Tuesday, 29 December 2009

My Three Top Influential Designers/Artists

I am finding just choosing 3 artists/designers that influence me very hard. There's far too many to choose from! It got me looking at work from Escher, Cindy Sherman, Cosmin Bumbut, Xio Xin, and David Carson to name but a few. It has got me thinking about what areas of design interest me the most and how researching other designers practice is involved in my design process. I have always had a love of portraiture as you can see from my first two artists Lucian Freud, for his beautifully textured expressive paintings. His subjects are often in awkward positions or commencing situations that give his paintings a highly personal viewpoint of the relationships he has with his subjects. My second choice is Sonya Suhariyan who uses traditional tools to create her ideas of the female form that merge the commercial world with fine art. My final choice is Saul Bass for his clear cut, simple use of shape and colour.

Although there are many digital artists that also influence me I find that starting with traditional forms of artwork make my design process more unique so that I can blend the new with the old.

Lucian Freud, painter
I have loved Lucian Freuds work for many years as his work oozes passion and expression with big texturised brush marks. He appeals to me through the intensity that the colours, tones etc create that bring the character to real life. I also like the fact that he doesn't glamourise his subject. When you look at his painting you get a sense of 'real life' and not something commercially fabricated. In terms of influencing my work as a multimedia practitioner I want to take on board and not forget my love of painting. In all of my work I like to bring in some form of traditional media with all the technology driven tools I am using. Also refering back to his work reminds me that pen and paper are always a good starting point whilst designer. It isn't about how many new technologies I use it is about how I use them to compliment eachother.

Sonya Suchariyan, Illustrator
Although I have only recently discovered this new Russian illustrators work. I like the way she using multi disciplines to illustrate her work. She uses photograhy and various forms of painting and drawing to influence modern music and fashion culture. She appeals to me because of her vivid but careful use of colour, her eye for line and detail and suttle messages she communicates trhough her work. A good thing to remember from looking at her practice in relation to mine is that I can use illustration to add content and diversity to my websites whether it be hand drawn or didgitally done.

Saul Bass, Graphics designer
Saul Bass is an all round master. He uses simplistic shapes, block colour to grab peoples attention to the message and create classic logo design that introduced a new way of poster design in that era. I think the piece below works well because the simplistic shapes let you know quickly and effectively what the film is about. By doing this is attracts more people as he doesn't over complicate his design so people are put off. He brought movie credits out of the darkness and brought it into being an integral part of the movie. This is a value that I want to take on board to bring my website design together. Some websites I design I will have to incorporate a lot of information that people will have to browse though but I intend to use graphics, illustrations, films and all round good design to absorb peoples attention.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Hand drawn animation

2 hand drawn animation that caught my eye on youtube. I like their 'free' style of expression. The traditional drawings remind me of childhood cartoons.

Monday, 21 December 2009

'Waterfall' vs 'Whirlpool' Software Development Models

The waterfall software development model is the simplest of it's type as it states that the design and creation process of a website can be of a linear order. The order is very strict
e.g. once the analysis is done only then can the requirements specification be done, then once the requirements specification is done then the design can begin and so on.

Through following the waterfall so strictly it can lead to a project being completed within its time limit every time. However it does have it downfalls. The waterfall allows you to establish a solution early by effectively freezing off each section before starting another. However this creates a problem when system requirements, user needs or design purpose change as you can't go back a stage to change the design. The waterfall can lead to the ultimate disaster- the system might become irrelevant.

To make the waterfall work for you you need highly skilled designers that are gifted with foresight to enhance the system but it will reach a point when it won't be able to be enhanced any longer. In my opinion the waterfall would be better suited to building a structure because it will have clearer objectives and and relatively stable architecture whereas the purpose of a website could change instantaneously.


In comparison the whirlpool is better design as it keeps in mind that the system requirements may change without warning so it focuses on a select few, important set of requirements in order to provide a basis for the project. The riskiest and most convenient hurdles are tackled first so that it can be predicted whether the project will become to expensive or threatening. This leads to more stable structures.

The most useful part of this model is that it allows you to work on more than one section at once, such as design and analysing or coding and maintenance.

The whirlpool can be a useful strategy when it comes to website design because it allows you to come back to areas of the design process to make modification whereas the waterfall will only allow you time to go through once.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

The troublesome navigation code

The final out come I created my creating new divs on each page so I could lay the website out appropriately because not every page was exactly the same due to the JAvaScript game and photo gallery .

Boxes were clashing with eachother...


Today while I was trying to validate my website I came across numerous complications. My website function and looks like I want it to but I have over complicated the CSS coding.
I have done 2 websites in CSS overall to try to combat the navigation throwing the rest of my navigation off course. I found a solution but have made far too many div ids so it has become overcomplicated to manage the code. Also all of the JavaScript is working up to standard so the only problem has been that I have been placing the div id's next to each other and not all of them are within a box so knock each other out of the page.


27 errors to go. Validating time!

