Sunday, 9 January 2011

How Text Effects the Meaning of an Image and How the Use of Text with Image can Create Emotion

How Text Effects the Meaning of an Image

The use of text within images plays a very important role in explaining the context of an image.
The lack of text in images can often lead the viewer to be drawn to one conclusion when the actual context and message of the image is another.

The importance of text can be seen in the images below. The first image is of a woman holding a gun, who we assume is of a Muslim background as she is wearing clothing that resembles the traditional clothing from the Muslim faith. A viewer studying this image without reading the text is likely to believe that this image is promoting both war and conflict and that the image itself could be used as some sort of advert to recruit female soldiers. When studying the image with the text, the true context of the image can be identified. The text says “Would there be war if the world was run by woman?” Viewers of the image will now see that context of the image is not promoting the war but instead is promoting an anti war context.  The text is questioning the purpose of the war and attempting to get the viewer to think that if certain individuals currently in power were replaced that the war would stop.

The second image is of a senior citizen emptying out his washing machine only to find out that he has turned all his white clothes pink as he has mistakenly left a red sock in with his white clothes.
A viewer studying this image without reading the text is likely to believe that this image is trying to highlight a serious issue that effects many senior citizens, namely going senile. When studying the image with the text, the true context of the image can once again be identified. The text says “Be Gay for a Day!” Viewers of the image will now see the context of the image is not trying to highlight going senile as an issue, but instead using stereotypical humour relating to the use of the colour pink as a way to make viewers aware of a Gay parade in the area.

How the Use of Text with Image can Create Emotion

Text within an image can create a number of emotions both good and bad. The text itself can actually alter the emotion of the image had the text not been there and therefore is used to alter the viewers interpretation.

The image below is an example of graffiti street art that was created by Banksy an artist who I particularly like. The image below is of a begger, which has a white cup at his feet. When studying the image without the text the emotion that is believed by the viewer is that of sympathy for the begger. The viewer should want to help this individual by helping him with any spare change that they can provide for him.

When studying this same image with the text on the beggers sign it is clear that the emotion quickly changes from sympathy for the begger to a sense of pride. The text on the begger’s sign says “ Keep your coins I want change!” The viewers emotions change from sympathy to pride as the image of a traditional begger who has no one to care for him but himself, is more concerned about changing the lives of others and not just his own.

The image below is a desaturated image, which reflects that of an old photograph. Clearly this is a personal image displaying a couple hugging one another on a bed showing emotions of love and care for one another.
The text below the image is written in handwriting once again illustrating a personal touch. However this personal touch has a very different emotion as the text below is an attempt to persuade the viewer that the lady in the image still maintains the emotion of love and care for the man she is hugging. Reading the text it is clear that the woman no longer does care or love this man however the man is hanging on to the fact that in the past she did love him and maybe in future she could love him again.

The change in text style for the title works well with this image as it shows a contrast between his attempt to persuade us i.e. the text below and the title, which I believe he has written for himself i.e. MY Proof.

When and how was the first ever book in Europe printed? and Novice to expert scale

When and how was the first ever book in europe printed?

The first book printed in Europe was the Bible, printed by Johannes Gutenberg, at Strasburg, in 1455 using movable type printing. This work is sometimes described as the Mazarine Bible, and occasionally as the “forty-two line” Bible.

Prior to 1450 all books were hand produced, copied out by scribes in monastic scriptoria which were written on parchment or vellum made from animal skins. An example of this can be seen in the image below.

From the thirteenth century Europeans had increasingly used the Chinese process of manufacturing paper from rags, which was a lot cheaper to use than animal skins (vellum or parchment) when mass producing books.

Gutenberg developed the Chinese method and sped up the process.
Prior to Gutenberg, each piece of metal type for printing presses had to be individually carved by hand. Gutenberg developed moulds that allowed for the mass production of individual pieces of metal type. Each character was a separate block, in mirror image, and these blocks were assembled into a frame to form text. Due to these moulds, an entire upper case and lower case alphabet set could be made much more quickly than if they were individually hand carved.

Johannes Guttenberg’s invention did not make him rich, but it laid the foundation for mass production of books.
Mass production of books meant that their cost soon fell which meant that books were made available to a lot more people therefore increasing their education.

Below is a picture of Johannes bible.

Novice to expert scale
The novice to expert scale can be used to identify the level at which you believe your work, as a student graphic designer falls under.

Having studied the scale and the criteria for each class I have come to the conclusion that as a graphic designer I fall under the competent level.

