For this project, my main focus was to make sure that I had got my research done early enough to be able to go out and explore, leaving enough time to focus on making my book. Not only have I managed to achieve this, but also I was able to find out any errors and amend them before the final deadline.
The book overall was not exactly how I had originally intended for it to look, but overall I am completely satisfied with the amended result. Originally, I had wanted to make my own book, but because I had not done enough experimentation and research on it, because I had decided on wanting to do this halfway through the project, it was best to stick to the original plan.
The book was not the hard part of the project. Once I had got my information, images and facts, it was easy to put the pages together without too much planning. The idea of the pages was to allow freedom and flexibility on the pages for the audience, so that they can change and add to the pages to how they please.
What was the biggest challenge for this project was changing the locations from going around the UK to narrowing it down to one city. The reason this was a challenge, because I had already done extensive research prior to this, as well as having everything mapped out on where I would go. This had to be changed because of the limited time and money I had in order to achieve this. Nevertheless, I was still able to commit to the proposal of encouraging “people to explore more than just the comfort of their hometown without flying”.
I feel I had hit the intentions of the original proposal and the target audience really well. People feel encouraged to explore the places I had visited, but also the book gives people some general facts and knowledge about the city, which could encourage people to possibly venture out beyond London and explore more.
I would have loved to have more time spent on the pages and making sure that all of the pages make sense. I would have also liked to have more time on illustrating a few more images etc. but I can say that this has inspired me to want to explore more and keep finding things and places that others have found for me to find, but also hopefully find something that others may not necessarily know is there either.
Once my final book had arrived, I brought it in for people to have a look at. Without asking, I wanted to test each person and see if they mention anything about the book that would inspire them to want to go and explore to the places in the book. It was a great relief that every person I had given the book to seemed fascinated by what I had found. A lot of the comments I was received were “I really want to go here”, “where is this? I had no idea it was there despite I go here all the time!” and “this is really cool, how did you find that?” which was the responses I was hoping to receive from my book. What I was concerned about with the book was receiving comments about the size of the book, or any general information about the places and questioning why there was so much blank space. Luckily, the only questions were to question whether some of the places actually existed! I certainly felt that my book achieved its purpose to the public.
After publishing my book on Blurb, I thought it would be exciting to have a look at my preview. The preview is what other people would see to give them a taste of what my book is about, without revealing everything.
I’m really excited and happy with the overall outcome, as it is simple and effective. The pages look white, however when it gets printed on the uncoated eggshell paper, it should reduce the whiteness down and give a more subtle yellow appearance to the pages. Whilst I wait for my book to be printed, I will try to look to see if I can order any other objects such as pens etc. with the Weird and Wonderful theme to go with the activity book. It would be nice to have some additional ‘freebies’ with the book, drawing people closer at my book, and to appreciate the book more.
We were given the chance to explore the annual exhibitions, Pick Me Up and the SONY World Photo Awards 2016. Both of the exhibitions show a variety of work from all different people around the world. Pick Me Up is an exhibition that presents graphic arts from new and upcoming designers. The work that I saw I felt this year was much more illustrative and showed a lot more typography in the styles than the previous year. Although typography is not my greatest level of interest, the artwork presented with this was astonishing.
Rachel Lillie’s work was a series of illustrations of the woods where she had gone exploring. What she is trying to show people in her work is to look at the details in what is around you. I felt this was a perfect example of what I am trying to demonstrate with my activity book. Her work is the perfect example of making the audience think about looking in the box, other than looking at the box as a whole. At the end of the exhibition, I noticed a book by Rob Ryan with his cut outs. Rob Ryan was a huge inspiration to me in the past, encouraging me to want to cut out in his style. The level of detail and concentration needed was intense, but the outcome was worth the time! The reminder of his incredible work has got me thinking about possibly coming back to do this style again at some point in another project.
The SONY World Photo Awards 2016 in my opinion was so incredible. There was not one single photo that I would say I liked the most, because every picture told a different story, and each photo was completely different. What I did pick out as I was walking around was that I particularly enjoyed looking at the photos that showed a different perspective on things. Taking Philip Joyce’s image of the horses at the races as an example, the photo of the horse from above caught my attention, because it is from an angle that you are not used to seeing from a horse.
Similarly, Cheung Yin Fang’s Creation of Love using the effects of a fast shutter speed was beautiful. I prefer split second shots than long exposures, because you can capture something that the human eye may not have picked up on when you look at it.
Lastly, I had a quick walk around the Dutch Flowers at the National Gallery. The paintings from the 17th/18th Century display realistic looking flowers of all types. The ‘Dutch Flowers’ include paintings from artists such as Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, Jan van Huysum, and Rachel Ruysch, who each display a picture perfect scenery of different flowers and objects around them. The attention to detail was to a point that I could not even make out the brush strokes, confusing me to how they even painted it so perfectly!
What I noticed about each of the exhibitions that I went to was the attention to detail in everything that was displayed. It was clear that the work was made for a purpose, and that everything had a reason behind it.
I went to see how it would look after I saved it as a PDF format, and as I was looking over it, the grey seemed a little darker than I had expected. Because I was unsure of how saturated this could look when I got it printed, I decided to make the grey a little brighter.
I also looked at my picture, and I wanted the image to look as centered as possible on the back cover, but still leaking onto the spine. What I did, was I played around with the sizing of the image, causing some to come off the pages to make sure the pathway was centered on the back.
