Assignment 5 Diary: Layout

24 March 2017

Assignment 4 is sent off to my tutor and Assignment 3 recomendations have been noted and updated where necessary so now it is on to Assignment 5. i see it is entitled Layout….. Now I will have the pain of seeing what a mess I have made of layouts up to this point. In addition all those publications with which I was associated without the benefit of any knowledge will come back to haunt me….

But here I am and now I am about to read the intro to this assignment – Wish me luck…

27 March 2017

So I have read the intro to Layout and need to look at magazines. I will do this in CDG airport on Wednesday on my way through…. I like the magazine Graffiti Art so I might use this – it’s layout is very simple. I also l like the idea of a family birthday calendar. I NEED this. It is the first thing in this course that I actually personally need – yippie…

Have read up about inserting tables into InDesign. I have also looked a birthday calendars on Pinterest so I am getting some ideas. I have set up the family/friends birthday dates in Excel so it will make it easier to see how many rows etc I need in my tables. I also set up this ultra simple table in InDesign to see how the whole thing world – not a design masterpiece but a start with tables in InDsign….

28 March 2017

Am continuing with my investigation of tables in InDesign and how to make the Birthday List more interesting. However I have to pack up my computer for the journey back to Ireland tomorrow. I had to empty my work space here in France as it will be painted in my absence. It means I will have to put all back in place when I return. I like doing this as I look again at a lot of my books and things I have collected.

4 March 2017

Back on my island in Ireland. Got my work station set up and working – well almost. I have not got my external hard drives attached yet. I want to back these up before I do any more work.

I have spent a couple of days with my grandchildren enjoying their company in their ‘new’ house. Did all the granny things, football, hurling and concert. A total joy. Now it is back down to work of all types. The garden is looking a little the worse for Winter. My trusted neighbour has had a very rough Winter health wise and was unable to keep up with my garden so I now need to get going. Problem is that I will have to have a hip replacement this summer so my movement is very limited at the moment. I’ll do what I can and get on with my GD work when I can’t bend any more!!!

Have decided to leave further development on my calendar until I complete my magazine page design. Have chosen “GraffitiArt” magazine. It is a two column magazine, surprisingly sober for a magazine with this title. The images are ranged within the columns and all vertical. This will make my life easier initially. I have sorted how to get a double page spread show up side by side in InDesign.

I think I have identified the typeface being used in the article I have selected. With the help of Dr Google I got the following reply to my question”What are the differences between Arial and Helvetica typefaces”?

Arial versus Helvetica. Every typeface, like every one of us, has its distinguishing features. You might be forgiven for thinking that some fonts are clones, or identical twins. However, closer inspection reveals subtle differencesand nuances that simply escape casual perusal. 

I have decided to put some of my ga

I had already spotted the “G” so I was almost sure it was helvetica.

7 April 2017

Trying to retrieve the garden from its Winter slumbers. My trusty ‘help’ has been ‘hors de combat’ so much to be done despite my gammy hip and a raging infection under one of my teeth….. awaiting call from specialist to say when he can see me.. So in order to keep sane and keep my mind off things I am returning to my magazine exercise.I have decided to put some of my graffiti images into the article ‘for fun’.

Now I have to deal with justification and hyphenation as well as numbered lists in InDesign…

I am totally stuck on how I can get the numbered list to have the number separated from the block of text as it is in the article. I can move the first line indent but not the whole paragraph. What would we do without YouTube?? Have just found the solution – so simple when you know how!

Now to establish what typeface has been used for the page heading. It is something which has a tight form or else the tracking has been reduced.

11 April 2017

I started my work on re-designing the magazine page by looking up the work of layout designers. I found this site. Because my magazine is dedicated to graffiti I feel it should be different – unlike how it is designed. I am thinking about a black background and a three column layout with the images on the right. The article is about urban graffiti which carries messages or words. Hence I think the article should have some phrases or words separated from the main body of the text. I like something like this:

I also like the idea of using some sort of graffiti typography rather than plain old Helvetica…

I also like this as a background:

On this site I found some help with grid design layout, importance of typography choice and software for design creation. Since I have both recommended software programmes, InDesign for layout and Photoshop for image manipulation, I just need to get re-designing.

And here I found some inspiring designs.

