Category Archives: Part 5 Layout

Assignment 5: notebook pages

Assignment 5: website mockups

Mockups for website home page, here goes… firstly structure > this is the basic container for web page content, based on the simple grid:

simple layout for web page based on the proportional grid

Adding boxes into the grid areas, to hold the content:

showing content boxes arranged in containers

Thinking about how the boxes will behave in the containers when the web page is resized in the browser (think wide screens, tablets, phones here).  My idea is to make the top menu and footer containers fill the width of the screen, with the content centred on the screen.  Ideally, boxes in the main content areas (article, footer, sidebar) will re-arrange themselves in the horizontal space from left to right, and top to bottom.  Non-essential boxes can disappear if there’s not enough space.

narrower layout to show re-arrangement of boxes in smaller containers

For the mockups, I’ve used 3 sizes:
GAFS web mockup – medium
GAFS web mockup – widescreen
GAFS web mockup – phone

For the home page, the main article space under the header (in the blue box) would have an intro section at the top, and updateable news items underneath.  The right hand sidebar green box would contain key links to the main areas of interest for users and volunteers.  Essential details are in the footer boxes. Medium sized screens would display like this:

website mockup

Wider screens  would have more detail in the header, and the articles container would be wider, allowing for a bit of re-arrangement of boxes:

website mockup

Smartphones would see a single column display without the furniture header illustration to use the space better:

website mockup

Assignment 5: logo and business stationery

coloured version - green and blue text

black and white text

This is the final logo, with an alternative black and white version.  I’ve tried to get it so that it’s ‘furniture store’ that hits you in the eye, and the ‘gerald anthony’ is a supporting act.  The black and white version doesn’t quite work like that, but it looks more interesting using the white text.  Both look ok really small, and really large too.

3 coloured and 3 b+w logos in 3 sizes

Business cards: GAFS business cards (pdf).  I’ve done these double sided, so as the brief is for generic cards, there’s room on the back for someone to scribble their name and phone number.  They’re meant to be printed on good quality recycled matte card, in preference to Vistaprint freebies.

Headed paper: GAFS headed paper (pdf) and GAFS headed paper b+w alternative (pdf) I initially did these with the Century Gothic font – but for some reason it looked dreadful on the black and white version, so I swapped to Myriad Pro.  I’m assuming the headed paper is most likely to be used as a template file in the printer, so it would have to be ok with different types of paper, which that font should be.  Here’s a couple of more contrasty versions of the coloured header: GAFS headed v2 (pdf) and GAFS headed v3 (pdf).

Assignment 5: the 8-page Annual Review

This is an 8 page ‘annual review’, which I’m anticipating will be printed as an A4 booklet, medium quality. I’ve designed it as a spread to be printed double-sided onto A3, folded and stapled.  The covers need to line up therefore. It also needs to work as a downloadable pdf document.   As I’m trying to decide if my design process is really working,  this is a step-by-step pdf history of how I put the report together:
GAFS report v1
GAFS report v2
GAFS report v3
GAFS report v4
GAFS report v5
GAFS report v6
GAFS report v7

At this stage I made some more changes and reviewed it… Review point notes
And this is the final version: GAFS report v8 – final version

final front page layout

The statistics: the infographic on page 5 is part of the brief to make the financials look a bit more interesting. There aren’t enough items to play with really (4 for the income, 3 for the spends) so my idea was to use a basic recognisable graph convention > block graph, bars, pies – and illustrate it with a piece of furniture in relative sizes – these were the tryouts:

1st graph layout for income and expenditure

2nd graphic layout for income and expenditure

Basically, the block graph doesn’t make for very interesting shapes, and the bar graph wastes a lot of space, and looks tedious… decided to turn the bars round to fit the page space better, see below. The furniture shapes were added for emphasis later, on the page layout > see page 5 in the final version, above.

