Assignment 5:Promotional design

A youth theatre club is performing a production of Abigail’s Party. Mike Leigh’s tale of suburban taste is set in the 1970s and explores middle class aspirations and preoccupations.

You will need to acquaint yourself with the play if you don’t know it already, as they are particularly keen for it to have a 70s feel. The play will be touring local theatres for a month, performing every Friday night and Saturday matinee.

Produce a poster (A3 portrait), a flyer (A5 landscape, double-sided) and newspaper advert (A6) to promote this event. In addition they would like their A5 programme cover to continue the design theme.

For the purposes of this brief you need to invent dates, times, places, names and any other information you think will be required. Use Lorun ipsum text for areas of body text.

IMDb’s synopsis of the play:

A TV play based on the Hampstead Theatre production. Beverly has invited her new neighbours, Angela and Tony, over for drinks. She has also asked her divorced neighbour, Sue, because Sue’s fifteen year-old daughter, Abigail, was holding a party in their house. Beverly’s husband, Lawrence comes home late from work, just before the guests arrive. The gathering starts off in a stiff insensitive British middle class way with people who do not know each other, until Beverly and Lawrence start sniping at each other. – written by Will Gilbert

I watched the play on YouTube:


I felt like I was stepping into not only my mother’s time period but my grandmother’s period, with the beige leather suite and kitschy wooden furniture, not to mention the costumes.

First step having renewed my acquaintance with the play I made a list of the characteristics of each of the roles.

I tried to get some feeling for the colours in the play. Beverly, the leading actress seemed to wear orange in most productions. So I looked for a model in an orange dress which I could stylise in Photoshop. I found one and worked on it having sketched it.

I was fascinated by Anglea’s shoes in the video above so I looked up some 1970’s shoes.

I then looked at the music from the play and looked for the record covers to get some idea of the design of the time.

I looked up posters for Abigail’s Party to see what had been done previously. Among these were some OCA students work. I divided the posters into those on orange backgrounds, yellowish backgrounds and the remainder. The greatest number used the colour orange. Those on white backgrounds looked particularly weak.

Then I looked at some general theatre posters for the 1970s

I then looked at typefaces from the 1970s. Most of what I found were not installed with my design programmes. Only one or two were available on DaFont.

I looked up retro typefaces on DaFont and downloaded a couple of these. I printed a couple on my first ‘mock-up’ of the poster.

With all this information i set about trying to perfect my A3 poster. I was a little puzzled by how little information was contained in the ’70 posters I found online. I do not know if these were created as keepsakes rather than information posters. I figured that our local travelling theatre group needs to put information on their poster in order to inform people where and when they will perform. So I followed this idea rather than trying to create something purely decorative.

Using the same elements I created a double sided flyer. I found it odd making a landscape A5 as most are portrait. Also I found it odd to have a double sided flyer. I am not sure if most people would expect to find information on the back so I put very little information on the front to encourage them to turn the flyer over.


Finally I created the newspaper ad:

I think the design could easily be used for the programme. I mocked this up as follows:

I believe that theatre goers just want information on the inside of the programme so I created a very simple text based inside.

I will have the A3 poster, the A5 double sided flyer and the A6 Neewspaper ad printed up for submission of my final assessment.



This has proved to be an extremely difficult assignment of me. Mostly because of my post operation immobility. However my family did what they could by looking at what I had created and giving their opinions on how this could be improved. I appreciate their input. i will continue to solicit opinions from friends before final assessment. Having worked and re-worked the above martial I am no longer sure if I like it..

5_G1-pt5-Nuala-Mahon (1)

Below is an update my tutor sent me.



In terms of improvement I’d recommend you consider a little more your hierachies of type and image. The title should be the stand out element on the page with everything else subservient to this. It’s all about finding the right balance where the separate elements fall into a sort of connected grouping with each other. Look for gaps and space and where your eye naturally wants to fall is where your most important bit of type should live. Sometimes viewing the work in thumbnails is the best way of seeing this as a whole.

With this feedback and some suggestions from my tutor i reworked my poster. Here is the result:

I think this looks a lot better.

I have decided to use this as one of my ten pieces for submission in my portfolio. I have been in discussion with my print about ‘bleeds’ and papers etc. let us hope I have got it all sorted.








