Visual Thinking

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term 2 year 1 project - complete terms work.

Text of Visual Thinking

  • Rebecca CollinsYear one

  • The overall brief for the Visual Thinking unit asks us to extend our visual awareness, taking part in various lectures and workshops across the courses in the School of Visual Arts including Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration and Visual Communication. It has been broken down into 10 weeks and focuses our studies first on creating a 3d letter based on a word beginning with this letter. We are given the task of making this 3d letter portray this word through visual communication.

    The unit aims to :

    -Demonstrate your ability to conduct visual and contextual research and communicate your findings effectively.

    -Demonstrate your developing critical evaluation of your practice, appropriate Theoretical knowledge and related audiences.

    -Demonstrate an appropriate range and level of technical competence in the Production of coherent visual solutions

    The Brief Learning outcomes

  • To get a better understanding of both the brief and the project as a whole, I used the key texts stated in the brief to explore various images and artists related to each stage of the project.

    The book which interested me the most out of all of these was typography sketchbooks by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico.(2012) This book is a collection of various designers work in their sketchbook stages, often the sketchbook images are the final pieces. I found the variation of styles inspiring for my project. In particular this book was relevant to the first task of the project which was to create a d letter-form. It gave me ideas on how to go about generating ideas and how I wanted my ideas to then be presented.

    An artist who interested me, mentioned in the book was, Jan Wilker, a German designer who had created a grid system styled alphabet of type using hand lettering with a pen. He quoted ;So long as I have had a computer (which is always) I have a sketchbook (page 349). I found

    this statement relevant to this project as a whole as the main bulk of the project was produced on the computer. With a collection of images and photos taken throughout, my form of sketchbook will be computer based.

    The second book which is in particular relevance to my project is Grid systems in graphic design by Muller Brockmann (2007). It gave detailed descriptions and examples of how the grid system is used in InDesign for a range of items such as books and leaflets. It showed how grids can create a constant division of space and make a piece more aesthetically pleasing as it is structured with tension. This was the book I found most relevant to this online book design (in InDesign).

  • The first workshop I took part in was the digital letterpress, looking at an alternative method of making letterpress images and type. Although I had no previous experience with this form of typography before, digital

    or hand made, I wanted to gain some knowledge of this method of printing. Theres something rather soothing about the sound of the rollers as they press the pre prepared ink onto paper, even if my first experience of this was a digitally

    reproduced sound opposed to the real thing.

    Using the given software (m-press) We were able to create letterpress images in half the time of a normal hand made letter press. Throughout my project The

    letter G was a particularly important one for me and my partner. So I took the opportunity to develop some of the words that we had chosen to explore beginning with G. My favourite printed design for this was Goldfish which I then developed

    into a fish and chips logo.

    I developed A keener interest for the method of letterpress after this initial workshop which I hope I can use not only for this project in s some aspect, but in future projects.


    Let terpress

  • Screen-print


    I have always had a love of screen printing but have never had the chance to use it in project or elsewhere so I was keen to take part in the silk screen printing workshop.

    The technician showed us how to prepare a screen using a light sensitive emulsion. The image we wanted pressed was a simple triangle printed on paper. The paper was then oiled and placed onto the screen which had been dosed in light sensitive emulsion.

    This was then put onto a light box and exposed to light to imprint the black image onto the screen. This meant that ink would only go through the screen in the parts that had where blacked out.

    We then used ink and a squeegee to press the ink through the screen and onto our chosen paper.

    This was an easy and

    effective method of printing and looked really effective when finished. Although the images we produced where simple and basic, the process and method could be applied for any project.

  • BindingThe third workshop I attended was perfect book binding. Although we had already covered this particular method during out book printing process, I have

    a passion and interest for illustration and book making so felt that I should perfect my skills on this subject for further use. Quite selfish of me really.

    The first step in book binding

    is to have the printed pages. These are then folded so that the seems are the outside edged of the pages. These will be the spine of the book. These pages are then placed within a press/

    vice which holds them together whilst you place glue down the length of all the pressed pages, a piece of fabric I then placed over the spine and glued repeatedly over a period of an hour.

    (Four times. Once every 15 minutes.)This was then dried overnight. To add the cover we removed the book pages from the vice, trimmed the ages I with a scalpel and glued the cover

    by the sine to the outside pages. The cover was measured and cut before this. The whole book was then cut down to size using a gelatine.

  • LecturesLecture 1:Propaganda

    The lecture for this subject was by far the most beneficial and interesting topic which greatly influenced my essay pieces. The lecture explored themes of war time propaganda which is the most recognised form of propaganda. It explored how we can related these themes and methods of

    manipulation to our current consumerism society. People are lead to believe in false things which drive them to do something. A great contribution to the posters designed during the war in aid of various countries to try and influence them to support a cause or to fight for their country. The images we were shown where aggressive and pithy, almost scary at times. The use of fake public figures to influence people such as uncle Sam, used in the war to drive men to join the army.

    From the lecture I got a better understanding of how the media and even the government can influence people on a wide scale through various forms of communication whether that be through television, advertising or even public figures.

    Lecture 2:Transmedia

    A lecture which also played a part in my project for both the 3d letter-form and the photo-shoot which was done in Poole was on Transmedia. Looking at the relationships between current and past designs and how the method of reusing designs plays a part in some of the designs today. We reviewed companies such as coke cola and Pepsi, discussing the disputes over ownership and copyrighting. We also explored how companies such as these two examples relate to one another and often dispute over similar designs or brands because of their similar products.

    We looked over a range of well known brands and how they use past designs to create strong well known brands. Also exploring how design has progressed from lettering, printing and books to digital methods and the use of the internet.

    Designers now are reverting back to these earlier forms of design.This lecture opened my eyes to a wider range of methods and styles used in design and made me more aware of how designers develop and change as processes and methods change.

  • Lecture 3: Photography is killing paintings

    This was one of the most interesting lectures out of all the lectures in the term. The subject matter focused on how a digital age had taken over from hand crafted imagery such as paintings, from the development of photography and the transition between old and new forms of design.

    Themes of what reality was came into play, exploring how people are no longer shocked because of exaggerated imagery and ultra realist styles. We are constantly being fed spectacles and are almost expecting something new and even more shocking.

    I was particularly interested in Ansel Adams work of photography in Yosemite. He believed his photographic imagery wasnt enough to display how he felt seeing these images so he used modern technology to edit his photos, provoking the same feelings he had in the viewer. Similar to

    what paintings in earlier decades aimed to do. Creating an interpretation or exaggeration of reality.

    Lecture 4:Cinematic bodies

    In this lecture we looked at how the cinema and media like to keep images and ideas of the human form contained and we are often shocked when these things are corrupted e.g.) gore and bodily fluids being shown in films.

    The way in which the female form is portrayed can often be a topic of controversy. As women are expected to dress and act as media and film has portrayed. Sexuality is often a media driven perception.

    I found this lecture extremely interesting as I have a love of film and cinematography. It was interesting to see how exaggeration and shock imagery is used to distort reality and shock or even disturb audiences, creating captivating cinema.

  • From



  • Let ter-form

    Our first task was to design a 3d letter-form encapsulating a wo