Design brief 4

November 26, 2010 Leave a comment


For this design brief I had to design a business card for a company that sells green products. This differed greatly from my last brief but I decided to follow the same thought process of planning, research and development to create my final product.

Initial planning: Brainstorm

In this brainstorm I really wanted to explore what I consider ‘green’ and also what I know about business card so I can being to visualise the two combining together into one design. I think this brief heavily contrasts the punk poster because this one requires a professional aesthetic with limitations of appropriate design rather than me being able to go completely wild.  I think the important things I gathered through the initial brainstorm is the importance of natural imaging, the colour and word green and contact details within a double sided business card layout.

Background research

This is an image I found Google which shows the same company generating two

business cards that represent their company and their green ethos. Similarly

to my previous brief I will list what I like and don’t like about this card.

What I like

  • The shade of green is eye catching and highly specific which is replicated throughout the image and text
  • The information is clear and concise but doesn’t overcrowd of block the main logo and title – and visa versa
  • I like how there are two designs that can inverted and still be equally as effective.

What I don’t like:

– I think the green is too harsh against the bright white background, a pastel colour would of provided a better contrast and balance

I really like elements of this business card, especially the logo of “Green” with a leaf. I really think putting a leaf alongside my business title would look effective and reiterate the company ethos. However, to get the colour balance right I think I would have to play around with shades once again.

This is another green business card I found on Google that represents another green business.

What I like:

  • The text and logo used for “green business” is really smart but modern – it would really well as a transferable logo to a blog, website or leaflet that the business may produce.
  • The logo, name and main body of information is well organised and seperated to make the layout really effective and simple.
  • I love the block of colour surrounding the logo on the top image, it’s modern but smart constructing a positive business image

What I don’t like:

  • I really don’t like the colours used. The green is really bright and doesn’t work well with white on the one side of the card (top of the image) however it works well on the bottom image. I would personally choose a different shade so the design is more cohessive.
  • The check indentsations over the top – I don’t get why they are there I think it ruins the simplicity that would work well on this card – I definately don’t want to include too much layering on my design!

Through looking at these example I’ve realised that my design must be simplistic, modern, elegant but most definitely green and eco-friendly. It is also important to not make the card over crowded and get the right shade of colours – because the design is so simple every little detail matters.

Design Selection: Images, font and colour


As I’ve established the right shade of green is extremely important in such a simple design so I decided to once again generate a colour palette of different greens and background colours so I could see what matched together well and if it was effective.

With the green palette, I found it really hard to find a shade of green that I thought was quite original but also effective in combination with a pastel colour. After much experimentation I finally came up with the circle colour which I’m really happy with because it’s quite a unique colour and works well in combination with a lot of pastel colours.

I also found it hard finding a nice pastel colour. I decided to work against the green I had selected and eventually came up with this combination of green, greys and creams. Together they work really well to create a cohesive design. I decided to once again test this by combining them with text and background.


When deciding my font I knew I wanted each letter to be clear but I thought a serif font for the main title might be nice and look elegant but creative too. For the main body of information such as the website I thought a sans serif was definitely the way to go. I decided to look through the fonts available on the apple macs at university and also the ones available on Dafont. Once again I have created a compilation of both of these so I could choose what fonts I thought were effective and what weren’t.

The fonts I looked at were


  • Lobster by Pablo Impallari
  • Sketch Block by
  • Japan by Mario Arturo
  • Hand times by eM-Vii aka Manuel Viergutz
  • Geo Sans Light by Manfred Klein


  • Helvetica
  • Orator Std
  • Tahoma

In the end I decided to use three fonts – for the title Sketch Block, and for the main bodies of text Orator Std and Geo Sans Light. I chose these because I thought they were simple and readable fonts that would transfer well into a business card layout. Additionally, Sketch Block offers a more creative and innovative font than I’ve seen on my research business card making the card stand out against the very strong market of business cards, especially ‘green ones’


Once again, because I’m very bad at drawing I decided an image off the internet would be a lot better, however, when looking for my fonts on Dafont I discovered a font called Plants (in dingbats)which involves a combination of plant graphics transferred into a font. I thought this would be a fantastic and simple way to include a natural leaf logo into my design so I experiemented with all the letters and decided to use the letters ‘j’ and ‘f’. Below is a look at all the letters and symbols within this font.

