Exercise: Birthday list

For this exercise you are going to make up a poster list for yourself. It is intended that you keep it pinned to a noticeboard or wall to remind you of the dates and, as it will be there a long time, it needs to look good.

Start by collecting all the birthdays of your friends and family. You’ll need their name and birth date, to decide whether or not you buy them presents or just send a card, text message or email.

When you have all this design a page to include all this information for example:


Below are some of the calendars which I liked in a Google search.

I like the idea that the whole year is visible. The colours are a bit dull.

I love the wooden background. The pegs are a little impractical as the birthday papers would fall off.

This would work over an office work station as it looks like anyone’s peg board.

The calendar I have in mind is a little like this.

My handbag birthday calendar will be a little like this.


  1. I made a list of family and friends birthdays.
  2. I decided to have vertical boxes for each month. The month would be indicated in a box X25, Y-10, W25, H15.
  3. The month name is the letter in Trajan Pro 24pt.
  4. The baseline shift is -5
  5. The boxes are at 5mm from each other.
  6. The bounding boxes are opts and the colours are from the swatch list
  7. The ‘birthday boxes’ are 25 x25mm and filled with the border colour of the month. I had to reduce the opacity of the dark blue and red to make the print legible.
  8. The date is Ariel 10pt Regular
  9. The name is Ariel 12pt Bold
  10. The symbols are screen shots for Gift, Text, Facebook or Card. Depending on what I send someone for their birthday I use the symbol. If the calendar was to be used for other members of the family it would be better if these were separate and it was possible to stick them on the calendar. Different members give or donut give gifts, cards or messages.
  11. When compete I tried to line up the text horizontally by placing a grid line at the point where I wanted the text to line up. I found this difficult to get precise – not sure why.
  12. Finally having printed an example I realise that some of the background box colours were too strong. I reduced the opacity in these.


I decided to make three different versions of the calendar


A simple  wall version

I used a   simple photo image I had of birds in the sky. I then laminated my wall calendar. I will use this on my wall and expand it.

A mounted wall version or a handbag version

I found a nice piece of old drift wood and sanded it down. Because it was still very wet I dried it out on a radiator. This caused a split to open wider. I used wood glue on this and clamped it. The calendar can be fixed to it with a stud.

But I wanted to keep it for my handbag!!


…..the birthday list is a good, functioning document and a solid example of how mocking-up and making a physical version of something very much helps to inform its application

This task seems to have been completed satisfactorily.


Exercise: Giving Information

Find some examples of information graphics. For example bus timetables, city maps, diagrams or representations of statistical data. Look at the way they are designed and try and work out the decisions the designer made. What can you learn from them and when would it be appropriate to use a similar design solution?

For this exercise you are going to describe your immediate surroundings using information graphics; this could be a plan of your desk, the layout of your house, the arrangement of objects in your cupboards or your morning journey; anything will do.

Before you start you will need to think about scale and about how you will break down the information for your design. Create a graphic that represents an aerial or front on view of your location. Be mindful of the hierarchy of the elements in the composition and the dynamics needed to draw the viewer’s eye from one stage to the next. Use typography, numbers and colours to describe what is being represented. You may want to produce a key to help us understand what is being shown, as well as a diagram title to put things in context.

Keep all your sketches and notes in your learning log.

I did some research on info graphic designers. I added this to my “Graphic Designers” page.

This is a great site about the 25 best ideas for Infographics.

This week I was asked to create a trail map for an upcoming event on the island where I live. The curator and I listed what we wanted on the map. She decided that she wanted an A5 folded sheet. The logic for this was that if it was raining a small map would be better than an A4 sheet. The map needs to show the location of 8 art galleries. It also needs to contain the ferry timetable and the phone number for the island bus.

