Critique: Spring Preview
Before you work out and challenge your body in new capacities, you’re supposed to warm up and stretch your muscles to prepare. This helps prevent injury, not to mention to push yourself and improve. This is what I feel like I’m doing in this class. Until recently, I didn’t think that I was all too visually creative. I dabbled in InDesign when I was editor for my high school literary magazine, and I created a few promotional flyers for organizations I was a part of using my ancient CS3 software that I just recently upgraded (woohoo!). So other than designing the six or so projects for the intro magazine design class last semester, I still have a lot of warming up to do.
At my skill level, my best work is done on paper. I had a lot of ideas in the preliminary stages, but it was translating them into a digital format and at the size of the Vox dimensions that I had to work around. I originally wanted to go for more of an illustrated and hand-drawn look for the cover, and I settled on a kite theme. I got about halfway done with the idea and arranged them onto a page when I realized that it just looked too flat to work on a larger scale.
Although I liked the idea, I wanted to try my second option, which involved more work in Photoshop. Whereas the kite idea would have involved more bright, popping colors, I wanted to try taking the palette to the other extreme embodied by spring — earth tones, natural elements and so on. I thought of how I could incorporate nature into a cover when I landed on the idea of having the title “Spring Preview” carved into the trunk of a tree. It felt to me one of those things that even if you’ve never done it before, you know what a tree carving looks like. I think it also has kind of a playful feel without being too cute.
I had to play around a bit with the type and the colors in order to make sure the cover was legible. At first I thought something big and bold would lend itself to an attention-getting cover, but I only found that as I made the type more grainy, it made the text look more distorted but in a bad way. If given a bit more time, this would be my first area to refocus would include lightening the photo, making the bark less textured, etc.
As for the spread, I wasn’t sure how to incorporate the cover I changed at the last minute into the body. I tried framing the photos in the wood so it would act as a photo frame, but it didn’t translate. Instead, I kept it pretty basic in columns and played with the text highlights and headings to add some color. I wanted the month headings to incorporate my original idea of illustrations and a watercolor feel, but I think in the end it just adds too many styles that don’t work together too well.
You can’t miss: Drew Barrymore on Marie Claire’s February issue, times two
This month’s issue of Marie Claire is its Spring Trend Preview issue, which I flipped through to find color palette inspiration for my design. Originally, I knew I probably wanted to stray from the typical pastels that one would associate with the season, but looking through the magazine, I saw that a lot of their spreads carry this scheme, including its cover.
The other day, I saw the newsstand version of the cover, which offers a much more attention-getting bold yellow and red as its pop-out colors. Both do, however, pair the warmer hues with a cool blue or grey background so it isn’t too overwhelming overall. However, the more bright colors in the newsstand version is meant to compete with other titles and designs on the rack, and hopefully would mean better sales.
You can’t miss: When logos look alike
As I was conceptualizing ideas for the Spring Preview spread, I realized that I still feel like I’m at the stage where I need inspiration to draw from and piece together a solid idea before I can make something entirely my own. As I was sifting through some of the great posts on the blog I’ll be following this semester, Logo Design Love, I came across a 2008 article that compares logos for different companies that look alike. I think it’s important to remember that everything is influenced by something else, or as we’ve said in my web design class, everything is a remix. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and we shouldn’t think that we can’t be original when we take certain elements and put a new spin on things.
Photo inspiration: I see London
With all of our reading about London in Simon Garfield’s Just My Type, particularly the Johnston Underground font that perfectly embodies The Tube, I was getting nostalgic for this past summer when I lived and interned abroad in the city of 8 million. On one of the particularly chilly days this past week when we had winds of more than 20 mph, I pulled out one of the few actual “London” souvenirs I bought for myself while I was there. This mug is by Alice Tait, and all of her illustrations look hand-drawn and have kind of a whimsical feel to them. The bright colors make the different iconic destinations pop and bring the huge city into a more personalized snapshot of London life.