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IMAGS & GOTHAM

SACHA CHILDS - CLARKE ONE WEEK RESEARCH, IPAD MAGAZINE MAPPING & THE THREE WISE MEN OF GOTTAM

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Introduction

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This PDF is the culmination of three projects. A one week research and presentation project, a mapping project and magazine design project. Each of them varied from the other and forced me to learn new things. These things then influenced the next one.   I aim do present to you what was required, how I answered the problem, how I used what I know to aid that, what I learned to help me and what I discovered needed improving.


One week research project

Contents

Question

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Research

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Presentation

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Mapping Project Research

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Analysis

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Experimentation

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Subject Knowledge

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Technical Competence

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Communication & Presentation

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Gotham Magazine

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Research

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Analysis

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Experimentation

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Subject Knowledge

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Technical Competence

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Communication & Presentation

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One week research project

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Question We were given a group at random and chose a question at random. Our question was “What is the worth/value of self initiated projects?”

  We used the six thinking men method to analyse the question and to try and pull as many routes of inquiry out as possible. The main ones that came up were self development, increase career prospects, to make money and passion. It was difficult to keep expanding a question after you had felt it had been explored and expanded a lot already.   This question was helpful though in respect of personal inquiry, as one who does undertake the odd self initiated project or two it was interesting to investigate what my motives were and how they differed to other people’s motives.

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Research The majority of our research needed to be secondary, the opinion of someone else or an established fact. The group went about dividing up the categories we had decided on and began further individual research.   We came up with surveys from peers, examples of actual self initiated projects, a guide to self initiated projects and quotes from designers in the industry about their opinion of self initiated projects.   The general idea that was coming across was that self initiated projects are started because of a passion for a subject and a personal desire to know more and develop. Money and professional benefits did not really have as much importance to many as most people’s self initiated projects are never seen by anyone other than the designer.

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Presentation Once the information had been gathered together it was our job to present it and educate other people about what we had found out. Though the project had been very short, the group felt that it would be good to give it a unified and more developed appearance.   To make it easier to see the train of thought in the information we gathered we tried to design our information in similar ways. We used the same typeface Bebas Neue and a similar colour scheme.   We used an order to give a reader a route to navigate the information and we highlighted this with black arrows. We also used recurring themes in the presentation e.g. speech bubbles from one of the self initiated projects displayed.

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Mapping project

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R is for research As the brief called me to dictate the research by what I am interested in I began to look at things that I was intrigued by but didn’t really know much about yet. I looked at the iPad and more specifically, magazines on the iPad.   You can’t research iPad magazines without looking on an actual iPad. It is easy to find these magazines they are all collected together on the newsstand and app store. All these magazines are set in the same context and viewing them all together you can easily see which ones have been worked on and make use of the platform, and which ones are just there for the sake of it.   Another interesting comparison that can be drawn by some of these magazines is that not only are they digital, but they also have printed counterparts. These connections then give another aspect to the growth of this medium and more issues that arise. One good example is Wired magazine from Conde Nast, they are one of the leaders in this area and have won awards for their app. They had a rebrand that unified their print magazine with a digital version by finding a style that adapted well over both formats.

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R The more I looked into it the more I found how young it still is. The iPad has been around for only two years and its presence in the magazine market is still in the early stages of its development. Information is readily available on this topic as it is still fresh and still an emerging area. Companies like Adobe and Conde Nast love to show how they are moving forward and pushing the boundaries on what this device can do with digital publishing. There are surprisingly few companies that are making the most of the iPad. This is intriguing, for something that is supposed to be so advanced and expected to be ‘the future of publishing’ that it has not taken off yet. There are a few reasons that the iPad magazine is not that big yet, the main reason being that people are not used to designing for it and if is to be done well, then it takes a lot of work.   This is what I looked at, the ways in which the iPad has changed the magazine. There are several categories. The reader and their expectations, advertising, production and interactivity.

