Monday, 4 April 2011

Information design Itap 2

Information design

Information design is the detailed planning of specific information that is to be provided to a particular audience to meet specific objectives. The information designer may or may not have available (or may create) an information architecture that defines the overall pattern or structure that is imposed on the information design and an information plan that defines information units and how they are to be completed. The output of an information design is sometimes expressed in written instructions, plans, sketches, drawings, or formal specifications. However, on very small projects, information design is likely to be much less formal.
Through this lecture I have been able to identify that the key principles of information design includes the following:

Visual hierarchy - focusing on the type, colour, lines and space used

Grouping information – focusing on the lines, space and type used

Consistency – focusing on consistent language and layout used

Typeography – focusing on the method in which you communicate your message to the audience and its legibility

Grid structure - focusing on the clarity, consistency and its navigability

Graphic elements – focusing on the bullet points, icons, lines and rules used
Attention to details – focusing on the spacing between letters, lines alignment and consistency

During the lecture there were many designs that caught my attention, one of which was the work of Neville Brody. Brody is an internationally renowned Art Director and Designer, he became an icon in the graphics world through his innovative and creative design ideas in magazines. Brody combined typefaces in to his design work and even created is own typefaces. The images below are a few examples of Brody’s designs from fashion magazine Homme. Brody uses typefaces in a visual exciting manor by changing the sizes of the letter and numbers and using one colour such as red alongside black. Brody also tends to highlight the first word or letter of a sentence in his magazine columns to visually engage the viewer’s attention. These images have inspired me to incorporate Brody’s design methods within my own design and composition brief which also requires research in to magazines and their layouts.

Another design that caught my attention was that of David Carson and his use of information Typography. Carson was recently named one of the top five most influential designers by Graphic Design USA magazine.  Carson became well known in the 90’s for his brilliant work which was mostly focused on photography and typography of a grungy and expressive style which was published in skate board and surfing magazine. Carson then went on to be art director of Ray Gun Magazine, a lifestyle and music magazine, and went on to start his own design firm, David Carson Design. Carson’s clients include Quiksilver, Suicide Girls, Samsung, Adidas, Nine Inch Nails, Pepsi, and Toyota. Carson and his work have been featured in over 180 magazine and newspaper articles around the world.

An example of Carson’s typography designs can be seen in the image below. David Carson designed the January 2011 cover of "little white lies" magazine “the black swan issue” with Natialie Portman as the face of the cover. This particular image caught my attention due to the striking black and white image and the bold typography which almost looks as though it could resemble an old type writer font, it is clearly defined and very well structured as Carson pays particular attention to spacing between the letters and line alignment while still managing to produce a connection between some of the letters.

My Inspiration William Bernbach

An audio commentary presentation of a designer, William Bernbach who has particularly inspired me and my design work.

Disruption in advertising Itap 2

Disruption in advertising

There are 3 distinct domains necessary for success in disruption of advertising.
CONVENTION: this is where we have expectations, beliefs, pre conceptions and assumptions about how we are meant to act, behave and respond to what society throws at us.  The only way to change these conventions is find fresh idea that forces a reassessment of company’s strategies.
 And result in new innovative approaches defying the rules of the market.
VISION: everyone needs a vision to work towards we all want to aspire to become something or do something. In terms of a company it’s looking at how your brand and business will develop in the future and if it will have a place in a future market space. In order to confirm a place you must come up with innovative marketing strategies and decisions which are in fact visions. All visions are inspiring refreshing daring ideas that defy the market rules (disruption) and will ensure viewers will be attracted.

 DISRUPTION: Disruption is a tool for change and an agent for growth a working methodology and a life view philosophy. The aim is to create something dynamic to replace something else thus making it stand out.

Through researching disruption in advertising I came across an interesting video that cleverly reinforces the ideology of disruption in advertising.

