Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Liverpool Migration Board

Came up with the idea that perhaps I could create my own, fake organisation that would aid Liverpudlians outside of Liverpool, or are thinking of migrating from the city - The Liverpool Migration Board. As a starting point of this I made a fake form which people would fill in when moving from the city. There's a Photoshop mockup of this to the right.

I think this idea has some legs as a series, I'd like to see where it could go.

Other media/formats:
  • Scouse-English dictionary for Scousers 'abroad' (ie anywhere but Liverpool).
  • Questionnaires, user feedback forms.
  • Fake humorous calls to the LMB call centre.
  • Scouse traveller's kit. Includes watering can to recreate wet weather, carrots and meat in an emergency scouse making kit.
  • Website to collate all of this.
Some useful sourcepoints:
  • Information on travel vaccinations. Maybe Liverpudlians would require different kinds of 'vaccinations' when travelling the UK - precautionary measures such as buying overcoat for Aberdeen, for example.
  • AA Travel books. Advisory books/information from a travel company that know about stuff.
  • Visa application forms. Maybe the forms idea can be extended a lot further. In fact the whole project could be based around it. This might be more feasible in the remaining timescale (13 days left).
  • RhymeZone. Useful for coming up with cheesy taglines/slogans, for example, what would rhyme with 'migration'?

Tomorrow I want to finalise some of these ideas and bring them together in some way. This may just be a case of designing some interfaces for websites but I want to keep developing ideas around the concept. Some more Photoshop mockups of forms might be good. In short, a set of definitive plans so that I can start to implement them on Friday and next week.

Book review - AA Essential Guide to England

AA Guide to England, Amazon entry

Another trip to the library today to get some travel guide based books. The most useful of these was the AA's guide, a specialist guide for people touring the country. Contains lots of informational/instructional design and provides some ideas for formats of this project.

Some of the pages are literally full of iconography and formatted information on the country, such as currency, shop opening times with colour coding etc.

There's a special section for local variations in phrases etc. for American tourists. This could be worth making into a whole section for a poster or leaflet, maybe even a book - a Scouse -> English dictionary with useful phrases. "Aw ad like sum milk" -> "I would like to purchase some milk". There could be a special currency section for outside Liverpool - in Merseyside, chips could be currency, whereas elsewhere it would be pound sterling.

Instructional design and advertising


Above is the Daewoo design from the Digital Graphic Design book I mentioned in an earlier post. The book states that the brief for the deisgners was to create something that reflects the fact the car would 'ease the pain of urban parking'. The deisgners got together and discussed the brief, jotting down some initial ideas for the campaign, including city riots, stop signs and wheel clamps. They plumped for an idea based on an Ordnance Survey road map and the well known 'P' (parking) symbol, which was developed into the design shown above.

The idea works because it is a format instantly recognisable by drivers - a road map. It would immediately be apparent that this is no ordinary map, though - there are way too many parking signs for that. The implication is that whilst driving the Daewoo Matiz, everywhere is a parking space. You could argue that this would also work with many other small cars, including the Mini or even the Peel P50, which was actually on this week's Top Gear programme (in fact, in the Peel's case, the car can literally be parked inside buildings, it is so small). However, having the image and name of the car in the bottom corner creates the association with this particular vehicle. Couple this with the tag line spread across all kinds of media associated with the brand and the ingredients for a successful marketing campaign are present.


The above deisgn is for a limited edition business-to-business mailer for a Tony Stone picture library image as police evidence. It was part of a re-branding of the whole package of the gallery - flyers, posters and a cover letter were also produced as well as this sealed bag. This cross referencing, or placing a particular product in another situation works well, another of these "things that make you go 'ha!'". The format is not as recognisable as the one in the Daewoo advert, unless you are a police officer, but the text 'Police Evidence' is helpful in this case. Still, this association with one particular image from the library (guy laid on the floor) works.

