Unit 10 Children’s book: Week 12

A summary of my production work to-date including reference to earlier production schedule:

(Unit 10 2.2)- Like last week, this week has been entirely devoted to ensuring that the layout on every page was clean, clear but still exciting for my target audience and that my text was all in the correct font (sans-serif) and size. This was where, from lectures on InDesign skills previously, I used the paragraph styles tool which allowed me to have a shortcut formed for efficiently and effectively applying the same font/size in a split second compared to going through all the text and applying the correct font the old-fashioned way! Using this skill was not only a great way of saving production time but is also a skill used professionally in the industry for magazine design and layouts as well as the graphic design industry.

However, my tutor advised me to consider my text in relation to my target audience which meant trimming down any unnecessary words to shorten the length and rearranging it to create more space for the child to take it in better. Sometime, colour changes were required for the text to stand out better against certain backgrounds such as dark clouds and sand. However, I did learn a new skill this week when it came to the safety information in my trademark life rings which was having the text box shaped differently to make the text look neater. My tutor showed me how to do this along with how to shape the text away from the edges to avoid touching the life ring. This result of this tool made the life ring feature look a whole lot more neater and professional which I really loved the look of at the end.

My front cover underwent some moderate changes to the illustration positions and the logo to make the whole piece fit together without any crowding or touching one another. This part worked out just fine but I did have to go back to Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to alter the fill on the title since I had used a dark sand texture which didn’t show up that well. I altered it to a lighter gold fill which looked a lot more clearer and my tutor helped me to add a shadow to it which I was really impressed with since it helped create more of a unique element to it.

Evidence in my design work, that demonstrates an understanding of the topics taught over the past 8 weeks:

Here is my final storybook featuring all the edits I’ve made this week:

 

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(Unit 10 3.1/3.2)- One thing I have taken home as something to definitely consider for the future is how my project could be turned into further project ideas and even its own brand. My tutor commented that the logo for my storybook could be taken much further to create its own brand and feature merchandise, colouring pages and even the brand’s own website with various interactive activities related to the book. I was also told that I’d be able to carry this project in into my Final Major Project if I wanted to since I had the characters already created as a base for it. I became really fond of the idea of my storybook becoming a brand via the logo since I could even carry it on to any University courses and projects that would allow me to do so.

Unit 10 Children’s book: Week 12

Unit 10 Children’s book: final adjustments.

(Unit 10 2.1/2.2)- This week, even though I have submitted my completed storybook, my tutor still wanted me to focus on my layout a little more- which I feel worked best around this time since I had completed my book and it was now a matter of fin-tuning it all.

When my tutor sat down with me, one problem we immediately encountered was that my storybook’s InDesign document wasn’t compatible with the college’s earlier version which meant the whole document wouldn’t open for us. Despite being incredibly frustrating for us being unable to fully complete what we needed to with the layering, we were still able to use the PDF format of it for me to take notes and sketches of what could be done or rearranged. We looked at each spread at a time and one thing to do with the text being too complex with how it was spread out and more likely to cause confusion for the child this way. This was when we looked into having (for some pages) a column of text on the side of the page in a simple sans-serif font to make it easier for the child to capture the story. This column method was also a great way for me to further experiment with proportions of illustrations to create more of an enhancing page view.

With the fonts, my tutor thought it would be best to keep most of the book in a simple font to keep the text understandable for my target audience. However, I was concerned about this with no longer meting the desires of my survey respondents but the idea of saving the multiple fonts for the dramatic events and words/ phases that stand out the most. This would also prevent overusing multiple fonts too much and causing too much confusion for my target age group.

More but minor alterations to my storybook included rearranging the text and illustrations on the page to make it that little bit more appealing to my target audience. And despite the troubles with accessing the InDesign file I needed, this fine-tuning process with the layers and text resulted in a much more spaced out layout yet still keeping the child-friendly charm within it and also saving time overall since I didn’t need to carry out anymore drawings or scanning them in. It was all a matter of just rearranging!

Here are a few screenshots of what we experimented with during the week:

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Here is what I did to my storybook once I had the proper access to the version of InDesign:

storybook-project-submission-piece

 

Unit 10 Children’s book: final adjustments.

Unit 10 Children’s book: Evaluation

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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.

Overall

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.

Unit 10 Children’s book: Evaluation

Unit 10 Children’s book: Week 11/submission.

(Unit 9 2.2)- As far as production went for this week, and since it was the week to be well on our way to finishing our children’s books or resources, I was essentially just ensuring that all aspects of my book were in place. This included: ensuring that my choice of typography was suitable for my age bracket; all illustrations and photo backgrounds were varied in proportion from feedback and lectures. I also made certain that all aspects of my book showed evidence of skills learned over the term,  feedback and research into designers, layout and (most importantly) target audience.

However, one element of my book underwent some changes during this last week but for the benefit of my book. I had initially intended to do a spot-the-danger activity at the end to engage the child’s knowledge on my topic but my tutor showed me a more intriguing piece in my eyes which was a factual page on how to stay safe at the beach and on the sea. We both agreed together that this kind of feature would be more appropriate than my activity idea since I had the ‘did you know…’ running though and my topic of sea safety was more ‘you HAVE to do this to be safe’ rather than ‘what do you think?’ I had an example posted on one of my last blog post’s feedback to show how it could be made child-friendly for my project. The example showed bright colours, bold and clear illustrations with very straight-forward information- all of which I applied to my own information page. However, I only decided to do the three dealt with in the story plus one more to avoid overwhelming the child with too many facts.