3rd graphic for income and expenditure

A note on fonts: I’ve used Century Gothic as the lead display font – also chosen for the (final) logo as it looks nice and clean and balanced with that particular set of characters. My second display font for the annual review is Chaparral Pro – as a heavy and chunky contrast, it’s mainly used for the ad on the back. The body font for print material is Myriad Pro as it works best at small sizes (Century Gothic doesn’t) – so this also works for the business cards and headed paper. I’ve used (safe choice) Verdana as the the body font for the web page. I’ve also used Minion Pro for the annual review footer (not sure why) and Stencil Std Bold for chunky-and-legible numbers on the stats graphic. Century Gothic numbers are a bit pathetic (in this context anyway!)

Assignment 5: Visuals – logo, palette, illustration

The brief doesn’t give away a lot of clues, so I’m playing safe and following my research – aiming not to be gimmicky and evoke ‘crisp, clean, friendly and efficient’.

Logo – trying to avoid using images of vans and sofas.  Can’t think of any better images to use, so just play with the title text, which does have a nice ring to it.  Play with the acronym and the full name, and decide against using the acronym because it’s meaningless, and a bit counter to the idea of being ‘friendly’.  I like the font Century Gothic for this, as it’s open, clean and bold, and works well with this particular combination of characters (especially the ‘G’ and ‘A’ together).  However, can’t find anything I really like so decide to park it and come back to it later.

various logo designs

Typical photos – I’ve collected a set of photos from the websites/publications of similar organisations, aiming to be a representative sample of the photos that are likely to be used to describe this sort of organisation. Some are professional, some are not.  Colours and styles vary, and the furniture doesn’t look very appetising – but I like the idea of people being able to use their own photos, possibly taken on their phones – as a visual diary of their day to day activities, particularly for the website and flyers.  So, I’m looking for a way of making them look interesting and connected.

Colour palette – I wanted something fresh and clean to make the website attractive  to the  customers.  Preferring IKEA style and green/blue.  Thought about an alternative warm and welcoming red and orange theme, but having looked through my set of  ‘typical photos’ and looking at all the musty pink and brown sofas, I’ve decided to stick to the blue/green colours.  Later, I noticed my palette staring back at me from the kitchen windowsill…

picture collage of typical photos, furniture graphics, and blue-green palette

kitchen windowsill with blue and green labelling on soap and washing up bottles

To illustrate, I thought about using furniture symbols/icons, and looking around found a nice characterful set of furniture brushes I could use.  I also made my own set, but they didn’t look nearly as good.

hand drawn furniture images

drawn furniture icons

blue and green chairs

Assignment 5: Grids and boxes

The focus of this chapter/assignment is layout.  The task is about designing a logo, letterhead, business card, annual review and a website front page mockup – presumably to a house style.  This means a generic design layout idea that can work across a range of mediums and sizes, and given it’s a small charity, it hasn’t got to be expensive or complicated.  It’s got to be adaptable and fit into all manner of rectangular shapes, basically.  Also thinking about the logo which needs to be the most adaptable of the lot.   Keywords here: flexibile, stretchy, responsive, proportionality, balance.  Looking for a method…

To start with, played around with some basic box shapes:
layout ideas with circles and rounded rectangles

layout ideas using coloured circles and rounded rectangles on blue background

Thinking about the tools: websites often start with Photoshop.  Indesign is basically about boxes on grids – the boxes are stretchy, the grids are fixed.  Pixels and vectors – fixed and stretchy. Looking at web grids and the whole debate about working to fixed widths, or flexible relative widths, or some combination. Basically it’s about building boxes within boxes and creating the rules for what happens when there isn’t enough horizontal space for all the objects contained within a particular box.  Paper deals in fixed sizes, but designs usually have to work across a range of proportional sizes – ie A4 > A5 portrait > A6 landscape postcard > business card. So it’s pretty much the same.