Instructional design and parody


Naturally, the medium of iconography/signography (is that a word?) is open for parody, as I have already touched upon in the Sagmeister post. In order to make the idea work, it would have to offer something different such as a sense of humour or subversion. To put it differently, something that makes you go 'ha!' The above designs are by a Belgian artist known under the pseudonym "$" and are part of a set of icons relating to dogs, treating the animal as if it were a product, a type of bleach or something.


Come to think of it, I have experimented in instructional design in the past, with varying amounts of success. The Universal Remote Control is a fictional TV remote that allows the user to control time and space with the press of a button. Above left is a diagram for it in which I parody the instruction manual, even to the extent that it is used as a drinks mat rather than read properly. Above right is a silly little diagram instructing/advising how to avoid speed cameras, parodying those diagrams from 'learn to drive' manuals. It isn't as successful but this is the kind of atmosphere I could set out to create.

If I could bring these elements together in the form of a guide for Liverpudlians it would be a good reflection of the Scouse sense of humour and of city life.

Instructional design

Instructional design is used by the teacher or person in possession of knowledge to portray it, pictorially or otherwise, to those whom it is in their best interests to know. Benjamin Bloom stated, in an influential taxonomy, that there are three types of learning:
  • Cognitive - what we know or think
  • Psychomotor - what we do physically
  • Affective - what we feel, attitudes we have
When an individual comes across a sign, firstly their prior knowledge of associating this kind of design with an instruction that will benefit them (cognitive). This results in them reacting to the sign, doing (or in some cases, not doing) what the sign tells them to (psychomotor). The individual then bears this in mind until it is no longer necessary to do so (affective) - for example a 'wet floor' sign would only be applicable for a certain floorspace: after this they don't need to walk carefully.

Thus, it would seem, instructional design relies heavily on pre-existing conceptions of signs, such as large, bold, capitalised lettering, or stylised iconography. It seems to me that it would be necessary to follow the code already established for the particular medium. Thus, some research into this area will be necessary. Adapting existing designs may be the order of the day.

Photography in this post by me, incidentally.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Stefan Sagmeister - Design can Make You Happy

This was a video I saw in one of the DYSTT? video showings:


Very interesting it was, too. In particular the signage and guerilla marketing campaign caught my eye. Signage is obviously a very prominent aspect of the city, so there's an instant connection there. These signs are very clever and sometimes humorous, something I am interested in using for my ideas. Chris Sharrock recommends using humour to break from the norm when thinking creatively, so that could be something for development.



The first idea was for producing blank speech bubble stickers and placing them on posters, billboards etc. around New York. If a poster could speak, what would it say? This was conceived by an artist known as 'str8up' whom Sagmeister became acquainted with. The idea was that other people write comments in the bubbles and the artist comes back at a later date to inspect them. The result is often brilliant. Reminds me of those caption competitions in newspapers and magazines you get every so often, but placed in the public domain for people to contribute and interact with. An incredibly brilliant idea, in my opinion.

The volunteer card was given to people to wear in order to feel 'special'. Of course, the card is fake in that no company officially authorised it, but it would certainly make you feel better. This is the idea driving it: peoples' reactions to items such as this can be an interesting link between sociology and art. The final image is representative of a selection of signs produced in a similar vein - taking an already well-know symbol or concept and changing it, to humorous effect. Again, the subversion works very well, I reckon. Interesting how peoples' actions change when they are instructed to do something - we are learned, pre-programmed to take notice of the signs because from past experience we know that it will be beneficial to us. If I saw this on the train, it would certainly cheer me up.

Came up with an idea to produce something for people migrating, or thinking of migrating, from Liverpool - a tourists guide for the rest of the world, a survival guide for travelling Scousers. This could take the form of signs, or even a booklet. Perhaps I could produce content for this or maybe even make a whole book.

Tomorrow I will concentrate on generating some more ideas for development and start to pick the best for a possible outcome. It will be useful to talk to tutors about these to aid my judgement.

Book review time

Spent some time looking round book shops and the library.

Liverpool History
The local collection seemed a sensible place to start, in order to get a bit more knowledge of the history of the city. From skimming through these books I got a bit more insight into Liverpool's industrial past and some of the major aspects of Liverpudlian culture. Some interesting pictures of how the city centre has changed, from the building of the cathedrals to the layout of the city streets.

