Tutor feedback-Part 5


Tutor report


Student name Malgorzata Lewosz Student number 512751
Course/Module Graphic Design 1 Assignment number Five



Overall Comments

Part five of this course has focused on layout through the design of leaflets, flyers and posters.


Overall your response has been good and you have made some effective looking designs in response to the exercises and main assignment brief. Remember to increase your creative options by allowing yourself time to come up with alternative ideas. Not only will this expand your problem solving capabilities but it should also make for a more substantial and successful overall design.  Try to spend a bit more time perfecting the work by considering smaller and subtler adjustments to aspects of the layout and type. It’s great too see that you incorporated some hand-made imagery into the final assignment, which works nicely to balance the typography of the design and communicate some aspects of the theme.


Project: Magazines and books

This project asked you to explored grids, columns and editorial design by drawing on existing magazine to develop your own page designs, and by designing two book covers.
I think your analysis and comments for thee existing page layouts you found are appropriate and well considered (e.g. altering the gutter and inside margin).


Although you used myfonts.com to help you identify some of the typefaces (or close matches) try to also become familiar with some of the most popular or predominant typefaces yourself in an effort to expand your typographic knowledge.


On the initial layout the subheading is not as light and the gutter on page 1 is much larger than on page 2, even though you thought these should be reduced in the existing format. The first version – second image is a good idea, however could do with more breathing space (between it and the main body text). As the white space already provides a clean feel to the layout it is important to uphold this. For the second version, the blue line separating the title from the main body text is a little confusing – I think the size gives it this impression. It’s not quite big enough to suggest it has a link to the image on the second page. It seems quite clumsy so consider making it thinner and adding more of these throughout the article to enhance the link to the colour of the image, for example, a thin blue line between each heading and paragraph? Or use thin blue lines for paragraph breaks, as the columns themselves are quite long. Consider identifying the typeface used in the image and trying this for the main title as well, although you may wish these elements to remain clearly separate? Overall I think the first and third versions have the most pleasing layouts. This is a good effort, well done.


The two book covers – initially the images you came up with are a little clichéd and have likely been used many times to represent this type of genre. However as you progress through this exercise you do start to produce slightly more abstract and interesting images, photographs pared down to a simple graphic shape. Perhaps it would be good to see more variations of these arrangements, for example, some photos bled to the edge of the page? I was wondering why you decided to stagger the images in the final version rather than have them aligned? Does this represent a form of preference based on the author’s adventures I wonder? It would be good if there were a link to the way the information was arranged and the content within the book.


For the second version, this is a good contrast to the first. However, I think it would be good if you could originate some of your own imagery for this type of thing too, rather than relying on stock images.  The white space present in this first version is too prominent, for example the middle of the front and back cover is predominantly white, which does not create a good balance to the overall design aesthetic of the book. I think the image elements could be scattered over the cover more, perhaps suggesting a more lively and exciting content? For the second version using just type, this works quite nicely making the design playful and fun. The simple colour palette also works nicely.


I agree with your final comments on the blog regarding the designs. I also like the idea of the boot looking ‘worn’ as if used on all of the author’s expeditions.  The graphics on the back cover need a bit more attention with regard to layout, e.g. text box is quite wide under the author’s photo so consider making this smaller to tighten the design up and also cover more of the white space.


Project: Information graphics

Using example of information graphics as inspiration, you were asked to describe your immediate surroundings and to create a working birthday list.


Somehow I think that floorplanner.com defeats the object of this exercise a little as you do not have to construct your own graphics or design.  I also thought it a shame that you had lost some of the design decisions you had made.  For example, the thicker strokes used to define the walls and overall layout etc became much thinner in appearance, these are somewhat lost on the floorplanner.com version because they are very thin. I thought your own drawn version was much clearer because there was evident differentiation between walls and furniture etc utilising colour and varying line strokes.


Some good ideas for the birthday list exercise. I also like the use of the central red column to contain the month. However this could also be experimented with, perhaps by deconstructing it and finding alternative layouts. I agree that the final version is perhaps too busy, although it is positive that you are thinking about the design from a different perspective, one that would appeal to a younger audience.  A few less doodles might help give the design a bit more breathing space, with the focus remaining on the clouds of information.  I think this would work well as some sort of interactive list for children to edit and add to.

Project: Publicity and marketing

You were asked to design a poster and flyer for a local signing group.


Again, in your sketchbook you begin with quite clichéd images – try to also think of alternatives to provide a good contrast and increase your image options. I do however like the initial idea of using the microphone cable to create the type. The versions using the BBAlpha sans font also work quite nicely to create a high contrast message and image. I do however think the word SING does not necessarily need to be spaced too far from the remaining words, this creates and awkward pause as if you are using a ‘…’. Bring it closer to the rest of the words to tighten the design and make it look more cohesive (you have done this with the final versions). The image looks good cropped to the left. Try the type in different arrangements too, for example, DO YOU on one line etc. The back of the flyer also needs a few adjustments. For example, bring the type in from the edges a bit more (increase the margin/border). Nudge it down so that there is not so much space between each block of text. Some of the information could be made smaller as well.  For the poster more care and attention needs to be given to the additional information and different scales used to help create more of a hierarchy. Consider moving the image more to the left  (so it is cropped) and bringing the main type down a bit so it is perhaps central to the microphone stand? Try the additional type without italics and consider using a grid to help you position the main elements and subsequent text. This would help make the design more balanced. Perhaps use bold for the telephone no. and website information or the address to create balance with the heavy weight title and image? Small variations can make a lot of difference so keep experimenting with the layout, making sure it remains consistent with the flyer.

Project: Branding
You were asked to help develop a brand image for Chance Housing Association, and a logo for The French Hen bar.


The French Hen

Some of your initial sketches and ideas are great and show much potential. Out of the 3 logos that you would present to the client I think the second and third versions appear to me, more sophisticated (and perhaps what the client would be looking for) as opposed to the first, which is more playful and naïve. For the selected logo I thought this worked quite well with the type contained inside, although this could be scaled down and made to look tighter by decreasing the spacing between each word or line of type (leading) and some of the kerning (space between individual letters). Small adjustments like this could also be made to the final version, consider all the type on one side of the hen (the left), using the contours of the image to help with positioning.  You could also have the word ‘hen’ below the ‘French’ so that the whole logo drops down a bit rather than taking on a very straight edge at the bottom. This is certainly something to try. More experiments with the final logo would be great to see (like the first few pages of the exercise) to enable you to explore all options and create a balanced logo. However, what you do have works quite nicely and does look sophisticated and clean. Additional experimentation with different typefaces might also increase your options and show you have actively tried and tested various ones against the brief.


For the Chance Housing Association brief you have adopted a similar working method. I like the initial ideas, some of which work quite well with a nice play on word and image (the opening door).  I can also see the appeal of the hand drawn version you selected, although I do agree with your decision not to use this version.  This is a good body of work that does appear to work at all levels. I like the use of the added orange gradient in the additional designs to reflect that of the image (although make sure this follows the direction of the gradient on the door – on the business card it is different). Overall a good logo that fulfils the brief. The overall designs are simple and professional looking, with clear easy to read information. Well done.



