Developing a visual language

This morning we were given a brief talk on how to develop a visual language. We started by discussing the meaning of visual language, which is to persuade, describe, instruct and entertain the audience. Visual language can be shown through various media, such as posters, photography, wayfinding, signage, typography and animations. As an example  we looked at work by Callum Richards for the International Society of Typographic Designers Award 2017, where we were able to see his visual langauge develop through out his work. It was interesting to see the development of his work, starting by researching the idea and creating a narrative for the ideas. He then went on to research contemporary design and political design as inspiration for the visuals. Once he has an idea he then started to develop the visuals, it was interesting to see how his ideas changed when doing further research.

Another research example was the New Blood entry, ‘Grandstories’, the idea is to celebrate the relationship between grandchildren and their grandparents so that they’re reminded to keep in touch! For the visual language they have used bright colours and s strong typographic style. They created a typeface with two complimentary character sets that come together to represent a ‘hug’ between the two generations. My favourite thing about the work is how they have used elements that remind you of your grandparents, for example the lace table cloths or coasters. The work is placed all around the city as a constant reminder to the people passing to contact their grandparents.


Research task

After the discussion we were given the task of developing a research presentation on a provided exhibition space. My group had the task of researching ‘The Science Museum’, researching the exhibitions logo,  typographic system, colour scheme, way finding and signage system. We started by researching the logo, which has had a re-brand in the past couple of weeks. The logo is very simple and modern, which works well with the museum. The type on the logo starts with bold letters and gradually becomes thinner, this may give the illusion that the logos travelling suggesting that it’s  futuristic.

We discussed the colours that were used on the website and within the exhibitions. On the website they use simple shades, blue, white and black. I believe that they use these colours so that they don’t take too much attention away from what’s important, which are the exhibitions themselves. The exhibitions being held in the museum are usually shown through colourful images and patterns so that they catch the viewer’s eye. We learnt that the museum also uses colour within their exhibitions. To categorise the content they have used different coloured stands to help the people understand what they’re reading or interacting with.

The discovered through our research that the logo shown on the signage for the museum was very different to the one on their website. The logo used outside the building is a modern and futuristic type, possibly constructed to look as if it was taken from a computer game. Different to the websites logo, the blue background definitely stands out which makes it easy to find and recognise.




Editorial Workshop

For this small project we were given 2 hours to create a three page spread based on a provided topic. The Aurora Borealis was the topic for my group so we decided to use the National Geographic website for our information. Whilst searching the website we came across an article that showed you how to find the Aurora Borealis.

We decided to be as experimental as possible with this project and made sure that it was visible within our design. For the first page we used an interesting image that was created of the Aurora Borealis if it was seen as a pattern, we used this as our background and placed the text so that it looked like it was fading on top of the image. We also played around with the hierarchy, making the most important words stand out with a bigger text. We also decided to place tracing paper on top of the second page to give the idea that the Aurora Borealis is not always visible.

Even though our design was rushed in the time given, we were given some positive feedback. We were told, that there is parts of brilliance in the piece but also that some of the pages didn’t work together effectively. We were told that some of the styles made the text hard to read and hard to follow.

This project has definitely helped me and given me a better idea for what techniques I should be using In my new project. I have learnt that it is important to be experimental however I need to make sure that you are able to follow the text and that each page is consistent.

Changing Faces


After our group tutorial on Tuesday, I left with an open mind and some new angles I could take in my project. We started by discussing the content of the article and how we could create images using the provided information. However I decided that I wanted to take a different approach and create some abstract and unusual images, to draw the reader’s attention and make them  want to read the article to understand my images.

My first idea was to have black and white images of a person holding different objects covering her face. After some consideration I decided that this wasn’t experimental enough for what I wanted to create, because the images were plain and not very exciting!

In the discussion we talked about our opinions on the article and if we thought that the protagonist was telling the truth or not. This wasn’t something that had crossed my mind whilst reading the article, but after discussing how professionals were confused about the condition I was then inspired.

The next idea I had was to create a feminine and glamorous take for the designs and image. I could construct the article so that the reader has to decide if Anna Lyndsey is telling the truth or faking it for publicity. I had an idea to name the article, ‘True or False?’ so that instantly the reader is intrigued to read and develop their opinion. I would then use quirky and feminine images to support my ideas. To create the images I could experiment with collage and floral imagery.