Digital Graphic Design - Bob and Maggie Gordon


Even though this book is more print design orientated there are some useful sourcepoints and it shows how an idea is conceived and worked through before being implemented. In particular the Daewoo adverts from 2001 (page 97) with a map filled with parking spaces I found great - probably the best thing in the book. It takes Chris Sharrock's first rule of idea generation (adapt an already existing idea, something famous or well-known) and works on the concept that the Daewoo Matiz is supposed to "ease the pain of urban parking". A seemingly obvious idea that makes you go 'ha!'

The multimedia section isn't greatly helpful, though. It concentrates too much on touch screens, which I find a bit boring, actually.

Open Here: The Art of Instructional Design - Paul Mijkesenaar and Piet Westendorp

This costs £15 to buy on the web but I actually bought this book from the Book Clearance Centre for £4, so take that, Amazon! A visually attractive book, it reminded me of the Stefan Sagmeister video I saw at one of the video showings. Very useful it was, lots of examples of well designed imagery, signage and diagrams that work. If I could incorporate the idea of instructional design with humour like Sagmeister, I would have produced a satisfying outcome, I reckon.

Something worth pursuing further, I think.

Scouse dialect and humour

Liverpool has wide ranging cultural roots, maybe one of the reasons it was awarded European Capital of Culture status for 2008. These roots, a mish-mash of Irish, African and Asian-descended cultures, have contributed to the very make up of the Liverpudlian psyche.

The Liverpudlian dialect has more roots in the United Kingdom. Liverpool, as a port city, has welcomed immigrants from Ireland, Scotland and other parts of England in centuries past. The result is a culturally rich local dialect which can be seen as 'out of sync' with many other northern accents due to this. Scouse words, and elements of the Liverpool accent derive from many sources, such as Cockney.

Selected Scouse dialect

Some of the more colourful words and phrases from Scouse:
  • Crogger or backie - hitch a ride on a bicycle.
  • Council Pop - water. I've also heard Corporation pop.
  • Scoop - pint (of beer)
  • Saggin' skewl - playing truant.
  • Gorran 'ead as big as Birken'ed - rather self assured.
  • Fire bobby - fireman . Common in North West.
  • Moggy - cat. In Wigan, this means creepy crawly. Interesting how words can mean different things in different places.
  • Dollar - five shillings.
  • Got de coppers - got no money.
  • Flies cemetary - Eccles cake (Er, can't see the connection here)
  • Nudger - baguette.
  • Kirkby kiss - headbutt. I'm sure every town/city uses this eg. Glasgow Kiss, Wigan kiss etc.
I'm sure there's some scope for humour in misinterpretations here.

Sources:
Lernin' yerself Scouse
Wikipedia article
Excerpts from the Scouse Dictionary

Quango Wangism


This is an archive site showcasing some photography and work by local artist 'Tomo'. I think the site layout is worth a mention. Although it is simple - a HTML only layout with hotspot links - it performs its task effectively enough. In fact, I like the whole cardboard box and print aesthetic, the throwaway, rough atmosphere is engaging.

As for the presentation, it suits the work. Might be something to think about for this project, perhaps a collection of imagery brought together by one website.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Briefly testing an aesthetic



I quite like the pixel art aesthetic and I can see myself producing something challenging with it: for example the test image above took a while to create and even now it looks a bit rubbish. I guess it would take some practice to do well.

However I don't want to dwell on this too much at the moment, I have to come up with a concept of some sort first of all. Another of the images (middle) is a test for a graph which could, conceivably, be converted to a row of skyscrapers to represent the data. A bit clich├ęd, maybe but perhaps worth pursuing as a small test.


Above is the actual background image from the Shrinking Cities website. Looks like it's from Sim City 3000 actually. On the web page, it is blown up to large scale so looks pixellated and blurred.

