Assignment 2 Diary:Problem Solving

4 September 2016

Just getting round to looking at the recommended reading list web sites. I don’t know why I started with Typographica– probably because I liked the name… Or maybe because this whole course looks like a big problem to be solved by me… The first typeface I looked at was Trianon which apparently is based on Didot. I had to look up what Didot was. I wonder if my printer ancestors were aware of all this? Most of my paternal ancestors were either actors or printers.

Don’t agree with the review of Goss Drop – I think it is a lumpy mess of a typeface. But who am I to say?

Aphrosine was interesting but I have no idea where it could be used. I was interested in the images of his ‘work in progress’

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 09.31.02

I am also wondering, because of my reading, what numerals would look like or how they would behave with these new typefaces.

9 September 2016

Got a box of chocolates last night from a friend – Butler’s chocolates, with a very interesting wrapper. I have cut this up and stuck into my log. The Typefaces used are really interesting. Am about 2/3 the way through Type & Typography. Am looking at all publicity around me. That is when I go to town as there is not much publicity on an island… What am I doing studying Graphic Design I ask myself.

Great post on VisCom Facebook this a.m. about “How to describe Graphic Design to four year olds”.

10 September 2016

Am going to Dublin next week. Will visit the Print Museum and the Alex Soth exhibitions. My grandfather was a printer in Dublin as were some of his brothers. The family story was that he was involved in printing the first bible in Dublin. I am going to try to establish the truth of this story. If it is like many of the other stories my father told me there is not a whole lot of fact in it… My uncle was also a printer before he abandoned it to become a full time actor.

11 September 2016

Just watched a great YouTube about Helvetica. The pointer was given on the VisCom forum. Thought I would try them out in Photoshop to see if I am a helvetica sort of person…


I still don’t know but I am really interested in this whole psychology of which typeface designers use to attract which audiences. Some are evident as it says on the video. If you are selling jeans to young, hip teenagers you could use a grunge typeface. But what interests me more is the typefaces used on pubic sites and buildings.

12 -16 September 2016

I have just spent this week in Dublin. I was born in this city but have not lived there for more than forty years. I usually return at least once a year to visit my family. I was born in an area close to the city centre but my family have all moved out to the suburbs. I hate suburbia in all cities. I wanted to return to the area where I was born and be independent. I found an AirB&B which was even closer to the city than my birthplace. It was in an area of the city which is being regenerated. My family were appalled and worried about my safety in this area. They were convinced I would be mugged and be exposed to drug addicts and all the dross of society. I am happy to record that the only drug dealing I spotted was in a posh area of the city centre. Most of the old people of ‘my’ area were as I remembered them – friendly and helpful. No one was shooting up or falling down.

I had arranged to collect a camera, Fuji X100s, which I had bought second hand on Because there is an ongoing bus strike in Dublin at the moment I had to walk everywhere. I would have done this anyway but it meant there were lots of people out walking. I am learning my way into my ‘new’ camera. I wanted it for travel and street photography. It is inconspicuous and has lots of features. I chose it after a lot of research. It is in ‘almost new’ condition.

The National Print Museum is close to my vendors office so I decided to visit it. It is situated in an old British Army Barracks, a beautiful building. The report of my visit is here.

I visited an Alex Soth exhibition in the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Trinity College. My report of the visit is here.

I also visited the Gallery of Photography in Meeting House Square, Temple bat, to see an exhibition by five Austrian photographers. My report is here.

We did more family research and met up with friends and family.

19 September 2016

Caught up with my garden over the weekend and did some write ups on the exhibitions I visited in Dublin. I also put some of the material I picked up into my learning log. I was especially interested in the carrier bags. I work in a craft shop and have been trying to persuade my boss to have bags printed. She steadfastly refuses. Maybe this is why she has been running the shop successfully for 39 years. Or maybe it is that we are the only craft shop in a very picturesque fishing village…

I especially like the Eason’s bag. This is a book store in Dublin and although I hate lime green I have to admit it is eye catching. I loved the idea of the words along the edge of the half moon.

