Creative Review – Evaluation

Visual Communication

Personally I feel as though my design meets the needs of the brief as I have followed the task of designing a front cover and a double page spread for a subculture that is having an unexpected revival from the past. I chose the subculture of Psychedelia which was extremely common in the mid 60s-70s and was typically involved with youths of the time period. I chose to use psychedelic artwork in my design because of ethical implications of the drug uses ,this meets the needs of the brief as I the visual message displayed from my front cover and double page spread is clear that it is fro the psychedelic subculture.

My strengths of the visual communication are the bright colours used throughout my design and the synergy between the front cover and double page spread. The synergy throughout my products is very strong and therefore the audience are able to get a clear understanding of the visual message which is being portrayed. The use of psychedelic artwork is a main convention in the subculture, therefore the target audience will be able to relate with the imagery within the front cover and double page spread. The imagery involves artwork from psychedelic users to portray what they have seen when they have ‘tripped’ on the drug and so again, the message from the subculture of psychedelia is strong. However from someone outside of the target audience or has little understanding of the subculture, they could find it slightly harder to understand the message. Reflecting upon this now, I feel as though I should’ve used some imagery of drug consumption as this is a main convention from the subculture, however I felt this should’ve been left aside due to ethical implications.

Reflection of working practises

My time keeping throughout this brief was extremely good, I feel as though this was due to the timing of the brief. We were set the brief just before our Christmas break which allowed me to do a lot of research into subcultures and my chosen subculture over the month of December until I went back to College the following month. Due to my in depth research I feel as though it helped me to plan my sketches and designs of the products with plenty of time to finalise my finished products. I feel as though because the brief was around a month and a half in length it allowed me to gain a full understanding of the brief, therefore my analysis of the brief was very good, thus allowing me to create a good final product.

My research allowed me to have a full understanding of the subculture ‘Psychedelia’, the main conventions, the signifiers of the subculture etc. From having such detailed research it allowed me to brainstorm a lot of ideas and designs, this benefited my final product greatly. My research consisted of analysing psychedelic artwork, understanding of psychedelic drugs (their effects, reasons people consume them etc.) and also the psychedelic music.

Throughout this project I used experimentation when coming to my final product of the front cover. This consisted of playing around with different sketches and effects until I liked the aesthetic and visual message I was trying to portray. In the end for my front cover I used a mixture of two sketches (the large eye sketch and the close up of a face sketch). The two of these together worked very well in my opinion, and therefore through experimentation it made my final product stronger.

Personally I really enjoyed the freedom with this project, it allowed me to choose a subculture that interested me, and it kept me focused to keep working harder on the brief. Also, researching into the subculture of Psychedelia was extremely interesting, sometimes research can be tedious however because of the freedom with this project, the research was something I really enjoyed, just as much as the designing of the products.

I personally worked best on the research whilst I was at home as I could do the research in my own time, however for the designing of my products I worked much better at college, the reason for this was because there are much less distractions at college. In order to ensure I work well at all times is to remove the potential distractions by either working in a different room to the distractions or come into college on my days off to work.

In conclusion I really enjoyed this brief, mainly because of the freedom of the project and because I had enough time to make sure I researched everything in full detail. In the future I will make sure I always think about the ethical implications of my designs to improve myself as a conscious designer. Below are some images of my final products.


Test Prints

I undertook some test prints before my final print onto Glossy Paper, the reason for this was to ensure I had the correct measurements and settings in order to have the best quality possible. I printed onto regular A3 paper in colour with crop and bleed marks to see the guidelines. I then trimmed my designs accordingly and put them over the top of a proper ‘Creative Review’ magazine to see how it would look. Here are the images I took below.


Overall I feel as though the aesthetic of my test prints were very good and the first print was successful, therefore I went straight to the EPSON printer with Glossy paper to do my final prints.

‘Good Design’ Evaluation

Throughout this project brief I have tried to be as sustainable as possible by reducing my amount of wastage and time by making sure I use the fastest and most effective method to produce a high quality piece of work. The main factor was to remove the amount of ‘wasted’ prints I had to do to ensure that my final product looked as I wanted it to. To keep my budget as low as possible, my first print was on regular A3 paper, the reason being it is much cheaper than Glossy A3. After my first print of this I was happy with the outcome and I felt that using Crop & Bleed Markings helped me a lot to see the scale/ outline of my project. Once I was happy with my test print I then went on to print on Glossy A3 paper from the EPSON printer, and this removed all chances of potential upset as I already new which settings to use.