Thinking about grid systems and proportionality, the ubiquity of the rectangle, and the biology of the eye… did a bit of reading round looking at grids based on the golden section (for proportionality).  I picked out one grid design to try out for the report > A4 spread and A4 single page:

grid layout guide

grid layout guideSource: http://www.markboulton.co.uk/journal/comments/five-simple-steps-to-designing-grid-systems-part-2

I tested the grid by adding the basic shapes to see if it works (ie creates balance) and it looked quite promising: A4 grid tryout,  A4 grid tryout 1A4 grid tryout 2A4 spread tryout.

I also picked out this more-basic-than-basic web design template to try:
2 column proportional layout grid

Source: http://www.markboulton.co.uk/journal/comments/five-simple-steps-to-designing-grid-systems-part-5

And finally a couple of ratios for reference: A4 paper > 1:1414, Golden section > 1:1.618

Assignment 5: Furniture recycle projects – annual reports compared

I picked out four of the published annual reports for these projects to have a look at.

The Furniture StationFurniture Station Annual Report 2010

Cover images: full page of woman sitting on chair looking a bit needy. Inset photos of men fixing and moving furniture, a delivery van, and the same woman sitting on a sofa looking happy. The slogan is ‘Supporting people to turn a house into a home’.  The layout is professional,  style is consistent throughout, solid fresh blue and green colour scheme, simple typography, and black body text on white or tinted boxes. Illustrated with photos of furniture and people at work. Statistics are presented as brightly coloured pie charts. Lots of lists, various techniques to present them a bit differently. Boxed case studies. Fairly functional professional presentation > does the job.

Wesley Community FurnitureWesley Annual Report 2009

the building street viewProbably produced using a wordprocessing package, one and 2 column layout with inline photos and boxed accounts summary. Generous margins, the narrative section has big blocks of text and works well, but it gets messy on the last two pages where the lists are. This is where you need visual aids to make it a bit more readable – and deal with those default blue hyperlinks. Photos describe the building, activities, the furniture, renovating, sofas in the road, and the van. They make it look busy, friendly and fun to work there. It works, and it would be interesting to ‘professionalise’ it and make it glossier and shinier – and then see if it conveyed the same message.

Question > how much does the funding environment dictate the report style (as distinct from content).

Re>buildRe>build Annual Review 2011

This is similar to the Wesley but a bit more ambitious in the design. Layout is black on white, it uses a lot of boxes and a black footer (white text). Front page titles follow the style of the logo as close as they can – colour, font and stylistic use of ‘>’. Lots of lists and varied bullets. Use of angled photos, describing the organisation in a similar style to the Wesley.  As with the Wesley report, the people page is messy >there’s an issue here with not enough text to give it shape without some visual aids. Similarly the visual representation of the numbers page (that uses loads of clip art) – this could be ‘designed’ – but how little design would you need to improve it without changing the nature of it? Also, I don’t know if it’s designed to be printed or read on screen – I would want to tone down those black footers if it was intended to print it.

statistics with clipart sofa and person

Shepherd’s Bush HousingSBHG annual report 0910

At the opposite end of the scale, here the furniture store is just an aspect of a much bigger and wider service. This is a shiny and glossy production, it’s totally depersonalised, but technically looks quite nice. It’s designed to print (expensively) on the sort of paper the black will work on, it’s square, it uses a mock hand-drawn style, and the statistics are neat. Lots and lots of jargon. It’s interesting to see how the design resolves the layout difficulties of the people section by grouping and balancing the lists across the page.

drawn diagram - employees focus commitment integrity

Lessons to learn: consistency of style, make style appropriate to the scale of the organisation and it’s environment, no clutter, keep it simple, be careful with the lists.