Some more variations on the Probe aesthetic

I briefly revisited the Probe site layout again today, trying out a couple of of variations and changing a few things here and there:


I'm having a few second thoughts about the chat function. Maybe it would work better embedded into the HTML of the site and reduce the importance of the avatars, maybe removing them completely. Also notice the buttons with the fancy font are gone - perhaps they were chunky, taking up too much space on the screen, plus the font would not be feasible in HTML. This could be easily combatted but I wanted to see what plain text links would be like to contrast with the main, image heavy interactive environment.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Probe aesthetic, briefly revisited

One aspect of the Probe project I think is a bit underdeveloped is the aesthetic. I will continue to work on this as time goes on but today I mocked up another possible layout, an extension of the aesthetic used in the introduction page of the interactive environment:


It's not perfect but it's another idea for a layout. Some aspects are working well, such as the new method of presenting information within the Flash movie (in this case the music). Others, like the buttons at the top, may need a bit more work, I think. Still, the more variations I produce the better the outcome, I suppose. In this particular one, I have attempted to keep some simplicity whilst introducing a text based link system that would serve as a quick reference guide for those who do not wish to navigate/explore the environment. I think I still want to keep the chat function though I may consider bringing this into the HTML coding.

It would be good to produce a couple more of these, perhaps refining what I have. In addition, I want to get some mockups for HTML pages and their linkage with the Flash piece. In other words, I need to think through some of the aspects a bit more. Hopefully then I will be able to present a pitch for the website within my portfolio which will most likely be a series of A4 sheets. Those current presentation sheets need some work.

The City by Neil Gaiman

A very interesting essay about the city can be found here. This was created for the game Sim City 2000 and is engaging and, I feel, highly relevant. For example, taken as is, it would make an interesting addition to the Shrinking Cities exhibition.

Right is an image of this in context, which I think is a very good piece as a whole. It mentions how the character of a city changes over time. This can be said of Liverpool - from its early days as an industrial port to its modern status as Capital of Culture, the city has been best known for many things over the years. Tomorrow, things could change. Something may happen that people don't like and leave as a result etc.

The City at Neil Gaiman's blog

Pixel cities

The home page of the Shrinking Cities website has a slightly blurred pixellated representation of a city. This, to me, resembles the video game Sim City - in particular Sim City 2000 with its isometric view and lo-res pixel rendered buildings. I used to enjoy playing this game and have come to endear to the aesthetic. I wonder if this was, in fact, the inspiration behind eboy's pixellated cities? You can certainly see the similarities - a lot of their large scale works are more detailed and busy versions of a typical game of Sim City.

Right is a piece by Gobbo1000 on Flickr. It represents his city, 'Miki-ville', in Sim City 2000. This in itself is just a great piece of artwork, almost like an isometric version of Google Earth. The direct Flickr link also has some rollover tags indicating some of the major areas of the town.

IconTown is an online project with a vaguely similar aesthetic. The idea is that people come together and create an icon to be placed in the larger virtual city, thus becoming 'citizens'. The site itself makes use of some pixel fonts but does not go overboard with the idea - the icons themselves do the talking, as such. This idea of community collaboration between artists is great - everyone submits their own designs for the area that represents them in the town. And that's pretty much it.


Halfshag
provides a simple pixel building block editor (right) with an isometric grid providing the canvas and coloured shapes being the elements used to create a building or whatever you want. Each user, on registering, has their own page on the site to which one design can be saved. This is a feature that makes this site - you can show it off to your friends and so on. Here's mine.