My final design.

This is my finished product (front (top) and back (bottom)). I think I successfully included all the things I’ve learnt during the module, research, colours, typography and techniques into a well thought out and clear design that matches the brief well. I shall now do an in depth critical analysis of this with my personal opinion at the end. But first I have to decide what printing decisions to make in terms of paper and overall finish.

Paper and finishing:


I decided that the page size should be a business card size. This is because it is a convienient size for most people as it could fit into organisers and wallets, and fits in with the usual business card expectancy.Additionally, I wanted the paper weight to be 400 GSM as this is the typical weight for a business and it is proven to be successful as a weight and format. Finally I decided to give the card an uncoated finished as this is usually made with recycled paper (which is a must to reflect the company ethos) and gives of a eco-friendly perspective which is reflective of the company and the brief given.

Also, because I used downloadable fonts I would have to make sure I saved them as an image file so they wouldn’t be printed wrong and so my image is maintained.



When making my business card I did try to use a grid but I don’t think I used it very well. The main of the front of the business card was to have the logo big and central with the website directly below. I think however, by breaking or ignoring the grids in a way it has made the design really stand out and made for a very effective business card. However when it came to the back of the card I think I followed the bases of a grid a bit better, with the logo being repeated near one of the four main focal points and also the two main bodies of information taking up the other two in the bottom left and right. The one thing concerning composition however that I’m not happy with is the other green leaf. It isn’t central, but when I put it central it didn’t look right at all. However, overall I am happy with everything is laid out.


I think that the green and pastel colour that I used really work well together to create a simple, professional and elegant design that continually reiterates the green ethos that the company is eager to promote. However once again the leaf of the back of the card is annoying me because I think the colour is too different and doesn’t blend well with the rest of the design.


I really think using a font as my image benefited well as none of it was pixelated at all and I adjust the size very specifically. I think the simplicity of the leaf blends well with the contrasting black font and stands out leaving a sense of environment and nature both in colour and style.


I’m really happy with the blend of fonts that I used because the contrast gives a unique aesthetic with a sense of inovation and looks different to most business cards I’ve seen during my research. Additionally working with the spacing between letters on the title and also in my text “green perspective” adds points of interest to the card and doesn’t make it all too similar but all effective and interesting.


I think I have included all the relevant information that a company would want to present on a business card. I also decided it would important to specify the sales manager so it is clear that this is a company that sells products with a green perspective. I think including a slogan add’s something extra to the business card without overcrowding which I think is a good thing.

Once again I’m really happy with what I produced. I challenged my technique through using effects like pin dropping and stretching and stuck specifically the brief. Although I think I would change the second leaf image and perhaps replace that with a recycle symbol in the top right hand corner.


Categories: Graphics, Visual Design

Design Brief 2

November 25, 2010 2 comments


In this final weeks directed study, we had to generate two pieces of visual design that correspond to a specific design brief. This design brief we had to generate a flyer for a punk band to be handed out to promote their upcoming gig. When approaching this I decided I should first brainstorm my initial ideas of a punk band and what they are then do some research into current flyers and punk posters to see if there is a gap in design to be approached and also what is expected of a punk band flyer.

Initial planning: Brainstorm

In this brainstorm I really wanted to note down my immediate reactions to the notion of a punk band – for example political/social statement, rebellious and non-conformist but also start to the think about colour palettes, imaging and typography. My initial ideas centres around a black background with bright colours that contrast each other. I also want to try manipulate these colours and an image to capture a high energy feel and also a non mainstream aesthetic. Also in keeping with the idea of visual design and also rebellion I have decided to name my band ‘Breaking Grids’ as it has strong letters that would look good in my design but also provides some kind of a commentary on visual design and what I’ve learnt.