The video is about a program the “afterlife” broadcasted on ITV 1.  This video shows how a perfectly normal looking advertisement situated in a normal location can create an uneasy scared feeling to its viewers. This feeling is due to the unexpected man trying to escape with the combination of the noise and movements he makes. The viewer automatically makes an association that something bad is happening, It did in fact make me jump. Therefore our defense mechanisms kick in and we are left with a decision to fight or flight which in most cases the viewer chose to flight. This type of advertising is considered a major disruption to the conventional way of advertising and therefore is more memorable. 
Jean-Marie Dru, is the inventor of the Disruption philosophy and chairman of TBWA with more than 267 offices, in 77 countries and 12,000 employees.
TBWA was asked to come up with a revolutionary idea that would boost the brand awareness of Gatorade and highlight the importance of drinking it. Although the brand has been successful it was loosing its vision and sole purpose of being a superior sports hydrating drink that fuels athletes and was in danger of falling in to the category of soda pop. Gatorade REPLAY found an opportunity and arranged for original players a second chance to play the ‘93 game that ended in a tie 7-7. A documented journey was formed highlighting the emotional struggle of strenuous workouts and the heart soul and determination of these former athletes. Gatorade’s expertise in coaching, hydration and sports performance supported the men got back in shape.

Velocity trained the 30+year old athletes before they replayed the biggest game of their lives. It is a truly inspirational piece of advertising that has certainly grasped a lot of publicity through changing the rules of the norm of advertising a sports drink thus proving that they are the most superior sports drink in athletic performance and recovery.

Too much information Itap 2

Too much information!!!

This lecture demonstrated the various ways in which we take in information and understand what is going on around us by processing only sensory features and not meaning.

A key fact that I learnt from Phil’s lecture was that our body responds to 11,000 pieces of information everyday, due to the overload of information we are bombarded with living in the 21st century.

I believe the mind is like a sponge it absorbs so much information over the years and releases the relevant information when needed. An example of this is when studying for exams.  We are exposed to numerous amounts of information from revision guides, notes and text books, however when we take breaks our brain allows us to absorb even more information from our surroundings e.g. from watching television. When we finally return to our studies we can continue where we left off with no affect on our work state of mind.

On a daily basis I found that I absorb a vast amount of information, most which is gathered by our five senses/perceptions, hearing, sight, touch, smell and taste. These senses all act as experience triggers. On a typical journey to university, I would wake up get ready whilst having the television on. During my journey to the bus stop I am bombarded with information in a hectic atmosphere due to the sounds of traffic coming from every direction. I then come across numerous traffic lights and subconsciously respond to the green and red man as I have learnt from a young age what these symbols mean. I also come across several billboards that change their advertising weekly.

 These billboards use sensory marketing to in bed what they are selling in our minds. I find this statement true as I often remember the adverts from the billboards later in the day despite not paying much attention to them. The bus journey to University uses all my senses. Firstly I notice the advertisement on the side of the bus which tends to be about new films released.  Once on the bus I am surrounded by continuous noise, people’s conversations, mp3 players, the bus’s engine, people’s foot steps and traffic. There are also some signs that I do not always observe, such as the digital sign indicating that the bus is stopping, the safety signs and the display that indicates the price of my journey.

 This is because the information normally obtained from these signs has already been registered by my brain on previous journeys and will not be observed unless they change. Having taken the bus on many occasions I have subconsciously and consciously associated the bus as an unpleasant form of transport due to me sense of smell touch and sight. The bus tends to have very strong stale aroma and is normally left in an unhygienic state. 

 It’s quite interesting to think that even though all this information continuously surrounds us we only manage to consciously take in a small amount which is processed in to an understood meaning and then in bedded in our minds as memories. The rest is subconsciously stored and triggered off through sensory experiences.

Semiotics Itap 2


Semiotics is the study of signs and signifying practices. Signage surrounds us on a daily basis and can come in 3 forms symbolic, iconic and indexical. Semiotics is also the way in which we process and understand information and how different contexts can differ the meaning of a sign. For example a cross can be a symbol for the ambulance, the Swiss flag or Christianity.

Symbolic signs: are signs that need to be taught in order to recall the meaning they cannot be automatically interpreted and they don’t always look like what they represent. Examples of these include hazard signs and driving theory test signs.

Driving symbols are there to direct you in a certain way, warn you of on coming hazards, advise you of how quickly you should drive and advise you on where you can or cannot stop. These symbols are vital for individuals who want to drive as they need to learn particular symbols and their meaning to ensure that you and all other motorists and pedestrians are safe when you drive.