The idea of video games is one that would potentially be interesting. I'm sure there must be at least one, but I could not find a video game that was based in Liverpool. There are lots for London, in particular Grand Theft Auto and Gangs of London but none for Liverpool. Pity because this would have been an interesting source point.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Project paths

I don't want to jump too far ahead at this stage. For now I want to decide which particular area I want to concentrate on. Some early rough areas for exploration:
  • Liverpool regeneration projects. One reason for the mass exodus from Liverpool, I think, is the constant regeneration - wherever you go in Liverpool there's always a redevelopment project going on. There are lots of them around, Including:
  • Traffic and public transport. Commuting from and to Liverpool. Lime Street gateway project.
  • Run down areas. I personally feel these are more interesting than the newer areas. Series of posters - contrast the Liverpool 08 Capital of Culture with negative images, almost saying "how did Liverpool get awarded this status in the first place?" A cynical view.
  • Graffiti and vandalism. Links closely with subject above. Found a really good photo set on Flickr based on this, by 'A Community Brother'.
  • Online representations of Liverpool. Where Liverpool people meet on the Internet.
Finally, here's a graph showing the population of Liverpool since 1800:
This proves it is in decline and has been since about 1930, when it peaked. It might be good to investigate further why people have been leaving for so long.

More Liverpool videos



This video I found interesting. It charts the build up of Liverpool and its landmarks from 1907-2007 using a series of photographs. It shows the progression from just a few buildings to the state the city is at today. This would fit in more with the 'Expanding cities' idea, I suppose.



This is a French documentary that talks about a few aspects of Liverpool life. I like the inserts with Liverpool related paraphernalia, but the most interesting point to come from this is the idea of commercialism creeping into and taking over the city. The presenter mentions that the Albert Docks, which had recently been redeveloped, brought people from Manchester and London to work in the shops there.

Some inspiration - Liverpool videos

YouTube has some great videos submited by amateur and professional film makers about Liverpool city centre. Smeech's Symphony of Bells was a particular favourite and was actually shown at the first DYSTT video showing. Reminded me a bit of my Liverpool Biennial videos.



It has a haunting quality and documents an actual event in a dramatic fashion. Some of the shots get a bit repetitive but overall it's a good piece. This documentary style is something I will consider as this is an area of film making that seems interesting.



Desolation by Riazomonero also depicts Liverpool city centre, only this time as a hypothetical situation if the city were to suffer disease, leaving a 'shell of a city' behind.



This piece by JohnNadaUK is entitled 'City Scramble' and depicts Liverpool through time lapse camera. It is 'meant to show how mechanical consumer lifestyle is', which is one of the aspects of the Shrinking Cities project - commercialisation etc.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Which brief?

I have spent the day exploring the briefs a bit and can honestly say I still don't know which I am going to choose. I have pretty much ruled out the Turner Prize brief but not completely yet. Initially my gut instinct told me to go with the e-marketing brief but I would like to do something different. If I were to choose the Elevator brief I would want to produce something a little bit out of the ordinary in order to make the project successful. The Shrinking Cities brief is more open and would offer scope to develop things but I would have to speak with tutors about the rigidity of the outcome.

Tomorrow I will explore in detail the briefs, looking at some initial ideas and reference points and generate initial ideas, if not for final outcomes then for concepts. This will begin by looking at some of the keywords proposed by the briefs and the potential for expansion on them.

Turner Prize brief

To be honest, I don't really like the sound of this brief - it's too focused on rebranding. Although I do like the idea of producing multimedia outcomes for this, in particular maybe video based content, I'm not massively into the whole 'invent a new look' idea. I don't know how flexible this particular brief is, maybe there's scope for some interactivity in there and it could take a while to work it out.

The Turner Prize is seen as a a controversial, edgy art award. In fact it's the one the media pay the most attention to. I would need to reflect this but not go overboard on any particular style when rebranding. After all, this is going to have some sort of commercial presence - maybe indicated by Gordon's gin sponsoring the event.

The brief mentions guerrilla marketing. I can see this being a particularly successful method but it may require a bit more - something out of the ordinary - to make things work, to stand out from the crowd. The prize traditionally concentrates on installation art - this is perhaps the public's perception. Would I want to play to this or change their views?

A starting point for this brief would be to take a look at previous exhibitions and marketing campaigns for the prize. I am not really sure if it has a massive market presence at the moment, though, so there may be relatively few of these. Secondly, the prize traditionally focuses on British artists - why not play on this Britishness? Would it be something fun, typically British, or use British icons?