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R Some very useful information was available from companies such as Adobe and Bonnier who have both done extensive research into how people interact with iPad magazines. Not only did they measure things like their eye movement and what they did with the device but they also the went and compared it to the same people using a print magazine. Adobe and Bonnier conduct this kind of research because they are the ones that are pushing the format and are trying to make it possible for it to grow by supplying the tools for designers to make them. Adobe with the Digital Publishing Suite and Bonnier who worked on the InDesign Plug in Mag+.   When it comes to infographics and a way of representing all the information I was attracted to the fun and playful visual metaphors that are in Wired magazine. The Eureka app from The Times was another really well thought out and interractive display of a large amount of information.

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A is for analysis I wanted to find endless statistics, large amounts of data that would then translate into impressive infographics. The only statistics that are readily available about the iPad are about advertising and how it has led to purchases. There is a lot of articles and people expressing the joys and difficulties of actually designing an iPad magazine. These all give opinions and analogies that are really useful when trying to sum up the differences between print and digital magazines.   I had tried a few visual expressions on numerical data but they all felt a little dry. Because the topic was comparing the iPad to something else it was hard to express ideas when using visual elements related only to an iPad e.g. showing a stack of iPads as if it were a bar chart. The comparisons had such character to them that really the best way of expressing them was with visual metaphors.

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A There were four categories that the information fell into: reader, interactivity, advertising and production. These categories can then be projected onto the different formats and from that, comparisons can be made. Often There was the tendency to refer to readers as consumers, or as information as consumable. This is a really effective way of tying everything together but showing the differences. If a print magazine can be consumed all in one go and be easily available to anyone then it is similar to a burger or sandwich. When you then compare this to the vast amount of information on the internet and the sheer variety of it, it then lends itself to an all you can eat buffet. Then you compare this to the iPad which is like a blend of the two you’ll have something like a platter where many things are available but it has a limit.

The Magazine The Magazine The reader knows they can handle it. The reader they can it. like and the bits they dont. They knowknows the flavour, the handle bits they They know the flavour, the bits they like and the bits they dont. They enjoy reading it and when they are finished they have the They enjoy reading it and when they are finished they have the satisfaction of knowing they completed it. satisfaction of to knowing theythe completed They are left anticipate next one it. They are left to anticipate the next one

ALL ALL YOU YOU CAN CAN EAT EAT

The Internet The Internet The reader has to access to as much as they like of what ever The reader they like. has to access to as much as they like of what ever they like. They can consume and consume until they are bursting at the They canbut consume consume they are bursting seems they willand never be ableuntil to consume the entireat the seems but they will never be able to consume the entire selection and it will be refilled continously. selection and it will be refilled continously. The reader will only want to try it now and then. The reader will only want to try it now and then.

The Tablet Magazine The Tablet Magazine

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The reader can see things they know and like and can have The reader their fill. can see things they know and like and can have their fill. They can have access to things they want to try, in a friendly They have access to things they want to try, in a friendly and can interesting format. and interesting format. They can have the same amount of satisfaction of completion They can have the amountbut of to satisfaction of completion by consuming thesame full amount have full completion they bywill consuming the full amount but to have full completion they need to be greedy. will need be greedy.the next but are able to snack inbetween. They cantoanticipate They can anticipate the next but are able to snack inbetween.


A These methods of analysis are effective for capturing several aspects into one idea, however they open to a lot of scrutiny and can be quite limited in their application to the true information that they relate to.   The visual design aspects that were coming through from my research were a simulated 3d effect. If it was not on text it was in the furniture or the images. It occurred in many of the iPad magazines. This gives the idea of depth and a physical thing to touch and interact with. Things had shading or drop shadows and probably a texture or two. When representing these magazines it became helpful to emulate them and some of these elements were featured in the initial ideas.