This is your last assignment for the Graphic Design 1: Core Concepts course. If you have decided to put forward your work for assessment, please re-read the section on assessment in your Student Handbook. The Your Assessment and how to get Qualified study guide gives more detailed information about assessment and accreditation.

For assessment you’ll need to submit a cross-section of the work you’ve done on the course. You’ll also need to submit your learning log, sketchbooks and tutor reports.

In terms of organising your work for assessment, you may want to consider…


  • Making sure all work is clearly labelled with your name, student number and the corresponding title in the course handbook (e.g. for each project/exercise, assignment etc).


  • Consider digitally printing final designs on good quality paper and mounting these on Canford card or similar. You can also mount small selections of support work if you wish.


  • Try to make sure the work is collated with consistency, so for example, use the same typeface for the labels etc. It shouldn’t be necessary to send in a large-scale portfolio – keep it small, for example, no work printed larger than A3 (unless stipulated).


Feedback on assignment

Creative and analytical thinking, Visual and Technical Skills


The final assignment offered the choice of two briefs: A series of designs for Penguin Books new range of colour, typography, photography and A is for… books, or promotional design for a theatrical production of Abigail’s Party by Mike Leigh.


You have selected the Abigail’s Party brief for this assignment. There is evidence of visual research and it is clear you have familiarised yourself with the play. I was wondering why you decided to use the images of the shoes – was it just to represent that gathering of people? Or were there any other ideas you wanted to get across for this? Did you consider adapting the footwear to represent one of the characters within the play, perhaps using the footwear to suggest some of their character traits or perhaps the relationship between two of the characters? I like the idea of the central character (Beverly) waiting for her guests to arrive and therefore showing the legs in a sitting down pose. I think it would be worth keeping all of the subsequent designs consistent with the original, maybe just selecting one other view to use rather than an array. This would provide a little variation on the theme but keep the body of work cohesive.


The Poster works quite nicely with a balance between the image on the left and the type set on the right. I’m not entirely convinced about the cropped box containing the title of the play so experiment with this format further. Actually, I think omitting this white box entirely would work much better. Have the title sitting on the wallpaper background. The red title type has a subtle link to the colours of the shoe – but does this suggest to the viewer this is Abigail sitting down? Abigail herself (a neighbour’s daughter) is actually never present at the drinks party although is holding her own teenage party somewhere else. The type at the top ‘Introducing…” could be nudged in from the left and down a bit so it’s not so close to the edge of the page.  If you do get rid of the box then consider aligning the ‘…’ with the edge of one of the letterforms from the title to create more relationships between different elements (remember to use the grid system to help you). Consider trying out different point sizes for the type as a lot of the information looks the same size and therefore makes the design appear less dynamic and interesting. Consider taking the information about the tickets off the skirting board and setting this either above or below it so it doesn’t look too controlled and create strong horizontals across the design. The skirting could act as a perfect spacer between two different bits of information so use the image in this way.


For the flyer try to keep the typefaces consistent with those used on the poster. If these work well then there is no need to alter them for a different format. Again omit the use of the white box and have the title on the image, this would look much more sophisticated. For the back of the flyer, keep the type consistent and consider the synopsis set smaller with a more compact line or condensed text box (it looks a little long and untidy at present). As for the poster, use the skirting as a spacer rather than a line to set type on as it makes the type look too confined.


The same feedback goes for the newspaper version and the programme cover – omit the white box and create more hierarchy to the information. Making sure any block of type is set well against the rest of the information (to do this alter the point size, size of text box or length of line and the paragraph settings).


Overall, I think the handmade look creates a nice balance to the designs and a good reference (perhaps unintentional?) to some of your research, for example, the posters you discovered by Jozek Miszczak. The type setting is improving but more experiments with this would help create a more successful resolution. Try alternative versions to compare and contrast allowing you to refine and edit. I think you sometimes tend to go with one idea from the outset so for future work try to keep your options open a bit more by having an array of ideas. Use more of your research to help influence the designs and allow you to make decisions. Think carefully about the concept behind the work, for example, it would’ve been good to include some hint as to the type of characters within the play or even the aspirations of the time?


Research and idea development, Context


Clearly used for quick sketches and to denote ideas alongside appropriate annotation. I’d like to see more thumbnail sketches and also more evidence of you generating your own visual research and imagery – rather than relying on those sourced from the Internet.  Not only does this indicate your creative thinking but it also provides you with more opportunities to explore the design problem.


Learning Logs or Blogs / Critical essays
Research and idea development, Context


You have plentiful amounts of research on the blog and have made use of suggested reading.  You comment well on this research often extending it (for example, looking at Saul Bass’s initial designs for The Shining).  Sometimes it would be great to see more of this array of research reflected in some of your ideas, or discussing it as a reference point in relation to your own designs. However, I can see some links between the research and your work. For example, the final assignment imagery shows some influence from a number of different designers (Jozek Miszczak, Nous Vous etc) and some of your high contrast designs for exercise 3 remind me of Saul Bass’s use of simplistic contrasting imagery and vivid colour combinations.


It is clear you do reflect on the work in progress as it does evolve due to this reflection. Make sure all your critical analysis is recorded alongside the work (as it evolves) on the blog.


For any future courses with the OCA continue your research and build your knowledge of the subject area you are studying.


Suggested viewing/reading


Perhaps consider looking at other artists using collage or hand-made elements – Peter Blake, Robert Rauschenberg, Luke Best, Bjorn Copeland and Sergei Sviatchenko. Or designers that like to approach their typography in a more hands-on way, such as Stefan Sagmeister.


Peter Saville

Thomas Matthews

Jamie Reid


Pointers for future learning

You may want to consider undertaking other OCA courses. If you would like any advice on what is available then you can find out more at the OCA website http://www.oca-uk.com/ or talk directly to OCA advisors.


I hope you’ve enjoyed doing the Graphic Design course. Hopefully you can take some of the skills learnt and use these effectively in your future studies.


Tutor name: Laura Scott
Date: 29/04/2015



Tutor feedback-Part 4




Tutor report


Student name Malgorzata Lewosz Student number 512571
Course/Module Graphic Design 1 Assignment number Four



Part four has focused on typography’s history and application. Overall your response has been great and you have shown enthusiasm and a thorough approach to your work and research.  The final assignment does bring together some of the key aspects you have learnt in this section, whilst also showing a bit more creative flair with regard to image-making and visual research.  Remember to continuously reflect on the work and question the design. What could you do to enhance it or make it more legible? Try to apply this type of questioning to all of the work you do in an effort to refine it further and ultimately communicate the required information/message successfully.


Overall Comments


Project: The visual word

Typography uses both written and visual languages, you were asked to explore this by visually representing a range of words.
You have interpreted this exercise well with effective use of typography and additional elements to convey many of the meanings successfully. Did you initially work with the cut out letters at all (as it mentions in the exercise)? This is designed to help you concentrate primarily on how the letters can be arranged, using the space of the page to help create meaning. For the digital versions I particularly like the interpretations of the words ‘stiff’ and ‘sinking’ with the latter involving a clever use of the ‘i’ to create air bubbles. Although you weren’t sure about ‘sordid’ I do think it works well because of the type, colour and slight unfocussed effect. With regard the word ‘sodden’ consider widening the typeface to make it appear as though it is saturated with water? For me, the word sophisticated doesn’t work as well as the rest, primarily because I do not associate Brush Script (?) with something sophisticated. For this I would expect a more classic serif or sans serif typeface that has a certain timeless appeal.


