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Graphic Designer currently based in Wimborne.

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Visual Language (Evaluation)

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For my professional project I have been focusing on using visual language and step away from the typographic elements and more visuals but as I was creating the initial idea, which I did struggle with, I wanted to focus my idea onto the theme of music especially album cover design along with booklets, and that especially within album booklets currently the lyrics and the language of the song are just placed in any layout normally looks similar to each other, right aligned text but it does not have any relation within this to the song apart from the words, you don’t know where to begin, when to stop and the length of the line and notes and the casing of a CD single this do not exist, it is almost that music has become disposable expecailly with the use of digital downloads, yes it may be quick but does not have the appreciation that the artist intends, they have taken time and want to create a piece that can be enjoyed throughly. Overall music should not just be bought listened to then forgot about.

From this my aim was to create a visual graphic language that could represent the song and make CD single packaging more desirable and make the song more physical and that you can interact with it almost as if the song had created the packaging itself the lyrics and the packaging would become one single object.

As well as not appreciating the music a lot of the time, espeacially with me, i will quickly look through the booklet butthis is mainly due to the imagery and photography, because I know that within the book I can know the words but not know how I can take this and interact with the song. 

From this it did help me understand what visual language I needed to create, so as myself did not take much notice of the lyrics, as I can learn them by listening, I took all all the lyrics out of the book and stripped back all the imagery and photography colour and any other elements that can distract us and purely focused the packaging that would only contain my visual language with the only typography being the name of the artsist and the song title. 

Initally within this project I di find it a struggle but this was manly because I worked with typography for my projects before and then telling myself not to use it was a struggle but by doing this it did become exciting and found it intrigin as how we ourselves percieve the information and how we understand this.

To start my design of my language I started to use braille as it completly alters the language and is directly visual (along with this I looked at other languages that use symbols) but as I started, my intial idea was not to show rhythym but as I was focusing on music as my theme it became clear to me from tutorials  that by just translating the lyrics into this completely destroys it’s relation to the song. 

From this I moved to using morse code, this was better as the mix of dashes and dots broke the language up, and would allow me to create a better grid that I would then be able to modify and adapt. To complete this I curved the edges of the morse code, rotated and create a line grid that allowed me to raise or lower the graphics on each individual line to match with soundwaves I got of each song to represent it.

Overall I believe that I have create a strong outcome that has changed the normal CD single packaging we see today. It makes the song become unique to others. Music does not overlap it can stand on it’s own. The music has an interactive quality which is what I wanted to achieve from my proposal the music is now physical and special rather than being sealed in a plastic case.

To take this further, the graphic system I have created for the packaging could become a way of promoting upcoming singles, almost the same way as a QR Code, users could scan the line graphic placed on posters or billboards and will be able to hear a 30 second preview of the song but this feature could become part of the original packaging as well and allow the consumer to interact with the product before opening it just having an interactive graphic system only on the front makes music exciting and enjoyable to interact with.

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Paper from GFSmith:

  • Booklet: Monadnock Astrolite Smooth - 216gsm
  • Cover: Zen Pure White - 270gsm
  • Inside Sleeves: Zen Pure White - 150gsm

Final Pieces

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Final piece for my project, from my final tutorial I only had ‘Sex On Fire’ packaging made and was suggested that making the other four songs that I had ready would finish the project off, I was able to make all four and overall I am pleased with the outcome.

For my final version, I decided to skip using the sleeve and agreed with my tutor, it does not add anything to the product and if this is put into retail stores and could possibly have security boxes on them their would be no way to get to the name of the song on the back.

Each design features the line design from my last mock up but instead of repeating the design that would become a feature inside as well (in lyric form) it made no sense not to include this and decided that the name of the song is key to the cover and using the acapella’s I found was able to edit the track to only having the name of the song.

Inside the cd casing a laser cut booklet is included along with the CD, to contrast the textured outside I used a smooth paper to mimic the CD I am hoping to include.

I have modified the packaging from my last mock up in the graphic system for the booklet, I removed the lines as it did not add anything and instead of making the song have rhythm it did feel structured and not as free as I wanted it and to give it an extra element, I decided to make the booklets have a physical quality, I did experiment with using embossing, but I wanted to create a unique pattern when the booklet was closed and by lasercutting you would be able to see this. For each booklet I only used one line within the chorus of each song. Sex on Fire: - You, Your sex is on fire. Paradise: - And dreams of para para paradise. We Found Love: - We found love in a hopeless place. For poker face I did initially use can’t read my, can’t read my, no he can’t read my poker face but in comparison to the other three this one stood out but I soon realised by shortening the line to no he can’t read my poker face made all four work together within a series.