This one I found on Google Images:

Not sure how I feel about it – I HATE mauve which might be what is influencing how I feel….

I quite like the following:

I like the way the image is ‘sort of’ behind the text. I also like the RHS page but I couldn’t use this as there is too much text and it is bilingual.

15 April 2017

Much of the last few days has been taken up with thinking about how I could really make this magazine page more interesting. Given that it is a graffiti/street art based magazine I feel it should appeal to young people and those that are a little alternative…. So I decided on black background. Then I was thinking of the early days of Wired Magazine which used to have all this psychedelic colour print. I remember how difficult it was to read so i decided on something less challenging. French would be the green print and English the white print. I used different images too a s I felt the brief allowed for this

16 April 2017

Easter Sunday but since I am awaiting dental work I decided to give the day a sort of chocolate free flavour… We will join our fellow islanders for a session in the hotel later.

I have completed three magazine designs. Am quite happy with the last one.

19 April 2017

So on now to the book cover. I have no doubt what cover I want to design and it is the book I am reading at the moment. It is called “Swing Time” by Zadie Smith. I read her book White Teeth and was underwhelmed. I figured it was for a very young readership. However I was struck by the fact that it seemed, to me, to mark a new genre in writing. The language was that of the very young American. I became infuriated by it. afterwards I realised this was because I was feeling left out of the story. I did not understand what the were talking about. it was not my generation. So I dismissed Zadie Smith until last Summer. I saw she was due to come to the Literary festival in Bantry, West Cork. On the mainland near the island where I live in the Summer. So curious to see what she was like and also wanting to hear her Irish poet husband Nick Laird, we booked tickets.

They are a delightful couple both working in New York now. They have small children and arrived on stage, out of breath, because they had to put the children to bed in the hotel where the talk was taking place – so far so normal.

Smith spoke first and  said she was going to read a chapter from her book soon to be published called Swing Time. We were spell bound when she started to speak. Not because what she was reading was so earth shattering but because it was “our” story. She described waiting on the bank, of a river in West Africa, having missed the last ferry. She was, of course, describing the Gambia river and she was wanting to cross from the north to the south bank on the regular ferry, But as happened frequently because the border police between Senegal and Gambia tried to delay you and then offer ‘a friend’ to drive you to the port when the last bush taxi had departed. This inevitably meant you missed the last ferry.

The situation develops like this: A group of people mostly Gambian and a couple of foreigners stand about on the beach looking across the river to try to catch a glimpse of the departed ferry. Of course there is no way the ferry is returning until morning. Then the local boys arrive offering to take you across in their huge wooden pirogues. They ask enough money, from the foreigners, to purchase a new boat. But seasoned african hands stand their ground encouraged by the locals. And we wait , and we wait and more negotiations take place. The price comes down until eventually an agreed price is struck. This is where Smith’s story finishes or at least continues with her arriving on the other side. Our story became much more complicated and interesting but that is for another day.

I was then gripped by this story and immediately wanted the book. My husband bought it for me for my birthday. I am about two thirds the way through it and it is indeed partly set in The Gambia. The other part of the story is set in east London where the two girls of mixed race grow up. The hard back edition uses only typography on the cover. I am thinking hard about how I could use an image as the cover. I will do some sketches.

23 May 2017

Just back after almost a month on the road. It is hard to get going again especially as my garden has become completely overgrown. I had a new boiler installed which has left the house covered in dust and dirt…. But the trip to Japan was worth it. It was such a unique experience. It was our first time to visit Japan and it was probably one of the most interesting we have ever done. I am sure the influence of the trip will creep into my work over time.

26-29 May 2017

Spent this weekend doing an art course entitled”‘Colour Theory into Painting Practice”

It was extremely interesting with some theory before we were asked to put this theory into practise.  I have written up a review of the course.

1 June 2017

Back from my visit to hip replacement specialist. Bad news is it needs to be replaced immediately – well almost. I am not yet sure how this will affect my work over the next few months so I will just have to plod on and see.

I am getting back to my book covers. Swing Time is published by Penguin Random Press. I find these print house mergers clumsy and I do not understand why the publishing houses just don’t make a composite of the names. For me Penguin is legendary.

But Random House, for me, never had a distinctive identity. It does not appear to me that they have a house style.