I accompanied by niece, who is an artist, to the art shop, Evans, and we picked up another carrier bag. This was another of my hate colours, orange. What interested me was that I recognised (I think) the typeface was Helvetica (or maybe not??).

The most interesting packaging was a holder for chips. I loved it. it’s in my log book.

21 September 2016

So now it is crunch time I have had my feedback from assignment 1. I now need to get on with assignment 2. Brought it to work today to read – am now totally terrified about starting. Sent tutor a request for help about software but I can get on with it.

I need to do my write up about visit to the exhibition The Body Politic.

21 September 2016

Worked on Exercise 1 of Problem solving. I hope I am on the right track. I usually do not look at other’s work until I finish but I am really not sure if I understand what I am being asked to do so I may take a peek at what others did in response to this. Most others seem to be mystified also so I will follow my own judgement.

26 September 2016

Completed Exercise 1 yesterday and am now starting my research for three book covers for HG Wells non fiction books. Reading around Wells’ biography and looking at titles of non-fiction books.

27 September 2016

I feel like I am way in over my head here. This partly because I am closing up my little house on the island and headed back to France this weekend. This means I am putting the garden to bed and the house to bed. This is not a problem and all routine. However I have just purchased my Creative Cloud Suite and I have not a clue how to access it. Normally this would be no problem but time is an issue. I will try my lovely neighbour who is an expert in these fields. I am also thinking about book covers for HG Well no scientific novels. As a start I purused the lists of titles. I was never a fan of HG but I have purchased the Kindle version of This Misery of Boots, principally because I like the title and want to attempt a cover for it. before I attempt any of this i want to read it. hence the Kindle addition. Living on the edge of the world poses problems. I tried to purchase it with my Irish Amazon but no joy. I then went to my French Amazon and “voila” I was able to do so. But not before I downloaded the Kindle App. All of this technology is sent to ‘help’ us…

But don’t you love the original book cover? The Kindle version is all clean lines and academic but the original is full of mystery. Which effect would I like to create. I’ll read the book and see.



28 September 2016

I am  thinking about colours for my book cover. for This Misery of Boots. I have looked up a few YouTube tutorials on creating a book cover but none ae very helpful or enlightening. This is not a very scientific look at bestselling book cover colours.

I have never really thought much about Book Covers. I am not a impulsive book buyer. I tend to hear a review or buy everything by a particular author so the cover is incidental. I am now looking at my library with new eyes. Apparently we are influenced by book covers according to this article in the Huffington Post

Picking Fonts for Your Self-Published Book

I am using this YouTube to try to get started with Creative Cloud.

29 september 2016

I downloaded Bembo as I fancied an ‘old fashioned title for This Misery of Boots. Let’s see how it looks against a couple of others:


30 September 2016

Loaded Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Bridge last night. Now I need to get started. My neighbour is a Graphic design graduate so she is going to give me a very short lesson tonight before I leave my island in the morning… Will need to have a peruse so I can ask intelligent questions. Am excited as I have created a couple of book covers in CS5. Let us see if I can improve on the following with this new software.



I am going to photograph my husband’s bare legs with No boot today. I fancy using this image as a cover. I’ll try it in either InDesign or Illustrator tonight in my lesson and see how I get on.

3 October 2016

I am en route to France. Just spent a couple of very precious days with the grandchildren. It is a long day today before we reach ‘home’ in France so I should have time to play with InDesign. My progress is slow and I am totally frustrated. I can work so much easier in Photoshop. I have a simple idea for a third cover which I might be able to create in Indesign. I need to order Creative Cloud for Dummies.

5 October 2016

Back in France I am not quite set up in my ‘new’ workspace. During my absence my neighbour, a ‘ferronier’ built a work station for me. My house was built in the 17C so I wanted something very modern so there was no attempt at quaint. However what I designed is not what I had imagined. My lovely neighbour will return and try to tone down my industrial space. All this means I have no proper work space at the moment. However I am trying to get on with my book cover designs. I have decided on book title 2:

The Story of a Great Schoolmaster: Being a Plain Account of the Life and Ideas of Sanderson of Oundle (1924) – a biography of Frederick William Sanderson

The length of the title alone is daunting.