We used the existing ferry timetable which was designed by our ferry crew man. He uses a drone to photograph and has a great deal of computer experience. It is clear and simple to follow. The only problem is that the ferry owner sometimes decides to change the ferry times!!!! We have a mobile phone alert system to inform us of changes…

I think Greg, our ferry crew man, used excel to create this and then probably made a PdF and imported it into Photoshop. I used a map of the island on which we would place the trail. I would have preferred a blank map but the curator wanted the town lands on the map. We did remove some in Photoshop. Below is the only one that existed. I did not have the time to create a new one…

I took the map into InDesign and added the red dots. I numbered each dot and put a list of the artists on the inside of the folded sheet. We did not have all the relevant information so it is still a work in progress.

This is a very simple information graphic. I looked up some others on the web. Below is a screen snap of some. 

I had never really considered ways to demonstrate information graphically. I have worked with Excel and produced histograms and pie charts. But these were produced automatically. I have added colours to differentiate information contained therein. But I never gave much thought to the effectiveness of what I was creating. I assumed most of these info graphics were created in Illustrator.

I have wanted, for a long time, to create an information map for visitors to my garden. Time and lack of inspiration have not advanced this project…. But now I can use this exercise to, hopefully, produce something which will be of use to me in the future.

This site gives the ten best infographc designs. These are mostly about ways of gardening rather than mapping a garden. I like this one below about composting. It does not give much useful information but it is attractive. The colours are ‘earthy’

I like the way the following one is set out with the main map of the design in the centre and the information on either side. I could use something like this with the garden site in the middle and plant lists etc on either side.

I think both graphics were probably created in Illustrator. The second one is the sort of map/information sheet I would like to produce for my garden. However I find it a little too fussy for my needs.

This is an amazing info graphic about using recycled items in a garden. This is something I am really interested in and use continually. I would like to add the information about my own recycled items on my graphic. But again it might make the map too confusing.

I have made a copy of the post code site map of our site:

This is not a very accurate map as we have purchased a little more land since this map was created. I will correct it in photoshop before using. I will use this in my log to mind map what I would like to be included on it.

This is the google map of our garden:

Worked on the outline map in my log. I like the result.

On the left I listed what I wanted to include. I think the map I have produced is a little too fussy so I will scale it down in Illustrator.

Having created my symbols I placed them on the map in Illustrator. I added a key for symbol explanation. I also added a little information about my garden and house.

Here is the result:


I think the above map is a reasonable start to my project of producing a garden plan for visitors to my garden. I like my hand drawn map better as it contains more detail. But I think it might be too detailed and a little confusing for visitors.

I will give it to a few friends who know my garden and see what they think.

Deirdre Ní Luasaigh

Hi Nuala

I love it!!

My comments in general

  • Great clarity. Clarity in the garden sketch as well as in the key to the left. This is hugely difficult to achieve and in my view critical to all good design, but especially so for infographics.
  • The piece of writing is great and simple and again easy to understand.
  1. To pick out modifications, two things struck me.

‘Studio’ word is small and difficult to read on the sketch. Possibly could use a letters system on the sketch to identify ‘house’ , ‘ruin’ & ‘studio’ connected to the key on the left eg and a dot with the letter inside for each building on the sketch

8 Buildings:

  •             a house
  •             b ruin
  •             c studio

2:  There is more detail in the writing that does not quite match the key – references to ‘new house’ and ‘old house’ , ‘stream’­  and ‘the elms’ Maybe find a way to include these in the key as well.
Deirdre Ní Luasaigh


Need something to indicate the entrance…

So here is the final version:

Well I thought it was the final version until I used it for this weekend. I had the garden open to the public for an Open Islands Festival. I gave out my Infographics and asked for comments. One lady who was a book editor and proof reader gave me very useful feedback. She indicated spelling errors, I had a comma at the end of the tree paragraphic and not at the end of shrub paragraph. I had a space before the “The” in the second last paragraph on the right. I have corrected all these and her is the Final, final result!