Background research

This is an image I found on Google images (the image provides a link to the exact location). I  thought this would be a good stand point for research into punk flyers. I thought to get valuable  information  from my research it would be useful to make bullet points of what I like about the  image and what I don’t like, that way I can make sure to avoid using the elements I don’t like in  my design and also try to get inspiration from the elements I don’t like.

Elements I like:

– The use of contrasting colours (pink and green) alongside colours such as black and white

– The use of typography – the designer has used three to four fonts but kept it cohesive

– Where the have included photographs they are black and white which contrasts to the bright  pink background.

– The use of iconic punk things such as safety pins (punk fashion)

Elements I don’t like:

– How everything is almost in boxes and very organised – goes against punk ethic.

– The photographs although contrasting are quite boring

– Overcrowded – Although most of the information is important I want to make mine more          simplistic

Overall I think this quite an effective poster, however the date signifies that this is outdated and  I think that punk has developed since then so the aesthetic of mine will have a more modern  flare. Also the the typography is good I think I want to make mine more powerful and strong  with an outline as in some ways the green blends dully with the background.


Punk flyer example two. This is a more modern interpretation of a punk band flyer. Once again bold colours such as pink and green have been used as a contrast to simple black and whites. However, this flyer instead of incorporating photography, includes hand drawn graphics that visually represent the change in the punk movement and also in visual design. Once again I think it is important to include pro’s and con’s from my design perspective.

Things I like:

  • Once Again I like the use of contrasting colours against the black and white. I also like how the green especially has been transferred into blocks of colour to make the black stand out. Also the pink has been used as a shadow effect to add depth to the flyer.
  • The graphic is really cool and visually presents punk with typical associations e.g. skulls. The graphic makes the piece unique and also eye catching
  • The continuity in the typography links with the stroke used of the graphic and is distorted to make the overall aesthetic interesting.

Things I don’t like:

  • Some of the text used is quite small and hard to read. If the information is that important to include then it would equally as important to be able to read it.
  • The overall look is quite dull – this make just be down to scanning but if it isn’t I feel that the colours should be brighter and more contrasted.

Overall I think this is an effective poster for a punk band. I would like to use some of the elements from both examples within my design, however I do want to make in unique, and to do so I think I will stray away from the pink and green contrast and instead focus on pink and yellow so my design stands out from the others. Also I like both images on each design so I think that manipulating a photograph with elements of graphics would lead to a successful result. Also with typography I want something that encapsulates punk but with a more modern twist. Similarly to the first design I want to use a combination of different fonts within my design but also I want them to visible and not over crowded.

Design selections: Images, fonts and colours.

As is clear with the first two research pieces, the selection of the images, colours and fonts I use is essential in creating a good flyer. I decided to do some experimentation before starting my design so I had a clear idea in my head of where I was going.


I wanted to do a palette of different shades of pink and yellow on their own and then on a black background to see what shades are effective in creating a vibrant, energetic and punk-esque flyer.

In paint, I simply adjusting a few different shades of pink and yellow to formulate a palette and then put them onto a black ground to see which looked better. This was good on many levels. It allowed to experiment with adjusting colours and also let me think about how colour is effective in my design. Eventually I settled with two distinctive and vibrant shades of yellow and pink which I think contrast well against my planned black background and also encapsulate modern punk – vibrant and contrasting.

To test my colour choices further I coupled these shades with the name of band, against each other upon a black background. Although I don’t intend to use this font I thought it would be a good starting point to see if the colour palette would work well with each other and not be too heavily contrasting.

I am happy with the combination of colours and I think I will definitely use these shades in my design both with my typography and with my graphics.


Personally, I’m not happy with the selection of fonts that are available basically on my computer, so I thought that to achieve the best results I would have to download some fonts. I already knew of – a website where you can download free fonts for use in design. To explore this website I decided that a sans serif font would be effective and also I decided to see if searching ‘Punk’ in the search box would generate any interesting types, and I wasn’t dissapointed. Through this I decided to collect a few of the font together to make a decision on what fonts would be good in my design.