Exercise: The French Hen

Newton and Ridley, the brewers best known for their pub, The Rovers Return, are opening a cafe/wine bar nearer the city centre.

The bar is designed to appeal to younger women and sophisticated young men. The brewery has identified a gap in the market and wants to provide a ’sophisticated and relaxed’ venue for the ‘discerning’ drinker. This bar is to be called the French Hen and will be in direct competition with the cheap ‘binge drinking’ venues on the same street. The brewery is also trying to enhance its own image as a ‘respectable’ alcohol vendor.

They want you to develop some ideas for a logo, to be used:

  • • on covers for the food and cocktail menus
  • • in colour on the signage outside, and as a cutout for a window detail
  • • on T-shirts for the staff and paper napkins
  • • for one side of a beermat, the other will carry advice on sensible drinking.

There are many conventions that have been developed around the marketing of both bars and products to this age range. You need to be conscious the whole time of avoiding clichés and stereotyping.

Draw up at least three ideas to start with. Be critical of your work.

Check it against the information you have here. Will it do what the client wants – and how will you know?

When you have decided which one you are happiest with, mock up the menu covers, the outside sign, the window detail, a T-shirt, paper napkin and beermat. Does it all still work?

Some ideas from research:



















Then I did a mind map to try to concentrate my thoughts on what was important in this task.




Sketched out some ideas and then set to work.











I was originally opposed to the idea of using a french hen which is in fact a cock but my husband thought it absolutely necessary for this logo. hence I created two different logos.



The first involved tracing the french cock which I found in google images. I then created the french flag using information for the colours which I found online. I superimposed a .PNG file of the cock on to the flag.


I then created a glass in Illustrator following a YouTube video the link for which I give on my diary. This is a pretty basic glass but it gave me the opportunity to work again with the pen tool. I also learned about reflecting the first half to get a perfect shape. I refreshed my ‘join’ of two points.


I placed the hen in the glass as a PNG file.


I added the text. I used Parisish typeface as I thought it fitted the brief. I rotated the cafe name to make it fit into the stem and used 43pt on the bottom text so that it lined up with the edges of the glass.


I added a gradient behind the whole.

This is the result:

then added the Menu text:

The sign could be printed on some silver metal:


Window Cut out:

I looked up a T-Shirt manufacturer as I wanted to see how it looked on the back. However for a single example it would have cost €32!! So I took a screen snap of the result:















This logo is a text based logo. So I chose InDesign to create it. I used a black background.


I wanted a slim font because I wanted to make the letter “h” into a bottle. The font I used was eccentric standard. I stretched it, saving the letter “h” to be added later.


I then made the ‘h’ in a bottle shape, copied it and rotated it so that the two ‘h’s’ were two half bottles.

STEP 4: 

I then superimposed the bottle on to the outline of grapes.

This is the result:




The Menu cover


The sign:



The window cut out:

The T Shirt:















I personally like the second of these logos. I think it is more sophisticated than the first. I think it works better on the T-Shirt but not on the window cut out. I like the napkin with the glass logo. But do not think that it works as an outside sign.

I will gather other opinions. I guess this all makes one think of how to achieve multiple uses of a single logo.

I enjoyed the process of creation as it forced me to revisit some of both my InDesign and Illustrator skills. I think I am becoming more confident in the use of these software programmes.


– You demonstrate strength in your ideas again through your thumbnailing and initial drawings. I particularly like the glass/hen combo and think this could be a winning logo idea!

Whilst the below examples lean towards novelty, I love how the shape of the birds and the glass fit together.. you go one step further in your design by using the flag’s colour to depict the wine and this demonstrates the kind of playful thinking that is crucial to the designer and something I’d encourage you to nurture/expand or document more of in your process.

I tried to create something using my tutor’s idea of the hen as a shape of a glass. I found this almost impossible with my present illustrator skills. This is the result of my efforts.




Exercise: Judging a book by its cover.

Choose a book by an author you are familiar with. You are going to design two different covers for it, one using illustrations or photography and the other using just type.

Design the whole cover including the spine and back page. Include the title of the book, the author’s name, a brief description of the story and any other information you think is necessary.

As you are working remember that your design is intended to help a reader know what the experience of reading the book will be. Is it a serious text book or an off-beat funny novel? Are the readers expected to be young women or older men and does this matter?

Is it an ‘easy read’ or ‘literary’? Does the publisher have a house style you need to be part of?