I considered the ethical implications for my project, the main ethical implication would be the usage of drugs and this can be upsetting to some members of my audience, therefore I decided to stay away from the displaying of drugs and decided to use different conventions from the Psychedelic subculture, such as bright vibrant colours & psychedelia artwork.

For me I personally feel as though this project as allowed me to step forward are a socially conscious designer as I was able to be more diverse with my subculture, due to the fact that I was always consciously thinking about the ethical implications of my designs. The reason for this being that Psychedelia is a ‘sensitive’ topic when it comes to drug use.

My personal target in the future would be to always ensure that I am consciously thinking about how the audience could interpret my work, and to remove all potential upsets in my designs if need-be.

Below is my final product, please click on the images to enlarge them.

Double Page Spread Process

Firstly I pulled my sketch of the double page spread into InDesign in order to get the main outline/ layout of my double page spread. I completed the layout by using lines to separate each individual section and to give the double page a clean aesthetic. Here is a screenshot of the layout I put together, the text was placeholder text originally for the aesthetic, however I changed this with an article later on into the design process.


After some careful consideration into my sketch of the double page spread I felt that the imagery of using drugs wouldn’t be as significant for the audience as people don’t necessarily associate ‘drugs’ with psychedelic people nowadays, therefore I felt a bit convention of psychedelia would be the artwork. This included bright colours and ‘weird’ shapes. From this I used similar imagery as used on the front cover in order to create synergy between the front cover and double page spread, this allows the reader/ audience connect/ relate the two designs together. Below is another screenshot of my progression.

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As you can see I used a single eye instead of the double eyes, the reason for this is because after doing some research into psychedelic artwork I found that many people have experiences ‘Cyclops’ in their ‘trips’. I felt that the synergy was still strong between the front cover and double page spread due to the uniqueness of the eye and nose and was still conventional for Psychedelia, I changed the shading/ colouring of the eye as well to again, give it a slight difference to the front cover, yet still having bright, vibrant colours which will be attracting to the readers eye. I also felt the need to have reference to the Creative Review within my double page spread, and the double page spread seemed slightly empty on the right hand side above the title page, therefore I added the two letters of ‘C’ and ‘R’ in a diagonal style. I feel as though this helps the magazines flow of reading as its telling the reader/ audience to read from top to bottom and go down each ‘column’.

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Finally I found a psychedelic website/ artist called ‘MosaicScience’ which has produced some psychedelic artwork that displays the views of someone when they have ‘tripped’. I feel as though these images show a strong representation of psychedelia as a main convention of ‘tripping’ is to see different perceptions of things (double heads, brain storms etc.) It also refers to soul revealing as the top image shows everything spilling from the brain, the truth is revealed. I have referenced the images with a copyright symbol below each of them with ‘MosaicScience’.

As for the article, when I originally added the text into the double page spread it was all hyphenated and had many ‘Widows’ and ‘Orphans’, I decided to fix this by adding soft returns into the paragraphing and also selected to have the text to fit across the column making the typography neat. I used the button below.screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-16-15-37

As well as the neatness of the paragraph, I also wanted to make the first letter of the first paragraph larger than the rest (a Drop Cap). This is a very small design style however it brings a high level of professionalism to the type design. Below is a screenshot of my first paragraph displaying the tool in action.

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Here is my final double page spread.

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Design Process – Front Cover

I started by dragging my sketch into Illustrator and tried to use my graphics tablet to sketch over it and make my design look professional and ‘psychedelic’. However after an hour of playing around I couldn’t see this process working very well. The screenshot below is of my progress that I wasn’t too keen on.

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I then changed up my idea and decided to digitally make an ‘eye’. Below is a digital concept I came up with by using inspiration from my research of psychedelic artwork. After some consideration and feedback from my class mates I felt as though the colours weren’t vibrant, which is unconventional from the psychedelic subculture, therefore I felt the need to adapt my inital idea to have a more vibrant colour – appealing the audiences idea, particularly as a front cover. Both concepts are below.

I came back to my design the day after and had brainstormed a few more ideas over night. I thought that combining 2 of my thumbnail sketches could improve my front cover, and so making my front cover into a face like figure by duplicating the eye and designing a nose. Here is the outcome.






After designing this I really liked the idea and concept that I had put together. I then felt the need to mess around with the colours and gradients to see if I could make the design stand out more or have a different effect.









