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



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