I believe I have demonstrated this competent level as a graphic designer during my most recent project called Welcome to Biad. After studying the brief I was able to apply my good quality knowledge to address the issue that I faced. As a competent designer I decided to create a handbook for new students, which I believed would be suitable and fit for purpose.
The brief that we were provided with did not specify the amount of detail that was required for the graphic communications. I used my own judgment and decided that if I was a new student I would want more than just a leaflet to help me settle into life at Birmingham City University and therefore was able to achieve my brief by creating a full handbook.
During this project I came across many complex issues such as deciding which typography to use throughout the book ensuring that it was suitable for the target audience. To solve this issue I prepared a number of possible fonts, which I then tested using a variety of colours and analysed each possibility identifying which font to use in order to achieve my goal.  

A novice designer is an individual who has minimal knowledge of graphic design and cannot use his limited knowledge in practice. All work produced by a novice will require full supervision in order to be satisfactory. When faced with a task a novice designer is very unlikely to tackle more complex tasks and obtain the correct perception of the task that they face.

A beginner designer is an individual who has knowledge of mainly key aspects of practice who can complete straightforward tasks to an acceptable standard but will need supervision when faced with complex issues as a beginner will only be able to provide a partial resolution independently.

A proficient designer is an individual who has in depth knowledge of all aspects of practice. All work produced is always of an acceptable standard taking responsibility not only for his own work but also the work of others. A proficient designer can deal with complex issues and makes this decisions in a confident manner.

An expert designer has in depth authoritative knowledge an understanding across all aspects of knowledge. All work is produced to an excellent standard going beyond the expected standards.  An expert designer will deal with complex issues using a thorough analytical approach and seek to find alternative approaches using his own vision.

Managing a Creative Environment and Developing Ideational Fluency

Managing a Creative Environment

An artist’s workplace is an essential influence on any piece of work produced. The workplace surroundings can often provide inspiration and innovation for new and existing ideas.

An artist’s workplace is likely to have an underlying theme or culture in which the artist will feel most comfortable creating pieces of art.  Every culture and theme is formed in the workplace through collecting. Any type of collecting can identify an artist’s passion for a particular subject. This passion and appreciation can often be used as a stimulus to motivate and inspire an artist’s creations.

In this example the artists workspace seems to have one single focus point i.e. the painting he is working on. However as you can see from his photo the artist has gained inspiration from the surrounding wall colours and used similar colour tones within his own painting.

In this example the artist has created his workplace to face directly out of his window in order to gain inspiration from the surrounding greenery. The inspiration and ideas that have stimulated the artist can be seen in his surrounding paintings, most of which contain greenery similar to that outside his window.

My own working place also faces towards a window. However unlike the artist above I gain my inspiration from my surrounding collection of masks that I have collected over the years. The masks that I collect are specifically from two cultures African and Venetian. 

These mask are of a great inspiration to me I find the vibrant colours of the African masks very stimulating. The African culture is famous for its bright colours using mainly reds yellows and greens. The venitian masks although colourful also have the additional aspect of anonymity, which inspires mystery in many of my pieces of work.

A specific example where my work place inspired me, is when I created my own venitian mask using a black mask to emphasis the anonymity and mystry of the venetian style but with a bright glittery green strip, which I believed represented the vibrant colours of Africa.

It is my belief that a workplace must be clean, with very little mess and well lit. I believe that it is essential for creativity to be expressed freely without other factors interfering such as a messy room with no natural light, which can effect a person’s concentration and freedom to be creative.

Developing Ideational Fluency.

The development of ideational fluency can come in several forms specifically Brain storming, mind mapping and classification. Each of these forms will allow a practioner to produce ideas that will relate to a chosen subject or theme. These ideas although diverse and of a large quantity will not necessarily be of a high standard.

The use of brainstorming is a very effective method to develop ideational fluency. The use of brain storming rather than the creation of a simple list of possible ideas will provide a practitioner with a more stimulating process, which should trigger a more spontaneous response.  This spontaneity is cased by the slightly more random style of the mind map, which does not follow a specific order.

An example of a recent brainstorm I used while carrying out my inform and invite project can be seen below. This mind map was used to identify issues relating to childhood obesity.

As you can see in the centre of the mind map I have used a fun, vibrant colourful font to highlight the subject of obesity. I used this font style to try and get into the mindset of a child in order to make sure that the ideas that I generated for my project would be suitable for the target audience.

The use of Mind mapping is also an effective method to develop ideational fluency. The use of mind mapping allows a practitioner to organise his thoughts in a rational way relating one topic to another. This will not trigger a spontaneous response like brainstorming but an organised step by step process.

An example of mind mapping can be seen below. This mind map was created by the Nova organisation and shows how household chores can be broken down into 7 specific tasks, one relating to each day of the week. These tasks once identified are then broken down further to identify whose responsibility the household chore is to complete.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Delivery and Medium

In order for an illustrator to communicate his ideas to his target audience he must choose the appropriate platform. These platforms can have many purposes such as advertising, branding, publishing and textiles and can exist in a range of sizes and formats such as billboards, magazines, brochures, wall papers, fabrics and many more.

