After my initial research and my experience as a first year I wanted to produce something that would inform, educate and advise them on some dos and don’ts of the first year. As well as producing something that will help them I wanted to produce something that reflected the progress you will make through the year and what is possible to do.
The idea that I wanted to take forward after my initial investigation was to create a small pocket sized ‘scout book’. The book would contain 50 things that I would have liked to have known in my first few weeks. The reason I chose such an ambitious amount was to cover a wide variety of areas, from where to go for lunch to which blog is for what. I wanted to include tips that will help the new students with their college work as well as their new life as a student.
When I originally presented my idea, the feedback I received was varied. Some people thought that it was a very good idea, whilst others thought it was too generic and needed to be more individual. After listening to their feedback I focused on the positive feedback that would allow me to develop my existing idea rather than change it.
The feedback I received was:
- Really useful for first years.
- Consider both humorous and serious tips – forms a balance between formal and informal.
- Keep it simple, focus on a really neat design.
- Make sure it is different and unique.
- Focus on your content.
- Think about batch size.
- Simple idea yet engaging and useful.
- The little things are the big things, strong initial idea.
- Very good idea of having it on your phone, as sheets get lost.
- Important to find that balance in the tone of voice.
- Simple idea but lots of potential/scope to produce to a high standard.
With this in mind, I needed to come up with a title, cover and content.
The content was easy to get as it was taken from personal experience and gathered from asking my peers what they would have liked to know when they started on the course.
The fifty things that I wanted to put into my publication were:
1. The best places to have lunch.
2. Blogging: Doing it.
3. In on time.
4. Don’t drink white ace.
5. 2nd/3rd years.
8. Blogging: Which 1.
9. Make free time.
10. Swipe card.
13. ‘Shitty TV’
15. College Mac.
19. Sharp knife.
20. Coffee, tea & energy drinks.
21. Don’t panic.
22. Less is less//More is more.
23. Start straight away.
24. Start anywhere.
26. Make the most of Freshers.
27. Start up a Facebook group.
29. Get to know your year.
30. Set alarms.
32. Digital dungeon.
33. Use your diary.
34. Photograph everything.
35. Screenshot everything.
36. Check design blogs.
37. Collect graphic design that you like.
38. 4 types of typography.
41. Blogging in sessions.
42. Sport (Football).
43. Work where you work best.
44. Last minute.
45. Macs: helpful but not essential – yet.
47. Google calendar.
49. Sign in.
50. Enjoy drowning.
With the foundations of the content ready I needed to make some important design decisions. The two main design areas were that content layout and the cover design. I produced a variety of possible cover designs.
Even with all of these possible designs I was still not confident with any of them so I moved onto designing the layout of the content. I used a variety of different grids to create my design but the most common were 3x3, 4x5 and variations of both of them. The reason I used these grids was to give a balanced structure to my work. As it is a small publication (3.5” by 5”), I needed to be careful to not overcrowd pages.
To break up the content I wanted to utilize negative space, use some illustrations and use 2 fonts. I wanted to use two fonts to keep a theme throughout the booklet. The two fonts I chose to use were Pompadour, a numerical type designed by Andy Mangold. The reason I chose to use this type was because it is interesting, alternative and provides a contrast to my titles and body copy.
Before I had chosen to use this font I had created a hand drawn type as alternative possibility. The reason I chose not to use this because I didn’t think they worked with the design and did not fit in the layout.
The second font I used was Helvetica Bold/Regular. The reason for using these fonts was because they are said to epitomize the Modernist movement in a typeface and regarded as perfect. It is an extremely popular typeface to designers and this is why I though it was appropriate to use.
Another design decision I made regarding the font was size. Using the Fibonacci sequence and numbers (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144…) to size my fonts it gave a near perfect hierarchy. The only places where I did not apply this formula was when it did not fit with my grids and layout and I wanted the type to fill a specific are. My type was never smaller than 5pt and no larger than 89pt.
I decided I wanted to include illustrations into the booklet to break up the text, vary my designs and give an alternative to the negative space. Using illustrator I drew a kitchen knife, a pencil, a scalpel, a ruler, a pen, a rubber, a pencil sharpened, earphones and a condom. I wanted to keep the illustrations simple to fit with the rest of the publication, using only the outlines and crucial details.
We then had an interim crit to get some final feedback before we completed out work. With half of my layouts completed and the others in the process, I wanted general feedback on the whole product but specifically that layout and design decisions I have made.
The feedback I received was:
- If you want to add colour, you could possibly choose one colour and make the numbers on each page that colour.
- Choose and interesting stock as it will look boring on just white with black text.
- Consider size. If you are working at 3.5” by 5” ensure the type is clear.
- Maybe increase the size of the publication so you do not have to compromise anything.
- The numerical font is not appropriate to the formal style of the book.
- Maybe add 1 or 2 colours but use a clean colour scheme to go with the aesthetic.
- Balance text and images.
- Unsure of the use of Pompadour and Helvetica work together. Helvetica works better when it is a smaller point size.
- Ensure punctuation is the same throughout.
- The pages with images work well, breaks up the text and keeps interest.
- Maybe add more images.
As the publication was not complete prior to this crit, more images were added to the final product. I ensured all of the punctuation was the same throughout (use of full stops) and that all was legible and readable even at the small size.
Once fully completed I printed it out and mocked it up to ensure it worked and to proof read it, making sure all the grammar and spelling was correct and that it all made sense.
When mocking it up I found that it worked very well although staple binding the final product would not be possible as the stapler I had access to would not staple the amount of pages I had plus a cover.
With the content finished completely I turned my focus to the cover. I wanted the cover to reflect the content whilst at the same time being interesting to look at and intriguing. Looking at all of my initial designs I combined a couple of different ones to come up with one I was happy to use. I chose to put the student union logo onto the cover to show the students there is a place to go for more information and help.
Now that that was completed I needed to find my stock that I wanted to print on. I originally wanted to print on identical stock to the ‘Scout Books’ – chipboard cardboard – but this was difficult to get a hold of so I needed to choose something else. The two other possible stocks I found were very different to each other. One was a thin greyboard, which had a great texture, and the second was a thinner, semi glossy orange card.
With everything ready to screen print I proceeded to do that, prepping and exposing my screen, mixing my ink and printing. I wanted to screen print my cover to show a range of different methods of production to the first years.
I also printed the publication onto bulky newsprint, using an inkjet printer, to provide another dimension. I only printed out on comp on this stock due to time restraints. The quality of this stock was much better than the others I printed out however did not work very well with the orange cover and the lines were not as crisp as there was some bleed.
The final processes were to bind the physical publication, digitize it and photograph it.
As the staples were not long or strong enough to hold the booklet together, I chose to saddle stitch the publication together. Using black thread I proceeded to bind 4 publications.
I started by binding the greyboard cover with the bulky newsprint to produce what I initially thought would be the best combination aesthetically. Once bound these stocks provided problems. The main problem was the thickness of the greyboard, meaning that when folded it began to rip and tear. These were the most aesthetically pleasing combination but were not possible in this situation.
I then bound the orange covers with standard 100gsm white stock. Although this stock was not as interesting it was still effective and worked well with the orange when bound. The only problem I found with these stocks was that the ink had not properly dried on the cover so one smudged when I was binding them.
Finally I digitized the whole thing so it can be downloaded onto your iPhone or iPad. I produced a digital version of the cover for this part.
§ The first would be to produce more. Ideally I would like to produce enough for every first year although using the cover stock this would be quite expensive.
§ The second would possibly to use a more interesting stock for the interior and find a cheaper alternative to the cover stock although I am happy with the current outcome.
§ I would also like to add some more information on the processes that I have used. This could possibly be added on the cover or as an insert in the booklet.
§ I would also ideally like to have more interaction in the digital edition so similar tips were linked together.