Hazard symbols are used to warn individuals of the potential dangers in the current environment they are in. For example in every institution and work place it is compulsory that health and safety talks are given to make individuals aware of what each symbol means and where they are located. These talks are to ensure that everyone is kept safe especially in dangerous environments such as science labs and power plants. The above mentioned driving and hazard symbols are arbitrary signs and place no relationship on what the symbol represents. When these symbols are placed in different contexts they can have different meanings.

Iconic signs: (visual resemblance to the object it signifies)  
Iconic signs look like an object or a particular action that they are informing you about, so that they can be easily identified and the meaning can be interpreted quickly. Examples of these include toilet signs, disabled signs fire exit signs.

At a young age we have been taught to associate various symbols with an action. An example of this is demonstrated by the Toilet signs that are represented in the form of a male and female.  These signs are commonly situated on the door of the toilet, which makes it easier for the viewer to identify and interpret their meaning i.e. that one toilet is for men and the other is for women. If these symbols were placed in a different location such as a wall they would not signify their intended meaning.

Indexical sign: display a causal relationship to the thing that the sign signifies (smoke caused by fire).  A way in which we can understand this relationship is through the following example, medical symptoms such as rashes and pain can lead to illness. This sign highlight that without theses symptoms there is no illness. Another example of causal relationship is demonstrated by rain and sunshine at the same time, which produces a rainbow.

The mud tire track shown below is also an indexical sign of a vehicle. In order for the viewer to understand the meaning of this image they must realise that the print was caused by the vehicle when driving over the mud. When the viewer has processed the indexical sign and its context the viewer is able to visualize and interpret what it signifies in this case it is more than likely that the vehicle was a car.

Ethics Itap 2

Ethics in graphics

[eth-iks]  Show IPA
–plural noun
(Used with a singular or plural verb) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.
The rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.
Moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.
(Usually used with a singular verb ) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.

Through the Itap lectures I have learnt that graphics is based on having your own visual identity.  As designers we can all be inspired by the designs of great designers however it is important to have your own personality and ideas. There is a constant battle in the graphics industry of what is morally correct are we offending the viewer/consumer/a particular age group, ethnicity or religion this can result in the loss of clients and perhaps sales of a product. Examples of ethics range from child labour, Halal produce, and animal rights e.g. fur, animal testing or cruelty.

One example I came cross of unethical advertising was a shocking image from a fashion company called SISLEY. The image used, promotes the idea of illegal substances (cocaine).  The image is of a white vest and powder covered credit card along side the strap line “fashioin junkie”. The purpose of the advert is to highlight how under the influence the girls are that they can’t even pronounce their words properly. I believe SISLEY’S aim was to show how amazing their clothes are that it would blow your mind and compare this to the mind set of being under the influence of illegal substances.  SISLEY often creates quite provocative adverts this type of advertising can cause serious damage to a company’s reputation and image.  In addition this type of advert can also be harmful to the target audience i.e. young individuals, by encouraging them to believe that being under the influence of illegal substances is the morally correct way to behave, especially if they are loyal customers who want to get in to the fashion industry.

Another example of unethical advertising I came across is through the advertising of the morning after pill by the medical industry. This product is one of the most debated forms of medication available today. Debates over the morning after pill can depend on an individual’s culture, religion, morals beliefs and how they have been brought up. For example a strict Catholic or Muslim person may find the advert below offensive as it promotes the idea of aborting a child which in their eyes is considered wrong. The advert below can also be seen to be promoting an unhealthy dependence on the pill as within the advertisements there is no mention that the morning after pill should not be used as a form of contraception. Furthermore there is no mention that frequent use can cause infertility.

Advertisements in the graphics industry are purely based on the opinion, morals and culture of each person therefore designers are in a situation where they cannot please everyone therefore a designer should identify their target audience and produce a design to appeal to that audience.  

Creative Advertising Itap 2

Creative advertising

Ned Doyle, Maxwell Dane and William Bernbach were the founders of Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) now known as DDB worldwide communications group Inc, a creative advertising agency. William Bernbach advertising executive is known for being part of an agency that changed the world of communications by the formation of the “creative revolution”. He is known for his inspirational words that to this day still have a strong effect on men and women of the creative industries examples include:
“Advertising is fundamentally persuasion and persuasion happens to be not a science, but an art”,
"Creativity is the most powerful force in business."
"Advertising doesn't create a product advantage. It can only convey it."
“Rules are what the artist breaks the memorable never emerged from a formula”.

