• Cam Pickstock

GDES2010-12 Graphic Information Design

Semester 2- Week 1

This week I was introduced to Information in Graphic Design, one thing that sparked something for me was the 'Road Signage Systems' and how Margaret Calvert and Jock Kinneir developed a new way of navigating your way on the roads in January 1965.

Originally Kinneir was Margaret Calvert's tutor at Chelsea College of Art and he had asked her to take part in helping to redesign Gatwick airports signs, which then led to Jock being in charge of designing Britain's road signs. After that, he hired Calvert to help with designing Britains road signs. Before this, Britains road signs were mashed up with lots of different typefaces, colours and shapes and simply not legible to read when going at speeds when sometimes all is needed is a split second decision. They were not focused on style or a decorative approach, the task was asking 'what do you need to know whilst travelling at a speed?'.

Because of this they had to create their own typeface, this ended up being called "Transport" designed in 1963.

This typeface has been updated slightly today to "New Transport", but the same design from Margaret and Jock is in place. It comes in many different weights to make places and information stand out from others (Thin, Light, Regular, Medium, Semibold, Bold and Black).

In order to test this new typeface, several volunteered men from Oxford airport had to sit in line in-front of a car that would drive towards them with different signs attached to the roof. After this, the committee accepted the typeface and designs for Britains new road signs on January 1st 1965.

Their road signage system is the best in the world, the use of different colours and type show how focused they were in identification in the graphic triangle, the use of semiotics helps people identify these signs without even having to read the.

When I was designing my road sign for a 'Nuclear Power Plant', I had misunderstood the brief and illustrated a nuclear reactor itself instead of the nuclear power plant. Therefore, I recreated it with a more 'recognisable' symbol. I took into account the shape, colour and text on the sign to make it known that it is important.

Here is the updated version of the Nuclear Reactor sign, I have included some text underneath to make sure people know exactly what it means. People know that this is a warning sign thanks to Margaret Calvert and Kinnier, this is seen through the red triangle. I think this is easy to read when travelling at a speed in a car as the nuclear symbol is highly recognisable as dangerous to people.

Main Brief

Brief Research

What It Needs:

- Wildlife and Biodiversity at the University of Worcester

- Paragraph of Overview Text

- Illustration/Photos

- Map

- Benefits of Walking

- Footer


Prospective Students

Local Visitors

Local Students

Include University of Worcester colours in the footer, find colours that work well with these blues and still have a wildlife/eco-friendly approach.

Illustrative Style

I want to approach an illustrative style with my way-finding board of the wildlife around Worcester University. I have researched some examples of the look I want to go for.

I think these designs are very crisp and modern, they make wayfinding a lot more easy to read and use with simple colour schemes and bold illustrations.


I have researched into different typefaces to see which would suit best with my design ideas. They need to be easily read in large bodies of text but also joyful and wholesome.

I will experiment with each style and see, I am going to focus on having two, one for large titles and eco friendly parts and one for the bodies of text so it needs to be ergonomically friendly to everyone reading.

I wanted an approach that is friendly yet professional at the same time, that is why I have chosen the first two typefaces, Subscriber and Coolvetica. The second combination is professional with the paragraph text, but the title is too bold and not readable form faraway. the third, I think, is too childish for the title as it isn't as organised as subscriber. The fourth combination of fonts is too bold and not as friendly when the theme is wildlife, this is more of a magazine cover title which is too bold and the fifth combination is too formal as the title typeface is mostly recognisable in a newspaper and not very playful.

Illustrator Map

From the Illustrator workshop in week 7 I created my own wildlife trail map for the biodiversity map at the University. I have made sure that it was kept in an Illustrative style, I will include hand drawn elements to the design board afterwards.

In the map it shows clearly the Biodiversity Trail sites and the University Mile along with the whole of the St Johns campus. I have made some elements less prominent such as buildings and the river just so it is easier to identify the trail from far away.

I have tested my map design with different colour schemes to show how it will look on the board.

Initial Board Ideas

This is a screenshot from my sketchbook showing the three main concepts I thought of for my interpretation board. I have a circular design almost replicating a tree trunk, a rectangle shaped board and a vertical one. I have an overriding theme of circles around the designs looking like tree trunks, there would be text in these and some would be embossed to give a real feeling to them.

