Connecting evaluation.

The mini brief for Connecting was all about going to a place and doing a design response to what you see, hear and feel. The message needs to be of connecting, peace and hope. My choice for this was to go to Kew Gardens and to appreciate the time, effort and care put into the magnificent garden for the public to enjoy.

Overall with this mini brief, I am really happy with how my final designs came out. I wanted to turn the theme of the original Kew Gardens illustrations and make it into something of my own, making the audience see, feel and understand how important the upkeep of Kew is by informing them of the facts behind the science of Kew.

The postcards are meant to resemble beauty and peace with the images of the plants located around Kew, giving you a taster of what lies within the place. Kew itself is known to be a peaceful preserve, and they connect with all different organisations and places across the world to make this place as magnificent as it really is.

I got a lot of inspiration from this project that I have applied to my FMP, the style guide of Kew especially. I’m really happy with my overall appearance of the postcards.

Despite this, if I were to improve on this project, I would have liked to locate where I was when I took the photos, and possibly collected seeds of those plants to put on the postcards. This way, whoever buys the postcards, will take home a bit of Kew with them. Nevertheless, the brief was about connecting, and the postcards show the connection of science, peace and beauty all in one, making Kew Gardens far more than a pageant of flowers.


Final adjustments.

I want to print my postcards using Moo, a printing website that produces in high quality. As I saw my postcards on the preview, I noticed that the landscape postcards’ notes were very close to the trim and bleed.

I want to make sure that there is a good enough gap to prevent any trimming happening on my postcards, so I have decided to move the notes up on the landscape images. Understanding how the bleed and trimming works, it is important to make sure that any text is at least 3-5mm away from the trimming mark, to make sure that no clipping occurs, or that the text does not look like it is going to fall off the page.

Final postcard designs.

These are my final designs for Kew Gardens. I wanted to take into consideration of the text on the image, so I placed it centrally on all of the pages, and put them near the edge to allow as much of the image to be seen as possible.

Some of the facts were longer than others, so I put the longer facts on the landscape images, as that allowed more room for the text to be placed. All of the images show plants and locations of the beautiful garden, with a fact about the plants to bring both the text and imagery together.

I’m really pleased with how these have turned out, as they look different to the usual style of Kew Gardens, but they represent a modern appearance using photography. I would have still liked to note down the co-ordinates of where I had taken the photo, as that would have been a nice addition to the postcard and made them more interactive with the audience, as they could take the postcard and locate where I had taken the photo. I would like to get these professionally printed also to showcase my work, and to see how the photos look in print.

The photos chosen are peaceful, they show colour in different forms and gives the audience a small taster of what they could / have seen in the magnificent place, as well as giving them some information they may not have realised, connecting them with the gardens, rather than just visiting.

Experimenting with my postcard designs.

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I began with playing around with the designs of my postcards following the guidelines of Kew, as well as wanting to implement some factual information about Kew and why there is so much more about the gardens than the landscape.

These were my 4 final results, which I could consider using as my final design. I felt that the title of Kew Gardens was not fitting with the actual design of the postcard.

Despite trying out different techniques such as masking some of the image out, changing the colours of the title, as well as making the image smaller, I felt this took away the effect of the image, which is what I want to stand out.

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I decided to consider putting the logo at the back of the postcard. I saw some postcard designs for the back of Kew Gardens, and the back designs have been kept simple for people to write on the back. I want to keep the back design simple also, taking inspiration from their existing postcard designs; I put together my back design, including a small flower illustration as a little ‘decoration’.

4 – Final Layout


My final experimentation was to put a fact about Kew on the front in their style. I thought this fitted more than the other designs, as it is clean, simple and does not clash with the photography. I had a go at putting one of the other symbols on the front, however it was blending too much into the picture, not allowing it to be visible and causing eyestrain because of it.

Response: Postcard designs.

In response to what I have found for this mini project, I have produced the front of my postcard designs in a modern, illustrative way using photography. I wanted the pictures to look slightly abstract with subtle colours coming through, giving the audience a glimpse of what they could be looking at as they come to visit the gardens.

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The designs themselves I took into consideration with the originally existing theme of Kew Gardens, and I wanted them to be applied easily with the rest of what they do.

I also went on to look at their typography, and I came across their actual guideline. I thought this would be an excellent resource to use in order to ensure my postcard designs match as closely to their specifications as possible.

The guidelines explain everything from colours, to fonts, to advertising, to board layouts. It is an extremely useful template to use, and I can also use this as part of my research for a style guide for my FMP, helping to bring everything further together.

With the images I have got, I will begin to create a template that I can use for the postcard designs. Using a template will mean that I will have a consistent design theme running throughout my postcards still.

Looking at their shop.

I had a look online to find some more inspiration of Kew and what they sell and what the print on, as well as the styles. I can see that the illustrative vintage style is used on all of their products, which keeps to the theme throughout. What I love about this is the diversity on which they can the illustrations, whether they make patterns, single out illustrations or they use it as their example of plant choice.

I also found out whilst researching that they use the illustrative style in response with the illustrations that are used in books and research of flowers. I thought this was a critical piece of information to take note of, especially when it comes to applying my piece to their work. I think it is important to understand the theme of Kew, but to also give it a slight modern twist, especially to the prints.

