Unit 10 evaluation:
Evaluations of my final solutions against the identified target audience of young children (Unit 10 3.1)
After the production of my storybook, I had to gather some feedback on it to see how my target audience react to it. Exactly like my primary research, I sent a copy of my book to those who know and/or have a child between the ages of 6-8 and asked for their feedback based on: what elements kept the child engaged with the book such as illustrations and typography; what could be improved for their benefit such as text, the topics dealt with and, if the parent would recommend the book to a child of my targeted age bracket. The feedback I received included the characters and ‘interesting pictures’ keeping the child engaged, and that it being educational yet age appropriate and enjoyable would result in that parent recommending it. (Unit 9 3.2)- However, I did receive a few areas to consider for next time such as minor spelling mistakes, capital letter errors and involving the use of dialling 999 in an emergency since most people don’t know the number for sea emergencies.
Critical evaluation and reflection on my learning to inform personal development (Unit 10 3.2)
Target audience analysis and research (Unit 10 1.1/1.2)
Every single piece of research and sources I have used information from have been Harvard referenced in their correct form to avoid being criticized for plagiarism.
Before any production began, I had to carry out extensive research into not only my target audience but also the existing resources out there for my specified age bracket. This research also effectively helped me decide upon my choice of topic and format for my target audience. (Unit 10 1.1)- When it came to understanding the characteristics of my target audience I had to research everything from their attention spans and how they vary between ages, what children in this age bracket might already know and not know and how the interests of children start to develop and vary as they get older. This was the research I carried out before the actual product research because it helped me fully analyse the existing children’s books and resources regarding how they attract their audience. This lead on nicely to help me plan how to make my project appeal to my age range. Even though I had a specific age I wanted to aim my resource towards (children aged 6-8 years) I was still advised to research the entire prescribed 5-11 age range to broaden my understanding of the variations of products and characteristics.
(Unit 10 1.2)- After researching my target audience, I carried out more research into existing products out there regarding what are aimed at 5-11-year-olds. This included storybooks, educational books and notes taken on educational animations. (Unit 10 1.1)- I examined each of these within the 5-11 age bracket broken down, researching storybooks and other resources for a child of 5 years then of 6-9 years then 9-11 years and so forth so I could see how the products cater to the characteristics of those specific ages. Such elements of the products included the topics, colours, styles, font sizes/typography and illustrations used too. All this information combined with researching my target audience firstly was a great way of helping me come up with ideas for my children’s resource.
(Unit 10 1.2)- More research I carried out was primary research, carried out a week or so after my secondary research was completed. This was in the form of a survey created on Survey Monkey which I sent out to everyone I knew who owns or knows children aged 5-11 years old. This primary research was to gather an idea of what actual children want from a resource aimed at them so that I could adapt it to fit in with my secondary research and suitability for my target audience. (Unit 10 3.2)- Overall, I feel that the survey responses gave me all the information I needed for my design choices but I do feel a little unprofessional that I didn’t do it the same week as I saw another student’s survey and it reminded me to do one of my own. This feeling was soon gone once I received all the information required for my storybook that I could apply to it.
(Unit 9 1.2)- I also carried out some other research which was during the pre-production stages of this project. Research included four designers who’s work influence my own design choices- which I did find helpful and use for character designs within my book. I examined various storybook layouts, character details and even onomatopoeia in decorative typography to add variety for my audience and in response to my survey responses for research- stating multiple fonts were what their children engage with. In addition to my planned design ideas, I also decided to use inspiration from any TV shows and even anime I was watching at the time. One of which gave me the idea for the stress lines on Sandy’s eyes on one page and mouth artwork depending on he character’s emotions.
Production journey/planning (Unit 10 2.2/2.1)
Using my research to help me understand my target audience and what resources exists, I came up with my project idea for a storybook aimed at children aged 6-8 years old with the topic of sea safety. (Unit 10 2.1/3.2) Before getting started on any design work I came up with SMART targets which helped me to plan specifically what would be done by which week and if it’s achievable, realistic and specific or not. Overall, I found this whole process extremely beneficial because it allowed me to manage my time by producing a production schedule which stated what needed completing each week. However, I did have to extend a few of my targets once with the TIME one due to difficulties with the Adobe software causing delays with progressing on but I was easily able to catch up when I referred back to lectures on the Illustrator and Photoshop techniques I needed.
(Unit 10 2.2)- After all my SMART targets and planning was completed I began creating my storyboards and character illustrations- which I then outlined and filled in using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop following on from skills lectures. Prior to actually starting our projects we were given lectures on numerous skills using Photoshop and Illustrator that came in handy for creating special effects, layers and colour effects. Since I had photographs as my storybook’s background learning these skills came in really handy for enhancing them even more. The ‘feather’ too allowed me to apply and blend in rough waves and clouds for the stormy scenes alongside fill tools to vary the colours of the beach huts. We also had lectures on typography and determining which would be best for our target audience. I used these lectures to effectively decide on a sans-serif for the descriptions and a decorative font for the dialogue to vary it and meet the requirements of my survey respondents wanted too. (Unit 10 3.2)- However, I did come across a minor weakness with the layout of my book coming from feedback on how my photos and layout could be a bit more out of the ordinary. One time we tackled this was when my tutor and I experimenting with the beach hut colours and applying this layer at several angles to see how this small change could capture the child’s attention as well as with altering the illustration sizes to add more variation.
(Unit 10 3.2)- None of these changes and additional research didn’t come with changes to all my storyboards, story tracking documents and photo plans which did cause me concerns about completing all the changes on top of what need doing already. Plus, I did feel behind from the beginning due to struggling with applying fills to my illustrations holding me behind schedule. However, by this stage I had referred back to notes from lectures on applying fills in Photoshop and I was able to extend my SMART target for the deadline by a week to make up that time back.
Feedback throughout (Unit 10 2.1)
Throughout this project, we’ve had feedback given to us as a class discussion and one-to-one. Both have been immensely useful since the class feedback helped to form new design such as character development and even developing my book into a series for my final major project. The one-to-one feedback from my tutor has been more to do with enhancing my storybook’s layout and proportion. I referred back to lectures on proportion to make my layout more interesting with my character illustrations plus vary the photos a bit to make them stand out more. (Unit 10 1.2)- This is where I was advised to do some further research into layouts in existing storybooks to see how they are designed to look more unique and exciting. I found that all layouts showed one topic per spread rather than per page which is what I had initially done. However, changing this wasn’t a stress because the vital pieces of my story still remained and spacing it out like this allowed me to spread out my photos to vary the book’s style even more.
Looking at my final product, every change was definitely worth it in the end; the extra research on layout helped me to adjust mine according to how one topic was dealt with per spread, which spread out my book’s content and enabled my target audience to take it in better. Despite all the aesthetic changes to my book and storyboard, I was still able to tell my sea safety topic with a broader variety of layouts and proportions whilst showing evidence of my target audience and designer research in it. (Unit 9 3.2)- As proud as I am of my storybook, if I could go back and change anything I would pay more attention to researching the layouts and styles of existing books for a stronger idea on how to have made mine less crowded. (Unit 10 3.1)- I would also have been more extensive when asking what my target audience thinks of my storybook since I sent my book to their parents to transcribe what their child thought for me. This was because the children I knew who fitted the age bracket lived to far away to effectively ask for feedback. Even though I gathered effective feedback for the future I felt it would have been more professional coming from the target audience of young children themselves.