I played around with a few different gradients and effects and came together with this concept, however I feel as though it took away the ‘fire’ feel to my design and had too many colours to it which removes its message. Therefore I decided to stick with my original idea.





Below is the finalised front cover.

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Powerpoint – Mini Crit

We were asked to make a powerpoint of our research that we had undertaken halfway through the brief, and were asked to present it as a 10 slide pecha kucha. Below are screenshots of each slide that were in my presentation.

I was told that I had started with some good research and to research into Alan Aldridge, an artist, graphic designer and illustrator. I will be researching into him.

Sketches for Front Cover & Double Spage Spread

Here are some small thumbnail sketches that I created for my front cover.


After asking my class for some feedback and my own personal opinion I felt the best sketch was the first drawing of the eye, I was to base my main design from this, and the image below is a large image of my progress.

As you can see, I originally (left side) drew ‘heaven’ above the eye and under the sea underneath the eye, however I felt as though ‘heaven’ and ‘hell’ would be more fitting due to the psychedelia being known as ‘Soul-Revealing’, therefore I decided to finalise my sketch (right image).

I then went on to review different magazine articles within the Creative Review and I came across a design which really caught my eye as it was clean and eye to follow/ read. I used that design as inspiration and came up with the following sketch for my double paged spread.


As you can see the main focus of the articles is the imagery, and it is easy to follow from left to right. Also the use of columns on the right and left side of the double page spread can be used as framing to draw the attention of the audience towards the images, which will be very fitting to the subculture of psychedelia.







Peirce’s Semiotics – Weather

Peirce has 3 different types to the semiotics, Icon, Symbol & Index. We were asked to show examples of the three different types to do with weather.

Icon –

  • Photos
  • Forecast

Symbol –

  • Suncream
  • Coat
  • Hat
  • Umbrella
  • Thermals
  • Caution road signs

Index –

  • Sunrays
  • Raindrops
  • Snowflakes
  • Foggy
  • Frost
  • Slippery roads

Also, when I went on FaceBook today I had a greeting message ‘Good morning, Connor!’ with a sunny weather symbol in the bottom right. This is a symbol that the weather is sunny today due to the use of sun and small cloud.

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Semiotics 23/01/2017

The Signifier is one of the following: (“Worker”, communication)

Charles Sanders Peirce “Discovered” semiotics at about the same time as Saussure. He made 3 different types of signifiers:

  • Icon
  • Symbol
  • Index

Icon – This kind of signifier always has a physical resemblance to the signified. This could be roads and rivers on maps as they follow the patterns of the real landmarks. It could be all images that are not abstract. The amount that a signifier is iconic is relative – a hologram of a person is very iconic, so is a photograph, painting, drawing, while a stick person is only just iconic of a human. Onomatopoeic words also have a (slight) resemblance to the sound they describe and are therefore iconic signifiers, where most words are not.

Symbol – Signifiers tat are symbols have no natural connection to their signifieds. They are cultural conventions that are agreed to have specific meanings in a given society. Again their context is important as the meaning can change.

All written words are symbols and all spoken words (except onomatapia) are symbols. All numbers are symbols (unless written as dots). All letters are symbols When clothing signifies this is also symbolic. Road signs, heraldry and logos are all symbolic (bit may have iconic elements within them).

Index – Signifiers that are indexes have an actual, physical link to their signifieds. The symbol cannot exist without the presence of the signified.

Smoke as a signifier of fire is a classic example. Symptoms of illness are signifiers of the condition. Lipstick traces of a glass, footprints are all indexes. Many elements of the weather are signifiers of weather conditions – such as rain, lighting, heatwaves, fog and rainbows. Smells and sounds are also indexes of the signifieds that caused them.

Indexical signifiers are used to forecast the weather, diagnose illness, and are evidence for detectives, historians, archaeologists and palaeontologists.

Identify signifiers from the 3 sections above for my subculture.

lsdThe photograph to the right contains all 3 types of signifiers for my subculture – Psychedelia. Firstly, the icon of the LSD tab on the humans tongue tells the viewer that the person is consuming psychedelic drugs. The smiley face on the LSD tab also tells us it is more than just a piece of paper and could potentially contain drugs, this symbol will be more significant to those that regularly consume psychedelic drugs. Finally the use of the tongue sticking out and we can see that the human is salivating, therefore they are consuming some sort of substance. lsd-madness