My design process

My wire frame. Clear and simple. It allowed me to sketch out idea and go through what what work best for the websites purpose. To draw in peoples attention through interactive navigation.

Where do people look whilst they scroll through a web page? How long to you have as a designer to catch their attention? These are all thoughts I played with whilst I designed my lay out. I designed the navigation to follow where people are naturally attracted to on websites.
Tasty banners. What colours make people hungry? Get them interested in the product? Yet works in a simple way.

From looking at studies I can see that people pay the most attention to the left hand corner and scroll the page in a 'F' shape. For my 1st site I think it is a good idea to look at the ways people develop an understanding of the site in a few seconds.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

My first website

Here are 2 screen shots to give you a general idea of what that CoffeeShop website is like. I'm really happy with the outcome so far enough though it has been a painful process. I've asked a few people to look at the website and they all find it easy to use. The colour and textures of the site make them hungary as well. I just need to validate it.

The hardest part was the navigation which ideally I would've liked to be animated but thats another challenge for another project, maybe flash?

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Random Nottingham Typography

These photographs are taken of typography around Nottingham. I wanted to get a sense of what made Nottingham's architecture different and how it can influence the typography I use in my websites to make them less generic.
Emphasising a letter to create emphasis.

Classic typography


Classic typography used in a signs. I really liked the old, warn down buildings.

Scruffy graffiti used for public messages.

Biblical text, aged

A broken texture creates new meaning.

CoffeeShop Mock-ups

I have developed both of these mock ups to entice the audience. I have been careful to avoid colours such as green and blue as they are appetite suppresses. I have gone for brown/creamy tones in the first mock-up to remind the viewer of the rich, delicious products tat the coffee shop has to offer. I've put a big image in the background of chocolate to let the audience know what the website is about automatically. I think women will find this particularly enticing.

Also I have done an extended menu bar across the page so that it guides the viewers attention across the page. I am definitely going to change the font to make it warmer, and less generic,

Although I like this mock-up I think that it is a little too plain and all the information might be a bit too cramped into the left hand side. This could work out well for me though because it is proven that audiences tend to see images as links and people always look along the left hand side in a triangle shape )taking int eh logo and tittle) or in an 'F' shape (taking in the menu,logo and title).

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Frankenstein's Cat

Frankenstein's Cat is created by Curtis Jobling. His main influence for this is and a lot of his other work is The Sandman. He uses characteristics, such as the the dark lighting and basic yet outstanding shapes for the characters.

Whilst looking at Joblings work it has made me look at character design in a new light. To create a successful character you need to take them down to the core essentials of who they are. What is their identity? Also to make a good character you need to give them a timeless feel (don't give the characters clothes that are the height of fashion) otherwise they will be out of date very quickly.

I have really enjoyed looking at his work he has inspired me even more to look into character design and how I can bring this in to flash work.

Leeds Film Festival

Last week I went to Leeds films festival which took place in Bradford, in the National Media Museum. There was a range of exhibits, such as animation, photography, film and work shops.

One of the main attractions was the art of Joanna Quinn. She has a sharp, witty hand drawn style that replicates human character. I loved how 'real' and dimensional she makes her characters by emphasising facial features that other illustrators might try to make look pretty.

My favourite part of the festival was the workshop we did with Curtis Jobling who created Bob The Builder. He showed us through his many different characters about how to create successful caricature through emphasising about 3 of the facial features. He looks at the prominent shapes that make someones face unique.

Below are two of the caricatures that I drew myself of two of the people that I met whilst at the workshop. I tried to emphasis the different shapes and how close/far way each facial feature was.

Curtis Jobling told us how he creates his characters out of shapes e.g. Bob is made out of a circle for his head and a rectangular body. Also he said he often changes the original design, always looking for improvement no matter how simple they are. As you can see below he has taken away the moustache to stop Bob looking like he's from the YMCA!
Jobling's main topic apart from his portfolio was how to network and the benefits it gives you. His main tips were to-
  • Do your sketches all the time to generate your ideas and build your portfolio.
  • Visit publishing houses, studios, send emails, find out who teh art director is and get their feedback along with a meeting.
  • Put yourself in the right place at the right time.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Coca-Cola is one of the worlds most well known brands in the world. It's brand is about being strong and trustworthy. Simply by changing the colour to a aqua blue has connotations of water, purity and a healthy lifestyle.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Networking Map

While I was creating this map it made me realise how many companies and different opportunities are out there in Nottingham compared to my home town. There are many different way that I can start networking with them-
  • Information Interviews, then present my portfolio
  • Make my CV stand out
  • Go to Creative Events
  • Internet (cyber networking)

I have also got to think about what my USP's (unique selling points) are to make myself stand out form the crowd. At the moment I think I can bring creative skills (drawing, painting, ideas etc) combined with my growing technical skills.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The internet as a wider field

.NET magazine- I have decided that I am going to start subscribing to this magazine. It had loads of useful articles about producing websites and what is going on in the wider industry.