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E is for experimentation It would be a waste to research this supposedly predominant platform of the future and not use it. The main problem that faces all people that want to take advantage of the iPad is how to actually make something for it.   To get the the correct expression of the information about the iPad compared to print, there are a few options. Make an interactive PDF that has the feel of an iPad app, make a print magazine that highlights the limitations of print or make an iPad magazine. The first test was the interactive PDF. The layout is not particularly impressive and it was rough to quickly get the idea across. At this point it only hosted links and articles to information that was important on the topic. It is dull, even if it had lots of cool visual metaphors or infographics, it would still be an interactive PDF.

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E Playing with the statistics and visual metaphors was more interesting because they had an element of humour in them. Just drawing out some silly ideas helped get ideas realised, even if they were a little creepy. The most interesting element that there was to reflect was the interaction between the device and humans. I looked at different ways of representing physical touch and a digital sensor. A visual that was quite appropriate was a pressure sensor. It shows the amount of pressure was being applied to a touch pad. The sensor showed the scale of the pressure through area and colour. It does not directly relate to the statistics found in my research but the look was effective.   Taking this method and applying it on top of adverts that were taken directly from an iPad magazine gave them several layers of meaning. These ideas still did not have any context and the next stage was to find a format.

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E Mag+ ( the plugin for InDesign mentioned earlier ) is the perfect option to make a fairly impressive magazine for the iPad. Early tests were like trying to make a puzzle in the dark. Thanks to the large amount of tutorials supplied by Mag+ it is surprisingly easy to make an all singing all dancing iPad magazine. The plugin is designed with two layers. These layers were originally designed to allow text to overlap images and then to have the ability to turn off the text to see the full image. These two layers however can be manipulated to create some interesting effects. One used here was to reveal a hidden message behind an advert. There is also a delay in the two layers changing as the pages scroll, this allows for certain elements to interact on the screen. Here there is a piece of string to pull that brings up the food metaphors.

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E Playing with quotes, statistics and metaphors I roughly managed to put together something that resembled an iPad magazine. Feedback on this was far more positive than I expected. Apparently it was nearly a finished item, when really it was just a mock-up of a few ideas. This was great to hear because it could be then taken and fine tuned and made to work and look much better.   After the formative assessment of the work the feedback was encouraging. People raised the points that if one is not familiar with iPad magazines then it can be a bit confusing. Also it was said that a thumbnail map might help navigation. The truth is that there is a map that appears on the top of the page. But the navigation needed be made more obvious and elements of the design needed to be more developed as they look a little unfinished.

A video demonstration of the first draft can be viewed here on vimeo.

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S is for subject knowledge The area of design for the iPad was completely new to me, everything I did, I pretty much had to learn from scratch. Thankfully after understanding the basics of Mag+ it is mostly straightforward design.   The iPad magazine is new and fresh and designs that are already about are made to look as though they are. Only a few like the Times and more serious publications take a more serious and restrained approach to their design. The majority of the magazines are American, and it shows. Drop shadows and textures all over the place.  

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S With the iPad magazine that I made, I wanted it to have a light-hearted feel to it to allow for the more humorous metaphors as well as a “trendy” look to it. This is probably the most trendhappy thing I have made. The illustrations are kept very simple and light so that they do not overcomplicate the information they present as well as giving it a less serious tone.   The main typeface for the titles was a light slab serif face called Kulturista, it looks in keeping with the playful tone but also stands up well on a screen. The typeface used for the body text was Helvetica Neue Condensed Bold. The heavy and alert look of it complimented the more delicate feel of Kulturista.

? m o d e Fre

”Developing a new iPad experience for a magazine brand takes more design thought upfront, and often combines multiple assets and media in ways that are quite different than how this was done historically.   But the results are magical, both to consumers and advertisers, and present farreaching opportunities to extend the brand.” 20


T is for technical competence Mag+ provide some really good templates for InDesign, they come with all the layers needed to start designing. It is good when designing to work wit a grid, however the way that Mag+ works it is hard to get things to stay on one and to get it to sit right in their enormous pages.   Mag+ has several parts to its package, the plugin for InDesign, the production tools and a reviewer app. It can be quite a task getting these three to communicate, but one they do it is very fast and not to hard to get used to.