To support this idea I decided to do some designer research that I could use as inspiration. One of the designers I found was Kenya Vyguzov,  a collage artist based in Russia. He is known for expressing himself through mixed media collage and recording the reactions of his personality by the world surrounding him.

As I continued to research different ideas and artists I came across the work of Amy Friend, who explores the relationship between what is visible and non-visible. The artist employs the tools of photography to “re-use” light, allowing it to shine through the holes. Taking the content of the article into consideration I then had the idea of using natural light within my images, by cutting out shapes within my photography pieces. I could also place text behind the imagery so that it shows through the holes, creating a connection between  all the pages. As well as this I could experiment with using different coloured paper so that the colour will show through the holes.

I decided to do some research into typographic posters, to see if I could incorporate image and type. The posters that caught my attention were the ones below by Jens Marklund, a Swedish Graphic Designer based in New York. To create the posters he has taken Helvetica Medium and stretched it by hand using a scanner. He said that this gives his work an “organic result”. I really like how he’s used type and image together, due to the fact he’s taken a different approach in increasing the space on each page.

This project inspired me to create my own pieces of “organic” type, and how I could possibly incorporate my own images. I could possibly create some dramatic, Black and White images of a person and experiment with using streaks of light over their faces. This will then link in to the idea of how Anna Lyndsey is hidden in the dark/ shadows, and her desire to get out into the light.


My last idea was to use patterns instead of images, they could be the same patterns throughout or patterns of objects relating to the article. The images below are from two unknown artists, however I really liked the different patterns and shapes created in the images. The first image below made me think of how I could create an image from using print, and decorating the image with text depending on which layout I decide to use. The second image reminded me of a light bulb or the effect fire/ heat has on metal pans. This could be an interesting idea for my imagery as the content of the article is based around her condition and how it can sometimes cause her skin to experience a burning sensation.

Changing Faces

Typographic Detailing & Layout


For the first part of yesterday’s session we had the chance to go around and look at the different books and magazines that were laid out for us. The first magazine I looked at had a lot of information placed on each page, and around 2-3 pictures. They have kept the layout and colours of the print very basic. This article has inspired me to keep my project as simple as possible, because this way I will be able to include more information without making it look too busy.

Different to the previous magazines the ones below show a variety of different layouts, ideas, colours and interesting pieces of photography.  I enjoyed looking at the different magazines/ books and I have definitely gained some new ideas for my project.

After looking at the different books/ magazines we were then set a task in pairs, to create a layout using text provided. Within our layouts we had to consider how the text would be placed on the page and how many columns, we had to consider the heading, subheading, Hierarchy, Indentations, rag and include any quotes that we could find that stood out within the text. This was a good way to practice using typographic detailing and helped me refresh my memory on how each one is used.


However whilst creating the piece, my partner and I discovered that we had spent too much time working out how to set the text and less time focusing on the other important things, like the page size given in the brief.

The article – Concept and Text

The article I’ve chosen to revolve my project around it the article by Ed Caesar, ‘A Decade Lived In the Dark’. The article discusses “Anna Lyndsey’s memoir of extreme light sensitivity”  and how “doctors have doubts about her story”.

The main message in the article is about how Anna Lyndsey raises awareness about light sensitivity and discusses what it’s like to live with this condition.  In 2005 Anna was shocked to feel her face burn whenever she came into contact with light. At first she thought that fluorescent light was the problem, however she soon discovered that it was much worse.

There are a variety of different themes within the article:

  • There is a serious theme to the article, it discusses Anna’s disorder and it tells us how professionals have reacted to it.
  • Humorous – In the memoir by Doubleday, “Girl In the Dark”, it discusses her condition in a humorous way, for example “the injuries that result from having sex in complete blackness”.
  • Dark.
  • It makes you sympathise.
  • Gives a sense of Hope.

Key Quotes:

  • “Burned with invisible fire”
  • The power intensity of a laser”
  • “Totally in the black”
  • “…back to the light”
  • “silent, drinking in the absolute black”.

Changing Faces

The Brief

For our next project we will be developing a piece of editorial design surrounding our chosen article, using the skills learnt over the two previous terms. I have decided to use the ‘A Decade lived in the dark’ article, because straight away I could start to imagine different ways I could create my design/ layout and what type of images I could use within the project.

Editorial Design Research

Below are examples of five different editorial designs, which I have decided to discuss and use as inspiration for my next project.


