Project 4: Colour, Composition and Linear Narrative | Activities

The first two weeks of this project revolved around exploring how colour and arrangement are a crucial part of visual communication, working using both analog and digital processes.


Colour Theory


To start the analog activities, we had to paint a colour wheel using only red, blue and yellow paint, showing the primary, secondary and tertiary colours. Next to this we had to create two sixteen step tonal scales, one using just black and white paint and the other using black and white along with one of secondary colours we mixed for the colour wheel, attempting to make each step tonally identical to the grey scale.

We then moved on to re-create the classic Bauhaus colour and personality exercise in order to explore the potential of colour communication. Using square grids we had to use the three primary colours along with black and white to mix colours we liked, making sure every square was different. We then had to use the same technique to create arrangements of coloured squares that communicated 'Mumbai, a rainforest, Blackpool, a misty morning, Autumn and a hospital ward.

Designing with Type


Our next task required us to use only letterforms to create six final digital typographic designs using given typefaces in combination with as many colours as we saw fit in order to answer a 'problem'.

The point was to help us explore the infinite possibility of shape, arrangement, colour and contrast as tools to communicate.

Using Adobe Illustrator, the process of creating these type designs can be seen through the screen grabs below:

Colour Materials and Abstract Collage


​Another analog activity required us to explore the possibilities of paint, coloured paper and glue to create arrangements and experiment creating pleasing compositions to set us up for our next lecture.

Composition This week we had to research and work in the style of three designers: Vaughan Oliver, Peter Grundy and El Lissitzky. The aim was to understand the key elements of their work; how they use composition, colour, type, imagery, and replicate their styles using Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. We had to produce A3 posters in the style of each of the designers for the theatre productions: Little Red Riding Hood, The Woman in Black and Hairspray.

Vaughan Oliver/The Woman in Black Vaughan Oliver is best known for his work designing album covers for The Pixies, combining dark photography and experimental typography, and using digital and analog techniques. I collated a few of his works together to use as inspiration, all found on Google Images. For my thumbnail sketches, tried to play around a little with different poster layouts and placements for the typography as well as a few ideas of what kind of imagery I wanted to use to represent the theatre production. I chose to use this artist for 'The Woman in Black' due to it incorporating such dark imagery and texture, which I felt fit in well with the theme of horror.

I then began experimenting with some ideas using Adobe Photoshop, playing around with different filters for the imagery, (the image I used is linked here) and combining different fonts to see which looked the most pleasing. I also added texture by overlaying some dust/scratches (linked here) to make it look for worn away and old as well as noise as it looked too clean. For this design I tried to combine a serifed font with a calligraphy font.

Being new to this program, I similarly experimented with some more designs (image used linked here; texture linked here).

Before created my final poster, I wanted to experiment a little with combining different typefaces so see what worked well together; I tried to make them look sort of grunge. However, I did find this quite difficult.

For my final poster, I used one of the images I used before, layering on different filters to make it look over exposed and grunge looking. I also added textures and noise to add to the worn away, old photo effect. I then added boxes to include the information about when and where the production is held, and then finally, I chose to use a calligraphy font in a muted colour behind two complimenting serif fonts of the title of the theatre production in order to make it pop more.

Peter Grundy/Hairspray


Peter Grundy is an illustrator and designer known for his work on infographics, highlighting the power of playful colour and basic shapes to communicate. I collated some images from Google to help inspire me. I then drew up a couple of thumbnails of ideas for my 'Hairspray poster'.

Using Adobe Illustrator, I began by creating a few elements using vectors that I could use for my poster designs, by combining individual shapes to create images. I then experimented with some colour palettes taking inspiration from Grundy's work, as well as some simple sans serif fonts to communicate the information about the production clearly.

Here I experimented with some other poster layouts. The first one I kept the type centred and added a few extra elements to create more interest. For the other design I chose to include some of the other vectors I created, focusing on using complimentary colours in order to make the poster stand out.

El Lissitzky/Little Red Riding Hood


I began my research by googling images of his work, collating images I found had appealing compositions that would inspire me in creating the poster. Lissitzky was most well known for his Russian modernism, constructivist designs, greatly influencing the Bauhaus movement. A master at mass communication, his limited colours and fonts created powerful dynamic geometric layouts. Looking at his work its clear he favoured a particular colour palette: red, black, white and sometimes some muted yellows, and thought that would work really well with the theatre production I chose to do in his style.

​When drawing up my initial thumbnail ideas, I tried to incorporate his dynamic use of layout using simple shapes, and tried to think about how to couple the shapes with the type. Some designs I also wanted to included some photographic imagery.

I began using Adobe Illustrator to draw out the shapes and then added the type on top (the font was downloaded here). I didn't like the cleanliness and flatness due to it being done digitally; his actually work was hand printed, so I added some textures and noise to give it more of a printed effect.

For this design I used a photographic image (found here), and using the same kind of colour palette and font I incorporate some simple line/geometric shapes.

Final Posters

I'm really happy with how my final posters turned out and think they reflect the artists techniques well. My abilities will improve the more I get used to using the software.


0 comments