Monday, 10 February 2014

Evaluation of AF205

All in all this has been one of my favourite projects I have done on this course. I feel as though I have grown as a designer during it. My typographical decisions have come on a long way thanks to the PDF I designed at the end. My aptitude within Illustrator I feel has improved massively. I am more comfortable exporting PDFs and combining them. I have more of an insight into a competitive brief and I have gained a look at what it would be like working for a major client such as Dominos. It has been a really valuable experience and one I shall take with me. I am really proud of the work that I have created and I have gained a love for that side of design. I have really enjoyed every aspect and I think that the really short turn around we needed to adhere to actually helped a lot to focus me and inspire me to create what I think is some of my best work.


For this brief we also have to create a short PDF file showcasing and explaining our work. This will then be submitted to YCN and in turn our clients for them to look over and evaluate. Now for this I wanted to try something a little different. I wanted to use illustrator to create something visually accomplished and eye-catching. I wanted to utilise similar principles to the ones found in my final artwork to create a strong theme and environment. I thought that a lot of other people submitting PDF's and designs would probably really heavily base and style them on Dominos existing style. In particular their branding guidelines. A white background with red and blue text. Now whilst that shows that they understand Dominos branding guidelines and can mimic them it wouldn't show a great deal of individuality and creativity. So I have taken a little bit of a gamble. I have somewhat ignored the branding guidelines for Dominos and created a design unique to me and my work. My hope is that this will make it stand out from the crowd and be engaging. If I can make it look appealing then hopefully Dominos will be more inclined to look at it. I think that it has the potential to work that way and I am really pleased with the design scheme I created for the PDF. So without further ado here it is:

I am really happy with how this has turned out. It looks professional and there is a clear, consistent theme across all of the pages. I used Dominos font from their guidelines "Trade Gothic Bold Condensed No. 20" for the titles and paired it with "Baskerville" in italics for the little extensions of the title placed above. Accompanying those for the body text is "Baskerville Old Face". All of these work together exquisitely I think. They compliment each other and create a really appealing aesthetic. The shade of red I chose also really works well in my opinion. I didn't want it to be too strong and overpowering to a softened it a little bit. I brought it closer to a pastel shade yet still left it rich enough to draw the eye. The inclusion of custom artwork also I think helps to add a personal touch and a level of iteration within the PDF itself.

Now to make the PDF was a challenge but to get it to work together as one consistent document was something completely different. I probably could have used InDesign to get them to work together as one document but I didn't have a lot of time after finishing all the artwork and had to think of something fast. After looking on the web I found a plugin for Mac called "Combine PDFs" that worked perfectly. To use it firstly I made a custom preset in Illustrator that exports the files as really high quality PDF's then assembled them in a folder:

Select all the PDF files you want to combine:

Then you right click and select "Open With":

And choose "Combine PDFs":

Then when inside the program you make sure all the files are there and in the right order. Once your sure they are just name it as you see fit and then click "Merge PDFs..."

Then hey presto! In no time at all I had a full quality merged PDF with all the files I previously had separate. This plugin was a godsend.

So that's how I created the PDF. Again I am really proud of it and hopefully it will help to just provide an edge over other submissions due to it hopefully standing out and being unique.

Finished Posters

Here I will show the finished designs and comment on the more subtle changes that I made to help bring out each ones full potential.


So other than the position changes due to the fact that the poster wasn't A1 size and the changes to the look of the slogan there weren't many other changes to speak of. Those two changes were a fairly major undertaking though. They took a lot of thought and a lot of work however, I am really happy with the final product I think that it really works, it's eye-catching and it is simple and those are all the aspects that I could have hoped to included.