When you have finished critique your work – which of your two designs do you feel works the most successfully and why? Make notes in your learning log.

I have chosen Zadie Smith’s Swing Time for reasons I explain in my diary.

I like the simple cover. I can understand why the cover designer chose to use only typography as the story is complicated to represent either graphically or in an image.

It is a story of two young girls, of mixed race, growing up in east London. One is a talented dancer but somewhat out of control. The other has less talent but more ambition. She also has a very pushy Jamaican  mother. The less talented girl is the narrator. She finishes school, having passed through a succession of teenage rebellious periods, and lands a job as a PA to an American pop singer. This singer has philanthropic ideals. She wants to help a school in The Gambia. The narrator is shocked by the poverty and cannot understand how someone would not want to leave it. Her struggle is within herself as she tries to find her place in this world. The talented dancer, Tracy, eventually dances in the chorus of a West End show. She is much more content with her background and place in society.

The story deals with friendship, race, ambition, lack of ambition, knowing our boundaries, learning to be happy and satisfied, philantrophy and its consequences.

Problem is how to represent this story on a cover.

I tried out some ideas in my log book.

I wanted to show the race element and the cross pollination of the UK and The Gambia. Swing Time, in the story is about the Narrator’s love of old swing time movies. But I thought, because of the contrasts in the book, black and white, ambition and contentment, poverty and wealth, a swing would best represent these ideas. So I worked on this in InDesign. I am not altogether happy with the result but it was the best I could do.


I tried several covers using only typography. I looked up a reference my tutor had given me but did not feel inspired by the examples. I wanted to keep the idea of mixed race but  black and white seemed too stark. I wanted clean simplicity to avoid my usual problem of overworking. I then decided to use a metallic silver tone (Patone silver C). with a black and white title.



Although I loved this book and felt a very special affinity with it I found creating the cover extremely difficult. Parts of this book could have been my story and I still intend to write to Zadie Smith to ask her if she had personally experienced the Gambia river crossing. The only difference between the experience recounted in the book and mine was that mine was a great deal more complicated and dangerous…

In the illustration cover, I like the colour of the headings and I like the two country map idea but I feel that the figures are a bit stylised and maybe if I was being very PC they might not be acceptable. But I will await my tutor input.

I prefer the metallic grey simple typographical cover. Maybe this is because the book had a typographical cover or maybe it is because Zadie Smith’s boos have all had this type of cover. I could also be that I inevitably will prefer simplicity.



Your illustrated book cover has a certain logic to it and I like how you’ve started to break down and handle your themes but I feel the overall image is a little too disjointed or contrived. It may be worth returning to the visual metaphor task from earlier in the course to try to come up with some keywords which sum up a sentiment of the book or core objects , locations or defining scenes that anchor the text. Depicting your characters and their cultures could be as simple as having contrasting props photographed / spliced together. It would be good also to describe your rationale for the text based image in your log further too.

Further TUTOR reflections in an email:

Stick with the book jacket a little while more but if you don’t come to any conclusions or manage to fully refine try not to worry. A good written reflection of what the sticking points are can be as good as reinventing the wheel and if you end up with some big ideas you can’t pull off – some thumbnails to show your concepts would be just as good. I think sometimes when you read something you are more personally entangled with it can make it quite problematic to find thee all encompassing image you wish for.
Extra pointers from me might be to see if you can go and photograph a location that might be suitable – or if you know someone who could capture this for you that would also be ok; finding an image online and documenting your understanding for the steps you’d need to undertake to license it would also be appropriate). You could also gather up some objects that you could imagine the characters associated with (dance shoes?) and just play around and handles these as props to inspire a set-up that would relate to the book. I think the typographic cover will probably come more easily once you’ve got these key visual metaphors concentrated into one clear focus of concept.
Following the above feedback I decided to collect some images that I thought represented the story.
I played around with these in my sketch book.. I then mocked up a cover using the Gambian flag colours and the ballet legs. I added and took away various other images.
Using this mock-up I worked inDesign to create the following new book cover.
I am much happier with this cover.

Exercise: Chance Housing Association

The Chance Housing Association has been set up to try and help first time buyers get onto the housing ladder and they want you to develop a brand image for their stationery.

It is important to them that the Association is seen as being different from the other local housing associations – more modern, more helpful and definitely welcoming to young people wanting to buy a house.

They want to use their logo on their letterheads and office stationery and it will also be used somewhere on the sheets that hold the property details. It also needs to be reproducible in the local newspaper and professional trade magazines.

What to do

• Research other housing associations’ and estate agents’ styles. Look at other publications designed for a similar audience. This information should help you identify as much what you don’t want to do as what you do.

• If this was a real job you would need to visit the housing association’s offices and website, if it has one, to see how many decisions they have already made – for example they may have painted their sign silver and dark blue and used a particular font. As the designer you may want to continue with and develop those decisions or change them.

Using just typography sketch up some designs. You want to come up with at least three initial ideas to show the client. In this instance you can decide which one you think works best to further develop.

• Mock up a letterhead and business card using the logo and house brand. Look in you local newspaper and mock up an advertisement to fit in the paper. Measure the space carefully remembering to leave sufficient margins so your text isn’t cramped. Photocopy in black and white onto cheap paper – does your logo still work? Have any fine lines got lost? Are the differences between colours still discernable?

• Show your designs to your friends and family. What is their feedback?

• If you need to, go back and adjust your artwork. If all is well make up a presentation pack to show the client – in this instance your tutor.

Keep all your work and record the process in your learning log.

Logos from Housing Associations:

I examined these and divided them into those that were created only of Typography.










and then those that had something else added to the logo.
















I need to concentrate on the Typography only examples. Interestingly none of these has tried to make an image out of any letter. They are just fairly straightforward. Two have circles with letters inside. Two use script typefaces which I think look amateurish. I like EQUITY best. I think it looks clean and youthful and modern. I’ll think along these lines for my sketches.

I love this quote:

If you can’t draw it from memory, you should at least think twice about it.(1)

I looked up typographic only logos in mono colour to get some inspiration before I start my sketches.
















It is really interesting to examine these to see how typography has been used to create really memorable logos. I’m thinking ‘vimeo’,’ Mail Chimp’ and ‘YouTube. The other interesting thing is how letters are used for example ‘NCAD’ (National College of Art and Design) and ARC design. Some logos are framed e.g. FRAME, The Bartlett School of Arcitecturea and Vitra Design Museum. How the letters are placed as in O/R is interesting but sometimes just a simple block capital name like STRIPE works really well.

With this review I set about sketching some logos for the “Chance Housing Association”

Within these sketches there are some ideas I worked on. I was drawn to the idea of using a ladder to express the idea of “getting on the ladder”. On the other hand I wanted my logo to be clean and simple. So I worked on these two ideas and asked a graphic Designer friend to take a look at these attempts. She came up with several suggestions which I will enumerate after I present them:

The Graphic designer felt legibility was a problem. She liked the ladder idea but felt the “H” of the word ‘chance’ was lost. She also felt that the ‘A’ might look better slightly smaller. In addition she liked the pink background of the newspaper ad and suggested this might work better as the logo. For the Newspaper ad she suggested the question in the top left hand corner would look better on a darker strip at the bottom of the ad. I did not show her my business card mock up.

For my second design I chose more clean lines. I preferred this design myself.

Deirdre liked this design also but felt the spacing could be tighter. She also suggested the underline to be aligned with the end letters.For the advertisement she also suggested I play around with the positioning of the elements to get a better visual presentation. She stressed trying to improve the diagonal perspective.

With all of the above suggestions I set to work to improve these two designs and to present my client portfolio, giving the client the choice between two quite different logos.

The results are as follows:

1.1 LOGO


1.2 Letterhead

1.3 Newspaper Advrtisement

1.4 Business Card


I think it is better than my first effort but I am still a little wary of the pink. I think it might be too feminine. Also there is the issue of the black on the advertisement which, if not a true black, might ‘bleed’ on the newspaper. However I could not work out how to get a CMYK 100% black when I saved the image as a JPEG.

2.1 LOGO





I like this set and think it is clean and uncluttered. I think it fits in with the modern trend among your people to return to Bauhaus type design. The red ‘A’ resembles a house but not too graphically. However I wonder if the newspaper ad is eye-catching enough given that it will be printed on a very absorbent off white paper.



– the discussions around legibility are very pertinent.

  • – Conceptually your steps/ladder feels the strongest image however the final logo is the cleanest and most balanced and an attractive piece of competently produced design.
  • – The problems that remain to be resolved surround the triangle erring towards looking like a wigwam and needing to be more overlty rooflike.
  • – The triangle seems to read most positively if considered as an arrow or a direction – could this be a thing to explore further? (in reflection perhaps rather than any extended re-working).

Because the second logo was so simple I wanted to have some indication therein that it was concerned with housing. Hence I decided to use the triangle/wigwam symbol. In my discussion with my tutor she indicated that this might be interpreted as ‘temporary’ accommodation. However I think the wigwam is accepted more as a symbol for a roof over one’s head or protection than any form of temporary accommodation. I also feel that in the Newspaper advertisement the houses in a ladder form help to solidify the design as a permanent housing association.

I also asked myself if a non solid ‘A’ would better indicate ‘permanent housing.

But I do not think so. I think it looks too like a traffic cone!!!

I also tried a ‘flat’ topped A but this did not look good.

So my conclusion is that the clean logo using a solid red ‘A’ to indicate a house is the best of what I have produced.


  1. Creative Market. 2017. 20 Rebranding Disasters You Can Learn From ~ Creative Market Blog. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 11 July 2017].

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.




This huge Hockney retrospective at the Tate Britain is probably one of the most amazing exhibitions I have ever had the privilege to see. I have always been a fan of Hockney sand this for many reasons. He is my generation, he was a sixties swinger, he was never afraid of criticism, he was open, when, to be openly gay was a crime and he brought understandable art to the masses. But I was totally ignorant of his early work from his college days and just after and also of his recent iPad drawings.

The exhibition is presented chronologically starting with his work in college and just after. There is something poignant about this work. He is showing his homosexuality but at the same time presenting it in a comic way. The two figures in “Cleaning Teeth” are typical of this period. He painted in many different styles like his hero Picasso. But he was still constrained by the times.

In 1964 he visited Los Angeles for the first time. California seemed to liberate him. He became part of the Bohemian set. His paintings took on a new life. The “swimming pool” series are among his best known. He studied water and its movement intensely. He was satirising the abstract movement in these paintings. His male fiends and partners are represented in this pictures. It seems to have been a very happy time for him. He was living the good life but he continued to be intensely productive.

At the end of the sixties he moved to acrylics. These gave the vibrancy he wanted to show. Acrylic also demanded more accuracy as they could not be painted over. He created paintings of his friends relaxing either in his house or theirs. The likenesses are remarkable almost  like photographs except they are unmistakably Hockney. He was later to introduce photography into his work and complained that photography is too ‘flat’. He is working to improve this by creating 3D images superimposing several photographs. One such is presented in this exhibition. It is the card players.

Photographic drawing printed on paper mounted on aluminium, edition 1 of 12:69 4/5 × 69 4/5 in 177.2 × 177.2 cm © David Hockney Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt

His painting is shown on the wall of other card players. The lines between photography and painting are truly blurred here. This is what I dream of being able to do.

He also worked with Polaroid images creating a montage of dozens of images. Such inspiration.

He returned to the UK for a number of years. He stayed about eight years appearing to be surprised that he had stayed so long. He returned after the death of his 23 year old assistant from poisoning. While in Bridlington, UK,  he painted the countryside. After the brilliant sunshine of California he loved the seasons back in England. Other than the charcoals just after his young friend’s death, his paintings were very vibrant. But he returned to California soon after.

Back in the UK in 2006 he began his series of the Wolds. He painted outside, for the first time, on huge canvases. Again demonstrating that he wants to create different paintings in different ways. In 2010 he began making multiscreen videos. This are mesmerising. We, all four of us, stood in front of the huge wall watching these. We disagreed afterwards about which screens were moving and which were static. Again Hockney was challenging us taking us on a journey into the image. It was magic.

Just when you think the man cannot create another original painting he moves to his iPad drawings. These are created on screens as you watch. It is mind altering…. The finished works, although they are only ‘doodles’ are brilliant.

This man is a genius. Long may he live to create every move challenging work.


Exercise: Hierarchy

Using about 500 words of Lorum Ipsum (or other dummy text) you are going to design three different pages:

  • • an interview with a TV actor in a listings magazine entitled: Will Sheila tell the naked truth?
  • • a review of a new piece of hardware or software in a specialist computer magazine
  • • a book review in a newspaper’s weekend edition.