I have downloaded the book on Kindle.


My first idea is to use a school blackboard and a chalk font. I have downloaded a chalk font called Chalkboard. It is not ‘chalky’ enough but is the best I can do for the moment. I am using CS5 for my first attempt. and here it is:


The subtitle is less important than the principal title so I decided to reduce it I am not sure if my blackboard looks good enough. Should I add a stick of chalk or is that a bit kitsch? Just printed this cover and decided I needed a fill colour as it was a little anaemic. Here is the ‘new’ cover. I think it looks a little like a copy book which is the effect I wanted. I decided against the stick of chalk.


I will try again in InDesign before proceeding with my second idea. This is to use an image I have of a lovely man I met, in a railway station, many years ago. I think his face is that of a lovely schoolmaster. He had a twinkle in his eye. I realise I would have to have his permission to use his photo but for an exercise I think it will be OK.


I used a copperplate font for the main title and a serif for the subtitle. I am keeping to something I read that only two fonts should be used in one project.

The next book title which I have chosen is a Modern Utopia. I have no ideas yet so I will sleep on it. I have looked at a couple of existing covers:

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-16-53-28    screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-16-50-59 screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-16-51-59 screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-16-51-31




All very different covers.

6 October 2016

Just listened to Beth Davis and Christian Lloyd’s video on thumbnail sketching here. I need to get going on this. I tend to do all the thumbnails in my head or on the computer. My physical log book is on its way here to France in the post as I could not carry a lot of my paperwork. I will use pieces of paper and stick these in when it arrives.

I worked on some of my own ideas for A Modern Utopia (in my head). I will try some thumbnails. I tried my first idea in Illustrator. This is my first attempt with this programme.

Modern Utopia

I have a young friend to whom I teach English and he is an expert in this software. I have promised to do an ‘exchange’ English for Illustrator lessons! I will do my thumbnails and see if he can show me how to create some of them.

I am thinking totally abstract for this cover since Utopia does not exist. A simple definition for utopia is as follows:

an imaginary place in which the government, laws, and social conditions are perfect

7 October 2016

I have been folding A4 paper to see how many brochure prototypes I can get.

Creating a brochure to try to encourage people to come out and volunteer is something I have done. I live on an island and I worked, until last year, as organiser of the Tidy Towns group. In our case it was a Tidy Islands group. One becomes very disillusioned with this type of volunteering. Neighbours would stop on the road (in their cars: the island is 3 x 5 kms…) and ask me why I was bothering as we have a county council employee. Or worse still they would encourage me to eliminate the road side weeds with poison…

Maybe I did not create brochures that were attractive enough! So here goes.

8 October 2016

I want to become more familiar with InDesign so I am using it to create a mind map for this project.

Brochure mindmap
Brochure mindmap

I have created a very simple brochure using the A5 shape again to try to improve my InDesign skills. I picked up a free graphic online instead of using an image as I thought this would simplify the whole thing. I put some text on the back and also inside to try to concentrate my mind on what this brochure is about.

Volunteer brochure 1
Volunteer brochure 1

My husband thinks it is ‘wishy washy’…

So I tried something else which has taken me a long time and I still have not got the proportions correct….

Basic RGB










9 October 2016

I have created a DL leaflet by hand and added it to my final submission. The Boat leaflet above looks best i think but it would be expensive to produce, wouldn’t fit in leaflet stands and I would need to work out the proportions better than I did.

Now it is on to critiquing my work and creating two posters.

One of our local churches is hosting a jazz concert next saturday. This is their poster


Although I hate the colour I admit that it made me stop and read it… It is totally minimalist. It contains all the information necessary which is:

  • What is the concert about – jazz
  • Where is it – Vaugines
  • Which venue – St Barthelemy church
  • What date and time – Saturday at 6 pm
  • Entry fee – pass the hat

This venue is famous. it is where Marcel Pagnol’s book Jean de Florette was filmed starring Gerard Depardieu. It has undergone a complete renovation which was pioneered by local people and funded, mostly, by holding concerts and debates. The temptation would be to add all this information.