To make my cover for the book, I got a template from Blurb to go with the template I have got to help make my pages for the book itself. Making my cover, I wanted to try and keep it as simple as possible because that is what the book is all about. The only details I need to include on the book are the title and what it is. Because those two pieces of information are self explanatory, I felt I do not need to add anymore.
As I was making it, I thought it would be more appropriate to add a photograph on the page somewhere. I did a few sketches to try and map out how I could lay out my cover, and I decided on keeping the photo and the text separate from each other.
Whilst designing the title, I wanted to keep it professional looking, but I wanted to add a little bit of fun and creativity to the title. The two E’s I thought it would look fun to flip it and swap the typeface for one of the typefaces that I use in the book itself.
Each element on the cover I want it to show what they could be expecting inside the actual book, so I also thought about putting on an illustration of mine on the cover, as well as on the spine.
I wasn’t sure what colour to make the cover of the book, so I had a go at a few different ones. Depending on what photograph is on the back cover, I tried to match some of the colour tones with the colours of the photograph.
I eventually went for a grey background, one of which matches a tone in the landscape image on the back of the cover. I really liked how I laid out the title of Weird and Wonderful, showing the obvious clashing of the typefaces and the unusual layout of it. I felt this compliments the idea of my whole activity book, contrasting well with the subtitle ‘London: photography and activity book’.
Because I wanted something to help fill the front cover other than just the text, I ended up putting the Traffic Light Tree drawing on the cover, to represent what is expected in the book, as well as the style and layout of it.
Similarly, the image on the back shows off my photography, but also shows one location where people can go and explore themselves. I leaked the photograph to go across the spine also, adding some definition to the spine. The small illustration on the bottom of the spine also helps to give people an idea of what the book includes, when looking at it from the side.
I came across this water bottle designed for Black Water Bottle. The title has been abbreviated enough so that you can still make out what the title is saying, but it gives a really clean and minimalistic approach. I thought this would be a really good idea to think about when considering my title.
I played around with my two favourite titles, Weird and Wonderful London and Look Out (now naming it At) London. At first, I thought it would be really fun to approach the title to look like LOL, to give it a fun and informal appearance. The issue I found with this, was that it could look too much like a ‘joke’ and give the wrong impression of what I want people to think about London.
As I changed the title to Look At London, because it went along with the theme of the book more, I thought it would be fun to merge the @ symbol with the sign of the underground, trying to get them to look similar. As I was trying this, I kept having problems with making both the underground sign and the symbol to join without getting rid of the illusion it was the outline of the underground sign still, so I figured it would be more appropriate to keep it simple.
I even tried to get a little abstract in my title with the Weird And Wonderful London, trying to join the W’s and the A together. As I was doing this, I felt it was not informative enough to the public. With book titles, I feel they should be mysterious, but also clear with what they are trying to show, in order to get the audience’s attention against the other competitors. After this, I thought it would be better to design the cover in such a way that, that would be the focus of the cover, not the title.
The only way I was able to get around London efficiently was by using this map in front of me. This map, although it looks a little tatty and messy, was my ‘bible’ in making sure that where I went was at the right place. Each point is numbered with the place and information written separately, and when I went to London, I would plan where I am going and if there was anything else I could visit that was around that area too. This really helped me to get to my places without too much trouble, and I thought this would be an excellent piece to put in the book also.
I decided to include a map at the front of my activity book of all of the locations in one go. By doing this, I got a copy of the map of London on Google Maps, and traced over the main parts of the map. I thought this would be a really nice addition to the book. Because London is so complex to draw, I simplified by drawing only the main roads and the River Thames, then by dotting the areas I have visited around. By doing this, it allows room for people to perhaps doodle on the page themselves and record down anywhere that they have visited to put on the map.
I originally tried drawing the Thames and the roads on one sheet, but there was far too much clash. I then drew out each part separately and combined them altogether. The Thames I wanted to stand out a little more than the rest, because that could be seen as the guide to where you are when you see your bearings from the Thames.
I experimented with different ways of presenting the Thames, in the end I went for the bold blue colour to overlay on the roads, it gives the map a little more depth without it becoming too much in the detail or colour.
I thought about including small sketches on the map to help highlight to people what is where, however because my topics are so varied on the activity book, I couldn’t sketch one sketch for every area that I went to, because my book is about the weird parts of London, not the common parts that everyone knows about.
I stuck to the dots scattered on the page, each one giving a brief idea of where my locations exactly were. I really liked the style of this as a whole. The dots are left hollow for people to colour if they wish, and there is plenty of space for people to write down any other pieces of information and/or discoveries that they have found.
I also included a map of the Kingsway Tram Subway. This was done quickly to give people an idea of where to walk to find the other entrance, but also they can complete the map and write notes around it if they please.
Also, I did the same technique as with the 7 noses. By using Google Maps, I was able to accurately see where the roads were so people could get a good understanding of where they would need to go and what they would be looking for if they were using Google Maps themselves whilst travelling.
Here are another few examples of the drawings I quickly did in response to my visits. I kept to the same theme of sketching like the rest of my drawings, apart from the Traffic Light Tree drawing, which I traced over from an existing picture I had taken of it. I thought this would be a good activity in getting people to colour the picture in instead for that page, which I found works really well.