Sex on Fire (Final Cover)
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Working further with the covers, and following the same system I have used before I decided that the most important element to include on the cover is the name of the song and should be the element to make a highlight of and is key to song. With the example above (sex on fire) I was able to edit the song to pick out the title, but with this example the line within the song is ‘sex is on fire’ but managed to edit the soundform images I took and piece the two together to become ‘sex on fire’. 
The graphic does become stronger now I have used one part and creates a contrast with the double cover I have created (the visual language and the typographic on the other side)

Sex on Fire (Final Cover)

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Working further with the covers, and following the same system I have used before I decided that the most important element to include on the cover is the name of the song and should be the element to make a highlight of and is key to song. With the example above (sex on fire) I was able to edit the song to pick out the title, but with this example the line within the song is ‘sex is on fire’ but managed to edit the soundform images I took and piece the two together to become ‘sex on fire’. 

The graphic does become stronger now I have used one part and creates a contrast with the double cover I have created (the visual language and the typographic on the other side)

Sex on Fire (Cover Development)
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Cover development for Sex on Fire, using the soundforms of the song the cover so far features the line that will be in the booklet, but instead of reapaeting it I have created a new graphic system instead of purely haveing just the name, to create thius system I took the lyrics in my adapted code that is based on morse code, created aduplicate of my grid and aligned them diffently then for anylines that were overlapped by the code I matched the lines to them and any lines that were free stayed the same.
It has worked with a couple of others I have created but the one above being the only exception, as the song line contains a break, it looks to complicated and a bit confusing to read and the middle section of the graphic becomes to dominate.
I will instead to create a change from the cover to the inside, I will focus on one part and will allow me to focus more on the waves form the song creates thus making the image more precise and unique to each song.

Sex on Fire (Cover Development)

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Cover development for Sex on Fire, using the soundforms of the song the cover so far features the line that will be in the booklet, but instead of reapaeting it I have created a new graphic system instead of purely haveing just the name, to create thius system I took the lyrics in my adapted code that is based on morse code, created aduplicate of my grid and aligned them diffently then for anylines that were overlapped by the code I matched the lines to them and any lines that were free stayed the same.

It has worked with a couple of others I have created but the one above being the only exception, as the song line contains a break, it looks to complicated and a bit confusing to read and the middle section of the graphic becomes to dominate.

I will instead to create a change from the cover to the inside, I will focus on one part and will allow me to focus more on the waves form the song creates thus making the image more precise and unique to each song.

To make my graphic language more accurate I have been able to get the wave forms of each song, but with sex on fire I discovered that there is a break within the song and has a music interlude within the line I am using and the word ‘you’ lasts for a couple of seconds and found this difficult to plot against the sound formation as with using the original size image I took the form was longer than I realised and when I plotted the language against it I felt that it become too disconnected  and the whole word would have no relation to one character to the next and would not show the wave form as accurately as possible but was able to split the image up make the first part smaller, to make it slightly shorter by doing this I was able to plot the language and show more of the ups and downs of the formation and length of the word whilst keeping it in relation to each other.

As well as being able to gain the waveforms for each song I have managed to gain the acapellas for each song as well, this has been a bonus for my project as I am focusing on the written word and language and not the music element itself, the waveform I originally got from using iMovie was the full song with music backing track and from using the same technique for the acapella, it becomes more unique to the song and shows more of the rhythm.

To make the graphic system more accurate I was able to find good quality acapella’s of each song.

Poker Face Acapella 

Sex on Fire Acapella

I downloaded the acapella for Coldplay’s ‘Paradise’ here.

Initial Mock Up

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Mock up I showed during my tutorial today, the feedback I received today was positive but the major point that was needed to be improved upon was making the sound form accurate to the song as if this was not correct my language would fail.

Another point hat came up was about colour, I initially created a black and white version so it could clearly show my visual language, I was tempted to add colour as my next stage of development, but surprisingly this would not be needed as it was preferred to keep it in this monochrome style, this was echoed in other tutorials I had with other tutors as colour could be a distraction and this way it puts all of your focus onto the language.