I decided on looking at these five fonts which are:

  • Punk by Gaut Fonts
  • Punk kid by Christopher Hansen
  • Skratch Punk by Spunky McPunk
  • Punk’s not dead by punksnotdead
  • Shonen Punk! By Teabeer Studios

Personally I though that Shonen Punk! and Punk Kid contrasted each other well and would also represent modern punk quite well. Also I would try incorporate colour into these in different and new ways within InDesign once downloaded.


Because I’m not very good at drawing I decided that using a pre-existing graphic within my design would make the design look more professional and of a better quality. To go about this process I went on the internet and searched for ‘Punk graphics’ for this I mainly used websites such as Photobucket because they are usually free, royalty free and without copyright so I don’t have any copyright infringement. Below is a compilation of all my favourite images I found when searching together with links to the source I got them from.

My personal favourite was the first image. I decided that the girl could represent the lead singer of the band. Also the pink smoke acted as inspiration for the final result. I needed to crop this image quite a lot to be happy with it but I think it represents the modern punk but also gives it a sexier edge, which is becoming more increasingly popular.

My Final design:

This is my final design within InDesign. I incorporated all my ideas, inspirations and found fonts, colours and typography to obtain the overall result. I shall now do an in depth critical analysis of this with my personal opinion at the end. But first I have to decide what printing decisions to make in terms of paper and overall finish

Paper and finishing:


I decided that the page size should be A5. This is because it is a convienient size for most people as it could fit in many bags and peoples pockets, whilst an A3 would be too small and an A4 too big. Additionally, I wanted the paper weight to be 130 GSM – I thought this weight because it is thicker than the typical copier paper but not too thick that it is awkward to fold and store etc. Also, by lowering the weight the band would save on costs and be able to product more leaflets so they can spread the word of their brand around. For the overall finish I decided that a silk finish would be appropriate because it’s good for lighter weighted paper and also gives a ‘rough and ready’ feel which represents punk. It represents punk because punk is all about being unfinished, basic and representative and this paper and finish gives that impression. Alongside that I also wanted to have the band name done with Spot UV so it’s laminated, durable and stands out and also reflects well in lights as gigs are usually at night (street lamps) and it would reflect all the colours from a gig inside.

Also, because I used downloadable fonts I would have to make sure I saved them as an image file so they wouldn’t be printed wrong and so my image is maintained.



I tried to use grids, mainly the rule of thirds within the design. However I set out with the purpose of breaking the grids and I think I did that by my placement and use of rotation. Looking more into the rule of thirds you have your main focal points which I still decided to following. In the bottom right I wanted the main focal point to be the image of the girl surrounded by my own designed graphics (created by cutting and cropping and then filling those elements with my colour selections). Opposite that in the bottom corner I decided to put the concise information  because it fits within the area of focus so attention is drawn to it but it doesn’t over crowd the leaflet. Finally, the band’s name dominates the top of the leaflet so it gives a lasting impression and the name is remembered.


Overall I think that the colour palette is striking and representative of punk. In my initial brainstorm I though that punk colours were vibrant and stood out that’s what I think this colour palette does. Additionally, the dominate pink may attract more of a female audience and ties in with the fact that the lead singer is a female. I was also happy with how I used different shades of pink and different weights within the main bodies of text to add depth and interest to the piece.


I’m happy with how I cropped the original image I used so it blends in. Additionally I’m really happy with what I did to generate extra graphics. By randomly cutting, colours and layering I created a sharp and energetic design which represents the essence of punk and makes the flyer stand out heavily against others. Additionally I think that the combination of the photograph and blocks of colour is effective and adds depth to the flyer.


I really like the fonts that I found on Dafont, especially within the title and the slogan. However, I’m not too happy with the bottom left corner, I think it works in the grand scheme of the flyer but I now think that maybe a different font again would maybe add more contrast and interest to the overall aesthetic.