Assignment 5: Thinking about it

Reading back through the log for this chapter – a few points to remember in no particular order:

  • For brochures, magazines, anything that is going to be repeated > there needs to be a template
  • Simplicity is all
  • Contrast and legibility – I tend to want more contrast than seems to be generally ok
  • It’s easier to make specific black and white versions of logos etc, separately from coloured versions
  • Logos really need to be vectors for maximum flexibility
  • Remember to choose fonts for their visual relevence – not because they’ve got good titles
  • Everything is subject to fashion
  • Check impact from a distance, and at different sizes

This assignment > Brief 3: charity work  I’ve chosen this option because it ties in quite nicely with some of the work that I do.  It’s about business and marketing materials for a small voluntary organisation that ‘helps poor and displaced people furnish their homes with the basics’.  The first thing to do then is check out the sector via the Furniture Re-use Network.  Community furniture stores tend to fall into 3 camps:

  • part of a larger organisation providing a range of services – such as a housing association or a faith based organisation
  • community recycling projects from a green/eco/environmental background
  • small local charitable trusts, run mostly by volunteers.

open door furniture recycling logoI looked at a few and noticed some visual commonality – photo illustrations showing the length of a full furniture warehouse, furniture arranged attractively – flowers on tables; lots of red sofa icons, images of warehouses, delivery vans, volunteers, clients, people renovating, their buildings, cookers, a nice logo – Open Door.

Sources:

Bolton Community Transport
Community Furniture Stores
Wesley Community Furniture
Keighley Furniture Project
Open Door Furniture Recycling
RE>BUILD (Bury)

Exercise: poster and flyer

An A3 poster and a double sided A6 flyer for a low cost course of singing lessons, to be printed on a black and white photocopier.  The course is on weekdays for an hour and a half each session.  It’s promoted as being about having fun as well as learning to sing, and it’s not specific to any particular type of music.  So I’m looking for something that’s community based, broad-ranging and appealing to all and everybody.  Thinking about community choirs and aspiring pop stars with a bit of a vintage tangent:

vintage imagery including mouths and singers

These are a few samples of posters advertising singing lessons…

advertising singing lessons

and these are a couple of particularly nice simple posters featuring similar chalky textures:

simple posters with chalky textured graphics

Icons and images I can use are people singing, mouths, microphones, musical instruments, musical notes, birds singing. Fonts I can use have nice round ‘O’s. As it’s got to work in black and white  and cheaply printed, it needs to have high contrast, at least on the bits that need to be read from across the road. It also doesn’t have to have too many areas of heavy colour, as the paper will tear and it won’t look good. I decide to use Photoshop as I’ve got some relevent brushes, a photo of a woman and a microphone I can copy, and play around. This is a mish-mash of all the layers:

mish-mash of ideas

I’m working in red and black – red will print about 50% – so it should look good in colour (surely they can find someone who’ll print a few coloured posters off for them), as well as printed black on white or coloured paper. The text has to be clear black, and the blocky Arial font works the best with a busy background. I worked on the poster first, laying it out in InDesign and did a few test prints (at A4 size), printing onto white and yellow paper, which worked fine. The coloured version and printing black onto blue paper were too insipid though, so I made the background layers bolder, and this worked better all round. I then reduced everything to 25% to make the flyer, and adjusted the text boxes a little to compensate for the smaller scale.

Printed poster – paler version printed black on white and yellow paper:
black printed on white and yellow paper

 

Printed poster – background layers less transparency, printed in colour on white and black on orange paper:
Black printed on orange paper and a colour print

 

Flyers printed black on white, black on green and coloured on white:
both sides
both sides
both sides - black and reds

The green is a bit insipid, so I would abandon this in favour of yellow and orange. A brighter green would be better, I also tried it on red and blue paper which were both a bit too dark. The other issue is the legibility of the phone no. on the front of the flyer. Have noticed generally that there are lower levels of contrast on printed stuff than I would like… so I’ve left it! Also, given the flyer is A6 size, I thought it would be good as a postcard, so maybe if I was going to spend more time on it I’d do a landscape version of the flyer too.

The final (electronic) version:
poster image

both sides

Singers A6 flyer (pdf)
Singers A3 poster v2 – final version (pdf)
Singers A3 poster v1 (pdf) – paler background layers