Final Project 1: Production log 1

 Week 1- Tuesday 24th November 2015:

Today, I have started work on my final project which is going to be a double page spread and front magazine cover based on a topic of my choice. I have chosen to base mine on outdoor and geographical photography.

(Covers unit 3-3.1)- First of all, we were given the project brief which stated what our project task was and also the criteria checklist. Regarding this checklist, we had to translate each criteria into a definition which helped us understand what we needed to do. However, this also helped us keep track of what tasks we completed and what we also needed to complete.

After that, I had to put together my research pack which consists of: A comparison of different research tools such as primary, secondary, qualitative and quantitative along with which one I have decided to carry out and why; how I went about carrying out the research, along with what gatherings I found and a detailed evaluation of my research process.

I had decided to carry out my research before I do any of the designing of the cover and spread because I wanted to gain an extremely thorough understanding of the topic before I started so that I reduced the risk of applying incorrect information. I also wanted to look at existing magazines and articles (mainly of those magazines) and examine features of them such as the layout, style, writing styles, colours, kinds of pictures used and even the content of the magazines. This applied to both the covers and the spreads.

(Covers unit 2-2.1)- I decided that it would be best for my project purpose to carry out mainly secondary research because I felt that I was able to get more ideas for presentation and ways to go about carrying it out if I used secondary research. This was when I started to investigate different magazine covers and spreads that related to the same genre I will be doing. And after college today, I went and got myself an actual magazine based on outdoor photography and is the same rand which I bumped into during my internet research. I found this very useful because I could connect with it more and gain a proper understanding of the content and how it’s all presented as a physical piece to me rather than a copy online. However, I also decided to carry out a method of primary research as well because I wanted to add some information and features to the cover and double page spread that I knew wouldn’t have appeared in any other existing issues of my publication. (Covers unit 2-1.1)- Another form of primary research I decided to definitely apply will be some examples of photos I have taken during my spare time. This was because I personally enjoy photo-taking and I feel that some of my pictures would look professional within my double page spread, due to the quality of them and they relate to the purpose of the publication perfectly. Also, they’re a really effective way of carrying out primary research because it would give me more freedom to create the cover or spread with more imagination but that it still relates to the publication I’m basing it on.

 (Covers unit 2-1.1)- I had spent a few days now conducting my secondary research. But instead of traditionally presenting it as an online document, I decided to create it as a physical portfolio because it would allow me to examine and take note of the different individual features of a spread and also an entire double-page spread that I liked and possibly apply it to my own spread. This method also allowed me to make more practical use with the two magazines I bought and use them as sources. Whilst doing this, I took note of: content, writing styles, format/layout, columns for the text, the front magazine covers, and the different fonts of the text.

I also wrote down in my portfolio book featuring these brief note of the features.

Final Project- research pack:

I had decided to carry out my research before I do any of the designing of the cover and spread because I wanted to gain an extremely thorough understanding of the topic before I started so that I reduced the risk of applying incorrect information. I also wanted to look at existing magazines and articles (mainly of those magazines) and examine features of them such as the layout, style, writing styles, colours, kinds of pictures used and even the content of the magazines. This applied to both the covers and the spreads.

Unit 2-1.1:

For my project, I realized that there were a number of research tools, methods and skills for carrying out my specific research. For example, there is primary and secondary research which both involve different methods and skills: primary involves the researcher going out and collecting their findings from scratch with interviews, surveys and questionnaires but with secondary, the research is already provided in sources like online, other magazines, newspapers, videos and interviews. There is also qualitative research, were the research focuses on explanations and in-depth findings whereas quantitative focuses on gathering data and statistical findings. Both of these can be carried out with the use of questionnaires and surveys but qualitative can also use interviews and group discussions too.


Unit 2-2.1:

But for my project, I have decided that I will be using the method of secondary research for a number of reasons: it resulted in the best way of conducting the research which was investigating and examining existing magazines that focused on the topic of outdoor photography which allowed me to gain a thorough insight to all the elements of the magazines that would help me come up with inspiration for my own. For example, the layouts, formats, colours, content, pictures used and the style of writing. I was able to research this online but I felt that to get a real idea of the magazine itself, I was advised that it would be a good idea to buy the magazine(s) on my topic as well. Another reason I chose secondary research for this project was because I felt that none of the other forms would really be useful. For example, I wouldn’t really need primary research since I won’t be interviewing anyone- but I have decided that I would be using some pictures that I have been taking myself within my spread; I’ve been practising photography skills in my own time recently, so I think it would be good to use some of my own creations as well as existing images. As for quantitative research, that will be completely irrelevant to my topic since I will have very limited to no statistical information and falls into the primary research category.