Project: Anatomy of a typeface

To explore your understanding of how a typeface is constructed you were asked to undertake a typographic jigsaw puzzle.


Well done, this is a great attempt and it’s good to read that it has taught you to look at typefaces differently, that they are built from many elements.

Project: Different typefaces
You were introduced to some of the ways typography can be categorized, asked to create your own sample book of typefaces, and identify fonts that you could use for a number of different design jobs.


The first example is okay and you have analysed the magazine article enough to help you select appropriate typefaces to use. However I do think the first version needs something else to help add some definition and gravitas. The Tahoma Bold version works best I think. Consider using uppercase only or having the type set at an angle etc to make it look dynamic and appealing. In the example they create added definition using drop shadows or accentuate the letters with additional strokes in alternative colours.


I really like the designs for the parish church, especially the use of collage to help add interest to the design. The second version, does work much better than the first as it reads more easily and the image is downsized to rightly allow the type more room for manoeuvre.  Perhaps try this is a sans serif typeface as well? Which is easier to read?


For the poster to advertise an after-school club maybe the warning sign style isn’t appropriate for this? Could it insinuate getting into trouble or be misinterpreted in this way rather than the way you intended (inspired by onomatopoeia such as the words found in comic books or graphic novels)? Aside from this, you are thinking along the right lines, maybe the colours just need changing to avoid the association with danger? The main typeface works well enough but consider adjusting the kerning so that the individuals letters are closer together (similar to the POW example). Also consider setting the type on a path or arc to achieve a similar effect to your noted example? For the smaller text try using a hand written style to also adhere to the comic book idea?


It is clear you are beginning to familiarise yourself with different typefaces and fonts, paying particular attention to their individual qualities and subtleties. You think carefully about your type selection and how it impacts on the design or end product.


Project: Typesetting

This section explored typesetting by looking at magazines in terms of how easy they are to read, and using Lorum Ipsum to typeset text.


There are some good explorations here. The use of Copperplate Gothic Bold (for the artist’s names) and Cambria Regular is quite effective but obviously different to the original layout. Consider trying extremes too so that you start to play and test the design layout, pushing the boundaries a bit. For example, try different alignment/paragraph arrangements for the main body of text, flush left or flush right depending on which side the image is. The first two and last two designs all appear very similar to the selected research image/design.


For the second example I think the top two versions work best. I think you should consider the weight of the typefaces more carefully, selecting appropriate fonts to help some information stand out more. For example, on the last version I’m not sure about the Cambria Bold font. It appears quite light and doesn’t sit that well with the type set above in Century Gothic Bold (perhaps because the type is too large and needs to come down a point size or two so it fits comfortably under the line ‘Day 2013’?)


You have done well to match the fonts with those you had available. This shows you are observing the designs carefully in an effort to replicate and understand them. Once you have some versions of each design consider playing with different variations of the fonts and the settings to help you test the readability of the designs a bit further.
Project: Hierarchy

You were asked to typeset headings, subheading and body text for three different pages.


These are great and observant designs based on the original, which is well analysed to provide you with ideas and information. It’s also good to see you use different fonts, which you have selected appropriately for each part of the overall design/layout. For the first design I think the subheading text could be increased in size or the quote text decreased in size so that there is no confusion between the two. Consider setting the subheading on a longer line under the main title so that it doesn’t use the same format as the quote? Where a section of the title (the naked truth?) lines up against the image consider moving this so that it either does not touch the image or overlaps it (as in the example you found). Which of the three designs did you think worked well? All three versions have sections that work well so try to identify these.


For the laptop review, I think the second and third versions work well as they do not rely on using a clichéd typeface and the subheading appears more up to date. What do you think about them? Which one in your opinion is the most successful?


For the book review consider making the ‘Books’ much larger so it perhaps covers a lot of the grey space at the top of the page (you have started to do this in version three but try it even larger so it perhaps is lined up along the top edge of the page as well). I would also try it set as uppercase too. I do like the fact you have positioned this on the edge of the white space, which is a nice lead into the main article. I think the main body of text should be split into more paragraphs so that it doesn’t appear too long and uninviting for the reader. Make the font smaller to account for this or play with the leading as well. The article title and subheading work well on the first and third versions. On the second version I think the use of the typeface Courier New doesn’t work as well, try alternative fonts. Also try playing with the kerning to give the impression the line of type is more dense and intact.


Well done, this has been a successful exercise with some effective design layouts created based on close observation and some experimentation with alternative fonts and settings.


Assessment potential


I understand your aim is to go for the Visual Communications / Creative Arts Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment.  In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.   


Feedback on assignment

Creative and analytical thinking, Visual and Technical Skills


For the Show Me… assignment you produced a cover and short article for a magazine on typography.


There is some initial research, which has clearly inspired the work. I like the fact you have decided to use an image that is pertinent and nostalgic, based on your own experiences. As you have decided on one image and stuck with it I do think it would be a good idea to develop some alternative solutions and ideas to expand your visual vocabulary and test your creativity a bit more. There are some nice visual explorations of typewriters on the blog; these evolve into a more digitised version although I do think the first two versions also work nicely. I particularly like the scribble effect as it harks back to days when mistakes were visibly corrected on the page. It’s also great to see some type experiments in your sketchbook rather than heading straight onto the computer, I think this is important and allows you stay in touch with the way a typeface is constructed. The final ‘type’ works nicely and I like the use of a continuous stoke and also the symmetry you pointed out (the tail of the letter ‘y’ and bowl on the ‘p’). These are effective details that help enhance the aesthetic of the overall design. The idea of the typewriter producing a handwritten font is great and a nice twist to the design, as you mentioned, keeping it playful. On viewing the compositional sketches I think the versions that offset the typewriter and title (so that only a section is visible) look like they could work nicely and I’d like to see these mocked-up so that you can compare and contrast with the original design. You can easily do this using, for example, the crop tool in Photoshop. I was wondering if you considered photographing a typewriter with a print out of your type page in? This would also be a good experiment to see and compare with your drawn version. In the finished version I do think the article titles could be better presented, did you try setting them in white onto the textured background? Although I like the fact you have given thought to such details as the crumpled paper background I do however think this creates a strange segregation between the actual type page and this bottom section. I’d like to see some alternative trials before you settle on the final composition. I do however think that overall, the feel of the design is good and slightly nostalgic (as you wanted it to be).


I agree that the first attempt for the article design is a little inconsistent but this settles down in the second version which looks much more inviting and easy to read. I do think that it would’ve been beneficial to try and make the article design consistent with that on the front cover, perhaps taking elements from the front cover to use in the page layout (for example, the background or crumpled paper look?). Did you consider handwriting any of the headings and subheadings? I also think that the different typefaces used are a little confusing as they do not necessarily relate to those being discussed in the article – maybe this distinction needs to be clear? The headings set in various shapes do have too much space around them and do not fill the shape adequately. As they are also set side by side this makes them quite distracting so try to think of ways to alter this. The idea of the coloured boxes to break up the text do work quite well but again, be mindful of where they are placed in the layout, consider having one on each page rather than one after the other on the same page? Did you try altering the alignment of the paragraphs at all? As the blocks of text are quite short in length you could try them flush left.  Consider some illustrative elements within the article too, to help promote interest.