I think what I included in my content is just enough to not over crowd the flyer but advertise the band and their upcoming gig. The flyer supplies all the relevant information that a consumer would need in a memorable way.

Overall I am really happy with what I produced. I played to my strengths by using certain tools on InDesign and pre-found images. Because I made these decisions I was able to make a dynamic design that follows the brief that was set but also encapsulates punk and attracts an audience that are youthful and into punk music.

Examples of grid work

November 25, 2010 1 comment

For this weeks directed study, we have too look at different examples of grid work in visual design. As somebody who wants too work in magazines, I decided to compare two different of magazine layouts and how manipulation of grid structures has lead to a certain effect and meaning.

Example one: Making the grid.

This article is from November’s issue of What’s On magazine – a magazine which “The Midlands essential entertainment guide”. Automatically, the word guide makes me think that the layout is going to be simplistic, informative and structured, and I wasn’t wrong. In this page example, the use of columns have allowed to pictures and text to flow together and also allowed the visual designer to adjust the width of each column to generate key focal points, for example A-ha and Paramore. The text and information follows a set grid structure and the title works within this, however due to the grid the designer can make the title stand out clearly and still be a part of a cohesive design. Additionally, to make the piece especially aesthetically pleasing, the designer has encorporating the Golden Ratio (signified by the red outline). The golden ratio makes the piece look well structured and pleasing to the eye.

Why I think the designer has done this:

I think the designer has decided to follow grid structures such as columns and the golden ratio to make a structured and pleasing piece that can balance text and photographs well. Also, because the magazine is a guide, to have all the information everywhere wouldn’t work. Peoples expectations of a guide is to be organised, simplistic and informative, and this layout encapsulates those expectations. The simplistic layout makes information easy to find and well structured supplying the expectations to it’s audience. Also, the gives the magazine a sense of convenience because of how easy information is to find, which works well with it’s purpose once again.

Critical analysis – does it work?

I think that for its purpose, the layout employed is effective. The guide has a lot of information to pack into the guide, and as a front page to category of music it represents a wide variety well contained and structured. Personally, I think the points I have made about the designers decisions are valid and generate an understanding of why keeping to the rules of grids was used in this particular magazine. Also, although the article may look boring, the use of grids has made this look pleasing overall and worked well and effectively.

Example two: Breaking the Grid

This piece is taken from the contents Octobers issue of Empire magazine. The magazine is notorious for being the best film magazine around and works hard to bring a personal perspective to the cinema going experience. The cover is eye catching and packed with information and the designer has carried this theme onto the contents page as well. Because the magazine is quite thick, there is a lot of content, and to save it looking boring through having a lot of text and minimal images. To save this problem and too maintain the expectations that the cover gives, the designer has made the decision to break the grid so the combination of text and images are well organised and visually impressive. The designer has cut around images, such as the Storm troopers and put them in close proximity with the text to give the reader the impression that there is a lot of information in this magazine that would interest them. Also, the designer has put most of the text into some kind of column structure so the reader can easily identify what the features are. But to combine the text and the images into one design that together breaks grids, the designer has also placed some text such as page numbers and bullets of information close to the images.

Why I think the designer has done this:

I think the designer has decided to break the grids with these techniques because the film magazine market is extremely competitive so they need to stand out. And if consumers want to see what they are getting they simply check the contents page for information. This contents page makes the eyes dance around and gives the impression that there is a lot of information to process and get stuck into but still it works as a layout cohesively and is visually striking. Also, film itself is a clever combination of language and image and the designer has managed to translate this into the magazine with clever design choices. Differingly from my first example, the purpose of empire isn’t to guide, it is too excite, entertain and sell and with a design like this it gives the consumer a good impression aesthetically when going through the rest of the magazine.

Critical analysis – Does it work?

Personally I think that the choice to break the grids really works for this magazine and the page layout. It’s dynamic and interesting which immediately excites consumers and works with the image that the magazine is trying to portray. Also I think that if the designer decided to stick with the grid structure the overall effect wouldn’t have been as dynamic and interesting. In this particular article, the way the designer has constructed elements of images and text frames the main body of text – the features – really well, and this wouldn’t of necessarily been as effective if working within grids.