The design above caught my eye straight way, I thought that this type of style would be interesting for my project.  The simplicity of this layout and the contrast between the bold colours draw you in to this piece. What is especially of interest about this design is how they were able to place a large amount of text on each page, without making the design look busy. They have placed the text abstractly on each page using columns, in some places they have layered the writing. The design will work well for my piece due to the amount of information it will allow me to enter without jeopardising the aesthetics of my design.  On the other hand, I would like to include more photographs within my design, as the design above tends to focus more on the text.


For this project I want to experiment with different sizes and see how I could make the layouts more interesting. This editorial design is a perfect example of a quirky design layout, photography, typography and text. The design stood out to me straight away especially the use of delicate colours and abstract images. The difference in page sizes definitely stands out and in my opinion it makes the magazine more fun and interactive, this is something I would like to use within my project.


The main element of my new project will be photography and the layout above will allow me to incorporate this in my work, as there is a number of negative space which makes the images more visible. However this design is restrictive and I will need to be creative when considering layout and adding text.


Out of all the designs, this layout caught my eye the most because of its strong photography, basic layout and unique type. For my article I think that using strong images is an important element, to be able to communicate its content through image. What I find most interesting about the images in this piece is that they’re not all visible, they have created different patterns using the images. They have left plenty of negative space on each page so that the images don’t take any attention away from the text itself, for this project I need to make sure that the text is as important as the images.


I chose this editorial design because it’s different to the others above. Instead of using colour, they have kept a minimal colour palate and keeping the design simple and fresh. What stands out most to me about this design is how they have used abstract images, all in black and white to match the text. Similar to the other layouts they have also decided to layer the text over the images, and I think that this works really well.  The image have been faded slightly so that the text is more visible, as well as this they have left plenty of negative space on the other pages so that when the designs are put together the pages don’t look too busy.

Dalton Maag – Typography Talk

What lies beneath

I was privileged to have attended a talk on Typography by the company Dalton Maag. We were introduced to Bruno Maag and Tom Foley who talked about some important facts about their lives and their passion for Type. Bruno Maag is originally from Switzerland who had an apprenticeship as a typesetter for the Tages Anzeiger, Switzerland’s largest daily paper, before  becoming chairman of his own company ‘Dalton Maag’.  Tom Foley studied Graphic Design at Limerick University, Ireland, before going to complete a Masters in the subject at Central Saint Martins, London. Foley now works for Dalton Maag as a Creative Director.

Bruno began the talk by giving a brief history of where Type originated and how over time type has been changed and modified to different cultures. I found this to be very interesting and it was clear that Bruno was very passionate about this subject. However what I found to be most interesting was the core of their work, their Custom Fonts, their work on Logo Refinement, Library Fonts and Font Modification.

They started by discussing their work for the company ‘Lush’, and the process behind creating a handmade typeface. Lush hosted a writing workshop and tested out many different handwritings to see which one worked best for that company. Once they had the type they preferred, they asked Dalton Maag to digitalize and refine the typeface so that it would show on their websites and any other online use. Dalton Maag succeeded to create this unique typeface so that their brand identity is recognised globally.

They then went on to discuss their work with Intel, and how they went through a process of re-branding over four years. When Tom first got the project it was clear that the company’s identity was rather dated, so he knew straight away that it needed to be more consumer friendly. Using their research strategy, Ideation, Design Concept, Concept refinement and Execution they started on the project. After learning about the design strategy behind each typeface, I was completely mesmerised. For every typeface they have not only considered the style, but the file size, Kerning, Hinting, how it would look on different forms of technology and even how it would look in different languages. They must also consider that if they make one simple mistake it could cost them a lot of money to fix.

Bruno and Tom finished their talk with some important advice that you should always consider before starting a project or working with a consumer. Even though I learnt a lot from the points, the one that influenced me most was, to always be aware of your target audience. This is something that I was very much aware of  throughout my most recent project whilst creating a campaign for young children. You also need to consider different cultures, especially within Typography, because some countries have different rules of practice for what they can or cannot use.

I have definitely been inspired by Bruno and Tom, their clear sense of passion for the subject made it even more worthwhile. I now have a better understanding of what it takes to create  different typefaces and how much work, time and effort  has been put into the creative process. I feel like I have a whole new perspective on how I see type being used for different brands, and how changing the font of a company can give it a whole new look!