Flying Saucer:

This poster underwent some really nice changes I think. This is one might be my favourite. First of all I added a slight gradient to the sky. It may not seem like much but when compared with the previous iteration It adds a lot of depth and interest. Here are some screen shots to illustrate the difference:

Here you can see it clearly. In fact I added detail into all the colours across the board. I increased their saturation and made them stand out more. It made such a huge difference without overpowering the image as a whole and it was such a minute change that I made. The next change was too the slogan. I added a lot of detail and interest with some glow passes and overall colour revamp. This makes it work infinitely better. Again here are some comparison screenshots:

It just is more saturated, engaging, aesthetically pleasing and eye-catching. Again simple tweaks can add the world of difference. Overall I am really happy and proud of this design. I think everything works together to make something really nice and successful.


This design (in much the same way as the one before it) underwent a series of subtle tweaks that added a huge amount of credibility and impact to the design as a whole. Again this one came out better than I could have hoped. The only real change to speak of was swapping out the window in the original for a single swinging light. Comparison screenshots:

Now I really liked that window. I thought that the colours really worked, the placement was nice, the shadows and light it cast into the room worked a treat but in the end I thought that it took up a bit too much space and detracted somewhat from the impact of the slogan. It was tough to remove it as it was a lot of work getting it to there it was but sometimes you have to make sacrifices. So i then had a blank canvas with just the slogan and after a bit of thought and trial and error I ended up with a single light illuminating the scene from above. Now I think that this makes the whole design look different and work a lot more just from this one change. I was surprised at the difference it made. The whole design feels more enclosed. More desperate and bleak. Yet it doesn't overstep the mark. It doesn't cross too far into actually being creepy it just adds depth and suspense. I also think it looks amazing and was really simple to create. It adds depth, impact and finesse to the slogan by casting light and a shadow on it. Overall it just really brings the scene together and makes the whole design something to be proud of.


So in conclusion I am really happy with all of my designs. I think they really speak to the art of subtlety and finesse. I was able to add infinitely more depth and interest with only a few minor tweaks here and there and those tweaks bring together each design into something complete and successful. When comparing them to the designs I showed at crit they look notably different and that is all down to one or two minute changes. These changes really worked.

Post Crit Changes

One of the biggest issues I noticed after crit was that my A1 work wasn't actually A1. I don't know how I'd done it but I'd accidentally made them all too narrow. This was a quick fix and I was able to adjust it swiftly with a bit of re-arrangement. After that however it was time to get to work on the changes I had identified. The first was the wording. It used to say "Two Pizza's for the Price of One? Twoday is a Good Day". Then for crit I changed it to "Two for One Pizza's on a Tuesday? Twoday is a Good Day" although I felt that the wording on that was clunky and didn't flow off the tongue properly. So after some help from the class and some brainstorming at home I came up with "Two for One Pizza's Every Tuesday? Twoday is a Good Day". This works a lot better it sounds better and the change from "On a tuesday" to "Every Tuesday" makes a world of difference. It re-enforces the brand and also makes more sense grammatically.

Then contextual wording. As I mentioned in my last post the way the flog an looked in my cowboy design and in the flying saucer design could have been improved. And after fixing the size that was the first thing I did. I really worked hard on making the slogans fit into the world I had created for them and making them blend in a little bit. I am really happy with how they turned out. I love the look of them now and think that they add a really solid amount of detail and finesse to the final designs. Here is an example with the changed look to the slogan for my cowboy design:

As you can see the added detail and colouring really helps to make it pop and I think just adds something to the slogan itself. It shows a lot more effort and a lot more time and as a whole adds validity and aesthetic joy to the design it's situated within.

These were the more major changes that took place on all of my designs. I will show the finished designs in my next blog post and comment on the subtleties that I included to really make each one pop.


After pitch I had learnt my lesson and I wanted to have as finished work as I could have had. Although in my previous post I said I had some changes I wanted to make it was good to be able to explain them and have the class fill me in on ways to possibly improve it more. Here are the posters once again and beneath them some of the feedback I got from the class:

This poster along with all of them was really well received which was great. The only criticism people had with it was that the text stood out like a sore thumb when compared with the text in the other two designs. This was something I had already identified however, and I have already formulated a plan to get it to fit in better.Other than that they really liked the colour, typography, composition, art style and wording so I was really happy with all of that and I had something certain to work on.