Categories: Visual Design

Breaking the grid

November 25, 2010 Leave a comment

After the groups combined effort to create a layout alongside grids, I’ve converted one my journalism articles into a very simply grid structure that has been manipulated to break the grid. Because of the nature of the article I wanted to keep the layout quite simplistic and professional, however to make it stand out from other news articles I decided to use blocks of red colour which visually encapsulates the story (the story is about a fire, explosion and a near death incident, and the red signifies danger, fire, panic and the like).

The article itself

To keep the article looking modern yet professional I decided to stick with a 6 column grids. Also I made the choice that I wanted the main body of text to stay in a column structure because that is what is typically expected from a news article such as this. However, to manipulate this I decided to make the text not perfectly aligned with the columns and I also put the main text that I think will grab attention in the article in a red block corresponding to the style of the title. This quotation also didn’t follow the traditional grid structure of aligning with the columns, this fits in with the design approach I was trying to achieve and also adds an eye catching detail to the article. I did this effect continually with each text box to add a sense of cohessivness to the article but to also slightly break the grid.

The title also breaks to grid structure. Originally it did fit in with the grid structure but due to the text being the main headline of the whole article I really wanted to extrend the text box and make the font inside it larger to catch attention to the part of the article that is really designed to catch your attention. The reason while this breaking the grid works in my eyes is because it is central to the whole page and almost acts as a bridge between the two bodies of text. Not only does it allow the two boxes to be seperate and not crammed together, it also allows for that gab to be filled with a block of colour that isn’t too overpowering and distracting.

Finally, I think it was important to include a photograph or an image within this text. Too follow the red theme I decided to go down the path of the cylinder talked about in the article. This image make give the reader some kind of pre-emptive insight into the content of the article but also ties in the red colour palette. With this image I decided to have it also breaking the grid. I did this because then the start of the image aligns with the centre of the body of text on the right leading the eye to follow the page down.

Overall crticial evaluation

I am quite happy with the overall result. Although very simplistic I think it would work well in a news based blog or magazine as a cohesive and professional layout. In terms of the breaking the grid, I think what I did works successfully with the article, However, I don’t necessarily think I really challenged the concept of grids in a radical way. I think it would be best to further my understanding of grids to be able to develop the thought process to do so.  However, I don’t find this piece to be a disaster, but actually quite effective in fulfilling my own personal brief of a simplistic yet professional layout.

Categories: Visual Design

Another Grid resource

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

After talking to some of the people in my class last lesson, I learnt about an extremely useful book in regards to grid work. The book – Making and breaking the grid by Timothy Samara talks through the basics of grid work, other work on grids and also how to make and break the grid successfully.

Even the cover and the pages themselves are designed in such a way to show you how effective and successful making and breaking the grid can be. The writing is fluid and understandable, and the page layouts just emphasise the points the text is making visually.  Below I have included three print screens of the sections I found particularly useful.


In one of the first chapters of the book, Samara talks about Hierarchical grids. Before reading this book I had no idea what one of these grids was and I really think that this an effective grid that when either used or broken would look great as a layout. When I’m making or breaking my grids I really want to incorporate this grid piece and experiment with it.


This page in the book talked about how simply positioning a band in a different section of the grid with a different colour can change the context and/or perspective of the background shot dramatically. I liked this grid approach as it was relatively simply yet dramatic and effective.


This page refers to breaking the grid, I find the way they break the grid very simplistic but effective and the grids at the side really help you see how they did it. I think this is an effective way of making a cover stand out a little bit more with breaking the grid.


I found this book extremely useful as it visually guides you in ways of breaking the grid, and because I learn visually this was perfect for me. If you don’t understand grids very well this book will definitely help you understand them.  It also has a list of other sources which have further information about making and breaking the grid effectively, so the amount of information available to visual designers is expansive.

Final comment:

Below is a print screen once again of the book but it shows what the book is about and the content.