Here is what I created with reference to my given example:

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(Unit 10 2.2)-Although this did add extra pressure on my to have my storybook completed by my deadline, I ha my example and all the skills I learned across the term such as the image trace and layer mask techniques on InDesign and Photoshop to help me with completing this final page. I also decided to use features from within my book such as the characters’ hands and the style of the life-jacket so that the child still engages with it as much as the story and recognises the page as part of the book’s style itself.

(Unit 10 3.1)- Prior to completely finishing my storybook, I made a firm start on my final evaluation for this project which will cover: my final solutions against the identified target audience of young children and what my target audience actually think of my book, what they like about it and maybe what I could have done to ensure it meets their needs even more (typography, illustrations or the topics dealt with). I have sent a copy of my storybook to, like my primary research, those who I know have and/or know a child of my targeted age group to transcribe what the child has to say about my storybook.

(Unit 10 3.2)- I have made a start on evaluating and reflecting on my learning to inform personal development which involves: documenting my strengths and weaknesses of all kinds during my journey, new skills learned which I can transfer to my final major project. I will also analyse how I’ve resolved various problems that have occurred during this project.

Unit 10 Children’s book: Week 11/submission.

Unit 10 Children’s book: Week 11

Evidence in my design work the demonstrates an understanding of the topics taught over the past 8 weeks (Unit 10 2.2):

This week I have been continuing the production of my children’s storybook including using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to trace and fill in my character illustrations and using the colour fill and brush tool to continue work with the beach huts and other background areas of my photos. However, my tutor gave me feedback that related to the layout of my spreads and how they could be enhanced even more. (Unit 10 1.2)- This also tied in with my layout research I conducted the other week and after sitting down with my tutor and looking through it again, we saw that one thing in common with every spread was that one topic took up one entire spread and we both came to the conclusion that I should do the same for my storybook where appropriate.

(Unit 10 2.2)- However, I was soon shown a way of spreading out the photos a little bit by using a plain background- which I found an excellent way of carrying across facts about the beach safety flags. For instance, I had one photo montage on one side and the plain coloured background symbolizing the flag which also gave me the opportunity to add in a unique ‘Did you know…’ element to the book. Overall, this was a terrific way to add a variety of aesthetics to the book without it looking the same, even with different photos. Feedback from my tutor also stated that the bright coloured backgrounds really make it easier for the child to understand, especially since the safety information is on the page too. This also keeps hold of the child-friendly nature of the book for my assigned target audience.

spread-1spread-2

More alterations with my storybook was also regarding the illustrations and their positioning on the pages. This process referred back to our lecture on proportion in which different elements of a page or spread are all different sizes, such as the text and images being complete opposite sizes or other images being completely different in sizes. In some cases for my book this can mean characters leaning over the page edges to create a great proportion variation.

Last week, my tutor and I came up with the idea together of having a reoccurring infographic symbol within my book such as a life-ring which we both thought would be really effective and symbolise what counts as the safety information within my storybook in my storybook.

(Unit 10 2.1)- As for plans for next week, they all link into my SMART target of completing the entire storybook by the 17th December. As a result of this, my plan include ensuring that ALL illustrations are filled in and applied on to my spreads using my feedback and knowledge of lectures on proportions and various typography too. In addition to all this, I have also made a start on my final evaluation based on what I have completed already throughout this project. Both my evaluation and final piece will be uploaded on separate blog posts.

Unit 10 Children’s book: Week 11

Unit 10 children’s book: Week 10

Evidence of my design work, that demonstrates an understanding of the topics taught over the past 8 weeks:

(Unit 10 2.2)- This week, production has mainly consisted of using the usual skills involving Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop in order to progress with my children’s book storybook further. Many of these skills involved using image tracing and the layer mask tools with my illustrations in order to apply the required colour and outlines to my illustrations. However, one new aspect of production I carried out this week was editing my photos for the background. One perfect examples includes when I used the Feathering tool on Photoshop to apply feathered pieces of the tide in order to make the overall sea effect look rough and dangerous. This feathering tool was perfect for creating this precise setting since it blended in the tide layers well with the existing smooth photo I used and I could overlap the layers as much as I pleased to create the rough sea I wanted.

Here is a before and after photo of the work I did to the photo:

img_0256   rough-sea-scene

Whilst I was showing my tutor my work we both agreed that following on from previous weeks, the layout for my spreads could do with being made a bit more exciting for my target audience. This was where she suggested that I carry on filling in the beach huts photo with them in varying colours to enhance them a bit. This involved the use of the layer mask and brush tool in Photoshop to lasso around, fill in and erase the colours around the beach huts. Then my tutor showed me a new method of turning these into a separate layer which I could apply into InDesign.

My tutor then showed me a new method called a clipping path which I used to turn the beach huts into a separate layer which involved: using the pen tool to draw around the beach huts and making a clipping of it to save and then apply into InDesign.

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Looking at the final result below and with experimenting more with it for the layout, I do feel a bit ore assured that my photos can be altered without making them look too cartoonish and therefore ruining the purpose of them. I found it actually quite fun as well to be exploring new proportions and proxemics with the illustrations as the new layouts helped me to do just that!

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 (Unit 10 1.2)- However, to thoroughly expand my ideas for layouts I was advised to do a little more research into existing spreads with various layouts. This could be from any print source and involve how the images are layered out, the text styles and typography, all of which I took careful note on relating to my own storybook.

layout-research

(Unit 10 2.1)- With regards to tasks to complete in next week’s session, I will be aiming to complete every background and the layout for my storybook. However, I have had to make some minor adjustments to my SMART target for time which was to have the storybook completed by the 7th December. I have had to extend this deadline to the 17th December because I have had struggles and obstacles during production with the software that have held me back. This deadline should help me to have all my illustrations filled in and applied along with the layout being completed too. During this duration to save even more time I will make a start on my final evaluations on the areas I have completed of this project already.

Unit 10 children’s book: Week 10