Now with this one there was something I forgot to mention in my previous post. Something quite major. The wording at the top. I realised in my other designs I hadn't actually mentioned that the offer took place on a tuesday at all and as a result essentially failed the brief. This was something I put in literally the day before crit just to show that I had acknowledged what it was a shortcoming and this was basically placeholder text as I wasn't 100% on the wording of it. With the classes help though I quickly found something that I was happy with. Other than that I got the impression this was a big hit with them. It was one of my favourites too with the lighting effects I utilised in the tractor beam and so that was great to hear.

This design was popular too. This one (apart from the wording at the top) was probably what I deemed in my head to be the most complete. There are a few minor changes I wish to see on it however, for the most part it's finished. The class really liked the difference this one brought to the table and saw how varied my design could be. That was exactly the purpose I wanted this poster to serve and so that was awesome.

Overall crit was hugely helpful and definitely gave be clarity in the tweaks I wished to make and helped solidify my direction yet more.

Creating the Posters

Well as you know I didn't manage to get any mockups done for pitch. This however, fuelled me to instantly jump on getting all three posters completed to as high a stage as possible before crit. 

And so to make them I decided to use Adobe Illustrator. Some of my classmates were using photoshop and other such programs for their designs using drawing tablets and Photoshop's brushes however, I knew that I wanted a very crisp, colourful look to my posters. Something I view as only achievable in Illustrator with vector artwork. With this in mind I began creating the posters. I had some rough sketches I could use for layout and placement in my sketchbook but for the most part it was just trial and error ( a technique I feel serves me very well and one that I have perfected over the many years). Anyway there were a few changes from my previous posts and from the pitch. Mainly in the three genres I decided to go with. Instead of the Super Hero one I went instead for a Classic Horror theme. This enabled me to show far more diversity and flexibility within my designs I think and serves me a lot better than the super hero one would have. So here they are:



Classic Horror

Now I think it is clear to see visual progression through all of these designs. Even before crit there are things I see to change immediately after. When I made the first one I placed the slogan as a flat, white block of text over the design which fit in with dominos existing branding over their advertising imagery. 

Then when it came to making the second one I realised that that looked glaringly out of place and set about customising it somewhat to blend in more and add some contextual impact to it. This I really liked and after some trial and error settled on a second UFO projecting it onto the sky. 

I then made the horror one and took the contextual approach from the start and went to town with it. I really, really like how the third slogan came out actually and I think it fits the design it's in the best of all of them. Then just to show something more accurate in crit I went back and added some interest to the slogan in the cowboy poster by making it lie flat on the ground and cast a shadow.

For the text across all three I decided to add interest overall by adding 5 degreed anti-clockwise rotation and compensating for that with a 5 degree slant in the other direction. This ensured that all the vertical lines stayed vertical and added some really nice intrigue and depth to the slogan rather than having it just sit flat over the image. This also adds a certain constant nature to all the designs. Some subtle uniformity. This makes them all blend in as a series yet not be too similar so that it looks like I just tweaked a few aspects from each. You can see this also with the drawing style that I employed. Very angular, colourful and blocky. I really like how that all turned out and think that it is definitely eye catching.


Pitch went well. I've always said that pitch and crit are two of my favourite parts of this course. I won't bore you with my detailed reasoning behind why that is however, the short version is it allows me to express my ideas and justify my choices to a room full of people. It solidifies the idea in my head and I see aspects of the design I may not have necessarily thought about in a new light. Having said that it does help having finished work to show at these stages or at least some way to being completed work.

I say this because I hadn't got a chance to make mock ups of my poster design before pitch. We had an extremely short turn around for this project and it took me a while to get my direction and slogan down to a point where I felt ready to progress. Even though I had the ideas almost instantly it still took over a week to get all the chinks hammered out and for me to progress into software. And that was one week too many. Saying that a good majority of the class was less progressed with their ideas than I was (thus showing the limit on time we were all held under).