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T One really great thing about Mag+ and working on the iPad in general is that tests can be uploaded immediately to see exactly how it would look and work. Instead of having to print out wads of paper to see a draft of the design it is possible to put it straight onto the final format. This saves a lot of time when needing to produce something for a deadline. It can be done straight to a real iPad over the internet or if there isn’t an iPad around, it is possible to download an iOS simulator. All you have to do is register as a developer with Apple and get their Developer kit.

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T When it came to setting the type, the focus was on a bold fast and engaging message. Also due to the fact that the text would be on a screen it would need to be quite large so that it did not look pixelated and oddly shaped 10pt on the body text and 22pt on the titles. The colours chosen give a bright contrast, the bright pink, the slightly duller red and the grey work together to give a lively yet intelligent message.

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C is for communication & presentation There are positives about creating something straight onto the final format. Though the idea is that a magazine on the iPad is like a print magazine, it is more like a website in many ways. Instead of allowing time for printing and binding or exporting or uploading, the finished article can be in its final form in a matter of seconds. If a publication exists solely on an electrical device it brings different considerations. When a publication is on the iPad it is put into the same context as any professional publication. This means it shows its worth through its design and function and not its physical production.

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C In the designing a magazine or book, it is not a big concern whether the pages will turn or that people will be able to find their way through it. On an iPad though when the publication relies completely on interactive magic, it is critical that all these features work well and are clear. The buttons or interactive features in my iMag needed to be checked and double checked, the navigation needed to be clear and the publication needed to actually work well. Any feature in the magazine needed to be easy to find. In the final outcome more navigational aids were added and any existing way finding needed to be very clear.

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C The format was the perfect choice for the message. By putting the magazine onto an iPad it adds to the very answer of the question of “how does the iPad change the magazine” ( by putting it on an iPad ). It is on a device that not everyone has and therefore limits its audience. If the same content was presented in a printed form, or even in a digital form that is more accessible, it would forfeit this part of the message.   The purpose of this iPad magazine was to show, in an impartial way the changes that the iPad brings to magazines. Its design was to mimic them and therefore give a taste of the differences as well as presenting the information that had been gathered.   After the initial feedback I went through the design and looked for places to make the design more interactive and at the same time more clear and informative. I added buttons to the info graphics that when tapped would give an explanation of the process. I also added similar expansions on the title pages. The adverts were a little uninformed so I added a click through link to explain it further as well as adding a feature that means the contents only comes up when the screen is held down. This should make it easier to navigate

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Gotham Magazine

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R is for research We chose the word Gotham to research. Looking back it was the best option from that point of view because there are endless resources to look at. It is the name of a beautiful and comprehensively designed typeface with many weights that has been used a lot since its commission from GQ magazine in 2000. Most notably its use for Barak Obama’s election campaign. There are several subjects that came up when researching Gotham, the history of the word, it’s connection to cities in film and photography (mainly New York), vernacular typography (the typeface was based on it), Geometrical typography. All this research was presented to Julia, they then told us to find the best part of it and make a magazine with it. We could only use Gotham and it also had to be the name. PDFs with the research that we presented to Julia can be found at the following links:

Hali - Carla - Sacha - Charlie

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R The most interesting part of the research was about the origin of the word Gotham. It was first used as the name of a place in Nottinghamshire, according to www.etymolnline.com it meant Goat Haven. The interesting part was folklore attached to this village in the 1400s. The villagers, having heard the king planned to move there which would cost them a lot of money, decided to act like idiots and fools to put him off. They did things like trying to fish the moon out of a pond and capturing a bird by putting up a fence around it. This was then referenced in a satirical periodical called Salmagundi, the writer Washington Irving compared the citizens of New York to The Mad Men of Gotham.