Overall this is a great effort and you have clearly been informed and used the work done throughout this unit. I think the front cover and designed font is effective but could still do with some experimenting and minor alterations. The article is fairly resolved although I’d like to see you consider some of the smaller aspects mentioned above to help make it more consistent with the cover and also to promote better readability. Well done!


Research and idea development, Context


There are various sketchbook pages depicting ideas for the final assignment. It’s good to see these so add more to the blog when you can. You do appear to stick with one idea much of the time so try to use your sketchbook to explore alternatives.  Remember to use this as a space to help plan the composition and layout (as you did in the assignment) of a design.


Learning Logs or Blogs / Critical essays
Research and idea development, Context


Your research points asked to find out more about an area of typography that interests you, as well as documenting some vernacular typography.


Good general analysis of various designs formats and the way the type is set. You have used this research to inform your work as required. I think you should remember to reflect on the work once it is completed and consider aspects that could possibly be improved or altered to enhance the design further. For different versions of designs compare and contrast them.


Did you manage to find any examples of vernacular typography? What about an area of typography that interests you?


Suggested viewing/reading


Alan Kitching

Build (www.wearebuild.com)

Émigré (http://www.emigre.com/)



Bruno Monguzzi


Aiga (www.aiga.org)


Non-Format http://non-format.com/

Area, 100 Graphic designers, 10 curators, 10 classics (by Anthon Beeke) – this is a great book just to browse through for some visual ideas and inspiration.


Pointers for the next assignment


The final part of the course focuses on layout by exploring how to design leaflets, flyers and posters. This is an opportunity to use your sketchbook to help plan and develop the work. Try to maintain a creative and exploratory approach to the work as you have demonstrated for the magazine cover, which shows a clever use of type and image. Remember to reflect on the work continuously in order to help you edit and enhance it.


Tutor name: Laura Scott
Date 27/01/2015
Next assignment due 07/04/2015


Tutor feedback-Part 3

Open College of the Arts
Tutor report


Student name Malgorzata Lewosz Student number 512751
Course/Module Graphic Design 1 Assignment number Three



Overall Comments

Part three of this module has focused on the importance of being a visually literate graphic designer by exploring visual dynamics, using collage and understanding how to work with colour. Overall your response to part three has been very successful and I think your approach to all of the work has been inspired and highly creative. In particular it appears you have enjoyed the image making and adopting a more ‘hands-on’ approach to the work.

I think it’s great that you can clearly experiment well with various methods of image making but I’d also like to see this same rigorous approach adopted with the typography too and for this to take a bit more precedence in the designs themselves. Hopefully the next section of the course will allow you to explore this aspect a bit more.


It’s good to see that you have researched some of the suggested references. This is included on the blog and the commentary is always good and succinct. I think it would be great to see a few more pages from your sketchbooks, as the few I did see looked exciting. Consider including some more in the next section. Remember to use these as a tool for working out layout and composition by making lots of quick sketches before taking the work into Photoshop or Indesign.


Project: Visual literacy

You were asked to look at the visual languages used by other graphic designers and to develop a visual diary that reflected on your own.


Although there’s no specific name-dropping (who designed what) in this section you have some good examples of visual language and are quick to point out reasons for your selections. Your critical commentary is excellent showing insight and consideration in response to the selected designs. Try and keep this visual diary up if you can, as it is a valuable source of inspiration and should hopefully help you to approach your own work with the same critical and observant eye.
Project: Reading images

Drawing on your appreciation of existing signs, symbols and images, you were asked to develop an alternative symbol for a chosen concept.


There is a clear and very logical method to your working and the final symbol (?) is developed simply but thoroughly. You clearly reflect on this work and make good editing choices along the way (for example, the decision to show the heart in a green colour instead of the more typical red or pink shows initiative and that you are willing to have an element of the unexpected within the work). As you have altered the initial layout into a square format this works better and holds the images together more cohesively as one. All images work well and are easy to identify, although the sun image is the most difficult to interpret, in my opinion. Maybe explore some of the more unusual options too (e.g. blushing etc) as sketches in your sketchbook.
Project: Visual dynamics

Exploring the dynamic of arranging visual elements within a composition, you were asked to playfully create a series of light bulb designs.


There is some good variation in the designs. Perhaps some extremes of scale would push these a bit further (for example, very small type or type so large it perhaps gets cropped by the page?). Your favourite design is good and does provide a clear message. It’s a great idea to dot the ‘i’ with the image and then use the block of colour to extend this, very playful and fun. Remember to use this for future projects in order to extend the variations and ideas that are available to you.
Project: Understanding colour
This project explored how colour works, you were asked to put this into practice by matching pairs of colours against a range of concepts.


These work very well to convey some of the concepts listed. For example, the ‘open’ colour way works well as the inner square is surrounded by white, allowing it to be seen as unconfined etc. Well done, some and interesting good colour combinations that are well thought out and do appear to ‘match’ their concept in most cases.

Project: Working with colour

You were asked to create a series of ten designs for city guidebooks in which you balance blocks of subordinate, dominant and accented colours.


It’s a great idea to utilise the colours from each coat of arms in order to make the design more specific to the place. I think all of the final images are very striking and some obviously work better than others because the landmark is perhaps more familiar. I like the fact you decided to incorporate the speech bubble and this works particularly well in a landscape format with the type horizontal. The vertical ones with the type adjusted are more difficult to decipher and start to look a bit segregated from the rest of the design somehow. Perhaps because the individual letters end up with far too much white space surrounding them? The ‘Montréal’ and ‘Mumbai’ covers work extremely well and here the type sits very nicely in the white and is not dominated by it, in part because the letters (or kerning) is closer and the type is either larger in scale or weight. I’m not sure why you needed to have the building on its side? Was it to make sure it fitted into the format without compromising the scale? I’d try it the right way up and at a reduced scale. I think you can afford to try various scales for some of the images (maybe some can be cropped by the edge?) so as to make them a little more interesting as currently they all use the same scale and format etc. If the landmark is reduced it will perhaps also look like a point on a map? You have been very specific about the typefaces you have used for the exercises so far but perhaps some reference or trials with different typefaces and an explanation as to why you didn’t decide to use them would provide some insight into your design decisions?
Project: Photomontage and collage
You were asked to make a montage or collage with a political message, either from a current issue, or something that you feel strongly about.

The first piece is well considered and presented. The combination of all elements, the photos and drawn line work well to create a visually pleasing image albeit with a clear message. I think the layout is almost there with this. I would consider trying to place the bird behind the cage itself so that the bars partly obscure it and therefore confirm it is meant to be a caged bird. Perhaps reduce the scale of this bird slightly too or maybe make it look slightly pallid compared to the brightly coloured birds in the tree so that the difference between the two is clear? Some flying birds might also convey the idea of freedom more?


The idea for this second image is good and proves you can easily come up with alternative ideas based around a single concept. Although it does work to convey what you intended I think you could also try a version with a view of the pet shop front on and the bird could be perched above it (as seen) and perhaps causing some devastation (broken window and maybe other birds escaping etc?). Although the bird appears slightly menacing (which is what you intended) it’s a shame it isn’t in flight – this would complete the image nicely and make the message very clear.