One of my favourite prominent American pop artists is Roy Lichtenstein graphic artist, painter and sculptor. His work was heavily influenced by both advertising and the comic book style, Lichtenstein began his first Pop paintings using cartoon images such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck using the techniques of hard-edged figures and benday dots to represent certain colours resulting in the appearance of commercial printing. Lichtenstein’s unique techniques are truly mesmerising it fascinates me how he can use millions of small benday dots to create colour and tones to a person’s face and the colours he uses are bright and powerful that scream off the page in order to grasp the viewers attention.

Brad Hamman, one of the leading digital artists working in the field today took inspiration from Roy Lichtenstein. Brad Hamman is a New Yorker he has appeared in many of Americas leading magazines and national publications such as the New York Times Wall Street Journal, Barrons, and Los Angeles Times. He has received significant recognition for his digital illustration and advertising campaigns for companies such as DKNY, Honda, Dannon and many more. His work is a combination of Adobe Illustrator Vector art and Photoshop he tends to specialise in the creation of custom comic book and superhero images, portraits and pop art romance recreations.
An example of Hamann’s most recent and well known piece of work is the advertising campaign for DKNY Be Delicious Pop-Art Optic edition. Donna Karan commissioned him to create Pop Art inspired illustrations for DKNY Be Delicious Limited edition fragrance. The new, limited edition apple which was launched in July 2009 in a flacon shape of glass, part decorated with green dots and a green cap in the upper part of the flacon. It’s outer layer is surrounded by pop-art design. A comic was drawn by Hamann and presented together with the new, limited edition fragrance; the comic was made to reflect the spirit of New York. The campaign so far consists of half a dozen poster images, including a two page comic strip, plus packaging art. The images appear in full page ads, beach towels, posters, taxicabs ect. Hamman’s Be Delicious packaging includes benday dots, lettering and speech balloons which is very similar to the pop art style and designs of the late Lichtenstein.

I have also been inspired by Roy Lichtenstein and have incorporated his style in my third project (Welcome to Biad). I used a similar technique to produce a stylish and modern publication (Student Handbook).

Roy Lichtenstein

                                                                      Brad Hamman

Ilutrators can utilise both commercial and non –commercial projects while still representing and delivering the same message.
An artist who I am particularly interested in is Banksy. Due to living in London I have been able to visit a few of his pieces in Camden and Bricklane.

Banksy He has represented himself in many different mediums including street graffiti, films, exhibitions and museums.
Banksy is a graffiti artist whose work originated from the Bristol underground scene which involved collaborations between artists and musicians on a non commercial basis between the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Banksy’s art combines humour with graffiti done using stenciling techniques. His work has been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.
Banksy has always chosen to keep his identity a secret because revealing his identity as graffiti artist would have lead to some very large fines.
Banksy’s decision to keep out of the limelight was intended as a rejection of the art world and the associated commercialism. Over the years Banksys popularity has grown mainly due to his anonymity. Banksy is a strong believer in the non commercial side of his art however his graffiti “bad boy” status is long gone. He is now a fashion icon having dedicated museums in Bristol and London, exhibitions to sell paintings and merchandise (selling postcards, art books, T-shirts) and as of 2010 he even has his own film.
Banksy’s film Exit Through the Gift Shop highlights the difficulty of making money as a graffiti artist.  However a simple mention from Banksy in his film was enough of a collaboration to be commercially beneficial for his friend Mr Brainwash to reap the benefits. People are reported to have spent thousands of dollars on Mr Brainwash’s art.
Banksy has proven that by using different mediums both commercial and non-commercial he has been able to represent his original Graffiti street art and deliver the same message and still be profitable. 

Three Act Structure and Digital Story Telling

“Every movie has a beginning, middle and end, but not necessarily in that order” Jean Luc Godard.

One of the most recent films I have watched was called Righteous Kill starring two of my favourite actors Robert Deniro (Turk) and Al Pacino (Rooster). The first state of equilibrium is highlighted  by the main characters in this film, two veteran police officers called Turk and Rooster on the verge of retirement. This film does not follow the traditional 3 structure order as the first act starts with the beginning of the final act. The first act shows Turk confessing for the crimes he has allegedly committed, murdering fourteen people during his time on the police force. This leads the viewer to believe that he is the protagonist of the 3 act structure. This belief continues throughout the second act where we believe that Turk has lost faith in the police force and the legal system of America, therefore changing the state of equilibrium from a hard working police officer into a vigilante. This change occurs when a child rapist and killer is not found guilty and Turk felt that justice wasn’t served. Turk decides to plant a gun on the killer causing him to be arrested. Throughout the second act viewers see the murders mentioned above and are lead to believe that the allege protagonist (Turk) is responsible. Entering in to act 3 we re-visit the first scene at the beginning of the film and realise that the confession being read out By Turk is actually Roosters. It is at this point that the viewer finds out that the true protagonist is Rooster and that Turk is the antagonist.
Equilibrium is restored when Turk corners Rooster in a final climax and kills Rooster therefore removing the vigilante from the equation

