Typesetting Project

I really enjoyed the first marked project for the Module Applied Art for the web.

Once I had felt that my project was finally finished and I was in the final stages of reviewing and checking my work (with the help of my fellow students). I started to panic a bit.

It just felt a bit out of character for me.

In my practice project of building a profile page, which you can see here. My concept was not working in the way I intended, so thinking in the way that Risca taught us I decided to take my work “side-ways” and the final piece I felt very much reflected the idea that I had in my head at the start of the process. It was quirky, and very me.

This final piece for the typesetting project I really liked to look at, and it really did look visually appealing. However, it just wasn’t expressing my personality, and I worried it was therefore somehow not authentically my work.

I kept going back to the assignment breakdown and kept re-reading it to make sure I had hit all the critical points. I even reached out to Prisca to seek reassurance as it just seemed a bit too “simple”.

After thinking and worrying for a while I realised, yes, I have taken a very literal interpretation of the front cover of the book that I choose for the project. And whilst it does look almost like I have just reproduced it to present the content. I still had to go through the usual design processes to find a theme that worked.

The gradient navigation menu was a complete accident. I was just following the steps that Prisca had shown us in one of our lectures where she uses several different starting points to create a very pleasing looking website (from what I thought was a very ugly logo). I started out with the first most literal step, of breaking down the front cover into large pixels. Picking colours that I liked and then blending them together in various ways using the gradient tool in Illustrator. I was thinking of using the blending to find different colours and it was just part of the process of finding a colour palette for the site. However the gradients looked amazing and so I decided to use them in my mock-ups.

I was not expecting to be able to replicated the gradient in CSS as well as the mock-up versions that I created in PhotoShop. Most of all because I had not played around with gradients in CSS yet, so I didn’t even know how to actually do it… Plus I wanted to make the site responsive, and so I was not sure if it would work well with the responsiveness. For example if the height of the <nav> element changed, would the menu choices still be clear? So I was expecting to have to play around with the design aspect a bit more.

I used this tool online to play around with the gradient in the menu bar. Then when applying to my CSS I realised if I considered the padding in the CSS then the text would remain visible and not stray into the colours which were lighter and would not provide enough contrast.

The project itself was less about colour choice and more about font choices and typography rules. However, again, with a literal interpretation of the text I ended up with a relative “simple” looking piece of text (simple as in I didn’t use any CSS to move text around and highlight with lots of different techniques like Drop Caps). I did however choose some very purposeful text and the same principles in my journey to choose the colour palette apply here. And overall the typography is considered, and effective.

Overall, on reflection, I think having a piece of work that I am really proud of (and that is responsive!) yet I don’t think is my own internal reflection of my personal creativity is actually a really important step in my career towards becoming a designer, and hopefully a good designer! And now I realise I am no longer designing to express my artistic expression, and I also realise I enjoy designing. For myself and for others.

It really is an exciting turning point for me, and it has inspired me to look back at some of my past business ventures and reconsider my approach.

For example I used to design and make earrings. However over time I realised that I was actually trying to use my earrings as an outlet for my artistic creativity. Whilst making such things is incredibly creative, I think it is important to keep the two separate. Having said that artistic impression can help you to find new ideas and starting points for projects, but ultimately if you want to end up with a viable product, you have to at some point begin a design process.

So maybe when I have a bit more spare time I will revisit my earring business and have a relaunch. Watch this space.

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