Category Archives: Tutor feedback-Part 2

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