Both of these tasks seem to have been beneficial for you ; the birthday list is a good, functioning document and a solid example of how mocking-up and making a physical version of something very much helps to inform its application. I think it’s fantastic you chose to map your garden and this is also a strong example of you using the GD1 course with good personal application. I hope this kickstarts a long line of garden maps – with practice these will become more proficient and just what you want them to be (I must say I did get quite excited about the house being used to raise Elven children!). I, like you also appreciate the hand drawn version and its detail ; if you fancy scanning this for me I’d be happy to spend a short time during our skype showing you how you could digitally enhance / colour this to make more of it.

Following this advice I looked at my had drawn map again and photographed it and took it into Photoshop. I converted it to B&W and colorised it.  thought the garden trees etc. were self explanatory but I wanted to add the tex about the house and its history. I hand wrote this and soaked the sheet in cod coffee to make a sepia effect but this did not work. So I hand wrote it not to printed sheet and re-c opined it before having it professionally printed. I have included this in my portfolio.


Assignment 4: Typography Diary

10 january 2017

Finished my assignment 3 and posted it. I also reworked what was recommended in my last tutor report. Now it is on to Assignment 4.

12 january 2017

My husband returned having helped to wake and bury his oldest friend – not easy but he is very pragmatic. We are determined to live every moment of the lives we have left – one wastes so much time when young…

I printed the list of words and have started to arrange the ones I found easiest. Will continue today after some research.

FRIDAY 13 January 2017

It’s Friday 13th and am still unscathed… Tried to photograph my “Playing with Words” outside but it is freezing and blowing a hooley…. Did about half and now my Nikon transfer won’t cope… Did I say unscathed!!! Received my book ordered from Phaidon which were On Sale. “Beware of Wet Paint”, “Cindy Sherman” and “Surrealism”. Looking forward to a good read.

Had reply from Irish Print Museum – not very encouraging. The book Irish Type Design suggested coast 25€.. and is not available on any of the online sources that I can fine. Will just have to do my best to find material online.

14 January 2017

Finished making my images of my “playing with Words”. had to do them inside as the Mistral was blowing hard. Have now made thumbnails and added to my log. I also made my booklet to add to my written log.

16 january 2017

I have finished my wonderful new book “Beware of Wet Paint”. Now to write a review and get on with other work using the tremendous influence of this book…

17 january 2017

Am adding images to my blog. My Nikon NX2 has ceased to open and I have learned it is no longer supported so I am getting my images off it on to my external hard drives.




This has pushed me to  add images which were ‘waiting’ to my blog.





I have also started Cindy Sherman by  Paul Moorhouse   . So dull compared to the Alan Fletcher book. her work is very specific and if it is not ‘your thing’ it is hard to get enthused by it.




In the introduction to this chapter it is pointed out that print from letterpress is usually a little raised.




letterpress_printI searched out some very old books which we inherited from my husbands family. Here is one that his grandfather was given in 1870 for being a good student….


24 January 2017

In Paris this weekend with the grandchildren. This meant we had to select visits which suited a three year old and a five year old… We needed to be quite creative and flexible. I and my daughter wanted to see some ‘grown up” exhibitions but we decided it should be predominantly about the children. So we visited the Aquarium which was brilliant and the Natural History Museum which was equally good.

Then we allowed ourselves to visit the Grand Palais to see the Mexique exhibition. Frida Kahlo is one of my favourite female artists so this was a must. It was a bit of a challenge to keep the three year old amused. Grandpa did that for us. I wrote a review here.

The Grandpa and I went to the Biblioteque Nationale de France BnF to see the Richard Avedon Exhibition. I have written a review here.

27 january 2017

What a marathon this first exercise has been in Assignment 4. I have been reading Type & Typography at the same time as trying to create interesting  outcomes for each of the 30 words given. I am totally exhausted. However I think I have learned something about typography. I have also learned some of the possibilities of Illustrator.

I wrote up my review of Richard Avedon’s exhibition in Paris. I now need to write up my book Cindy Shermann which I finished on the trip to Paris. I want to write a review of the chapter in Type & Typography but am not sure if I really understand enough about all this. It is interesting as I am remembering things from when I first worked with computers which are discussed in this book. Having an information scientist for a husband meant we were one of the first families to have a computer. Since he was also one of the founding pioneers of the Internet I absorbed a lot of the original terminology. However I still find it a little baffling.

