Group Critique Feedback

Towards the latter stages of the project, after I had completed the designs for the final spread, we held a cross-college group critique with the other Pre-Degree courses at Palace Court. During this critique, I received a lot of positive feedback from the people in my group. They unanimously agreed that the concept and layout of my spread was a good, solid idea, that it all made sense, and that the balance of type and imagery was even, and worked well.

I did give them a copy of the design each to try for themselves, but as of yet I have not had any of them back. With that said, I was incredibly encouraged by the feedback I had received, knowing I did not really need to make many changes to my design.

Overall, I believe the group critique process is an important stage of each project, because it gives voice to another set of opinions, on top of those of the children from the school, my family, and my classmates on my course. I also feel like I made a positive contribution to the projects of the other people in my group, offering my constructive feedback on their projects.-

Final Idea

My final idea came from a combination of help from the children at PSCA, and my own re-worked designs. I stripped back the emotion-faces, making them more simple and easier to distinguish. I also reduced the amount of typography on the spread, because as mentioned in the previous post, the children found that there was too much cluttered, unnecessary writing that confused them. I also added a few extra elements, such as the ability for the children to completely personalise their own pages by colouring everything from the header to the emojis. Finally, on the right-hand page, I have left a large blank space for the children to ‘draw themselves, to represent how they are feeling at that moment in time’.

Above are the ’emotions’ that I have digitised as part of the final design, these will be the ones the children can digitise. I did a test on my Auntie’s three children – aged 9, 7 and 5 – and they could all tell me what at least 5 of the 6 emotions actually were.

20170215_115509

Above is basically the final design, showing the layout and components all pieced together. The basic idea is for the children to match each emotion with the correct image, then colour it in, in the colour they think corresponds to said emotion. They can also, if they wish, choose to fill the words with colour. The main purpose of the spread is to get children thinking about how different facial expressions represent different emotions, and also how colours can be linked back to emotions – for example most of the children I asked as PSCA told me that they most often associated the colour red with either anger or love.

PCA Meets PSCA

During the course of this project, we visited a nearby arts school, to give our designs a little bit of real-life testing, with the Year 2 students. I took the two designs from my previous post with me, however the children didn’t really take to either of them in a way I had hoped.

Design 1 – Feedback:

  • Too many words
  • Too many emotions in one place
  • Ugly
  • Difficult to read
  • Too much on page

Design 2 – Feedback:

  • Boring
  • Not as good as the other one
  • Not interesting enough
  • Too much writing
  • Not enough pictures/images

Taking this feedback on board, I decided to go back to the drawing board, and re-work the first design into something more fun and exciting that children would actually enjoy. The idea I came up with was to reduce the amount of typographic elements, and also the amount of illustration used. Judging by the reactions of the children at the school, they wanted a finer balance between text and imagery, whilst also feeling like there wasn’t really any level of interaction on their behalf with the spread.

During my time with two of the students, Eva and Caeden, I asked them to draw six different emotions for me, in the form of a “smiley” face… 20170215_115530

I decided to try and interpret these images in my own style to use in the final design, as I felt they represented a more accurate embodiment of emotions in the eyes of children.

Experimentation

20170215_115633

The sketches above are some hand-drawn doodles I produced, with help from the image in the last post, to depict a few emotions. These were set to be the main focal point of my work, but I realised that just the faces alone wouldn’t give me much of a basis for a final piece of any real quality. I created a design (which I will include below) where I combined all of these faces with some typographical elements to make more of a complete design.

20170215_115608

This design was one of two that I took to PSCA, so I could gather first hand feedback from the children. Using their feedback, which I will write about in a later post, I could make changes to my design ideas so that it would be more suited to the liking of my target audience.

20170215_115618

The design above is the second design I took to the school to show the children, to gather their opinions on my proposed work. The general basis behind this one was that each letter would represent a single emotion, and would have a brief description of each emotion beside.

Artist/Designer Research – Why have I gone freestyle?

For this project, I decided to go against the conventional methods of the design cycle, and not really do any artist research. I wanted this project to have a much more personal touch, where I could implement my own style of working into the final design(s).

I thought I could develop and refine my own style as a designer in this project, rather than imitate that of another creative. Whether this goes against me or not remains to be seen, but I believe I made the right decision by doing my own thing. Admittedly, I could have put a lot more effort in to this project, but at the same time, I do feel the level of work I have produced is to a sufficient quality and standard.

Emotions

The chosen subject for the graphic design pathway was ’emotions’, so my first thought was “how do I make children understand emotions?”… We were tasked with creating a double page spread based on our own interpretation of emotions.

My first step was to think about what emotions there actually are, so I found a useful series of illustrations using a Google image search. 20170215_104643

Using these illustrations, I tried to decide which emotions would me easier to communicate to children. After some useful feedback from our trip to Plymouth School of Creative Arts (see PCA meets PSCA post), I ended up settling for six:

  • Anger
  • Boredom
  • Excitement
  • Happiness
  • Sadness
  • Shock

I thought that these were some of the most basic, easily understandable emotions, and as our target audience are only aged between 3 and 6 years old, easy communication is necessary.