Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting off the Ground: Design Deconstruction

Finally, as promised, I present to you the original drafts to the story logo project from their comic style beginnings to their logo-like transformations. Our class was assigned by professor Babcock to tell three stories: one traumatic; one financially successful; and one good experience; using as few images as possible.
At first I had assumed by "as few images as possible" he had meant for us to try to tell as much of a story using only a small amount of images presented in a comic strip style manner. So my original designs were rough as far a draftsmanship went, but they told three distinct stories using up to four to five panels each.

The first story told of me going to see a great movie with a friend at a movie theatre; Children of Men. I used recognisible (if outdated) imagery to tell the story: using a old projection to indicate a movie, as well as a thumbs up to indicate my enjoyment of the film.

The second traumatic story told of how another friend of mine nearly had his heart stop at a party, and so we to him in an ambulance to the hospital until he recovered. I used stick like figures and recognisable images like a broken heart, a stop sign, party balloons, and red cross ambulance, and other images to clearly create an atmosphere of the tension of the moment.

The third story was a bit more simplistic and less thrilling; I had mad money by designing a cover album from friend's heavy metal band. The imagery was the most simplistic here; using a pencil to show I drew something; the images I drew on; and the money in "$" icon for to show how I profited.

When we first presented them in class; I thought mine had fit about what the professor had required of us. However, there was one person that clearly understood his overall goal; showing three neatly drafted designs that not only used up each of his or her three pages effectively, but only used one panel in a logo style fashion to tell his or her story.
Seeing the more bold and decisive imagery gave me the clarity to make a more efficient revision on my stories, but knowing the cost of simplifying and enlarging my imagery would require a sacrifice in the complexity of the stories themselves.

With the first story, I reduced the story from going to the movie theatre to see "Children of Men" to just seeing a good movie. To show I had it at the movie theatre, the image was turned into a movie theatre ticket. To show I like the movie, I gave the ticket an icon of a projector with a happy face. The design flowed nicely to me.

The second story proved the most difficult to simplify, because the story felt too complex to try to reduce with one image. Babcock suggested trying to combine a two people in a before and after effect, but every attempt to combine to people gave off the idea of a sexual encounter gone wrong than a near fatal heart attack. So I settled on two different variation of the story. One version shows a man with a repaired broken heart, while the other used traffic sign lights to tell the story in three steps; the red light to show the heart stopped; the yellow to show I was shocked back from hiatus; and green to show it was working again.

The third story was easy to retell with imagery. I simply showed a pencil drawing a dollar sign on a t-shirt, which indicated I drew an image for a profit.

Reflecting on the project altogether a month later, I have to say it is interesting to note how much the digital age has done little to change certain aspects of logo design. While technology had advanced the way we transfer information and communicate (as well the the technology itself reducing in size but increasing in function); when I used a image I thought people would recognise, I would often would use an outdated icon that had a more distinguished shape rather than the most modern design. Most film projectors are either on computers now or set on a much larger system than the small projector I drew, but as far a a image people could visually recognize and register as a film projector, that was the most effective to draw. It will be curious to see in the future what logos and icon will endure the farther away we progress from it in terms of relevance and technological development.

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