7 February 2017

It is days since I wrote in my diary. This is because I am busy creating my sample book of typefaces (or Type Families). This has involved a lot of researching on the Internet to get my head around the terminology. I really want to do this so I will be better informed in the use of Typefaces. I am loving it. But it is time consuming.

I am also creating my sample book at the same time. I have created Version 1. Now I am trying to rationalise it. I will put each stage on my log page. I have also printed out Version 1. I will add this to my physical log book.

In order to get a feeling for what typefaces I should use for the short story for the woman’s magazine I wrote a ridiculous story under the given title. I am also researching on the internet for advice.

8 February 2017

So I tried out different typefaces for my story and printed them out. My husband, who used to write a technical magazine, had a look and decided which typeface was the most legible. He offered some opinions too about the “mis en page” – how does one say that in English? All our professional work has been down in French!! “Put on page” does not sound correct…

Now I need to get the ‘corrected’ best version into InDesign..

13 February 2017

Brilliant weekend in Rome. Mostly for the guys to see Ireland trash Italy at rugby…. I passed on the match to visit some museums and to just walk around Rome and drink in its atmosphere. I visited two museums both of which gave me a lot to think about. I have written reviews in my review section. One under installation artists – although this is not strictly where it fits. The other under photography.

I always travel light so I just had a tiny notebook and a biro with me. I made a few sketches for my ads. I have pasted them into my log book. I need to get going on these and see what is best….

16 february 2017

I have been thinking about how to proceed with these typography exercises. I am enjoying researching designers who specialise in typography. But now I must get down to the job in hand…

I am loosing the will to live here trying to create some artwork for the invitation to the engagement party. I had this crazy idea of creating puzzle pieces. I got as far as step 12 but could not work out the next steps. the resulting puzzle piece was OK so I decided to go with it….. I am not that keen on the end result but it has taken so much time to get this far I will leave it for today and maybe try again tomorrow….

24 february 2017

I was completely unaware of the thousands of typefaces that exist. My head is spinning looking at these on the web. I am also flabbergasted at the price of some of these. I looked up Akzidenz for example and it costs several hundreds of euro to get the complete set. I am looking at fonts for technology magazines. These are not discussed as frequently as fonts for women’s magazines. I see Font Space has several hundred for free. I wonder what the catch is?

Futura seems to be a good standby and I like it’s clean lines. Avenir Next is also used quite frequently. I think it best to stick to the tried and tested rather than try to be to quirky. I want to try some Infographics in the exercise. I like the idea of getting some practise in this which I did not know existed until this morning….

27 february 2017.

I have set up some sketches in my log book for this exercise and have more or less settled on trying one. I want to create an interesting background as I think technical guys reading a software review would be the sort of audience who would like this. I researched technical backgrounds. I then researched how to create abstract backgrounds in Illustrator. I am trying out the Mesh gradient tool…. It is great fun. I have decided to call my software “Clear Cloud” – this will allow me to create another cloud….. I love making clouds now. I will use clip art for the mobile phones, camera etc.

19 March 2017

I cannot believe it has been so long since I wrote in my diary. I suppose this is because I have been working with my log book on sketches for Assignment 4. I had friends here to stay also and since one of them is an artist she was delighted with watching me work…… She is an oil painter. I have also spent the past ten days in UK to visit family and sort out family problems. Then on to London to stay with friends, the wife is also a photographer so we spent our time visiting Tate Britian, Tate Modern and the National Portrait gallery. It was amazing. I need to write all these up.

I found it hard to come up with sketches for the work “TYPE” with which I was happy. This was until I was lying in my bed one morning watching my projector clock. I loved the shape of the numbers so I decided to try this for my letters. I liked them so I went with them. I had so many ideas but time was my problem. I am reasonably happy with my cover page.