The vertical (last) one would be made from wood as a frame with the title engraved and painted on the side, this would have to be very large for people to notice from far away. Thus, the title may have to be shortened to something like "The Biodiversity Trail".

I have thought about adding my own line drawings as illustrations of animals and plants around the design. With them being line drawings they can easily be used as engravings into the wood itself.

Plants and Species

From Alan Box's summary on the species and plants on campus I have recorded a list of them:

- Amphibians (smooth newt and common frog)

- Reptiles (slow worm and grass snake)

- Inverebrates

- Birds (house sparrow)

- Mammals (bats and hedhehogs)

The wildflower seed mix contains the following species:

"4% Agrimony eupatoria – (Common Agrimony) 6% Anthyllis vulnearia – (Kidney Vetch) 4% Centaurea nigra – (Common Knapweed) 4% Centaurea scabiosa – (Greater Knapweed) 6% Cichorium intybus – (Chicory) 4% Dipsacus fullonum – (Wild Teasel) 6% Echium vulgare – (Viper’s Bugloss) 2% Galium verum – (Lady’s Bedstraw) 7% Knautia arvensis – (Field Scabious) 4% Leucanthemum vulgare – (Oxeye Daisy) 5% Lotus corniculatus – (Bird’s-foot Trefoil) 3% Origanum vulgare – (Wild Marjoram) 5% Plantago lanceolate – (Ribwort Plantain) 8% Prunella vulgaris – (Selfheal) 3% Reseda lutea – (Wild Mignonette) 3% Rumex acetosa – (Common Sorrel) 4% Scabiosa columbaria – (Small Scabious) 5% Silene alba – (White Campion) 6% Silene dioica – (Red Campion) 2% Succisa pratensis – (Devil’s-bit Scabious) 5% Trifolium pratense – (Red Clover) 4% Vicia cracca – (Tufted Vetch)"

Concept Ideas on Illustrator

Here are some concept ideas I have created on Illustrator, I will now choose one out of these and also ask external opinion about them.

This design is clearly situated on a rectangular board frame similar to the malvern meadow board that already exists. I have used the idea of cut tree trunks and these could be raised from the board or made form actual trunks with plastic stuck on top. This allows the visitor to interact with it more. However, the circle formatting would restrict the amount of information in the space and could not look as aesthetically pleasing as other shapes.

Again, for this design I have used the idea of a tree trunk but for the whole design, this would be cut in the shape of a tree trunk out of wood as the frame and the middle would be printed with the design. The map would have its own board with relatable text near it. And the two other boards having the information about the trail and the benefits of walking. But again, if the text is in a circular format this could restrict the amount of information.

For this last concept idea, I have thought of a rectangular design as it is simple and recognisable to people as being important. It would have a wooden frame around the design. The grass at the bottom would be raised up in some way to give more of a 3-dimensional approach to the design. the boxes with information in are rounded rectangles to give a more friendly approach and still having the tree trunk theme faded with the background.

For the final concept design that I will develop, I have chosen the third design. The reason for this is because of the easy to read layout I have created, I feel that most eyes will be led straight to the title and automatically be led down the board to the centre where the map is and then onto the boxed out information in bold. I wanted to create the route on the map in the centre and bold so from far away it is recognisable. the grass give a physical element that will attract people whilst keeping it professional instead of childish interactive designs. The Bees and Flowers sections are less important than the "about this route" and "why walk" sections so they are less prominent and faded more into the background. These parts will be read after the other parts. The space around the sections allows lots of room for illustrations that I will make.

Work Progress- Week 9

What 3x key findings or examples linked to ‘wayfinding or information board design’ from your research undertaken for this project have influenced your final set of designs (and crucially please explain ‘why’ and ‘how’ this is).

I have mainly researched into Illustrative information design as i think it is modern and a lot easier to understand. The first key finding I found was the way of simplifying certain elements on a map to make it the most ergonomically friendly as possible to everyone. In the first picture it shows an illustrated map with a very calming yet engaging colour scheme and with friendly objects to help people find their way easily on the map.

In the second picture, this was my second finding I had discovered, I now know that it is very important for the audience to engage with the board wether its visually or physically. Especially for outdoor and wildlife areas, I feel that people want to experience it more and not just use the map like it's the tube map. They want to stop and stare at it.

My final finding was the use of hand drawn illustrations, this gives a more humane approach to the board and it show that it is important as someone as put more time into making it and doing it with their own hands.

