Narrowing down and design process

Firstly, I went through the responses and narrowed down about 10-15 blocks of text from each question, making sure I had a variety of opinions, viewpoints and most importantly (in terms of design) a variety of text sizes (more bulky responses AND sometimes one word replies). This helped a lot in not only allowing myself to systematically work through things and start thinking about design and the ‘mood’ that each text box helped to develop, but also pick out answers that I felt covered more than one viewpoint, as I felt it was important to represent not only my views, but conflicting ones too.

I explored this further by writing an introduction; ‘a word from me’ covered all the questions and allowed me to really consolidate the type of project I was aiming to present. This proved helpful in a way, but it also took up time that I wasnt really sure I had, eating into time I had designing and starting out on the actual end piece. Nonetheless, with all the text sorted out, and more of an idea of the density of the responses, I got more of an idea about how many pages, how much space, and the amount of imagery that I would need within the designed pages. By this point, (mid morning Wednesday) I was beginning to get worried about the fact I had yet shot anything, let alone allow myself to experiment and refine my images. I knew i wanted to create these ‘dreamy’ and soft photos, but I had no model, and I had already tackled self portraiture within photocinema, and felt as if two projects in a row (at this stage anyway) would’ve been too much. I quickly had to expand my thinking, working with the layouts from my previous post (minimalistic, white, designs) and started being attracted to the use of flowers and the associations between different flowers and the idea of femininity and a slight edge of the vulnerability within nature. I knew I had to use white flowers, preferably dainty and ‘pretty’ and when my granny suggested gypsophilia, I knew it was right.

Gypsophilia is often used to represent undying love, purity of emotion, and innocence, its alternative name ‘baby’s breath’ suggesting life and new beginnings. I loved all of these associations, especially as, in my view, each fits into either close, or distant connections to femininity and vulnerability.

Once I had conducted my shoot (see analysis on another post) edited my photos, and got to a point where I knew I couldn’t waste any more time, I got started with some designs.

I used a free design website called Canva, and in a way, I felt like I was cheating a bit, not utilising Photoshop, or a ‘proper’ graphic design tool, but I figured that with the time I had left, I wouldn’t manage to teach myself the necessary skills in order to do so.

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To begin with, I used imagery from other sources, and played around with a basic font layout.
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(Quite a jump as I got too caught up and forgot to screenshot!) I decided that my name wasnt the important part, instead the subject matter, so I chose a large and clear font (Bebas Neue in size 64) to emphasise this. I chose my favourite photo from the shoot and decided to use a transparent triangle to highlight the use of text. (The dictionary definition was added later after feedback from other sources).
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My name was eventually added, but the emphasis was taken down a notch and allowed for a non invasive addition, without lacking credit 

When starting with the design for the middle pages, I knew I wanted to create a balance between text and imagery, without making the page too ‘busy’. Mark had suggested in our chat that I do a mixture of full pages of imagery and little accent pieces, and I initially thought that this page would work with both the diagonals and the circle, but as you can see from progression and different attempts to add images that not only worked well together but also allowed space for text, it wasnt working visually. The only one that I could see working was the top right hand column, as the imagery was subtle enough not to overpower, but it also left a bit of space for additional pieces of text. I eventually found though, the layout to be too much, but i really fixated upon the pale, clean and overexposed shot used in a number of the attempts, so i chose to keep this as an accent piece. i took the opacity down to 70%, allowing it to be there but not overpower the page.

The gentler connotations that comes with italics helped here, when using the font Libre Baskerville in size 21, I was quite content to have this as a starting point.

I moved the question to the centre for emphasis, also allowing for a more dynamic page, letting your eyes really explore and follow the answers around. In hindsight, I think this could’ve have been really clever in a way to subconsciously put more importance onto views ‘higher up’ the page and hide the more controversial in smaller places, but I think I wasnt aware of this SO much at the time (of course, it happens naturally). The space needed something else so I added the smaller circle, and I think this really ties the page together.

The opposite page had to have similar layouts I thought, as a way to link them together, so I stuck with the circle accent piece. I put the question up in the right hand corner as to not confuse viewers with any content from the previous page, also making sure that any txt that met in the centre where it was to be folded didn’t match, or overlap too strongly. I added smaller circles for accents again, trying to mirror the positioning from the previous page.

I changed some of the text sizes, alternating between 8 and 10 in the font Anonymous Pro, which I really felt gave the pages a sense of timelessness, incorporating perhaps a more archaic font with the modern aspects such as the Libre Baskerville of the title and the layout within itself.

 

The attention to detail within these three really caught me off guard, the positioning of the collage in the middle of the page really ground on my gears as I really couldn’t get it to a place where it didn’t distract from the text. I’m not completely happy with the final layout, but the image-text cohesion works in a better way since initial layouts were put into place. I like the collage aspect of the images, it constructs an abstract representation of the flowers i used, not distracting with too much detail, but the manual focus that I used whilst shooting proved to be successful as I could manipulate the area of focus to either be apparent or not within the collage.

For the rest of the feature, I tried to use similar accents, using the repetition of the circles, keeping the text roughly similar in terms of layout and trying to utilise the space as much as I could, whilst still being aware of either under, or overcrowding the page. I added a back page, trying to follow conventions by adding a contact email, tying in with the idea of ‘a word from me’ being ‘an introduction from the editor’ or something similiar (I need to find a way to put in my name/signature).

I like the use of the straight lines to create a visual juxtaposition with the softer imagery and content, using them to create the geometric shapes that I had in mind for the project (with the influence from the editorial research that I did). I think in terms of improving, I think I would go about creating a couple more plausible layouts and mess around more with different fonts and sizes. Obviously the initial plan was to create the imagery incorporating the genre of documentary style photography, i.e. humans, but I know that within myself I need to become more confident in asking people to be models, as this is something I really struggle with, preferring to take candid shots as opposed to something more staged. This is something I definitely need to keep in mind as I go forward into the photography pathway, as I am aware that this could be a potential downfall. Maybe creating or focusing a project around portraiture of strangers or soemthing similar could really develop my skills further as a photographer, even if it just gives me that confidence boost.

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