Sources

Turner Prize Wikipedia entry

Turner Prize information @ tate.co.uk

Shrinking Cities brief

From reading this brief I don't really get a very good idea of what is necessary/required. It's either very vague or very open, don't know which. But the concept is an interesting one, namely examine whether the city of Liverpool is shrinking. This could be focused on the city as a whole or just a single part of it, which may or may not be a representation of the whole city.

The final outcome will be for an exhibition in the city. It is suggested that this could be illustrations, images, a visual essay (whatever this is), maps etc. I am sure the format will become obvious to me as I develop some rough ideas for concepts to work on. That is, if I choose to do this project.

Last year I started a project for the soundworks module with the city in mind. This developed into something completely different but perhaps the sounds of the city could represent what is disappearing. It's a personal hunch that all this redevelopment is driving people away from the city and maybe after 2008 they will come back. Perhaps they are against all this modernisation and want to be somewhere less hectic.

Maybe I could take a particular part of Liverpool as a starting point and build things up from there. For example, the Edge Lane project is an example of people moving out of the city to make way for new developments. I'm not sure what these are yet though.

Shrinking Cities website

I like the virtual pixellated city on the home page. Reminds me of Sim City. Sadly this isn't really part of the project, only an illustration. This is a bigger project than I thought it was, taking in big cities around the globe.

Shrinking Cities - more about
At the Spaces Gallery

Elevator brief - thoughts

From looking through the reference points and reading the brief a few times it seems this brief is mostly, if not entirely, screen based. However there is the opportunity to bring in hand made/collaged stuff. The website/e-letter part of this brief would suit my interests and I would be free to develop something for the screen with only a few restrictions. That said, I expect this to be a difficult task.

The screen format offers the chance to use multimedia aspects such as sound and video as well as Flash embedding as I see necessary.

I would need to start by looking in more detail at the websites and newsletters issued by websites. I also need to look further into the Elevator brand and their goals.

Elevator brief - Reference points

Been skimming through the reference websites suggested on the Elevator brief. Just a few thoughts on a selection of them.

Tilly and the Wall

Band website. A nice function is that you can choose the 'skin' of the site depending on the season - spring, winter etc. These are selected at the index page via a series of hung paintings. From what I can gather, though, these skins are purely cosmetic and have no function other than looking quite nice. Which they do. The collage effect is a little surreal and includes cats and an owl on the telephone. There is a hand drawn, thrown together illustrative style that comes across, and a circular rotation thing that scans through the collages when a link is selected from the menu. This part reminds me of the inserts in Fonejacker a bit.

I like this one. It's wacky.

Six Nation State

Another band site. Doesn't stand out as much as the Tilly site and has a solid layout that functions fairly well. I can't read the text though. Not massively original but the photographic collection of found items reminds me of the photography of Brian Cannon. Not worth pursuing much further I would have thought, however.

Wasted Youth PR

Not a bad little site, the information can be found easily and the colour scheme work - I like the black white and pink scheme at the moment for some reason. Some little animated bits which I quite like. Uncomplicated. Ease of reference.

Broken Social Scene

I am starting to get the general idea of these reference points now. Rather than doing something new they are meant to put across information in a relatively aesthetically pleasing manner. This is what BSS site is like - it is easy on the eye and certainly better than the Six Nation State site, I reckon. The discography was a nice little collection of album art. One of the better sites, I'd say. Again, it has that home made look, for some reason. Maybe there's a pattern emerging here.

The Coral

An HTML site that harks back to the 60s in its colour scheme and main header. This is a reflection of some of the current album art and looks pretty good, an extension of the band. There's an awful lot of information but it's easy to navigate.

Scruffy Bird

A bit different from the other pages in its monotone colour scheme. Is a bit more typography based but there is an attractive animation of some birds. Is also scruffy in that the logo is slightly JPEGged. Information is all on one page, much like a design for an e-letter would be. Can't get the pop up windows to work, though. A good one, I think.

Wichita Recordings

The last on the list of references. Incidentally the most corporate looking of the sites. Not a fan of the serif fonts - in general it takes a bit of work to make serifs work on a computer screen. The interactive photo is the best bit but it is not entirely obvious you can click on things.