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The Merry Tales Of The

Mad Men Of Gottam


R Though Gotham became a byword for fool, in the original tale the men were wise playing the fool. This is what intrigued the group and it was our decision to base the magazine on comedy. More specifically the type of comedy and art where they masquerade as foolish as well a touch of satire. It was a lovely opportunity to bring in content that the whole group enjoyed. Comedy that we used had to be new and lesser known but also old and respected. We looked at people from Chris Morris and David Shrigley to Louie CK and Cyriak

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A is for analysis Comedy was a preferred subject as the other topics that were raised in our research where coming over far to dry. There is a lot of magazines available that are about design, music, film and other cultural subjects but there are very few, if any magazines about comedy. The purpose of a magazine is to present content in its own standing or with the voice and opinions of writers. It is very important that when a magazine hosts lots of content that it all has the right tone of voice for its audience and that it feels from one mouth. We made sure that the content and writing of our articles in Gotham had the correct and intelligent point of view.

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A The style that was researched for Gotham magazine was publications from studios like Julia themselves and Ill. These contemporary design styles would give the magazine an up to date voice that is very culturally aware. The simple look of this type of design would also allow the content to be in the foreground and the design and magazine in the background.   The audience that became suitable for the content that Gotham magazine was similar to that of GQ, Young 20-25 year olds, design conscious and ahead of the game. We made sure that everything would appeal to the same audience and not try to make a magazine that was only for wannabe comedians or just design lovers.

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E is for experimentation The content that we had researched and collected would suit a more traditional magazine as it was intellectual and stood well on its own. It did not need to many design gimmicks to add to the message. To make a magazine stand out however sometimes it needs to be quite different to other publications on the shelf. We drew inspiration from publications like Little Joe magazine and Huck that was unique in its size and it’s duotone finish. Questions asked were “What colour is comedy?” or “What size is comedy?” Mustard Yellow kept popping up, an idea was to risoprint the magazine black and yellow. However it became evident that this would be giving the magazine an effect that wasn’t very helpful to our message and uneccessary.

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E Looking at size, just in experimental stages, Gotham magazine was going to be different from the standard sizes (just because we hated A4 & A5). It began as a rather squat object around the size of A5, it was only a little bit thinner than it was tall. It was an interesting size to play with, it wanted to be odd, we tried rounded corners but we decided that it was just far to small to get a nice luxury design. The size that was settled on was what we named awkward A4, just bigger in both height and width it had a similar squatness as earlier tests.

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E Layout can be a wonderful tool to enhance the message and concept of the content, we thought it would be interesting to make a peculiar design for peculiar content. Each member of the group had their own content to work with, as an ideas generating method we all tried to design our own styles and see what came out. The result is what would be expected when you make something out of four different designs, an absurd inconsistent and incoherent mess. There were lots of different types of treatment to photos, furniture and typography. Imagine listening to a song that changed singer, tempo and tune every ten seconds. At times the pages would change orientation or a photograph of Robin Asquith’s face would interrupt the page. Though appearing as a waste of time these ideas and tests helped us throw anything out on the table and get the clutter out of the way.

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E The guys from Julia were impressed in the quantity of work that had been produced, but they told us to restrain it. The main problem was that there was no consistency and no harmony. The only thing that stayed the same was the typeface, but even in that there was the whole range of weights on display. We needed to pull out everything and strip it back to the bare minimum. Once we had the styles of our magazine for things like furniture and type then we could slowly and sensitively bring in humorous elements. The content was to be the funny part and not the design.   The design was taken back to the minimum and type styles and a grid was established for everyone to work with, but even then, still to keep it simple. Taking away all the mess gives the opportunity to focus the feel of the magazine and any important elements that are brought in are more effective. The guys from Julia described it as having a quiet and gentle piece of music that suddenly peaks and changes mood so that the effect is better. Elements like Robin Asquith or the colour spreads that punctuated the articles with jokes fitted and had their own presence instead of drowning in the noise of everything else.