It’s great to see you produce this third image mainly by hand and I think the result is very successful. The image is simple and clear and a great idea. I like the fact that all of the birds face away from the pet shop. The pet shop sign is quite nondescript but bold helping to emphasise the message. Well done, a very creative and exciting approach to the image making and ideas. As you mentioned on your blog that the images could be used graphically then perhaps try a mock up to see how they would look for example, as a poster for the RSPCA etc?


Feedback on assignment

Creative and analytical thinking, Visual and Technical Skills


Assignment three drew on what you have learnt about visual languages and dynamics by producing a poster that celebrates a colour of your choice, using only your chosen colour, complimentary colour and black and white.


There is evident visual research to help kick start this assignment. This has evidently led you to make decisions regarding the design itself (complimentary colour etc). It’s great that you’ve again (as above) used different methods to create the background for your poster. The water colour test and the weaving prove that you are willing to experiment and explore the options that are available, even if it does mean you resort to something more conservative. Although you stated that you struggled with the background for this initial poster idea what about using the sketchbook page that the image is actually stuck on? The notebook look might make for a nice subtle background? The circle is very prominent on the page in the first final design and I thought that somehow it could be incorporated a bit more, rather than be seen as a separate identity. Did you consider enlarging one of your eye collages and then having the text in the centre (as seen in the circle) so instead of the colour of the iris the word itself would be spelt or at least partly obscure the colour? Or consider taking photographs of your eyes and then ‘cutting out’ the type from these using your specific type choices? Or maybe a different letter could be cut out of a different brown element each time (the hair, eye, clothes etc). I think your collage however, is successful and I’m pleased that you decided to incorporate this method for the image making.



For the second poster you continue with the collage. It’s great to see you experimenting with things like, ripped and smooth edges and then comparing the two. The circle of type on this poster has become a badge and so it is more connected to the image and doesn’t feel too much like an ‘add on’. Again, consider using the type as an image element to, for example, to represent the hair? You could repeat the same letters over and over and the audience would likely make the connection. The initial image of the jacket is quite nice where is has been ripped from the page so also consider keeping the elements of this raw state to allow more dynamic into the piece? Maybe it could also double as an idea, for example, brown is earthy, raw etc. Consider cropping into the design as well (remember all the variations you created using the light bulb elements) so that the viewer is very much confronted by the brown eyes (maybe crop to the edges of the hair?). I agree with your comments on the blog that the balance of blue and brown works very well in this design.


The third poster is great and shows that you can bring together lots of different elements to balance the design and make it visually pleasing to the eye. Again, the theme is obvious and I think the addition of the background elements to help place the figure work very well. I could certainly imagine it as an advert for hair colour or make-up, something like that. I thought the idea of adding the newspaper was great as if the ‘next big thing’ would be the colour brown. I also think the simple type works well here.


Well done, overall these are three successful and competent designs showing that you are willing to be creative and explore the subject prior to editing and finalising the design. I would like to have seen some additional sketchbook pages showing sketches or scamps for the composition/layout of the designs? By using your sketchbook this way it should help you to decide on some rough layouts prior to bringing the designs together on the computer.



Research and idea development, Context


I like the quick sketches and ideas that are played with in your sketchbook (for the word Brown), as well as the collage cut outs of the model wearing brown. It would be great to see more evidence of this sketchbook work so that the process behind the work is a little clearer. Although in saying this you have demonstrated some of this process by showing different stages of the design in progress digitally. Your visual research is always good and this clearly inspires some of your choices. Perhaps some additional typographic reference and exploration would help the two elements (visual and type) to come together a little more cohesively then they currently do.


Learning Logs or Blogs / Critical essays

Research and idea development, Context


Flat Holm Society Logo Competition

It’s fantastic to see you taking part in competitions and events outside of this course and this will prove to be excellent experience. I think the logo works very nicely, is clean and elegant thanks to the simple image, colours and sympathetic use of type. Well done – you’ll have to let me know how you get on or if you receive any feedback for this.


Great to see you sourcing reference books (First Aid in Typography) and then giving a brief overview of some of the things you found interesting and helpful. Likewise, the self-initiated research of vinyl covers is great and demonstrates that you are very good at analysing the designs themselves, taking into consideration things like audience and methods used, and feeding in background knowledge (you mentioned the iconic Bob Dylan image by Milton Glaser).


Good research throughout and it’s clear you can critically analyse this. Well done for taking the time to act on the suggested reading from the previous assignment. Hopefully this has been inspiring for you.


Suggested viewing/reading


Nous Vous Collective

Saul Bass

Marian Bantjes

Milton Glaser and Pushpin Studios

Eduardo Paolozzi

Sara Fanelli

Matthew Richardson

Darrel Rees



It’s Nice That




Pointers for the next assignment

In the next assignment you will focus on typography, a must for all graphic designers. This is a good opportunity to …


Get to grips with the typography a little more and in the same creative way that you tackle the image making (something you clearly enjoy). Start to explore and have fun with type and remember that the type can also represent the image too. You have used type selectively and tastefully so far and are clearly aware of the subtleties that are involved (based on some of your research commentary) but I very much look forward to seeing the results of this next section of the course.


Tutor name: Laura Scott
Date 29/10/2014
Next assignment due 12/01/2015


Tutor feedback-Part 2

Open College of the Arts
Tutor report


Student name Malgorzata Lewosz Student number 512751
Course/Module Graphic Design 1 Assignment number Two



Overall Comments

Part two of the course focused on the creative process of problem solving, encouraging you to explore your own working process and apply it to a number of briefs.


I can see that in this section of the course you are trying to get to grips with the use of various software programs such as illustrator. You have made great progress with this and have used it to create some fairly detailed images such as the earring for card 2. However, it is a shame that the work has lost a little of the hand made exploratory feel it originally had (based on part 1) and that you continued to show in your response to my feedback for part 1. If you can, try to figure out a way of combining these two approaches or at least consider varying the approach based on what is required by the brief (e.g. maybe a more personal handmade feel is best for some things and not others).


The work on the blog is very thorough and your commentary is good. It is clear form this that you do reflect on the work and have a clear method of working through image, type and the combination of the two. I think you could place more emphasis on the combination of type and image to make sure these elements are brought together successfully and do complement one another. Try producing a few variations of the design to help you edit what does/doesn’t work well.


As well as this section of the course I can clearly see you have revisited the work form part 1 which looks great and is very exciting. Well done for taking the time to respond to the initial feedback, using this to help develop the work and push it a bit further. I must also commend you for responding to the suggested research and including this on the blog.


Project: Researching and developing ideas

In this project you were asked to reflect on different ways of researching and developing ideas, and to put these into practice by designing a cover a HG Wells novel.


I think the photo you decided to use for The Sea Lady is great and has a lot of potential to be used in different ways. Remember that the words don’t always need to be represented visually by that image. The image can allude to or be symbolic of something too. The moon image is also successful, having a modern appearance and slightly abstract looking. Try it at lots of different scales (much bigger and very small). I think it would work nicely as a larger image so that it becomes more abstract. The colour way is good and the type selection effective.  Maybe some additional commentary on the blog about the type would be good. For example, why you selected the typeface, why you decided to keep it consistent for all three designs etc.  On the cover for The First Men in the Moon the spacing between the words is quite big so consider reducing this a bit. I would also think about making the type smaller (together with a larger image). Again, the type could be trialled further at different scales, typefaces etc although I like the consistency of the typeface remaining the same for all three books by the same author. Consider combining the digital moon with a watercolour sky for variation of process and to maintain interest?