Visual Design around Birmingham (part 2)

November 22, 2010 1 comment

After my last blog about Visual Design in Birmingham I expressed that I thought it would be useful to blog again about the use of design in Birmingham. I though that this would be an appropriate time to do so because I have learnt more about design since then and I think this would help my overall evaluation of what I saw in Birmingham (to see my first post on this subject, click here)

Comparison 1: Birmingham Moor Street and Birmingham New Street.

As part of our trip we looked at two contrasting trains stations within Birmingham to see how design is developing overtime and the connotations of each station. One important thing I noticed within this comparison was how the street signs were used to epitomize the train stations.

It is clear straight away that there is a big difference between the two signs. New street represents a more modern side to Birmingham which is clear through the simple logos employed, manipulation of the Sans Serif font through italics and bold and also the decision to etch the images and text onto a glass square highlights an innovative idea that encapsulates the creative and modern progression of central Birmingham. The Moor Street sign on the other hand represents the more traditional Birmingham,  with the plain white and blue metallic sign that you can see littered all around Birmingham. The sole purpose of this sign is to direct not show creative development in Birmingham or to promote the station, highlighting perhaps the industrial or business mind set of Birmingham. Through these signs a shift in signs, promotion and image in Birmingham is visible which is very interesting when mapping the creative transitions and movements over time.

Visual design analysis 2: Billboard promotions

Billboards have become an increasingly more popular way of advertising products, businesses and concepts by manipulated techniques of visual design. With this increase in popularity, the need to make your designs more modern and stand out is becoming more a necessity. Becks have come up with this unique design that uses typography, colour and materials to make a stand out billboard with excellent visual design properties. The use of the white sans serif font on the black canvas offers a point of contrast to the whole background, additionally the font used is reminiscent of something digital which ties in with their offer and what the promotion is about. The colours used on the rest of the image are bold and almost cartoony which offers a fantastic contrast to the photographic image of the product in the center (which is another great use of composition), the bold cartoon colours make the beer stand out and visa versa. However, my favourite part of this design is the use of CD’s in constructing the image and the pattern. The CD’s visually represents the offer they have (a free music download with every art label) but also adds depth to the billboard and makes it stand out – Love it! The placement of this sign is between the central Birmingham (Selfridges etc) and Digbeth – the creative industry. The piece combines the creative essence of Birmingham with the modern and artistic development which is visable through buildings such as the Bullring and Selfridges.

Comparison 3: Business promotion comparisons

In recent years boards like these have become increasingly popular. They’ve developed from the plastic or blackboard signs to a statement for businesses and a blank canvas for businesses to promote themselves with a unique and particular image. In these two examples, it is clear each company has manipulated the basic board to turn into pieces of visual arts and a method of promotion. In the top example, a recognisable parking board has been changed by the addition of a simple black silhouette of a Violin and the company name. I thought that the image of the violin was a very clever way to visually understand what the company is for, however the dark black against the relatively dark blue doesn’t contrast or work particularly well especially with the white standing out so much. However, contrastingly I really think the Urban Village board stands out and is extremely effective. The black typography (consisting of two different Sans Serif fonts varying on weight and style) stands out strongly against the metallic silver board. The overall composition and aesthetic gives of a masculine perspective that perhaps is reflective of the past (represented through the iconic target logo commonly associated with Britain). These two contrasting how key visual design choices such as colour can really effect the overall appearance and success of a piece.

However, while going around Birmingham I also found other examples of innovative ways businesses are promoting themselves through incorporating visual design elements. A popular example is by printing stickers and promotions  onto vehicles, in which people are employed to drive around. Since Birmingham in ways is famous for it’s traffic i.e. Spaghetti  Junction, having something that is portable, widely seen and that stands out is a fantastic way of promotion. This is one of the  vehicles I saw when on our trip and I thought this was visually eye catching and effective as a form of promotion.

The striking shade of bright purple against the contrasting black makes the car automatically stand out and catch your eye.  Aditionally, through composition the logo is placed somewhere near eye level so it’s the first thing you see when you look at the  car so it’s more memorable.