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S is for subject knowledge The content in Gotham magazine varied from small bitty sections like the news/updates to very weighty interviews and articles. For consistency’s sake the magazine needed rules for layout. Gotham the typeface is such a comprehensive selection that we had a great range to choose from and text good for titles, captions and body text. The guys from Julia likened magazine design to cinema, most of important of all was pacing. Something that was not present yet in the magazine. When all the text and images are collected or at least in a form that closer resembles the final solution then it was much easier to see how the magazine would work.

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S Flat planning the magazine became vital so that the pacing of the content could be realised. Once the pages are laid out it gives an overview of the whole magazine and the narrative of it. Problems with its consistency became more noticeable and areas where humorous elements could be brought in were highlighted. After the flat plan the pages were put into a ring-binder which was a helpful aid to imagine the work side by side.   We decided that to break up the articles and text we would bookend them with jokes from famous comedians. These were great to give the magazine a voice of its own and bring humour to more serious content. In a similar way we wrote the news/updates bits ourselves and gave it a personal voice, we dispersed these with fake news reports from The Onion and its English equivalent The Daily Mash. This made reading the news section a bit of a game as the reader would have to sift the fact from the fiction.

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S As the content became more unified the thing as a whole began to look more and more like a real magazine. The project as a whole was made to feel like the genuine article, for instance the fact that we were constantly working to get all the content and design made to meet the deadline that was put purposely close. Discisions had to be made and made quickly in order to press on and move to the next vital part.

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T is for technical competence The true technical meat of the magazine goes unseen, the bleeds, the grids it all goes on in the background. To make sure that the publication had the fluid and unified layout and look that we wanted; we had to agree on a grid, character styles, paragraph styles, the baseline grid, the images and the furniture, (a hard thing for four designers to do, all wanting to have responsibility for the appearance of outcome).   After endless print offs of tests for type size, leading, margins and furniture we finally decided that 8pt Gotham Book would be the best and most readable choice for the body text, 10pt Gotham bold for the pull-quotes and 38pt and 16pt Gotham Medium for titles and Names. The grid was 12x12, 9pt gutter, a 9pt baseline grid and margins of 15mm top, 22mm inside, 16mm bottom and 31.5 mm outside. The baseline grid was helpful to give the precise alignments of all the lines of text and images so that every part of the design lined. The inside margins were given a 6mm increase so that when the magazine was bound the full-page spreads over the spine would still be readable.

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T Having these rules in place allowed the four of us to make our content fit together and have a really clean look. Though a tricky balancing act the text was fully justified and no justification, which meant a lot of close attention to rivers and lakes. Thankfully after a long time spent on all sides the columns of text ended up more or less a good “typographer’s grey”.

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C is for communication & presentation Bringing together the all the elements of the design needed to be careful and considered. The Paper chosen for the final print was 120gsm Academia from Faulkner’s paper suppliers. This had a nice light weight and a matt finish that gave the magazine a clean and fresh look. the final design of the content was very restrained and only brought in a lot of colour when it needed to make a big impact. Full page spreads of screenshots from Louie CK or Cyriak really stood out when the rest of the design was subtle and calm.

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C The best way to bind the magazine was to perfect bind it, this was not as simple as first hoped as the page count went a little over expected. The original idea was to make 15-20 pages each, but we blew that all the way up to a total of 145 pages in the first edition. Thankfully when the magazine was put together the 6mm for the bleed worked perfectly and lines of text were perfectly aligned.   The main message and function of the magazine was to collect and present weird and strange comedy and art. The design was only to facilitate it and to give it a relevant and modern look. The front cover is a good example of this approach where it is just a photo of a “Jeffu burger�, it is presented clearly and next to the name of the magazine and the comedians within it.

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C When the magazine was bound and trimmed to size it was like seeing a child being born (except no pain, mess and future responsibilities). Something the group had been working on solidly for the duration of the project. It was presented to Julia and the feedback was wonderful. Its great to hear positive things about something that had been slaved over. The one improvement that was suggested and was carried out on a second edition was that it could do with an edit. We made use of the flat copy room in order to get clear and clean images of the final result.

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The End, thank you.

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Sacha Childs-Clarke - Three Projects