I did however, have some fairly detailed sketches in my sketchbook and I was able to comprehensively explain exactly where I planned to take them and build up a really strong image of the poster in everyones heads even without having any digital art to show as a reference. This I was happy with. At least I could give everyone a vague idea of what to expect and it also allowed me to test my pitching skills to the limit and I think that I did well. It actually helped to build my confidence some what as I had to know what I was saying and say it with authority to not look as though I hadn't done the work and hadn't even thought about it. The fact was I had thought about it and with a day or two more I could have shown what I was explaining on the screen. I did however, learn a lesson from that experience and that was to just make sure you have something to show and not just sketchbooks. Being a perfectionist I always spend ages making sure it looks as good as it can but for pitch that isn't really required. It is better to have something half finished to show than nothing at all.

Re-naming "Two for Tuesdays"

Now that I had a theme to aim towards, I then started looking at renaming Dominos existing title for their offer they wish to re-invigorate and that was "Two for Tuesdays". Now, I didn't just want to merely change the name for the sake of doing so. I wanted any new names I came up with to have a solid reason behind it and notable improvement to the brand as a whole. So I set about brainstorming in my sketchbook:

This is the brainstorm page in my sketchbook. As you can see an idea quickly came to me. The idea of "Twoday". I really liked this as it was short and succinct yet fully explained the entire offer in one word. With a little surrounding information that would exist for a couple of months there is the possibility to build up a strong enough brand so that in the near future you could potentially just have the word "Twoday" and people would instantly associate it with Dominos "Two for Tuesday" offer. After having already settled on a Hollywood movie poster style I also then surrounded it with something that I felt was a very natural fit. "Twoday is a Good Day". I can almost hear it now being shouted by an action movie star or evil villain at a climactic crescendo in a smash hit Hollywood block buster. I really think that it fits in really nicely and can be used in a very successful manor within the designs I am envisioning. Also with some early preliminary tests I found that the slogan looked really good in Dominos brand font of "Trade Gothic Condensed No. 20".

Deciding Upon a Theme

Now this was an almost instantaneous process. As I mentioned previously when looking at this brief ideas already began to manifest themselves in my head. One of those ideas (intact the only one that actually stuck around in there) was the one to create a series of faux movie posters for fake Hollywood films that actually promoted my interpretation of Dominos "Two for Tuesdays" offer in a clear straight forward, simple design accessible for all ages (particularly the age range Dominos identified in their brief as a target audience and even more particularly students within that age range).

The reason I chose to do movie posters is because when reading through the branding guidelines supplied by Dominos Pizza in their project pack it became clear to me that they were quite patriotic. Proud to have their roots firmly planted in America and that this was an aspect of their company that they were keen to keep prevalent in their designs and marketing in general. This is what kicked off the brainstorming in my head. I immediately tried to think of American traditions and ideals that could be transferred over to a marketing and advertising standpoint. What sprung to mind quite quickly and vigorously was the idea of Hollywood. The film industry has to be one of America's biggest imports to culture around the world and something totally synonymous with the country. This is what lead to the solidification of my idea. I also thought that with the art style I have been learning and refining over these two years at university I could put an interesting, eye-catching spin on that idea and create something unique and engaging.

I want to create three posters as a minimum to get my idea across through a variety of styles and genres. That way I can more completely show how I envision the design being used. The genres I am considering at the moment are Action/Adventure, Sci-fi and Super Hero. Those are all varied enough to warrant completely different graphical approaches and yet will all work with the general style and over-view I am working towards.

Dominos Pizza

I have decided to choose Dominos Pizza as the client to pursue in the YCN project. I feel as though their brief is a bit more of an interesting dilemma than the others I shortlisted raised. I like that it is quite a big under taking, there are a lot of bases to cover and it carries quite a lot of weight to it. After reading the brief I immediately had strong ideas and visualisations in my head of where I could go, media avenues to utilise and wordings for advertisement campaigns. So all in all I think that this is the best brief of the three for me to go for. It offers the most challenge to me, it is the most in depth, it carries the most weight and I think it will cause me to produce the best work.

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