5 June 2017

Am devastated by the terrible news from London. Especially as we have friends living just there. Borough Market is where they do their daily shopping. We ate there with them a couple of weeks ago.

I found this info graphic about the location.Really sad but well done.

Meanwhile we were having a wonderful day on one of our other islands. We were on a butterfly and bird identification day. I got to see a Small Heath a butterfly I had not previously recognised. We also saw a number of Marsh Frittalary which is quite rare around here.

9 June 2017

Have spent the past couple of days playing with my garden info graphic. I made a tree and some daisies, hedge and stone wall symbols. Had great fun. I also added some information about the garden. Am trying to put it all together now.

11 June 2017

Finished my garden infographic. Am now moving on to my Birthday calendar. I have already given a good deal of thought to this, a couple of weeks ago. I think this is a great idea and will give my children copies for their kitchen scrap boards. Since we all live in different countries is can be difficult to keep all these dates in our heads. Of course the younger folk use their phone diaries!!!

I am documenting the design I chose having looked at a number online. I like many of the DIY calendars but these would be made with wood and pegs and things. I think the chalk board ones are ridiculous as they defeat the purpose of having the calendar. You would have to update if every month!!

I am thinking of making two versions of my calendar. One that can be viewed as an A4 sheet and the other as a strip for each month. I will laminate both and see which is the most popular with the family.

16 June 2017

Spent yesterday undergoing a million tests for my pre-op at the clinic. All seems to be systems “go” as they found I had a heart which seems to be beating more or less normally, I am normal height and weight and don’t seem to have MRSA!!!

Today I was trying to find some good well know Infographics designers. But all I could find were the page of “Best Infograpics”.I’ll look at these and see if I can find the designers behind them.

17 June 2017

I want to research posters about gardens and gardening. The first thing that comes to light is that many, many posters were created during WWII to encourage people to create a garden. Below are some of these. I like the middle one on the top line. The colours are bright and attractive. Although the message is a little complicated. Whereas “Can all you Can” or “Of course we Can” are very clear messages. I think the first one is, in fact, the best because the message is clear, all the space is covered and the colour contract, even for the time, is clear.

A number of other garden posters caught my eye.






I love some of these. The second one is really colourful and amusing. I included a B&W to get some inspiration for my   “singing poster”. I love the hen on the rusty background. The lady in the “gentleman’s magazine” is dry sophisticated.

Again thinking about B&W for a singing poster I like clean lines. I find the following design especially pleasing:

There is almost no information on it but it is eye-catching. I am thinking of musical notes in some sort of shape. I have collected a number of posters in B&W which I will print for inspiration and put in my log.

19th June 2017

Weekend was glorious. We had our annual Open Island Festival called “Gathering” this year. Artists studios were open all over the island and we had a general exhibition in our Community Hall. I opened my garden also. We had lots of visitors. We met many really interesting people. I used my info graphic which I created for the garden. One lady was a book editor so I asked her to look especially at it and give me feedback. I will put this in my comments on my info graphic. It was really interesting. She was accompanied my a lady studying Textiles here in the local area. I think I have her convinced to continue her studies with OCA!!

Now it is back to the Singing class poster. I have put some B&W posters into my log and have been thinking about ideas. I have piano keys and notes in my head.

21 June 2017

No work done yesterday…. We spent the day at a garden party in the President’s residence in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. Islanders from all the islands around Ireland were invited to Aras an Uchtarain, the official Presidential residence, for a party. And it was some party. The sun shone, the food was delicious and the President’s wife Sabina, danced with us on the lawn!!! I did not waste my time however, on the train on the way to Dublin. I did a small sketch for my poster!!

23 June 2017

Terrible weather today so inside all day. Worked on poster mock ups and some illustrator work.

Tried, unsuccessfully to watch live stream of Gregory Crewsdon from The Photographers Gallery. But whether their streaming or my broadband was not good enough…. Hope they leave it up to see at a later stage. They didn’t.

27 June 2017

This is the penultimate day with my ‘old’ hip… Off to clinic for 6.30a.m. tomorrow morning.

I have been working, a little unsuccessfully, on my poster ideas. I am finding it difficult to find a suitable typeface to stand out on black. I am working on two different ideas one with a singing ‘bird’ and the other with a piano keyboard. I have learned how to use another tool, the scallop tool, on Illustrator which has to be good.