The Harry Potter films

In 2001 the phenomenon that is Harry Potter hit the big screen. What started off as a novel written by an unknown author, the now famous J.K Rowling has turned in to one of the greatest examples of Digital Story Telling over the last ten years. Her first book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was launched in 1997 and due to its great success was made into a film. The film was launched with a PG rating certificate, but due to its story of fantasy and wizardry, appealed to all ages. In order to extend this book and her following 6 books to a wider audience, J.K Rowling re-released her books with a more mature front cover with no cartoon illustration on the front as she now recognised that her new extended audience may not feel comfortable in public reading a book that was originally targeted for children.
Due to harry potter ‘s success audiences were extended further by a large number of merchandise being launched. This merchandise included computer games, board games, collectable figurines, websites appealing to children, and rides in a number of theme parks.
Even though the Harry Potter series is over ten years old, it still appeals to a wide audience growing day by day regardless of age, gender or specific interest. The increase in merchandise, films and book covers has meant that the audience of Harry Potter has extended from those that are interested in reading books to those that enjoy amusement rides, computer games, DVD’s, going to the cinema, Playing board games and much more.

Cultivated Reflective Practice

Reflection of work is imperative to any practitioner. Constant critical analysis of work is undertaken in order to pin point how a piece of work can be improved, highlighting both positive and negative aspects.
Reflection can take several forms especially when faced with multiple challenges.  When reflecting on your work you must first observe your work and study it. Once you are satisfied with your observation you should ask yourself certain vital questions such as; What if I changed this? Which aspects of my research are useful for my design process? Why have I used this method?.

Another aspect of a reflective practitioner is realising the connections throughout the design process. The ultimate key is through trial and error, the only way to improve is through making mistakes and evaluating the good and the bad aspects of your work.

Below is a piece of work from my RVJ (project 2), which highlights the importance of Reflection in producing a successful piece of work.  Once completing my fruit and vegetable challenge chart I began to reflect on my work in order to improve and modify it. Firstly I analysed and evaluated my chart identifying that it had met the requirements of the target audience.
After reflecting on my chart I used a variety of textual approaches to help me plan the steps to improve my work. An example of this can be seen in the annotated cloud shapes and surrounding arrows. I used these annotations to highlight the most important changes and make improvements to my work so that I could achieve my aim.
If I did not apply reflective practice to my chart I would have found it difficult to highlight certain changes needed to make sure that the chart was suitable for children.
It is clear from my work below that I have preferred to reflect using mainly textual language. This can prove to be difficult when visualizing the final outcome.  The use of visual language would have allowed me to obtain a greater insight into the final appearance of my work.

Utilize your Creative Brain

The Reflective visual journal (RVJ) is defined as “ a indispensable tool for all visual creative’s.” It is a reflective place for thinking and development used consistently throughout a sketchbook. In the words of Pablo Picasso, “I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else”.
The brain is split in to two halves; each part has their own individual process and functions.
 The right side of the brain essentially is like a child at play it controls your sensitivity, innocence, experimental, playful, spontaneity and curiosity. It is a chance to feel a sense of freedom and express yourself in your work.
Whereas the left hand side resembles a more logical and structured side where you organize by following a series of development and thought, clarifying, quantifying, editing, evaluating, classifying, analyzing and begin to rationalize situations and
understand the process of your development.
As artist’s it is essential that we use both sides of our brain in order to express and justify our creative process, enabling a better understanding of our intentions.
The key for the best outcome creatively and logically is by constantly switching between both sides of the brain, questioning our selves by speculating and interrogating our work by annotating our creative process. Therefore it is imperative that we use play and clarification in order to lead to SUCCESS!

The example I have chosen is a piece by Jackson Pollock this is a perfect example of an individual using the right hand side of the brain. The artist uses long intertwined brush strokes highlighting the artist’s expression of freedom. Colours are sporadically placed next to one and other in no particular order or structured pattern, with no consideration for complementary colours, which typically blend with one another. This painting reminds me of an innocent time during my childhood. I would put paint to paper in an expressive, free motion with little consideration for shapes, sizes or colour combinations.

The example I have chosen above is a mind map. This is an example of an individual using the left hand side of the brain. A mind map breaks down the central intention of your work in to sub categories in a structured, rational and logical manner. This particular mind map has one core subject namely health. The subject of health has been broken down in to a series of rational sub categories, exercise, stress, sleep and diet. Within these subcategories there is a further breakdown of logical related subjects.
 Using mind maps has helped me greatly in the development of my RVJ.