I then wrote, in Word, the bits for the inside page of the magazine.

I wanted to keep the idea of the gradient that I had used on the cover. I thought it fitted with the old newspaper. However I had created the cover in Illustrator and I wanted to use InDesign for the pages. I had never created a gradient in InDesign nor had I done a double page spread. I “sort of” managed the double page spread but I had a front page which I could not delete. I printed the double page on my A3 printer but it came out as two pages. This allowed me to correct the text and see how it looked but I would like to know how to print  a double page spread. Could not find this anywhere. When I exported the document to Photoshop it came in as two pages also. I just increased the canvas size of the first page to double and copied and pasted the other page into it. Although this worked it is not, I imagine, the most efficient way to do this. So much to learn.

20 March 2017

Today is my daughter’s first husband’s anniversary. He died so suddenly. I have just had a text from her to say she is at the hospital where he was brought with her three year old (with her second husband) while they check out the little one’s heart for a heart murmur… Life can be very cruel sometimes.

I will occupy myself with checking through my submission for assignment 4 while I await news of my beloved grand daughter.

Beware of Wet Paint by Alan Fletcher

Phaidon were offering reductions on a number of books so I purchased this without knowing a lot about it or Alan Fletcher. Ignorance is not always bliss and it certainly was not in this case. I could not leave the book down.

beware_wet_paintThe book contains 265 Fletcher designs and the commentary is by Jeremy Meyerson. It is divided into themed chapters and there are four essays.

Each chapter moves and sways like a Fletcher design from the practical to the ephemeral. The book is full of Fletcher’s wit both in the written word, and in his designs.

He is generous with his information about how he went about ‘creating’ designs. An idea could just pop into his head or he sometimes had to work and re-work his first thoughts. Whichever the method he knew when he had found what satisfied him. It was always necessary that he be satisfied first in order to convince the client of the value of his thinking. This did not always work. But he always remained true to himself.

After twenty years with the agency Pentagram, which he founded, he left to become a freelance designer. Amazingly he admits to not receiving work for three months after he went independent. But he never doubted himself and little by little he built up a huge worldwide clientele. Some of these clients, like Pirelli, he had worked with at Pentagram. Others were new and came to him because of his growing reputation. He is very open about the designs which were not accepted as well as those which have become famous.

Every chapter is a delight but some made me laugh and gasp in awe at the same time. In “recycling materials” we see how he used everything he saved to create funny, quirky designs. Two stamps on a envelope with just a curved line became a wedding present for his friend. A label from a carton indicating the way the box should be held was inverted and the caption “Down with Dogma” added and this became a poster for the 1993 Design Renaissance Congress.

dsBut Fletcher’s work could also be precise and very formal when it needed to be. The logo for a company which manufactured queuing and routing systems, Design Symbols, is a geometric masterpiece. The signage for the V&A is another example although lack of funds meant that this was never properly installed – what a pity.


The Dog
The Dog

He created many calendars, horoscopes and cards both for his friends and paid work. One which made me really laugh out loud was the Chinese Horoscopes. he imposed strict criteria on himself whereby he used only ephemera which was in his possession.

the_oxThe animal heads he managed to create are ingenious. As someone who keeps all my tickets and material from travelling I could really empathise. Unfortunately I just stick mine into hand made diaries for my grandchildren. I’ll have to hope they might create something from them in the future.

I have submitted my assignment 3 for Core Designs in which I had to create guidebook covers for various cities. One city was Manhatten. When I saw what Fletcher had created I wanted to give up immediately and admit I lack that magical something which makes a designer like Fletcher.

I think the greatest lesson I have taken from this book it that ‘less’ can definitely be better than more…

I would suggest that this book be compulsory reading for all design students.

Assignment 3: Colour Me

The brief

To produce a poster (297mm x 420mm) that celebrates a colour of your choice.