Referring back to the science of Kew, I looked into the scientific information and facts about the place, and I found out some amazing facts that I think would be important to include on the postcards:

  •  Kew’s collections contain over 8.5 million items.
  • Kew has over 250 highly skilled scientists, curators and technicians.
  • The scientific spans and collaborations span 100 countries worldwide.
  • There are 30,000 species of plants.
  • Kew’s Herbarium contains around 7 million preserved plant specimens that have been collected around the world over the past 150 years.
  • 25,000 specimens are added each year to the Herbarium.
  • Kew’s Fungarium’s collection contains around 1.25 million dried specimens of fungi.
  • Kew uses the plants and fungi to compare existing specimens with new collections to see the change and evolution between the species.
  • Kew’s collections of rare plants have their seeds frozen and preserved, to help prevent them from extinction.
  • There are over 80,000 seed collections of plants that are recognised to be rare or becoming extinct.
  • There are over 200,000 prints and drawings assembled over the last 200 years of research.

Postcard inspiration.

I decided to have a look at some existing postcards and their designs. I was becoming more drawn to the styles of illustration over photography as I was researching. All of the designs were completely varied, which gave me a lot of inspiration when it comes to designing my own postcards.

I feel that the postcards that had a more illustrative style felt more personal, which to me represents the idea of connecting also. In relation with this to what I have produced for Kew Gardens, I can see how illustration and photography can benefit each other by merging the two styles together.

Although I did like the digitally illustrated designs, I wanted to take a different spin on my designs and make people stop and think about the design, rather than just knowing how it was made. Because the pictures are personal to Kew Gardens also, it brings a lot more sentimental value to the designs, as well as making them different.

With my style also, they can be sued as a collectibles item, which can be used as a challenge for people going to the gardens to try and find where I took the photos, as I took them in very public and specific areas of the garden, which are easy to find.

What this project reminded me of was my project last year Weird and Wonderful London, the activity book. I would have loved to work out my exact location of where I took my photos, as I could have put them on the postcard for people to find the location themselves.

Despite this, the postcards will resemble the feeling of connecting to nature and you as a person through the design. I intend to research more about Kew Gardens and find out some interesting facts and information that I could put on the postcards. By doing this, the postcards will have more value and meaning to them, as it will be informing people as well as showing what beauty they could be visiting.

Postcard design experimentation (further).

I wanted to take my photos further, so I found a tutorial online that turns photos into illustrations. I thought this could work really well for my project and link nicely with the older style postcard designs.

What I did differently in comparison to the tutorial, was on one of the layers (sketch layer), I put the mode onto screen, and added a mask set at 20% to reveal some of the colour from the original image behind. I also included an extra layer with the blend mode on ‘multiply’ to bring out the lines more.

I love what I have done to my image; the picture still brings out that calmness but also a little bit of curiosity to the image. The level of detail is emphasised with the effects I have put onto the image, and it shows the beauty of what the place has to offer.

I then changed the layer mask option and instead of having the layer on ‘screen’, I changed to ‘colour dodge’, which allowed some of the colour to come through. I felt this was much more effective as it allowed more colour to come through across the page, rather than in certain areas.

I really like this technique, and I would like to use this for my postcard designs. With all 36 images I have got, I would like to use this effect on all of them, and create a whole series of beautiful postcards/advertisements that Kew Gardens can use for their new design.



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Influenced by what I have seen, I have decided to think about how I can include the biological facts of Kew, but also combine this with their vintage style with my photography. I got 4 photos from my selected few and did some quick experimentation in Photoshop to see what I could do with my images, and simply using the filter option, I remembered the mosaic effect. To my surprise, I felt that this worked really well on my pictures.

I feel I could still go further with this however. I want to show in a modern style the idea of peace and connecting through design in the postcards and advertisements. Kew Gardens have a lot to offer to the public, and there are endless surprises as you venture around the vast garden.

Because of this, it can be easy to miss little details. Thinking about details, the postcards need to show that attention to detail is essential to the garden, and because there is so much to look at, looking at what you can see is important, as that is what makes you feel connected with the place and yourself as a person.


As I walked around Kew, I took pictures purely on plants because of how busy the place was. Although this was unfortunate, I wanted to make sure my photos showed peacefulness and a feeling of connection despite how busy it was, because the gardens itself makes you feel that regardless of how many people there were.

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With the photos that I have got, I’m really happy with the quality and how beautiful the shots were. Because of the time of year, the flowers were blossoming in rich colours, which I want to emphasise especially for my project seeing as it is the season for these plants.

What I have decided to do is look at what Kew already does for their advertisements. All I could find were beautiful illustrations that look old fashioned and give you that feeling of the gardens being vintage and truly one of a kind. The text is simple and bold, allowing the image to be the primary focus for people to have a look at.

Inspired by this, I feel I need to give Kew a modern-vintage identity for their advertisements. Their current advertisements appear to look like they are made with 2D painted layers, the shading is minimal but the level of detail with each ‘layer’ makes you stop and look at everything.

What I love about their advertisements is that it feels like they have purposely only used illustrative styles to give the audience a glimpse of what they could see, and how amazing the place truly is when you see it come to life as your enter the place.