Thursday, November 11, 2010

Agenda design project

After 5 Minutes
When starting my work on an agenda cover, I honestly had no idea where to start in terms of choosing a general idea or theme so I simply just thought of what school is associated with for most people; which many believe to be "thought" and intelligence (largely debated and not my personal opinion). To represent "thought", I chose the "Thinking man" statue from the Internet because he is well-known worldwide for conveying the human act of thought, I felt that he needed his own thought bubble as well (though I had no idea what he'd be thinking). I also stated through the stylized text that the yearbook is for the September 2011 school year and is a CWJ agenda book.

After 25 Minutes
I began to think about linking the act of "thinking" and "imagining" with school and in particular, with the school CW Jeffrey's (A propaganda-like technique), because it is a school specializing in arts classes. I then thought of ways to make the front cover intriguing to the eye; since the entire images was in grayscale and I could not add any color. I started to add character to the picture by including different fonts and writing the school year in a filter called Stamp, I also thought the cover should include an image of the actual school (CWJ) somewhere since it is the school agenda. At first I thought I would obtain a photo of the school by taking the actual picture myself but soon decided that I would rather use an image from Google Images instead. The picture I uploaded in its exact size and format is shown on the left; the image would appear rather distorted and blurry if I had enlarged it (due to its number of pixels). Since I wasn't ever thoroughly satisfied with the image of CWJ that I had obtained, I thought of ways to enhance the appearance; I uploaded an image of an opened set of doors and decided to clone the image of the school behind these doors. Since the actual image of the school couldn't physically fit in between the doors, I had to use the Stamp/Clone Tool to replicate the school. This meant that I was to expand the sky and tree upwards, as well as expand the grass in front of the school downwards.

Original Images used

After 10 Minutes
After 10 minutes, I had almost completely finished editing expanding the tree using the Clone/Stamp tool as well as expanding the sky to the top right and left corners of the doorway, which was an annoying and time-consuming task because I was to once again, pay a great amount of attention to detail. At some point I had merged the two layers containing the doors and the school, this act somehow disabled my ability to use the Clone/Stamp tool to continue expanding the trees and sky  because the layer became locked. Therefore, to expand the sky's color, I would need to clone a white area. To solve this problem, I opened a new normal document and simply cloned an area of the white/blank foreground, using the white shade to substitute for clouds in the sky, as well as shaping the tree's branches (I couldn't clone any of the tree). I then had to resize the image of the doors and school so it would cover each of the bleed lines it was facing.

After 10 Minutes
After 10 more minutes, I had relocated the text showing the year so that it would be more visible the the eye; I ended up rotating the text 90 degrees clockwise and dragging it to the right side so it could fit on the page. I had to erase the text containing the name of the school because I had somehow locked the three texts before while the name of the school remained above the "Thinking Man's" head. I also stretched the image of the doors and school to cover most of the background. I was extremely dissatisfied with my job of attempting to shape the trees by cloning a white background. The branches in my opinion, look unreal and obviously photoshopped because the longer branch on the right suddenly ends abruptly as if part of the branch were chopped. Although I wasn't finished my agenda cover yet, I already wasn't very satisfied with the plainness of the design. I also felt the project would not be as challenging if I stopped my design here. To cover up the vast amounts of empty space, I though about covering the area with images that went along with the theme of learning. I thought suddenly about adding images of student sketchings and doodles  since CWJ is a school of arts; the doodles would symbolize students' talent in creativity and invention. I also considered altering the layout of the images showing the door and school (rotating, resizing) and also of cropping the same image by using the Polygon Lasso Tool and copying a new layer (deleting the old one). I thought abot croping out the hallway on the doors because the darker shades of grey made the doors in the picture look like prison doors.

After 40 Minutes
I decided I would have to add more images to make the agenda cover look somewhat interesting; I started by turning the background image into the inside of a student sketchbook by inserting and merging two sketchbook Google images (to fit background) and setting the merged image as the lowest layer in the entire picture. Then I uploaded a Google image of various student sketchings, from there I used the Polygon Lasso Tool to copy a new layer of the sketchings (ie. the leaves, flowers...) and drag each copied layer to the agenda cover (on the sketchbook page). As well, I thought since I was giving the agenda cover a sketchbook layout, I would perhaps alter the appearance of the "Thinking Man" statue to look more like an actual sketch; to accomplish this task, I would  select the image, go to the Sketch folder under Filter and choose Graphic Pen as the style. I wasn't generally very pleased with the way the picture including the school and doors appeared because the cover design had looked way too straight-forward and plain, I also felt that the design was looking as if it were divided into two sections; the school and the various sketchings. I would therefore attempt to make the entire picture uniform with the main theme (this being imagination and creativity); I rotated the picture of the school slightly and shotoshopped strips of tape in to make the picture appear more realistically as part of a sketchbook. I wanted to place some kind of text into the thinker's speech bubble but I couldn't think of anything relevent he could think so I simply placed an elipsis into the bubble. I thought that the elipsis could symbolize whatever any of the students were thinking of (Unique to every student). Lastly, as if I didn't acheive the overall message of imagination being linked to school well enough through the metaphor, I also added arrows pointing towards the photo of the school to accentuate this theme.  

Original Picture Layout

In retrospect, although I am relatively pleased with the overall design layout of the agenda, there are several aspects of the design that I am not pleased with and would've changed if I had the chance. For one, the fact that the entire picture was defaulted in grayscale (I couldn't change this because the agenda layout file was like this) made the cover slightly boring and lacking character (at least in my opinion). As well, although I liked the overall theme conveyed by the design, I kinda felt as though the overall theme was slightly juvenille; the sketchings seem like those an elementary student would draw. Lastly, I cannot stress how much I despise the phrase ("A place to learn") I inserted on the top-left corner of the cove; the saying is super-cliche and makes me sound like a total education "tool" (which I'm not). Once I had typed in the text, I think I may have merged and locked all the layers which had disabled me from changing the text; I would've changed the text to a quote that provokes at least some thought in whoever sees the cover (Everyone always loves an outlandish and attention-getting quote).

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