I would encourage you to not use free or stock images as this work is, technically speaking not your own. It is important that you can demonstrate your creativity and problem solving by originating your own artwork for the brief.
Project: Visualising your ideas

This project explored how to quickly visualise ideas through thumbnails, mood board, mock-ups and prototypes. You were asked to explore different ways you can fold paper to make a leaflet for a voluntary organisation.


Great use of cut outs – the grass works particularly well. I’d like to see this incorporated with some of your final design work so consider printing and making the leaflet and then photographing it if you can. It is a shame you finally decided to abandon the cut out option for the simple z/accordion fold but I appreciate you made this decision based on the possible cost factor. As you mention the addition of the flowers are like celebratory images remember to consider this on your final designs, which do have plenty of flowers, dotted about. The work you are doing is all very computer orientated so it’s good to see you taking this opportunity to explore handling paper as a material and how it can be used very effectively to enhance a design.


Project: Critiquing your work

The critique is the process of being self-critical about your work in order to achieve the aims of a brief. You were asked to put this into practice by designing two posters and reflecting on whether they had too much or not enough information.
Your images instantly remind me of work by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. If you haven’t already, consider researching his work. Both posters contrast nicely to highlight the clear differences. You have edited the second version well to contain the bare essentials and this is also a more refined design, with the placement and scales of type working well together. I’d like to see some more variations of these experiments on the blog or perhaps some thumbnail sketches or scamps of the compositions prior to you creating them?


Project: Finishing your artwork

The point of sale display exercise asked you to generate artwork for your local green grocer.


Have a look at the illustrators Eric Carle and Ed Kluz for alternative options to creating food using Illustrator. You could create lots of variations of the images in your sketchbook using this collage method as an approach. You are clearly developing your skills in Illustrator and making effective use of online tutorials to help you. Consider adding to the images an element that will help make them more unique or synonymous with your designs or approach, a little like Eric Carle always using the same image technique that is very recognisable.


The final designs are certainly the ones that work most successfully and this is because you have tried various options and critically analysed them, well done. The typography looks more cohesive as it s closer together (whereas the previous versions I felt it was a bit too far apart). Perhaps my one comment would be to vary the images as the compositions for each is the same and I think this could be played with a bit more. Consider making the images smaller so that they align with the top and bottom lines of type etc.


Otherwise, you have produced effective, bright and easily read designs.


Assessment potential

Select one of the statements below / delete as appropriate



I understand your aim is to go for the Visual Communications / Creative Arts Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment.  In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.   


Feedback on assignment

Creative and analytical thinking, Visual and Technical Skills


The Thinking of You assignment asked you to create a range of cards for sentiments or events not currently catered for by card manufactures.


Card 3


Consider using the suitcase image you created as a template and try cutting out this shape from your own photographs? Although you stated that you thought of adding some cut outs of your own photos idea let’s see the visual evidence of this, try a quick mock-up of it. It may well have produced some exciting and interesting results but you need to be willing to explore such options in your sketchbook.


For the idea of the type in the water ‘enjoy your holiday’, try other options too as sketches. What about including the type on the boat as if it is the name of the boat itself? It looks like you have worked hard to produce the sketched idea using Illustrator but why not try some mock-ups first in your sketchbook using found materials, collage from magazines (especially the travel section form the weekend newspapers). You can then select different colours and textures from these in order to represent the various elements of the landscape. Perhaps try ripping and cutting the collage material to vary the edges and shapes? Have a look at work by Bjorn Copeland and Kurt Schwitters for inspiration and ideas. Or try cutting out the type element of the design from such collage materials…perhaps this might be quite subtle and allude to the image of the place, allowing the viewer to imagine it (for example, the word ‘Enjoy’ could be cut out of a bit of blue sea?).


For the type to work a bit more successfully I think it should be placed closer to the back edge of the boat and also made slightly smaller so that it is in proportion to the boat itself. Try experimenting with the scale and make sure that it doesn’t become too small for the viewer to read easily. Try also using different typefaces to see which is most legible. The typeface doesn’t have to look like water or be overly ornate as it is already set on a wavy path, which does the job nicely.


I think that the suitcase image would’ve worked well if explored as a 3D or pop up card too. For example, experimenting with the idea of the suitcase on the outside of the card all closed up and when the viewer opens it opens too to reveal the items within it?


Overall, the card communicates and is very neat and ordered with the addition of shape and texture to add some interest. It’s great to see you testing some skills in illustrator. Try exploring some of the suggestions above to make it more fun and appealing or appropriate for the theme set.


Card 2


As you have stated on the blog the creation of the earring image allowed you to practice the software further. The development and progression of this card is well documented on the blog (as with the other cards). You work methodically to produce the image and then the type, although I do think it would be good to see some deviation from the norm and more experimentation of your ideas. For example, the earring image, why not consider actually using real earrings and these are part of the card gifted to the receiver? Have a look at the following for some good examples:





Also think about trying the design with just the image of the earrings without the model or even cropping the existing image down to abstract it slightly? A little bit like the Bob Dylan profile by Glaser.


It is great to see you handwriting the type prior to taking it into Illustrator. This gives it a nice informal and personal approach. Consider using looser drawing tools such as a brush pen or marker for quicker drawings of the earrings themselves that will allow you to work through ideas and convey information quickly (like the initial charades exercise). Why not try using a photograph of earrings and experimenting with different filter effects in Photoshop? The first type experiments are quite fun and exciting but sadly this is lost a little in the final version with the selected typeface, making it more formal and less unique. The earring works nicely to contrast with the slightly muted colours of the face and background. Consider having the type inside the card and just the image on the outside or perhaps a front view of a face with each earring only seen when the card is folded flat (so the face is split symmetrically by the fold of the card)?


On your blog you state that you had a clear idea about how you wanted the card to look but struggled with bringing all the elements together. This is why I’d encourage you to experiment more readily with each element and also together as a composition before finally editing them to a resolved outcome. This should help you to establish which elements do work well together and which don’t.


Card 1


This is a fun card and I like the fact it categorises the subject. This allows it to be suitable for any type of pet. The overlapping image is great and interesting too, showing that you do experiment a little. I quite like how these images do overlap or merge into one-another. It is quite an appropriate idea. The final design would be a great interactive card. For example, consider the six squares as stickers? Perhaps the front of the card contains a simple white box and the giver can select the appropriate sticker to put in it so that it is tailored to the individual? You could easily mock this up by printing the images onto sticky backed printing paper.


Overall, you have worked hard to practice your skills using illustrator but don’t let this distract too much from the designs themselves. Bring type and image together earlier on so that you can establish more successful relationships between the two.


Research and idea development, Context


You readily use your sketchbook to plan and sketch ideas and initial visuals for the designs. Consider adding other visual research to these pages in the form of collage or photographs so that you can also explore other visual media and methods (alongside the digital). This may help you vary your approach to different briefs. There is some idea development but I think this could be extended with some more exploration shown before deciding on a final outcome.