Research these types of publications and identify three different combinations of typefaces appropriate for each publication. 

Now you need to invent headings and subheadings for your articles. Set these combinations so that your header is above 12pt in size, your body text is 12pt or below and subheadings sit in between in your hierarchy.

You will need to create some text to allow you to show your combinations in action. Use your text to describe your decision making process, why you think the combination works and what your intentions were.

  1. I looked up some listing magazines – we do not get any of these as we do not watch a lot of television. When we do we watch the news and the occasional documentary. The first interview I found on a magazine called “BUZZ”

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-09-29-33The heading was in Franklin Gothic pt size 36. The body of the text was Helvetica Neue 14pt with the questions in the same font but Bold. Because this is online the pt size used is bigger than it would be in an equivalent printed magazine. Sans serif also reads very easily online. Both heading and body text are clean and simple.

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-10-02-55The next magazine I looked at was called, appropriately “Interview”. I loved the cover. The online interview was in Georgia 14 both questions and    answers, The questions were in Upper Case.

I loved the typeface of the Title but could not figure out what it was.




I am sure that the printed version would use different body font.

Some of the other magazines I could not work out what fonts were being used. One about Reggae interviews was impossible to read. I also looked at an interview with Sarah Jessica Parker in Red. I have no idea who she is (this is my problem I never know who these people are). But I do know this magazine as my daughter reads it.It was easy to read but an unusual way of doing an interview.

Sarah Jessica Parker is trying to resist sending an email. It’s a reminder to her husband, Matthew Broderick, to make sure a school form has been signed and returned, and that their son James Wilkie needs to clear out his backpack tomorrow, as he does every Wednesday.

“There’s a file under his desk and all his papers from the week – whether it’s Latin or history – have to go in.”

There are no questions and Answers it is a story format. I like it.

There are many online sources about pairing fonts.

  • this shows combinations of fonts for different publications. Most are not free fonts but some are.
  • this one is for InDesign so should prove useful
  • another set of combinations
  • and yet another set of combinations

I have printed the first task headline and a little text with a number of heading/body text combinations. I’ve pasted these into my learning log. With the fonts that I have available I like the following combinations:

  • Garamond/Futura
  • Myriad/Minion

I then tried out a number of layouts in my learning log. I had some images of my lovely daughter and decided to use one or two of these. I find my two final layouts dull but then I find most of the women’s magazines layouts, which I looked at, really dull.




2. A single screen snap from the hundreds of typography pairings for technical magazines on this site.


I made some sketches in my log book:

I then researched technical backgrounds and found amazing images on this site. But these all looked a little too advanced for my present Illustrator skills. I used this site for a very simple background which showed me how to create a Mesh gradient.


I then added a cloud. I first made the colour pale blue but finally decided white was better.

Using my log book sketch  for ideas I added a mobile phone, a laptop, an envelope as the software was a cloud storage software. I then added rectangles into which I would put the text. I decided to use Myriad in both headlines and text as I find it very clean and readable. I did all of these steps in different layers as the whole was quite complicated. I sent it to a couple of friends for comment. I have not used all the 500 words as I felt that this would probably be a two page spread and the rest of the text could be used.

Basic RGB



I think the poster is great – love the central cloud and mauve is sufficiently soft yet bold ( sounds bonkers), but also one can read the text in white against it.
I suppose my boy comment would be whether there needed to be a link between the images ( eg mobile) and text. Would any text be an explanation of the object illustrated within the context of the whole concept? Does that make sense? Tricky, as text is gobbledygook.
It is, however, hugely eye-catching with relevant central motif.
But what do I know about these things!

3. The final task is to make a layout for a book review. I found this the simplest. I love books and I absolutely adore the works of Chimamanda Ngozi Adechi. I decided to do a review for Half of a Yellow Sun.

I made a few layout mock-ups in my log book:

I used the tried and tested Baskerville at 36pt for the titles. I used Minion Pro for the BOOK REVIEW title and for the body text at 10pt. This still did not allow me to fit all 500 words into the space. So I reduced the tracking to -25. I am not sure if this reduced the readability beyond tolerable. I got most of the 500 words in but not all. I like the two serifs for a book review. I think it is comfortable to read. I wanted to break up the paragraphs with the drop caps. I only used two lines for the Drop caps.