The article that I found most relevant to how my pathway is developing is 'The Profiler'. It talks about how the best way to reveal content is through Facebook so famous interactive have taken Facebook to the next level by introducing turning a person Facebook picture into a 3d image. The profile picture acts as a cool 3d browsers where you can click on parts of the face to find out bits of info relating to that person. I think this can be developed over time to attract more people to otherwise dull websites, possibly as an educational tool, adverting etc. The only problem I foresee with this is that it will probably take a long time to load therefore people will get impatient. Also it will have to be developed more to consider usability.

The Internet regulator Icann as been approved to write Internet addresses in a non-italic font meaning that the Internet could be written in the other languages and be understood natively by the machines that connect computers together over the web. It is a break through for us globally because it now means that the computers "Internet" address can be used anywhere, in any language. Before it could only be accessed in Latin letters.

This means that there is going to be an explosion of people who can access and create websites etc in their own language.

How will this effect my pathway? Well with more people of different cultures, languages and origin there could be a wave of a new identity/ideas on the Internet.

For many years technology has been developed for the mainstream, to make money and to make the biggest impact but what some people don't realise is that we are impacting the disabled community through continuously developing software such as dragonforce (speech software), type and talk software and believe it or not the iPhone.

It some cases without that broad amount of technology people would not be able to talk. The iPhone 3.0 software has enabled people to copy and paste, voice dialing, voice control and camera edit and send. For some people this can be the difference between being able to use a phone and not.

How does this effect my pathway? because voice recognition is more accessible through note book, iPhone etc we, as website designers have to think about the format in which we present our work. Is it suitable for both a small phone, laptop or desktop computer? Will all ages be able to use this?

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Simons Cat

I was looking at .net magazine where I read about Simon's Cat. It is a flash animation based on the mis-adventures of a cat terrorising his owner. It came about by Simon Tofield learning flash. It is a inspiration to me that he didn't know the program at all and it has grown to be one of the most successful animations on the Internet. It is now being turned into a book as well.

He animates using a technique called 'straight ahead' where he draws one drawing after the other. I like the sound of his work and it is possibly something I might aim at going into. However as much as I do like his animation I fell like there should be more going on but it is suitable for it's target audience.

Website design dos and don'ts

I have chosen a mixture of websites that have altered my ideas for my website wire frame and content.

Although I really like this cafe and think it supplies an alternative to brands such as Starbucks and Costa I personally think that this website is badly designed. The homepage loads up very slowly with an image that I don't think is directly related to the products available at the alley cafe bar. Also the menu bar is in the lower third of the page giving the audience more work. The menu links are also in a similar colour to the background so you aren't attracted to look into more detail about the cafe. If I have learned anything about website design from this website it is to highlight your menu bar and to use an image that is directly related to your product so that the audience doesn't have to search for what it is about.
This website is a drastic step up from the last. It is clean cut, simple and clearly about coffee and the upcoming festive season. This achieved through a bold central banner. Also the audience are kept entertained by the smoothly changing flash banner (the box on the left hand side) that sums up what Costa is about through a mixture of images.

This is my favourite coffee website so far. I like the idea of having a large image or textured surface to advertise the purpose of the website because people are automatically given an idea of what you are about. Also 'Meal Deal' catches your eye, which gets people thinking that they will save money by coming to Coffee Republic. One of my favourite parts of the homepage is that there is a flash animation at the end of the banner that gives you a direct link to how you can directly get involves with a creative competition.


Why Did I choose Muse The Coffee Shop?
As soon as I walked in there I felt a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. There was a mixture of people enjoying home made food and drinks at an individually run cafe. I think this is a good combination because it is somewhere where you can go with friends, to contemplate work or takeaway. i also like the fact that it is run by a practicing photographer who is passionate about many creative industries.

How can I improve this website?

Well to start with this is just a one page website that doesn't have any links if you are looking for any extra information. Additionally, the website hasn't been updated because it is going through a re branding. I like the image representing what the cafe is about but I think you need more navigation, more information (menu, opening times, history etc.) I like the idea of including a flash animation to draw in the audience.

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Coffee Shop Photoshoot

I borrowed my friends Nikon D-70 camera and with her help took some photos that reflect what the coffee shop offers, how it is unique what the environments for and who it attracts. The shoot was about establishing how I felt about the space therefore how I can successfully and uniquely convert it into a website. Below are a few of my favourite images that I think stand how what the coffee shop is about relaxed, friendly and creative.

Before I did this photo shot I wrote down a few things that I feel make up the place-
  • Homemade food
  • Friendly atmosphere
  • Creative, friendly staff
  • Mixture of customers
  • Individualistic

I though this would be a suitable image to let people know opening times.

I like the expressions of the 'happy' flapjacks, it is one of their unique homemade products.

I could possibly use this as a link or it can attract people to a menu/price page.

I think this image works really well because the heart is the focus of the image whilst the background is blurred to suggest a atmosphere of care.

Tasty food will draw the customers in.

Specialty coffee will attract coffee connoisseurs.

An image of a person enjoying the coffee will make it more believable.

Umm tasty, colourful cupcakes to attract all ages