Learning Logs or Blogs / Critical essays
Research and idea development, Context


You were asked you to reflect on how familiar you are to graphic design software, identifying what you might need to learn.


It is clear from the work in Part 2 that you are trying to develop your digital skills using, in particular, Adobe Illustrator. This shows dedication to the work and I think it’s positive you have used this software to help generate artwork and image ideas based on the brief. Consider tutorials for alternative software programs such as Adobe InDesign (for type and layout) or Photoshop for photographic editing and manipulation.


Your commentary based on the exhibition of Botanical Art is great and you make some very pertinent comments with regard the style of the illustrations. As you mention the letters are an interesting addition to the plant illustrations maybe expand on this comment further…do you think they work well together?


Suggested viewing/reading


A few artists I have mentioned in the feedback are listed here:


Bjorn Copeland

Kurt Schwitters

Hannah Hoch

Eric Carle

Leo Lionni

Ed Kluz

Charles Rennie Mackintosh





Pointers for the next assignment

The next part of the course encourages you to become more visually literate by exploring visual dynamics, colour and visual language.


This is an opportunity for you to start to combine type and image more readily, allowing you to develop and experiment with composition and bringing these two elements together successfully. Try to build on your use of visual media and consider alternative methods that will contrast with or help add depth to the current digital work. For example, combining some hand-rendered elements (collage, mark making etc) with shapes in Illustrator. The next part of the course will hopefully encourage this based on the exercises set.


Try to avoid stock photos. It is important that you can demonstrate your own creativity by originating the artwork.


Continue to reflect and comment on your work thoroughly. Remember to add some commentary about the type and your selection and placement of this.


Tutor name: Laura Scott
Date 30/07/2014
Next assignment due 08/10/2014


Tutor feedback-Part 1



Open College of the Arts
Tutor report


Student name Malgorzata Lewosz Student number 512751
Course/Module Graphic Design 1 Assignment number One



The first part of the course focuses on getting started by introducing you to the subject and exploring a brief history of graphic design. Overall your response has been positive and from my initial feedback email you have clearly made a few refinements to the work.


The cards do communicate your intended messages, however it would be good to see some more experimental work showing how you have explored the use of type and image together in order to push your ideas a little further.

You need to show you have tested and developed these ideas and certainly a more thorough exploratory approach would be beneficial and allow you to exercise your creativity more. I like the fact you chose to use watercolours to create the imagery for some of the cards but again, try to explore this further as there are no alternative designs, just your final versions (maybe with some small variations) suggesting you have settled on your first idea and not explored alternatives. You can explore ideas by using your sketchbook to quickly draw various designs, looking at composition, visuals (be it drawing or photographs etc) and type.


As a designer it is important to use an investigative approach in order to hopefully arrive at a successful design outcome, even if this does mean you revert back to an initial idea it is the process of exploration that is important, allowing you to make decisions and edit the work to refine it and meet the needs of the brief.


I would also suggest you do some self-initiated research to help support your work and ideas. For example, the typography on the final card that you describe as ‘not so perfect’ – can you find any designers that have created type with these same characteristics? It would be interesting to see your selection.


Overall the work has a delicate and minimal aesthetic with the final card indicating you can combine type and image effectively.


This is a decent start to the first part of this course, well done.


Overall Comments
Project: Sending and receiving

Understanding how visual communication works is crucial to graphic design, your first exercise asked you to explore this through playing visual charades.


Some good quick sketches for this exercise – as you mention on the blog it took you a while to think of images to use so to make it more challenging try to set a time limit.


Assessment potential


You may want to get credit for your hard work and achievements with the OCA by formally submitting your work for assessment at the end of the course. More and more people are taking the idea of lifelong learning seriously by submitting their work for assessment but it is entirely up to you. We are just as keen to support you whether you study for pleasure or to gain qualifications. Please consider whether you want to put your work forward for assessment and let me know your decision when you submit Assignment two. I can then give you feedback on how well your work meets the assessment requirements.
Assessment Criteria
The Visual Communications degree has overarching assessment criteria that link to the course and trace the development of your work. At level one these criteria are:

  • Creative and analytical thinking (40%)

Analysing information, formulating independent judgments; employing creativity in the process of investigating, visualising and/or making, developing a personal voice.

  • Research and idea development (20%)

Sourcing and assimilating research material; and using visual language to investigate, test, interpret, and develop ideas.

  • Visual and Technical Skills (20%)

Using materials, techniques, technologies, and visual language to communicate ideas and information.

  • Context (20%)

Awareness of critical, contextual, historical, professional, and/or emerging contexts; and personal and professional development.


Your Tutor Report feedback will make reference to these criteria and give you a broad sense of how your exercise and assignment work, learning log and sketchbooks are meeting them.


Feedback on assignment


Assignment one asked you design a series of postcards that says something about yourself and your interests as a way of introducing yourself.


Card 1: Polska


This card is an intriguing combination of shape and image. I like the use of colour reversal between the stork and the block of red. This works well and does suggest the two are interchangeable or one and the same. The addition of the type does gently clarify what is already obvious on the page. However, I still think you could’ve been more adventurous with regard to experimenting a bit further with type, image and composition, as it appears you have arrived at the final designs fairly quickly.


For the image of the stork try using various scales and play around with the composition of the piece. Perhaps the block of red could occupy less of the space? If it did does this diminish the communication of the card at all? Consider playing with different typefaces and also placing the type in various places at different scales. Experiment with the kerning (the space between each letter) and if using lines of type the leading (the space between the lines of type). You can easily do this in Photoshop but Indesign is best for this. You could also trial the colour reversal with the type as well. Remember to make note of the typefaces you experiment with (this is research after all). This will help you build up a good knowledge of different typefaces and their various characteristics (something you can draw upon in the next assignment). Consider the use of a serif typeface rather than a sans serif one – this might provide more contrast and balance with the already minimal image and composition.

As you have used watercolour paper and paint to create the final image try to experiment with this technique further by producing, for example, colour samples/washes using different tones of red. Try mixing the paint with more water to retain fluidity and a less opaque colour. Try painting the type too. I’d like to see some more work using different materials and techniques, for example, painting paper with red acrylic and then cutting out the shapes you want and then creating a collage with these? Try cropping the whole image down to test the readability of the card. You can do this by making a viewfinder to place around the space to see how segments of the card would look if they were cropped. If you work in Photoshop this can easily be done with the crop tool.


Overall, this is a neat and bold design. It does communicate the intended message but I do think further developmental work would help you to find alternative solutions to the brief and showcase your creativity more.


Card 2: Fashion of the 20s/30s


The second card has a similar feel to the first because of the materials used. This is enhanced by your decision to draw the figure in outline, giving the card a delicate appearance. I do think the addition of the frame works well and complements the figure. Although I realise you made a decision to keep the card (like the first) simple I still believe that some experimental work showing alternative ideas (based on your theme) would be good, if only to demonstrate that you have tried different options. Additional sketches would be great to see, perhaps some trials using the watercolour as at present it jumps from pencil sketches straight into the final design in watercolour. As this is a graphic design course it is important to remember that type and image should be given equal weighting and these effectively combined together to convey a message. Therefore I do recommend you add some type to the card. This can be, as with the first card, quite subtle but should not be considered as a last minute add on – it should be an integral part of the design and given plenty of thought and consideration. As mentioned in previous feedback you could try and incorporate it into the image itself, using the lines of the figure to maybe represent a word or letterform? Some experiments with image and type could be added to your blog for you to reflect on and evaluate. Perhaps you could design your own typeface using figures from the 20s/30s? For example the current figure could represent the letter ‘i’?