Then there is the group of Jazz musicians E.L.I.Z.A, about whom I know nothing but I could invent material! So here goes – off to InDesign and let’s get started…

I completed the ‘overcharged’ poster first. I am having problems with page size on INDesign which I need to regulate. It seems to default to Letter.

I used a lot of different typefaces despite the fact that one should only use two in any one project. I also used a lot of shapes and infills in different colours. I used the colours of the image I was using as a header so the final poster would look aesthetically passable. But the text would be unreadable if the poster was on a wall and one was passing in a car. I used some free clip art which looks messy as it is very confused.

I then stripped out almost all the information that was on poster 1. All that is left is the fact that it is a jazz concert, played by the group ELIZA in St. Bartholemy’s church in Vaugines on Saturday next at 6p.m. I like B&W for Jazz.

10 October 2016

I am reading the research point in the notes. Pixels, resolutions and all that concerns Photoshop is no problem I have worked with this software for years. However InDesign and Illustrator are totally different matters. It is vector images with which I have the most difficulty. I need to read up on this and to do loads of practise. I think practise is the best way of learning.

I got my nieces critique of my first Volunteer leaflet this morning and she was exactly right. I will try to apply this to future projects. I have added it to my reflections on the work.

For my grocery shop banner I need to mind map and to go and take some images first of my local shop which is a small village supermarket. I go to my vegetable shop tomorrow and I will take some more images there. Meanwhile I need to study the brief and look at some food banners online.

11 October 2016

I have decided to make a mock up of a banner of A1 size. I have A3 paper so it is not too difficult. I find the shape of A1 bizarre for a banner so where things are placed is important. If I do my Illustrator file at 1/4 of this size it will measure 210 x 148mm. It can then be sized up to create the full size banner.

I went to my local shop this morning and took an image to see where such a banner could be placed…. It is not evident. I will go to my vegetable and fruit shop this afternoon which is not in the village. It is situated in a strange barn like structure – challenging…

I will now create a mind map on the mock up and sketch (as best I can…) some fruit so get proportions. However I like the idea of making a face with an orange split in two for eyes, a pear of nose and a banana for mouth (smiley) I think this might appeal to kids.

I have also printed out something which I will use to see where to place the words. I downloaded a font called Madre Script which I thought would work well.

Now to work on my mock up….

13 October 2016

I spent yesterday on hands and knees with my ‘life sized’ banner. I want to add some  thumbnails to it and some more information.

I also went to my veggie shop and bought my weeks fruit and vegetables which I will photograph today. Unfortunately (or fortunately) it is a ‘bio’ shop so the fruit does not always look perfect but they taste good..

Here are the two shops in question where a banner could be erected.

Sar village supermarket
Sar village supermarket
My Bio veggie shop
My Bio veggie shop


One would really need to encourage people to come into this shop to buy vegetables.

In Provence most people buy their vegetables and fruit at the street market

This is my Bio vegetable shop which is typically Provencal – a beautiful space but situated miles from anywhere….

The owner has asked me to show here the banner I produce. She allowed me to photograph the fruit and vegetables inside – a challenge as it is dark inside because of the sun here in Summer….

She had a nice banner inside which I photographed to give me some ideas:


I have made thumbnails (in Lightroom so a little larger than normal thumbnails) and will see how these fit into my ideas on my mock-up.

This is my weekly fruit and veg shop:


14 October 2016

I have ‘completed’ my ideas on my mock-up. I now want to take images of the fruit and vegetables to see how I can use them.

I set up my lighting and took my first image of my mock-up.


this is the mock-up:



21 October 2016

I have been away in Copenhagen for almost a week. It was amazing. I had no computer with me so I gave the time to visiting exhibitions and museums. I have written these up in my review section of my blog. I also used the time to look at Danish design. The danes do design well. It is clean and simple. Here is an example:


I also reflected about the cards I will produce. For  number of years I have been selling my images as cards with blank inside. They measure 14.5 x 14.5 cms. I will keep to this format as I am used to it. I use a single image so it is simple to produce them. I Have been thinking about different ideas for these cards. Among my ideas are:

  • Welcome to some group:
    • Men’s shed
    • Women’s patchwork group ( I was part of such a group for one day….)(15 March??)
    • Trainspotters Group
  • International Days: Today for example is Back to the future day….
    • Girls day (11 October)
    • Mens day (19 November)
    • Black cat day
    • Pumpkin day
    • Chocolate cupcake day
    • Octopus day
  • Congratulations on an achievement
    • becoming a pilot
    • becoming a boat builder
    • becoming  chef
    • becoming a snake charmer
    • becoming a surfer

I tried some sketches for these ideas in a notebook I had with me. I have now transferred these to my log book

I am coming down to using the international days. I have selected some images and printed thumbnails.

International females (women/girls) day


International male(mens.boys) day 


I made a 14.5 x 14.5 mock-up and although I was thinking of 36 images I have now settled on 16 (4 rows x 4 columns)

22 October 2016

Now I need to make a template in InDesign to use for all three cards. I have no idea how to do this but I have read Chapter 4 of “Dummies” so here goes.

Spent much of the day trying to create the card for “Happy Girls Day”. I wanted to wrap text around an object in InDesign but could not manage it. I retreated to Photoshop and placed the text in an arc on the globe. Not too happy with it. Wanted to print the different possibilities but the printer had run out of ink… Have ordered that now.

23 October 2016

This morning I am covered in doubt about what I have done, so far, for my cards. I think they are grossly overworked. I am re-thinking the whole thing – well not the topic (International days) but my actual result. Before I show you I see that Kodak have a ‘new logo’ But because it was so good in the first place the new one is almost identical. Here is the history of the logo as seen here. I actually prefer the KODAK horizontal rather than the new vertical.


So now to my predicament. Here are the two options I have produced so far.





I don’t really like them. So now it is back to the drawing board.

Below are the images I want to use for the ‘new”card



Image no 2 was a complete wall of graffiti in Copenhagen. However I did not do “safe as” so lost the original – this has not happened me for a very long time….. Anyway I have lots of wall graffiti.

I put these two together by making the graffiti wall a little bigger than 14.5 as I wanted it to wrap around the card. I then tried different shapes into which I wanted to put the “The Furture is Female”. I have just learned how to do  this in InDesign!!! So I tried a star but this did not work. Then I tried a circle.


I wanted a graffiti type font so I went to and downloaded Amsterdam Graffiti


I then added text for the inside of the card I used Party LET Plain 1.0.

Basic RGB

24 October 2016

So now to a card for Boys day. On the same trip to Copenhagen I took the following image which I want to use. I have already used a part of the graffiti wall behind for the female card. I loved this guy carrying the box with “Second place” on it.

I removed the guy from the image and put him on a transparent background.


I then tried to place him on the brick wall below:


But he kept bringing a white background with him!! Then I discovered if I saved him as Png he kept the transparent background….

I then picked up the colour of the box ad added the text in Engravers MT font. I wanted the wall to wrap around the back of the card.I then added my name and web site to the back.


I then added the text to the inside in Handwriting Dakota.


25 October 2016

Now to make card number three – the International Cat day Celebration card. I want to keep the idea of a collage of a cat on a colourful background. So I have started with Doctor google… I have many images of cats which I would like to use. Pinterest have hundreds of examples. I have to decide whether to go amusing or serious? Very few cards on Pinterest seem to use actual cat images – why?? Most of the cards are for Birthday, “love you” or “sorry” you have lost your pet… But I want to go more of seeing cats as the same as us. I am married to a cat fanatic so I can think this way!! Here are 25 best cat card – I really like some of these. I am sending the following one to my husband for his next birthday….


I have spent the day trawling through my cat images and my graffiti to see if I can find something compatible which will look attractive. If I succeed my set of three cards will work better together.

26 October 2016

I set up a sort of mood/story board in my log:



I put together my card using the following images:

cat_graffiti_sm lacoste_pussie_sm



I thought the text should be graffiti like so I used squeaky chalk. I liked the result.


I used the same font for the inside:


I liked this font. So I replaced the text on both girls and boys day cards, with this font.

I think I am ready to print my three cards.