Elevator Studios brief - Elevatorstudios.co.uk

Elevator Studios website

The brief states that Elevator want something original in their new e-letters but still accurately portraying what they represent. This may take some time and a bit of research to work out but a good starting point would be their existing website.

On first look it seems pretty well designed, nothing special or outstanding though. The brown colour scheme with ornate 'etchings' and prints has an old-style quality reminiscent of jukeboxes or hard wood radios, a bit like the Grand Harmonium Records site. It seems this is the kind of 'look' Elevator are looking for - a slightly Art Deco, decorative coat of arms look, particularly in the logo (left). The Century-type serif font fits in with this, as do the fancy link separators.

There are also some more slightly fine art/graphic design type elements. A print of what could be the building is present in the lower left corner which is a little bit out of step with the rest of the page but functions to an extent.

The overall feel is one of quality and of slight pomposity, at least in my opinion, this is what it comes across as. A look at the studios, however, hints at where the brown, varnished colour scheme comes from:

In this photo, the studio comes across as slightly Art Deco though there is a minimalist quality also. The space seems artificially lit and there are a lot of shades of brown. When the site and the studios are taken as a whole there is some sort of consistency - it does give the feel of a performance area.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Website design is online

I have uploaded the current state of the interactive Flash piece to my website. It should be regarded as a work in progress because it is nowhere near finished.

Misc Media


I suppose the Identity and Promotion brief wasn't all bad. I think I actually produced a few quite interesting designs, despite the fact they are largely unformatted.

Above is a photostitch of Probe Records, of which I mocked up a simple scrolling shop. At the point I created it I was still undecided as to whether to plump for photorealism or pseudo-3D in Flash. I opted for the latter but if I were to pick the former I would have gone back to Probe to get some better resolution images. Maybe even a Quicktime VR would have been a useful small element to add to the site but it might have looked a bit weird and out of place in the shape tweened environment of the online shop.

For such a simple idea I like the overall effect. I might email it to Probe to see if they would like to use it on their site... I doubt they would take it though.

Below are some selected designs which could have been developed into something more substantial but were kind of ditched in favour of the current aesthetic. I liked the King Kong recontextualisations but I felt that if I were to use them as central elements to the site it would have been akin to cheating, ie using an existing design.

Thinking back, this seems a bit weird as in my original project statement I actually mentioned that I wanted to recontextualise what was already there. After discussion with tutors, I felt it would have been more beneficial to pursue something else. In the end, I went for a technical design rather than a purely graphical one.


Evaluation

The actual piece I have submitted for the initial review is far from completion. But, I have managed to get a few things functioning such as a simplified chat interface (minus PHP elements). After conversation with tutors, it was decided that the most interesting aesthetic was that on the introductory splash page (right). If I could have worked this into the project more perhaps there would have been a more definite identity to the piece. I'm not that confident in the one I have currently implemented.

If I were to continue this project, I would work on plans to pitch the website to Probe, though I would look to produce some new designs for an overall aesthetic. If I were to do the project again I would choose a path earlier and look to develop it more, but then again this is what I planned to do for what I have already produced. The problem was that I decided it was better to change direction halfway through the project. The result is fractured, unfocused and scatty. Perhaps the goal of producing a finished, polished website Probe could use was a bit unambitious and it is better that I tried to accomplish something less realistic within the timescale given.

However, whilst not achieving a great deal of final, finished work, I feel I have learned a lot about working by myself with the goal of producing work for other people. Probe were largely uninterested (I think they are perhaps of the view that the website should be given minimal effort) and I don't think my slightly rushed presentational sheets do the idea justice (perhaps I should have allotted more time to this rather than screen based stuff). I will learn from this experience and look to apply this to future projects.

Presentation sheets




These are very much a work in progress, and would probably be better at A4 size than A3. There definitely needs to be some reworking of the realignment and perhaps a rethinking of the aesthetic but there may not be time for this now.