers contain and how much time it takes to design one.

My favourite design is The War of The Worlds because it’s not a predictable design for the book. I like the contrast between the two shapes. The cover is simple but I think that’s what makes it look good. It’s slick and minimalistic. From personal experience, the more simple the cover, the more in depth the story is inside.

As a whole I think the three covers work as a set because of their same colour schemes and simple 2D imagery. My criticism to myself would be maybe the images should’ve been slightly more developed as they are quite basic.

This exercise has taught me three things:

  • Set a deadline. I wasted a lot of time pondering my decisions when I should’ve been more decisive.
  • Thorough research is vital and will help me develop as a designer.
  • When you’re stuck in a rut, stop. Take time away from the work and go back with a fresh head.

Picture Charades

For this exercise you will need to find a friend or family member to help you. You are going to play a game of charades in which you try and communicate the name of a TV programme, film or book using only drawing. You are not allowed to just write the name of your film or book down, that would be too easy – instead you will need to draw pictures to represent the syllables of your title or illustrates its content.