Explain why you feel that your final design ideas are both suitable for their location, how they link in with the wants of the brief (you may need to go back to your brief and re-read it if you haven’t already) and why you personally think they are successful concepts.

My design idea would fit perfectly in a university campus, the audience are prospective students visiting/ local students and people living around the area. The design is modern so it catches the eye of all ages, especially the youth as they are used to seeing these bold illustrative designs on websites such as Unidays. this will engage the audience into thinking the University is a eco-friendly and modern environment to go to.

As much feed-in as possible at or around ‘prototypes’ stage will best benefit your devts in the final weeks of the module. You’ll get feedback from your peers in session today. But.. How might you gain basic feedback from people who don’t know the project to feed-in too (some form of user-testing)?

I will share my work on my social media and ask for honest opinions on the design and any improvements needed, this will give an unbiased opinion as most people don't see me in real life and don't know me. Twitter and Facebook may be best.

I will also ask for family opinions as a few of my family are 'design-headed' and they will have strong opinions.

Observers Feedback

Q: Do you feel that this person has nearly a module’s worth of research/notes evident at this stage? 

I think that you have explored well amount of information design boards available online. Most of them are really interesting examples and I can see that your research is based on strong visual style. This especially shows in the way you explore colours. I think that this is one of your strong suits. I think to push your idea further, you could do some research on type and how text is placed, to achieve variability and make the design more sleek. Also it would be nice to see more notes from lectures or research based on materials we explored together. To clarify why you have chosen specific examples of other people work, you could add some notes or captions besides the pictures. 

Q: Do you feel that this person has a module’s worth of development ideas evident at this stage? 

I think that you have generated fine amount of sketches before taking them further onto digital format. What I really like is how descriptive you are with captions next to sketches, explaining the idea in detail. This gives great understanding of how you came up with design solutions, taking in care factors like sustainability, legibility etc. the experiments with the composition and layout seem to be very helpful for distributing information. My only comment would be to use colour or at least tone when developing sketches, this would give you better understanding of how crowded or complex the composition will actually look. Also it would be nice to see sketches of plants and animals before you start to create them digitally. 

Q: Do you feel that this person has an effective set of final ideas work on screen evident at this stage? 

There are some initial ideas taken digital. I can see how they are linked with your hand drawn sketches, but I think it would be worth to re-visit them in a way of object placement and composition. Digital format allows for colour experimentation, so do not be afraid to use that. It is very helpful to add some notes onto your digital sketches too, it can save you some time on creating explicit details or large amount of information, and gives clarity about your key ideas.

Digital Illustration Sketches

As I take joint Illustration with Graphics, I think it will be great to converge my illustration skills into this design for the biodiversity board. I want them to be simple line drawings with the same colour scheme as design itself.

First, I thought of Bee home illustrations and keeping them friendly at the same time, this part of the board will blend in the background better than the other parts as this doesn't need to be as prominent other things like the biodiversity information.

I looked at species that exist around campus and it included the common frog and grass snakes and many others, so I thought I would have a paragraph explaining the different things around and have illustrations around it.

I then began to add these illustrations to the design itself to finish it off by filling in the blank spaces around the sections. Here is the final interpretation board.

I feel like the subtle parts that are red balance out all the colours in the design and create an atmosphere around it. Illustrations such as the bees scattered around can be used well on website pages as you scroll down they can animate for example.

From then I could manipulate this design from landscape to vertical moving the most important parts around where they will be seen first. For example on the interpretation sheet, you see the "about this route" first thing and I have also extended the title because it is not as important as it is on the board. the board needed a quick and easy to read title from far away so I chose "biodiversity trail" for that and a longer version for the sheet.

For the webpage and mobile page, the audience will see the map first off and nothing else, this goes straight to the point and what the visitors are needing to see after scanning the QR code for example. But then as you scroll down you see the most important part, the about section. Also, I have seen the University of Worcester's website and seen the footer section including important information about the university and campus. And i have added a smaller version of the map that, if clicked, will return you back to the top map. The bees are scattered across the site page and would animate in someway, possibly flutter their wings or fly in slightly.

And for the mobile site I have compressed the design massively with the map still at the top but having two important sections next to each other and then the less important parts lower down whilst keeping the illustrations in parts to fill empty space. Most people today are used to swiping down on social media so I took this into consideration that you can see the next part of the design as you are still on one so it entices you to scroll down.