As a part of our Design as Activism brief we were asked to have a piece of digital and printed ephemera. We decided to brainstorm a couple of ideas that would correspond well with our animation. We came up with the idea to create an app that would help children understand the effects of smoking and possibly a comic strip or pack of cards.  We are going to create the plan for an app, show it’s possibilities and how it will help children understand the effects of smoking. We will also use the comic strip or cards to communicate different facts.

One of my group members decided to create a poster for our app to help us get an idea of what its cover would look like. However due to lack of communication between the group  we are unclear as to how the idea behind the app will turn out, but the more we meet up as a group we will be able to discuss and develop our different ideas. On the other hand we have discussed via social media that our app would be called ‘Tarnish’, which we thought was quite quirky and went well with what we are trying to communicate. However the more we discussed the name it became clear that we weren’t really considering our target audience, as ‘Tarnish’ might be difficult for this particular age group to understand. I think that the poster is visually pleasing and definitely gives you the idea that this is an app made for children. However I do think that we need to discuss and sketch some more ideas as a group so that we aren’t rushing into using just one design.

Tarnish’ poster created by one group member.

Another name which we decided on was ‘ButtHeads’. We thought that it went well with our project and left us plenty of ways to play around with the logo, it’s entertaining, and will definitely be more appealing to children.

After meeting up on Friday we decided to do some research into children’s comic strips and how we could go about creating one that would communicate the dangers of smoking to children. We thought that this would be a fun and educational way to communicate our message.  We also discussed the possibility of creating a comic that could be coloured in by children, so that they are able to gain a better understanding of why they shouldn’t smoke.

One of my group members found a humorous comic that we believed went really well with what we are hoping to create. The company have created a funny break up scenario using the figures from Ikea’s instructions. I really like the simplicity of this poster and believe that this type of style would work really well with our animated characters.


I was then inspired to create a set of cards, that could be given out to children. The cards would have the outline of each character from the animation and would each have a fact about how smoking affects the body. As a group we have decided that I will start creating the cards. I have decided to leave the characters without any colour so that children would be able to colour them in. I am also going to find facts about the organs and place them on the back of each card, for example if I have the ‘lung’ character on the front, there will be a  fact about how smoking affects your lungs written on the back.

After taking our characters from the animation and re-creating them so only the outlines were visible,  I then did some further research into the effects of smoking on the body.  I have picked the facts that I thought children would find most interesting  and simplified the language so that children have a better chance of understanding its content.

Throughout this project we have decided to use the Dalton Maag font, ‘Objeckiv Mk2’ in Bold.  We have used this font at the start of our Animation  and then throughout our printed ephemera. I think that this typeface works really well with this project because it’s simple and bold, which makes it easy to read.  Keeping in mind that our target audience is children around the age of 9 and 10 we want to keep everything as simple as possible so we can successfully communicate our message.

Overall I am very happy with how the cards have been designed.  I believe I have incorporated my group’s ideas and made sure that the cards are simple, and communicate our facts in a clear and fun way. I am also happy with the amount of negative space that is left on the cards, I think that this will help the children to focus on the facts and hopefully understand their content. However I do still have time to improve the cards, possibly correcting some type layout errors so that they all look the same and are typographically pleasing. We have also decided to include the download link for our app on each card, so that every part of our project links together in some way.

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Instead of creating factual cards we have decided to turn them into an interactive card game, suitable for our target audience (children age 7-10). The point of the game is to match up all of the coloured cards to reveal the fact about that organ after being affected by smoking. On Photoshop I designed the shape and colour of the cards, and split each set into different colours. As well as changing the game we have decided to change the content. I have simplified the text even more so that all of the facts are communicated clearly and at the end of every fact I have included our project name, “Don’t be a butt head!”.

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I have also created a set of orange cards that will represent the cigarette characters, these will be used in the game to show how the cigarettes can affect that particular organ. I started off by using a light orange colour so that it went with the rest of the set, however after discussing with the group we decided it would be best to use darker orange to make the cigarette stand out and show that it’s bad. On every card I have used a light gradient to make the different illustrations stand out. However on the darker set of cards I decided to use a dark gradient to make it obvious that the cigarette is bad!

After creating the cards and the second piece of ephemera, I decided it would be necessary to create a card that would be a front cover to the set. I decided to use the same layout that shows when you open our app so that there is a clear connection to each piece of our ephemera.