I am not sure how either of my posters will look on an A6 leaflet. I think I might have to invert them to have the bird or piano on the right – I’ll see.

I can do homework this morning and then it is in to hospital mode for a couple of days. I am hoping to have loads of sitting around time after the op.

7 July 2017

It is now 8 days post op and I am just emerging from a maze of drugs and anaesthetic. When I told my surgeon that i would utilise the time post op to work on my assignments he looked a little askance and said I might not be firing on all cylinders intellectually for a while… Physically I am finding that a lot of energy is used with just doing my exercises of walking and mounting the stairs etc. But I am getting back to ‘head’ work.

I created a A6 flyer yesterday using the basic elements of the A3 poster. My son gave me some feedback on the A3 which I will try to incorporate. All of this is made more difficult as I am not at home and do not have all my material with me. We will return to our island on Tuesday next when I can get back to work properly.

Made some alterations to the A3 poster. Think I am satisfied with it – sort of…

8 July 2017

I see next project is entitled ‘Branding’. Interesting that I picked up that Twitter from Michael Beirut about branding this morning and retweeted it on the VisComs Facebook.

9 July 2017

Have started research on logos.  I will do some sketches today if I can. Am sore and need to exercise….

13 July 2017

Progress has been slow. I need to ask for everything that I need to create anything. I can move on crutches but I cannot bend yet. I have to use a picker to lift anything, I need, up. It is all very frustrating. My surgeon warned me that my brain power might be a bit sluggish after all the medication etc. I am not the best judge of this but I hope this is not so. Because I am fairly house bound I have not been able to ask other opinions either!!

14 July 2017

Life gets a little more complicated…. Friends arrive from Denmark to spend a few days with us. Poor husband is struggling with caring duties and now he has entertainment added to the list. Luckily female visitor is a doctor so my needs are sorted….

Spent an hour or so with my graphic design neighbour yesterday going through my branding coursework. Got some really useful advice. having taken all this on board and redone my efforts. Now need to paste my efforts, and her comments written theron, in my log book. Problem how to carry my big log book, paste etc to a working table!!! HELP!!

18 July 2017

Our Danish friends have left. My poor husband is back to being my sole carer…. I spent yesterday trying to sketch my ideas for the French Hen which, of course in many things French, is a cock!!!! I really did not want to have poultry in a logo but my husband says it would need to go on to the logo. he maintains everyone would recognise the french hen and the logo would not even need a title….. Not so sure, not everyone is a rugby fan!!!!

Got some sketches down interspersed with instructing the lovely man who is mowing my lawns during my incapacity. In the way of this remote place the guy who is doing the job is an alcoholic who works when he is well enough to do so…. But he is a star and I love him, he works like crazy when he can and yesterday was one of his good days!!!!!

After I had some sketches down I went to Illustrator and got going with the pen tool – no joy I needed to re-learn how to sue it correctly…. will I ever master this software. With the help of the following YouTube video I managed to create a glass which looked more like a chalice but we will see how it works…

21 July 2017

The French Hen is done and dusted. It is so frustrating to work when I have to ask for everything I need to complete my work. But I now can manage with one crutch so I can fetch some things for myself.

Now it is on to the real assignment. I have decided on the play “Abigail’s Party” I do not know this play well but I am all set to watch a YouTube version of it today to refresh my memory. At least I can do this without asking for help… I have looked up a lot of 1970’s theatre brochures and orange dresses. i am trying to immerse myself in the period. I lived through it. It was the time when my beloved children were born. I was not living in Ireland or UK at the time but I considered myself a hippie child of the ’70’s’. I even recall having an orange dress!!!

I chose this theatre stuff for my assignment as my family were heavily involved with theatre. I grew up being taken to the theatre by my parents. Sometimes it was to see my uncle perform, sometimes it was because my father wanted us to witness a performance he considered brilliant. I loved and still love the magic of theatre.

I hope my limited design skills will permit me to create something which displays this love.

23 July 2017

Tryng to find a 1970’s typeface for my poster. I downloaded a couple from DaFont but not all letters work in Illustrator…

Hope this site will be useful

27th July 2017

A dozen versions of the poster down the line and I the I might have something useful. My family are now sick of the sight of publicity for Abigail’s Party…. I’ll have to ellict opinions from further afield.