In this post it is clear to see that visual design in Birmingham isn’t only represented in graffiti, architecture and clear billboards  but also in street signs, advertisements and even transportations. The concepts I have talked about within the post are elements  of visual design that can be replicated to any city any where to generate advertising and fantastic visual design.

Copyright on the Internet

November 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Copyrighting your images has been something that has caused difficulties for designers and photographers everywhere. Sometimes, images are simply taken without permission and others claim the images. Now certain websites allow photographers to make their images public without the worry of copyright infringement. There are two websites that offer this extremely well – Flickr and Istockphoto.

Flickr, in association with Yahoo has very strict rules on copyright infringement. Within Flickr, as a user you have many options of how to copyright and protect your photographs. The variety of copyrights allows a photographer to keep their work protected but still published and also allows for the photographer themselves to have some creative freedom. On their website Yahoo have said on their website that:

“It is Yahoo!’s policy, in appropriate circumstances and at its discretion, to disable and/or terminate the accounts of users who may infringe or repeatedly infringe the copyrights or other intellectual property rights of Yahoo! and/or others.”

This highlights how important copyright is currently especially because of the power of the internet and to the users of such sites as Flickr.

Specifically commenting on Flickr, there are many ways that you can place copyright on your images. Since I’m a Flickr user, below I have included a print screen of how easy it is to copyright your images and how many options are available to you:

As you can see you have a lot of options and links to the creativecommons for advise over copyrighting. I went on this link and found it very useful in explaining the different types of copyright available on websites such as Flickr. Some of the options available are:


You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work – and derivative works based upon it – but only if they give you credit.

You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work – and derivative works based upon it – but for noncommercial purposes only.

No Derivative Works:
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.

Share Alike:
You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.

To see this information in more detail with further explanations visit the CreativeCommons website.


With these, users can select a specific copyright that works for them and also protect their work while allowing it to be out there on the internet. As well as their copyright being specifically shown alongside the photo, a lot of users include details of how they feel about the copyrighting on their images. For example, a lot of users label their images with copyright and their names and some write in the caption ‘Do not use without permission’ or ‘Please do not reblog any of my images’. Personally, I’ve had an experience with copyright as I really wanted to use somebody’s Flickr photograph with my visual design CD cover, so I found out their email address and sent them a message and they have allowed me to use their work aslong as I credit them, which I feel is completely fair. As a user of Flickr I have never encountered any problems with copyright and when my images have been used and published on other website all credits have been directly linked to me and my Flickr page.


However, what if don’t have any logos, graphics or photographs of your own and you really want to use one without any complications? This is where websites such as Istockphoto become really useful.



iStockphoto is an extremely useful website that have a variety of media content such a stock photos, graphics and audio that designers can purchase for a small price and use within their designs without any copyright complications. On the front page of the website, the creators have said:

“Royalty-Free Stock Photos, Illustrations & More

iStockphoto is the web’s original source for user-generated, royalty-free stock photos, illustrations, video, audio and Flash. Whether you’re a designer, advertiser, entrepreneur or blogger, we have millions of affordable images, vectors and clips to help you tell your story. Join the international community of artists and clients who use iStock every day. Get involved — buy stock, sell stock or both.”

This allows users to upload their content for a commercial purpose but also allows consumers to use the content without copyright infringement and also give back to the users. Also, at the bottom of their home page it says:

“Copyright ©2010 iStockphoto LP. iStockphoto®, iStock®, iStockaudio®, iStockvideo®, iStockalypse™, Vetta® and CopySpace® are trademarks of iStockphoto LP. All other marks are the property of their respective owners”

Highlighting how important copyright is in the design world.



Copyright is essential is a design environment to ensure a sense of fairness, designer rights and also some order. However, it is also good that there are stock websites and variations on copyright to also exhibit some creative license and allows designers to share their work together as somewhat of a community. The power to be able to showcase your work allows for you to be noticed and others to be inspired, which is something these websites aim to achieve.