Choose a colour that has a meaning that you want to explore and celebrate. Think about what the colour you have chosen means both to you and to other people and create something that celebrates that meaning, for example you may choose a golden brown because you like real ale, a vivid green because of a particular landscape, green to celebrate Irish identity or the yellow sandstone of Bath’s architecture..


Work only with your chosen colour, its complementary colour and black and white. You can include text, collages, illustrations and photographs. Use black and white to help establish a range of tints and shades with your chosen colour. These limitations are to get you to work with colour thinking creatively about how to make a limited palette work for you.

This project is as much about visual dynamics and contrast as it is about creating something with meaning. Make full use of it to show off to your tutor all the skills and processes you have learnt so far.

You need to submit at least three variations of your poster as well as the finished artwork.

My chosen colour is blue for the reasons I specified in my diary. My problem is I love blue but do not like orange, its complimentary.

Blue is a primary colour, on the cold end of the spectrum but its compliment is on the hot end so they balance.




This is the ‘true blue’ (0,0,225). The tints and shades will be created by adding white or black.

Orange (225,165,0)
Orange (225,165,0






This the complimentary of my blue – orange (225,165,0)




I am looking for inspiration on the colour blue. Thinking about the Donovan song:

Blue’s the colour of the sky
In the mornin’ when we rise,
In the mornin’ when we rise.
In the mornin’ when we rise.
That’s the time, that’s the time
I love the best.

Read more:  Donovan – Colours Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Blue (1)
  • In ancient Rome, public servants wore blue. Today, police and other public servants wear blue. In Iran, blue is the color of mourning.
  • Blue was used as protection against witches, who supposedly dislike the color.
  • If you are “true blue,” you are loyal and faithful.
  • Blue stands for love, which is why a bride carries or wears something blue on her wedding day.
  • A room painted blue is said to be relaxing.
  • “Feeling blue” is feeling sad. “Blue devils” are feelings of depression.
  • Something “out of the blue” is from an unknown source at an unexpected time.
  • A bluebook is a list of socially prominent people.
  • The first prize gets a blue ribbon.
  • A blue blood is a person of noble descent. This is probably from the blue veins of the fair-complexioned aristocrats who first used this term.
  • “Into the blue” means into the unknown.
  • A “bluenose” is a strict, puritanical person.
  • A “bluestocking” used to be a scholarly or highly knowledgeable woman.
  • The pharaohs of ancient Egypt wore blue for protection against evil.
  • The “blues” is a style of music derived from southern African-American secular songs. It influenced the development of rock, R&B, and country music.
  • “Blue laws” are used to enforce moral standards.
  • A blue ribbon panel is a group of especially qualified people.

Yves Klein was an Artist who worked mainly in blue he even had a pigment called after him (IKB). His work is extraordinary. He had models painted in blue and then they lay down on the canvas. He loved the colour. I can understand that.

I also looked for graphic designers, using blue, on Google and Pinterest and I found many designs which I liked. Among them are the following:







night_on_th_tiles_smI have just discovered the work of Alan Fletcher with which I am obsessed….

Field of Blue Flowers
Field of Blue Flowers







I have looked for material in magazines and newspapers. My first poster will be a collage.


In google I did screen snaps of pages of patterns which I printed out to use in my collage:

blue_6_sm blue_5_sm blue_4_sm blue_3_sm


blue_2_sm blue_1_sm





I cut these up into small squares. I then made a rough sketch of my proposal.

collage sketch

I liked the way the light (or lack of it) caused this to appear blue even though the paper is white!

I placed my cut outs on the sketch to see how it looked.

pieces of blue paper for collage

I realised the small squares were still too big so I cut these up randomly into tiny pieces for the collage. I debated about a cloud in the top right but decided against.

collage pieces stuck on to paper

I then had to decide on the text to indicate global warming and climate change. Time is ticking by, hence the clock, pollution is represented by the bottle and the fish being ejected from the sea by the tsunami. To capture this in a headline… My designer friend recommended that I should use the top right hand corner. She suggested a sans serif type aligned to the right. I decided to introduce the complimentary colour.