Overall, the image is carefully depicted and you have considered the space around it, using your research as influence. Further designs exploring the addition of type to the image would be beneficial as at present this is merely an illustration.


Card 3: Come Fly With Me


This card does prove you can effectively combine type and image together to produce an easy to read cohesive design, well done. I commend you for using your own photographs – often it is very easy to rely on stock photos from the Internet but it is important the work is your own. Perhaps add some of the original photos to your blog so that they can be seen in their entirety? It’s good to see some of your original sketches for this idea. As you have focussed and stuck to the plane formation for the type do try and explore a few other ideas using this image – or even just the type in the sky would be enough to suggest the flying theme as the word itself is mentioned in the text? Maybe try to explain why you think the typeface you have used suggests ‘freedom and spontaneity’? Is it because it has been created by you or makes use of various fluid shapes? I think the vapour trails might have worked but the plane shape should follow them as at present it points in an entirely different direction. The vapour trails themselves are very subtle so I don’t think they are too busy. Perhaps one trail would suffice though as the image you have contains a few criss-crossing across the background. I think the type formation could be presented at a smaller scale to suggest the plane is high up in the sky? Consider exploring the scale of each word to try and make the plane image more readable, just to show you have attempted to refine the form further. The final version on the white background is again minimal in appearance. However, the plane shape and type is enough to carry the theme without the need for the sky to be present. I like the fact that your image is only revealed by the type, this adds to the curiosity of the piece.




Keeping sketchbooks and a learning log is an integral part of this and every other OCA course, not only because they constitute 20% of your marks if you choose to have your work formally assessed but they are also an excellent way to document and reflect on your development.


I can see some evidence of you having used a sketchbook for visual research and to draw down ideas and work through these (for card 3). More evidence of sketchbook and experimental work would be great to demonstrate you have tested and refined your ideas.


Learning Logs or Blogs / Critical essays


On your blog you discuss the book ‘Graphic Design Essentials’ by Joyce Walsh Macario. If it was a book that helped you to work through various exercises then do include some examples of this work on the blog.


It’s good you have included some visual research for the fashion card. However, I would also like to see some design based research. Before starting the course were there any graphic designers whose work you particularly liked? If so, include some visual examples of their work and start to comment on it – why do you like it? Is it fit for purpose? Do they create work that has a trademark style etc?


I would also recommend you reflect on your own work, critically analysing it and whether or not it works as a graphic design. If not, what could you do to improve its effectiveness? It is important you can reflect on your work in this way, as it will help you to edit and refine it.


Suggested viewing/reading


Have a look at the following (if you can) for inspiration and ideas:


‘Typography Sketchbooks’ (Stephen Heller)

‘Pioneers of Modern Graphic Design: A Complete History’ (Jeremy Aynsley)

‘A Smile in the Mind: Witty Thinking in Graphic Design (Beryl McAlhone and David Stuart)

‘Postcard’ published by Laurence King http://www.postcard-book.info/

Neville Brody (pushes the boundaries of type and legibility)

David Carson

Edward Fella

Robert Rauschenberg (interesting use of image, found materials, layers)

Marion Deuchars (handwritten type)

Mike Perry (Mike Perry Studio)

Marian Bantjes

Milton Glaser and Pushpin Studios

Alan Fletcher  (a great designer who used sketches playfully to convey ideas)

Helvetica film (a documentary film directed by Gary Hustwit) helevticafilm.com


If you haven’t already done so you may want to look at the WeAreOCA blog at http://www.weareoca.com/ or browse through other students work on the OCA Student Site http://oca-student.com/. You may want to post your own work for critique or join some of the forum debates that often contain links to relevant reading and viewing.


If this is your first OCA course, and if you haven’t done so already, it’s advisable to take The Introduction to Studying HE course. It’s designed to introduce you to some important concepts and practical techniques that will help you as you prepare to study in HE. The course is available on the OCA website and should take you between five and ten hours to complete.



Pointers for the next assignment


The next part of the course focuses on the creative process of problem solving. This is an opportunity for you to showcase your creativity and experiment more widely with images, typography (remember to reference the typeface you use) and composition. I’d like to see you use more sketches or scamps to portray your working ideas before starting to resolve the final artwork and design.


Try to conduct more research and discuss this on your blog (think about why you like or dislike the work and try to explain why) and also include first hand research (study trips or visits to galleries or museums etc) in this.



Tutor name: Laura Scott
Date 20/04/2014
Next assignment due 29/06/2014


Overall evaluation

At the beginning of my learning journey for this course I felt that all aspects of graphic design were new to me. This was not only in terms of how to use the tools needed to execute the design but also and more importantly the basic principles of what makes good graphic design.

It was the first time that I had used Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and I initially found it frustrating to not to be able to translate concepts developed in my mind and in my sketch book to computer based images.

I gradually began to become familiar with these tools through the use of online tutorials and through the process of going through the exercises and assignments in the course.

I also began to realize that I was starting to become more attuned to graphic design that present all around me in everyday life. With this came a more critical appreciation of what made good and what I sometimes considered to be design that could be been implemented in a perhaps better manner.

This being my first arts focused course keeping a learning log was also new for me. I fell I came to grips relevantly quickly with the technical aspects of working with WordPress but where I believe I faced a bigger challenge and where I got the most benefit from was creating written reviews of the work of other graphic designers and in describing my own work. This was a challenge not just in terms that writing about art was new to me but also that English is not my native language,

As I reached the second half of the course I did not feel as lost as I did at as I initially did and although I would not consider myself to be confident I had a much greater understanding of what was expected of me.

Throughout the course my tutors feedback was very helpful to me and by following up on her recommendations I could the see benefit they could bring to my work.

Some of examples of points raised to me by my tutor that helped me to appreciate the benefit of feedback on my work are as following:

  • Not to leave large blank spaces between lines of text, in for example a poster but instead to bringing lines of text together helped create much better compositions.
  • Approaching a design through different methods before settling on one to develop further, such as the use of collage, drawing, painting etc.
  • The benefit of using my sketch book to develop as many ideas as possible.

In terms of reflecting on my strengths I appreciate the following about my work:

  • That I try to avoid clutter in my designs and like to try and present my message in a clear manner.
  • That I like to create handmade elements which I then incorporate into the design.
  • That I have gained a critical appreciation of graphic design in everyday life.

To progress further with graphic design I consider that most important next steps for me will be to gain greater experience with the use of software tools, illustration skills and that I begin to feel more comfortable with letting myself be more influenced by other work rather than feeling I need to create a design concept completely independently,



Exercise: Seeing the light

Part 3, Exercise: Seeing the light


Part 5, Exercise: Birthday list

collage8 - Copy

Part 3, Assignment


Part 1, Assignment


Part 5, Exercise: Chance Housing Association


Part 4, Assignment


Part 3, Exercise: Abstract cities


Part 5, Assignment


Part 4, Exercise: Hierarchy


Part 5, Exercise: Poster and flyer