This was what I have researched and will be evaluating on: existing outdoor photography magazine spreads and covers including what features they have; the similarities and differences they each hold and what features I may/will possibly use in my magazine cover and spread.

However, I eventually knew that I needed to include some primary research as well as secondary research for two reasons: to add some uniqueness and interest to the spread but to also cover my set criteria. To achieve this, I decided to use email as one of my methods of primary research, which was to one of the college tutors who has a strong connection with photography. The reasons I decided to do this as an email were because it was an effective way of describing what I was doing and the questions I wanted to ask for my research. But the most important thing was that it was the most quick and convenient way of contacting the person who understands the topic and completing the primary side of my research.


 (Covers Unit 3-3.1)- I suddenly decided that, in case I didn’t manage to receive any information back, I needed to have a backup plan. This was when I realized that I had my photos which I took myself as primary research. This meant that I had something to fall back on if anything didn’t go to plan with the email interviews.

Unit 2-3.1:

However, in order to put my research together, I decided to present my findings as a physical portfolio. This is because I felt that I was able to express my findings and analyse them in more detail and with more professionalism as well. I have done this by using a blank A4+ book and actually used findings from actual magazines I have researched such as photos, the headlines and sub-headlines, examples of the text and alongside them, I have brief details of these features. I realized that this would possibly make it look more professional and somewhat official. I have mainly researched these individual features of each source because I want to pick and choose the best ones for my double page spread and cover, which I could then ‘mix and match’ to see how they will look on the same spread at the end.  I have also done the same for all other pieces of research I have conducted for this. I have also taken snapshots of the research and placed it into this document as evidence of it.

But after thinking about this method for a while, I realised, along with advice from my classmates, that this method of research also comes under primary research in a way because I have actually gone out, bought the magazines and used features of them as part of my research pack.

Although I have presented all my research findings as a physical portfolio book, I have continued to write my evaluation of it on this document.

Unit 2-3.2: Evaluation:

Having carried out my secondary research for my cover and double page spread, it has made me cone to a couple of conclusions: firstly, with presenting my research as a physical portfolio, I was becoming more engaged and even observant with the magazine sources and information, which also helped me pay closer attention to what I was researching. I also think, looking at it now, that it looks much more professional and well-carried out. It also allowed me to use multiple sources such as online spreads and my magazines themselves.

I think that relating to the information I have researched, I have taken thorough consideration with what I have examined for because I have noted the kinds of information from each source I was looking for and used multiple sources for my information. I have also take note in my portfolio book of what the features are next to them and compared them with other issues I’ve used. As orderly as I could,I have done sections on one magazine issue and made it lead on to another issue by comparing the features covers and double page spreads, etc.

Doing this also made me realize that it would help me choose better as to which issue I will base my cover-spread on and what features I will use within it.

However, if there was something I could improve my research on, it would be that I would use a few more magazine issues. I only used about three issues and there were only certain elements of a couple I could analyse such as the covers and/or the spreads. Next time, I would ensure that I used more magazine issues than I did and that I am able to analyse all their features properly.

And from my research, I have also decided which magazine issue I will be basing my cover and double page spread on, which will be ‘Outdoor Photography’. This was for a number of reasons. One of them was because it does what it says on the cover and only on the cover. It is completely based on outdoor photography; It has an array of stunning photographs taken by beginners and professionals and it includes many tips, camera advice, location recommendations and ‘even in-depth technique features.’

I feel like I can have more imagination and creativity with creating my cover/spread based on this and I also love the front covers too; they may be plain and simple but they show off stunning, eye-catching photos which could be found in the magazine and are not overwhelmed by all the sub-headings and different colours. It will also be easy to create since the title is always the same on every issue and I have unlimited options as to what picture the cover will feature.


Final Project 1: Production log 1

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