This is the final poster:



Secondly I made a photomontage using some of the following material.

The Crossing by Madge Collins O'Neill
The Crossing by Madge Collins O’Neill

This is a painting by a lovely friend. It concerns crossing from our island to the mainland. The port where we arrive supported 400 fishing boats at one time. Today there are two which lie tied up for most of the month. Their quota is so small they need only to fish for two days a month. This makes NO sense as far as I am concerned.

Fishermen scuppered their boats when the EU quotas were fixed as they realised there was no point in continuing to fish. The government offered to remove the rusting hulls for 2€ but the owner of this boat refused. He wanted the world to be reminded every time they pass that this boat used to fish out of Baltimore.


I used the fish from the publicity in a magazine.


This is the first poster I created from the above images in Photoshop:


I tried a second using my family story as background.

our story
our story

Finally I created posters in Illustrator, using the skills I learned in creating the abstract cities. I made a repetitive fish pattern based on the fish from the magazine illustration above.

This was the result:


The next one I produced was the following:


For my final illustrator poster I used an image of the following map which hangs in our bed room.


I added the surreal fire…. Not sure if it works in various orange shades:




I settled on the following three posters having received comments from a couple of friends (see below):

Poster 1: Burning the World
Poster2: Global Warming Consequences
Poster3: Selling out our national resource


SANDI: Graphic artist/artist
The first, burning the world, I would make the type bolder and maybe a chunkier sans serif font. It’s not immediately clear what it says, it should hit you in the face! The fire might be better with a gradient. Or it doesn’t necessarily have to go all the way across.
The second I would axe if there is one to go, it’s too simple.
The third collage is really great, I love it! Careful any type is not too close to edge.
Of the two fishing industry posters, use the first. The page covered in type is too confusing. The first is good. To improve it I would change the font. Don’t make it a script, bold and strong. Split the type, the “Irish gov…”at the top and then “200m loss” at left under ship, still big and maybe different colour than top type, doesn’t have to that different, light blue or something.
I wouldn’t use last as I think you have to cut another.
Hope this helps!
Jo: oil painter:
Wow – you are hard at it! A great variety of image.
My favourites are the burning the world, the fish out of water and the one with the narrative written across the whole page. 
I’m not so keen on the same actual fish and boat image used in each one, but that may have been a requirement too. Personally, I think a more context appropriate image/species may be better, but they may not be blue!!! 
It’s hard to comment on those bits without you explaining the further details of the task and requirements, so I feel a tad uncomfortable making further comment, if you know what I mean.
I hope this helps….
DEIDRE: A graphic Designer
You have been busy 🙂
I will happily give my opinion, for what it’s not worth!! I love the collage, the textures and structure of the layout. My next favourite is the boat, for the same reasons as above. My third preference would be Burning our world, for exactly the same reasons as the other two. There is something interesting in the geometric patterns in number 6 as well. 
As to why that order, I’m not sure, subjective choice, so I’m no help on your critiques!
Best of luck 


I feel like I am only winding up to this exercise after so much reflection and trial and error. I found it interesting that both friends, I asked to comment, liked the collage. I liked doing it but was not sure about the result. I want to try more collage with my photography now.

I took into account what the graphic designer suggested and hope this improved the end result.



  1. My first task is to research Peter Saville as recommended by my tutor and to add this to my Visual Literacy file on designers.
  2. Following the recommendation of my tutor I need to push my design beyond the boundaries of the page. Not sure I have really done this in Assignment 4 – something to keep in mind for Assignment 5.
  3. Research other artists creating collage for homelessness.
    1. I found these very powerful: They are such simple ideas.








I could not find anything specifically for homelessness at Christmas. I will think about creating another poster.

4.For Abstract Cities my tutor felt Manchester was weakest. She suggested looking  at Lowry’s paintings and using this idea as a base. I followed her advice and came up with a ‘new’ design. I think this is an improvement. I away the tutor’s comments. It is on the abstract cities page

5. My tutor suggested that I use the Lightbulb exercise to create thumbnails for my posters. I took the burning the world poster to rework. I set up some thumbnails in my log book and asked my husbands opinion of which worked best. He liked the egg timer one.