Bernbach is mostly recognised for his advertisement in the Volkswagen campaign “think small”.  This was bizarrely successful considering it was a German manufactured car released so soon after World War Two.  Berncah’s aim was to present an advert that did not conform to the common ideas and strategies other adverts were offering at this time, which were generally full of gimmicks.
Bernbach designed his advert by using a subtle yet effective approach. Success of the advertisement stemmed from the clever use of context and design with the car presented in black and white on a very small scale surrounded by white space, accompanied by an interesting strap-line. Bernbach took a big risk in the presentation of the advertisement as arguably it could be have been seen as dull due to the absence of strong and  bold colours that generally appeal to the viewer. Together with his clever use of imagery, staplines and creative strategies he managed to market the product as a luxurious, spacious vehicle, focusing on the compact size and affordability of the vehicle. Bernbach successfully increased brand awareness and engaged the viewing public thus drastically increasing sales of the VW beetle.

This advertisement uses a similar method as the previous “think small” ad incorporating the same typography and black and white image, however in this case the car is very evident as it is a closer image yet the layout remains the same. The use of the word lemon is a very risky and strong statement to use in America as the term lemon is seen as an insult for being useless. In this case the advertisers were mocking their own product due to the size of the vehicle and allow the viewing public to think of the practical side of the product and its suitability to their needs. This once again is an example of Bernbach’s clever way of advertising to boost sales.
Over the years VW Beetle’s advertisements have evolved with the use of colours, different layouts and backgrounds however they have still maintained the clever, strap lines as seen in the images below.
The first image is of a the New Beetle with the strap line “All you need is New Beetle” this is a play on words using the lyrics from one of the Beetle’s most famous songs “All you need is love”.

The second image again cleverly demonstrates “The Beatles” theme, however this time it is portrayed through the layout of the image, as the advertisement replicates the Beetles album cover where the Beetles are photographed crossing Abbey Road zebra crossing.

Vernacular Typography Itap 2

Vernacular typography is defined as a vanishing part of art that can still be studied in global retail. All over the world, there are cities and towns that retain their rich traditions of vernacular signage. Unfortunately, the fate of these typographic havens is being threatened by the uniformity of corporate advertising, which ignores and subverts local history and tradition.

During our lecture I particularly enjoyed the designs of French illustrator, graphic designer, music producer, vernacular typographer and artist director So Me (Bertrand De Langeron). “So Me's work is often described as influenced by the iconic pop art of the 1960's, French comic books and graffiti, and contemporary iconography."
So Me started off as a young comic book illustrator he was heavily influenced by the skateboard graffiti culture this lead him to work with publications such as the Chanel-Colette ephemeral boutique were he was asked to customise Chanel bags with his a strap line “come on its only Chanel”, he has also been part of companies such as Arktip, Dazed, XLR8R, Clark Magazine, Sleazenation, and has created a Nike campaign for France.

In addition to this So Me has also become a visual identity by expanding his horizons and exploring various other avenues of the market. In doing so, So Me has customised limited edition t-shirts for H&M, created designs for a Japanese clothing line called revolver and designed several items of merchandise for Ed records. So Me is also known for being the art director of Ed banger records brand having created album art and award winning videos that have gained an abundance of recognition thus boosting So Me’s reputation. So Me has worked with famous hip hop music icons such as Kanye West in his flashing lights video seen below as well as playing a role in creating the videos for justice and Dj Mehdi. Both these videos show So Me‘s colourful care free personality and design creativity.

Justice DVNO directed by machine molle and  So Me 2007 ed banger records

I would describe So Me’s work to be bold, dramatic and explosive with the use of contrasting block colours with a limited amount of highlights and shadows. So Me places extra emphasis on thick outlines that create a statement for each piece of work which as mentioned above promotes the pop art movement that he has been heavily influenced by from a young age. The Majority of So Me’s images are accompanied by a variety of different font styles varying in sizes that are mostly compressed curved lettering with no structure that look as though the words are struggling to fit and ready to burst off the page. This particular type of lettering emphasises an expressive and energetic feel to the image that allows the viewer to appreciate So Me’s playful, creative and expressive personality.

  Above is a picture from the studio gallery exhibition which displayed a series of portraits done in So Me’s trademark style, incorporating the vibrant colours and tongue-in-cheek references which define his work as Art Director for Ed Banger Records.