Category Archives: Tutor feedback-Part 5

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 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 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 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 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