So using an image from the net I traced it and filled it with orange in Photoshop. Then I took it into Illustrator. I placed the world in the top part and tried to make it look like it was melting by using my newly learned ‘skill” of selecting anchor points and using the up and down arrows to manipulate the shape. It looked totally amateurish. I then made a shape using the ellipse tool. Then using anchor points and the up and down arrows on my keyboard I reshaped this. I made a copy and turned it through 180 degrees. I added a rectangle between the two shapes and selecting them all I used pathfinder to join them together. I then added the ‘melting’ world. I added drips and filled the bottom with the pen tool. I made a mesh gradient and added colours by selecting anchor points on the mesh to create a liquid type puddle. I think this is a good improvement.



  1. What Colors Mean. 2016. What Colors Mean. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0769383.html. [Accessed 20 December 2016].

Project: Photomontage and Collage

For this exercise you are going to make a montage or collage with a political message.

Your subject matter could be a current issue, or something that you feel strongly about such as animal rights, the treatment of elderly people in hospital or images of women in the media.

Collect images from newspapers, magazines, your own photographs or images online.


My research of other artists who worked in this area can be found here.

Thinking about this I had no doubt what I wanted my montage to be about. I was not sure how I would put it together but I knew it had to be about the HOMELESS in Ireland at this time of year.

I first did one or two trial collages in my log book using images of homeless people from my own files.

homeless_2_sm homeless_3_sm

I was not altogether satisfied with these. I think they lacked punch. So I decided on a montage in InDesign. I chose InDesign to keep my skills in that software a little honed…

I used the following three images.

Emily, my granddaughter playacting..
The Irish Proclamation 2016













I cut out, using a screen snap, the relevant statistic from Fr Peter McVery’s page. This man is a hero of the homeless in Ireland. I then used the magic wand to extract Emily from the above image and copy her to a file with a transparent background. I saved this as a Png. Not sure if JPEG would have been sharper. The image is not that sharp as Em was moving non stop!!! I took the relevant part of our proclamation concerning the states promise to cherish all children equally….. What a cynical joke that is. I then added a speech bubble with the phrase “how will Santa find me if we have no house”

I assembled all these parts bringing forward or sending to the back relevant parts of the montage. Resizing the image of Emily was a bit challenging but I succeeded. I reduced the opacity of the Proclamation but highlighted the relevant part in red.

Here is the first result:


The hair was not great so I looked this up on the internet – I found most of the suggested ways to refine hair, unsuitable for my image as the hair and the background were too close. However I eventually found one method which gave a reasonably satisfactory result. I decided not to put the outside frame around this second one as it was evident from the first one what size it is:


There are so many political situations in the world at the moment that I am fired up about that I could stay on this theme for the rest of my life!! The Brexit vote, Trump in the US, Syria, post Arab Spring, Gaza and the Palestinian question not to mention my beloved Africa…..


You’ve chosen a poignant subject matter befitting the use of photomontage. Your tagline is strong and the combination of words and images are beginning to work to illustrate your idea. I think perhaps more examination of the semiotic readings of each of your elements may be useful. For the collage artist, this process is a lot about a painstaking selection of imagery – from the cutting’s specific depiction, to the context of where these images are extracted from (a tabloid, a documentary photograph, a specific era or place for example). The crux is for the images to read as if words on the page. For your image to work I think the pictorial elements that must be present in the illustration include : 

symbols of 

  • Impoverished childhood (as this is a sensitive subject, this might need to be anonymous/from behind/a toy in place of a child etc) 
  • an exterior/ uninviting context 
  • the suggestion of a visit from santa / or Christmas in general. What symbols have other artists used to depict homelessness in collage, editorial or marketing?


I re-worked this using the suggestions of my tutor but somehow I do not feel it is as powerful: