for my own reference

October 28, 2008

long sides:  170 mm x 30 mm

short sides: 50 mm x 30 mm

this life is not a prison

October 27, 2008

This packaging thing is taking far longer than I’d ever anticipated. Got an email from Nick over the weekend with a suggestion from the packaging manufacturers, to create something like this:

The thing about this, as I replied to Nick, is : This seems like a good way to present the model punt itself; however, if you wanted to still use my designs – and keep the Oxford/Cambridge branding – you’ll probably end up with double-sided printing – I’m guessing you’re okay with that. This is because the only way you’d really be able to see my design is by having it visible through the transparent plastic window. Part of it would be on the actual front, and then it would be repeated on the back wall – attached is a quick MS Paint diagram of how it might work. There’s also the issue of marketing to both Oxford and Cambridge – with this packaging you wouldn’t be able to use one box for both towns.

This was my highly technical MS Paint diagram (I didn’t have Adobe available at the time – it was rather depressing how badly I failed at drawing a simple line in this bloody program)

They’re cool with double-sided printing the package, but want me to look at wrapping my design (Oxford and Cambridge) inside and outside. Think I might have to give Nick a ring later and see exactly what he means by this – does he want me to merge the two towns together, or create two separate ones?

More-or-less finished the work for Oxjam, I think; they went for the second design (which I’m pleased about because I liked that better too) and only provided a few tweaks for me to do:

Evaluating this mini-project, I’m quite pleased I didn’t stick with my first idea, as I’m often prone to do, and that I tried to consider the layout of the type a bit more than just sticking it all in horizontally and bolding some bits and not others. I still don’t think typography is my strongest point but Oxjam seem quite happy with what I’ve come up with, so I guess I can be quite satisfied with how it went.

domestic ham is good enough

October 23, 2008

I have a slight conundrum with the punt packaging; after speaking to Nick on Tuesday about everything we came up with a plan to include a Cambridge view on one side of the box with a “Cambridge and Oxford Punts” sign, and then an Oxford view on the other side with “Oxford and Cambridge Punts” featured prominently, so that the people selling them can display the side most relevant to their particular location. However, the images I’ve come up with are a lot taller and narrower than the sides of the packaging, because I designed them for the top. So it’s either have tiny, squished to one side illustrations or not enough room for the banner explaining exactly what it is these little things are. There’s also a big gap on the top that’s not really doing much.

Allow me to explain visually (click the image to make it bigger):

So yes. Of course, one idea would be to just have the image on the top and bottom instead of both sides, but then the sellers would either have to swap the sleeve around on every one they were selling or display the product upside down, which I can see resulting in a lot of “throwing model punts onto the floor” scenarios.

I guess one thing I could do is to have the Oxford/Cambridge designs still on the sides, but put the sign on the top – just one, would Oxford really be so offended if it was second? – along with the little flashy bit saying “includes history of punting/how to punt guide” that Nick also wants included. Hmm. Maybe I should email Sophie.

it’s all boiling over

October 23, 2008

After coming up with that design for Oxjam I ended upcoming up with a completely different idea as well, one that concentrated a bit more on the typography side of things (even if I have the feeling my typography skills aren’t exactly world-class):

It actually retrospectively reminded me of those Oxfam TV ads, the animated ones, with the little old lady and the big evil monsters of Poverty and Injustice; as they’re showing it now the people fight back with big “NO”s, but when the advert first came out they just looked like they were vomiting rainbows all over it.

Anyway, rainbow vomit aside, this is the idea that Alex likes best out of the two, though she still needs to check with everyone else on her organising team before she goes ahead and sends anything to print.

old hollywood is over

October 21, 2008

Had a new project come in recently, that needs to be done fairly quickly; Oxjam Manchester are having a launch event on the 6th of November and want me to do the flyers and posters, preferably by Thursday. Blimey. I’ve been given more-or-less free rein over what I come up with, though obviously it needs to have enough information on it for people to know what, where and when it is. Also, Oxfam require you to have their logo on the publicity somewhere along with a short blurb about them being a charity and things.

Anyway, the launch event is called The Big Kick-Off, which is rather oddly football-themed for something that will be a gig, but whatevz, yo. My thought process has been kind of celebration, launch, countdowns, that kind of thing, so I ended up thinking about fireworks, and then finally electric lights, like the Leeds Lights switch-on or the Blackpool Illuminations. So I’ve been trying to copy the typography of those cheesy neon signs you get in American diners:

And come up with something where I’m kind of using the silhouette style I used on the Chief website as well. So, this is my first initial tryout, which I’ve tried to make fairly shiny-looking so that if Alex (the organiser) likes it I can pretty much send it to her straight away, once she tells me who’s playing.

The big space at the bottom is a handy spot to plonk some band names and a ticket price, once I know exactly what they are.

…not sure about the plug. For a start, how would it be still lit if it wasn’t plugged in? I tried to make it so that was what the little creature at the bottom was so surprised about, but maybe that’s just stupid. I JUST DON’T KNOW.

Incidentally if you’re in Manchester on the 6th you should go to this. Listen to good music! Save the planet! It’s all good!

I got this in the post today from Nick, as he said it would help me envisage what the packaging should be like; I guess it does, as I hadn’t anticipated it being as dinky as it is. The fact it already has its own little dinky box is quite interesting too; I briefly entertained designing the packaging more as a kind of sleeve to go around the box, but I get the feeling this means the wooden box would get scratched and damaged at the exposed sides when it’s still a part of the whole keepsake.

once and never again

October 15, 2008

One thing I’m becoming very aware of when doing designs for these t-shirts is colour restrictions. I mean, I was aware that as I’m not exactly an expert at screenprinting, going all out with the multicoloured prints wasn’t going to be an option, but costing-wise, I’m actually having to think about using the same colour scheme for all of my designs, so that I’m not having to mix up 15 different pots of colour for 5 3-colour prints or something. Luckily since I’m designing everything in Illustrator anyway it’s fairly easy for me to keep the colours exactly the same.

Also while considering the colours of the designs I’m also having to consider the colours of the t-shirts; the safe (and cheap) bet would be for me to stick to white, but it’d nice to try to give a bit of a choice. Maybe that’s an idea for when I’m a bit more sure of supply and demand, as it were.

Found Fruit of the Loom plain t-shirts on Amazon, that aren’t too expensive and probably aren’t going to fall apart in the first wash. Will have to perhaps order just one to start with, to test everything out on.

Couple of ideas so far:

I’m a little nervous still about the whole actual printing… thing. However, my flatmate is a third-year textiles student and is just starting to work with multicolour screenprints, so what I think I’m going to do is ask her if I can come with her down to the print room and look over her shoulder as she’s working, before I have a go myself. I fear arriving at the print room with a few photocopies and a confused expression is a dead cert for incurring Roger’s wrath.

hit the bottom and escape

October 13, 2008

Another of my projects I’m just starting to think about is trying to translate my own illustrative style onto marketable merchandise; namely, I want to print up some t-shirts I can sell. Preferably, I’d like to print them myself, too.

The reason I want to work on this project is because I think it will be important in working out who I am as an illustrator, will help me to move forward creatively and concentrate on how I wish to present myself as an illustrator to both my peers and any potential clients and employers. While at my work placement the company I worked for was particularly interested by a particular style and set of characters of mine and with their encouragement I have begun to development them as a distinctive marketable style, and would like to use this second project as a chance to reinforce them as a sort of brand identity for myself.

Firstly, I’ve been trying to gauge interest among people who are familiar with my work as to whether they might consider purchasing t-shirts, just to make sure it’s worth undertaking. I asked among my friends and also through my Facebook Page, and I’ve had a fairly positive response; most of those interested have been in the 18-30 range, both male and female, though I’ve also had some mothers ask if I would consider printing up childrens’ t-shirts, which is quite interesting.

What I think I need to consider at the moment:

– What designs I’m using. Do I want to print up stuff I’ve already drawn, or create some new designs specifically for the t-shirts?

– Translating the designs onto t-shirts; position, size, what colour t-shirts?

– Printing practicalities; once I’ve got some designs I’d consider using, I need to see how easily they’d translate to print, particularly if they involve more than one colour. I also need to practice printing onto fabric, and consider things like resistance to wear, tear and washing.

– If I am selling t-shirts, I need to buy them to print onto; what’s the most cost-effective way to do this? It’s cheaper to buy 10 of the same t-shirt than to buy ones to order, but maybe if I have orders of many different shapes and sizes, buying all of them the same isn’t practical…

Places I’ve been researching:

Gama-Go – I’ve made an entry on this company further down the blog.
Threadless – A t-shirt site where users submit their own designs, others give their vote on them, and the highest-voted designs get printed. There are hundreds and hundreds of submissons, and it’s interesting to note which ones get picked. Clever visual puns attract a lot of votes, as do very intricate, visually beautiful designs; most are designed on Illustrator, but there’s the occasional photographic print too.

Hmmm. First thing I need to think about, I think, is what I’m putting on these t-shirts in the first place.

So after sending those initial sketches off, I got a call from Nick a couple of days later to discuss my ideas; though they’d been more contemporary than he’d expected, he’d liked them nonetheless, and particularly liked the design with ‘Oxford & Cambridge Punts’ enclosed in a banner. However, he thought it would be better to include recognisable Oxford and Cambridge landmarks in the artwork rather than just generic buildings (something I agree with – the generic buildings were mostly for times’ sake). We decided to use Kings College for Cambridge:

and the Radcliffe Camera for Oxford:

Nick also told me that the boxes would now have to be enclosed all-cardboard affairs (with no plastic window) and so the artwork would have to include a picture of the punt model on it somewhere, which he would send to me once the models were delivered. Working with what I had so far, I came up with these:

So now I’m just waiting to hear back from Nick about these.