Personal 2

Monday, 13 December 2010

Production: ITAP lecture 9

This week my ITAP lecture was about production. Highlighted in red are the two principles I decided to write about today. The 5 key principles from my lecture were the following:
1. A brief history of production
2. Essential Milestones
3. The design workflow
4. From novice to expert
5. The experts
I have produced a simple diagram showing my workflow (below). I believe this workflow diagram works when having a three week project brief, because it can be easily adapted to my work. This diagram helps me because it also has a good structure for example in week one: Research (primary & secondary), week two: Initial ideas and experimenting, week three: Final outcome. So it keeps me on schedule and it is easy to plan ahead.

Designed by Kawsar Ahmed

Who is your favourite expert & why?
My Design Workflow 
Alexey Brodovitch (historical) & Tarek Atrissi (contemporary)
There are many favourite designers and art directors that I personally like and follow. However I will be discussing only two designers that have inspired me. One is Alexey Brodovitch a famous historical art director and second is a contemporary graphic designer called Tarek Atrissi. The reason why these two are one of my favourite are as follows;

Alexey Brodovitch (1898-1971)     

·         Brodovitch was a pioneer in graphic design. He bought modernist ideas, he was also the first art director to integrate image and text in covers of ‘Harper Bazaar magazine’ and was known for contradicting himself. There are number of things that interest me about his work, I will name a couple.
·         Firstly, he used fresh innovative ideas. For instance this is when he designed a poster for an upcoming ball competition, which won 1st place from contestants like Picasso and other good designer/artists.
·        Secondly, in the 1950’s he perfected his style of using crisp, sharp composition of text and photography with white space he used this in magazine layouts and covers.

      One of my favourite quote from Brodovitch was "We learn by making mistakes. We must be critical of ourselves and have the courage to start all over again after each failure. Only then do we really absorb, really
      start to know."

Tarek Atrissi
·         Tarek Atrissi is a Netherland based designer. Who has a unique style of interpreting his Arabic heritage in a modern way.
·         He designs and experiment with a lot of different mediums like websites, posters, logo design, packaging, broadcast design, newspaper design and even fashion. I particularly admire his Arabic typography/calligraphy. For example his logo for the country of Qatar (below) shows his creative thinking and his idea.  

This is a simple calligraphic logo which became a famous icon for the tourism sector across the Middle East. The colours all connects together, the blue symbolises the water and hospitality, the orange & red representing the sun and desert. I can see that he really focussed on getting the colours right by testing them out. “To a non Arab speaking person, the Qatar (Arabic text) becomes endless abstract shapes, a smiley face, dunes, waves. The logo starts as calligraphy but it then becomes more of an icon”, said by Atrissi.

Pictures from ‘Google Images’

Monday, 6 December 2010

Image and Text (ITAP Critical Commentry)

Integrating Theory and Practice: Image and text
(Level 4) Lecture 8
Last week I had a lecture on image and text, it was basically talking about how photographer uses text on their photos to express emotions or text could be used to describe the image. To name examples of good photographers who use text in their work are Gillian Wearing, Rene Magritte, Jim Goldberg, Barbara Kruger and John Heartfield. When observing each of these photographers work more thoroughly I noticed that without the text the message the photographer is sending might not come through as best as it can with text. Today I will write about how ‘how text can influence our emotions’ and ‘how text can be added to change the context of an image.
How text can influence our emotions
John Heartfield
John Heartfield is best known for his photomontages of Hitler. Hitler came to power in 1933 then John Heartfield was forced to leave the country. His work photos show photomontage with a political message. Below is one example of his photomontages. It shows Hitler sharpening his knife to kill a chicken. However the title is ‘don’t be afraid Hitler is a vegetarian’ so it’s ironic and to the left is the Heartfield. This image was for a magazine, at the bottom of the photo I can see the text and it is describing the photo.  
Artist: John Heartfield -‘Don’t be afraid Hitler is a vegetarian’
My work from a photography project

Below is an example where I used photomontage and text for a project that I done last year. The image is to show the transition to basic materials to mechanical or how time has change throughout the years of architecture. Before starting my work I had to find examples of artists in the past who used photomontage, this was when I came across John Heartfield, other photographers I looked at was Hannah Hoch and Raoul Hausmann. At that time when producing the work I knew a little of how to use Photoshop however by looking back at my work now there are a few things to improve on one being to handwrite the text to make it feel personal and to connect with the audience.  

Artist: Kawsar Ahmed

How text can be added to change the context of an image

Example 1:

This is an example of how text can be added to change the context of a photo. When first looking at the photograph without the text I wanted to know the background of these kids and why the photographer chosen to take this particular image. I later found the poster which is presented to the right above. This made it clear to me that the kids where from Cambodia and suffering from poverty and injustice there are more information about life in Cambodia as a child below the heading of poster. The poster was to inform the audience that there was an photography exhibition to raise money for the children of Cambodia.   

Written by Kawsar Ahmed

*Image: both from Google Images

Sunday, 28 November 2010

ITAP: Critical Commentary

(Level 4) Lecture 7
This week I had a lecture on ‘Development of Creative Thought and Structure in Illustration and Graphic Art’. The key principles were:
1. Overcoming Mindsets
2. Getting Rid of Assumptions
3. Restating Problems
4. Developing Ideational Fluency
5. Managing a Creative Environment  
I would be discussing Principe’s 3 & 4 pacifically today.
Restating Problems
Restating your problems basically mean finding an interesting way to redefine the problem. Designers/artists often have to imaginatively challenge problems from different angles. The designers or artists develop an idea and within an idea, the possibility of designing the one original idea has variety of possibilities/outcomes.
If making a visual list of 50-75 ideas. The first 20-30 would be those you are most familiar with, but the bigger the list the greater the probability of achieving original insight as a result of the fusion of two or more ideas.
You could also think of ways of producing it not going for the obvious thinking outside the box or even breaking the rules of design.  For example my recent project I am working on at the moment is to redesign a guide for new students coming to BIAD next year. I considered using graphic illustration because it felt that playful, handmade to feel personal for the target audience which is students. Also thought of using colour because it’s more attractive and would catch the eye of my target audience rather than black & white. I wanted to look at other ways of presenting this information, for instance I could design a mini animation, print campaign or could be web-based this is me thinking outside the box and looking at the design from the audiences point of view.
Developing Ideational Fluency
Ideational fluency can be defined as easily produced ideas that fulfil certain requirements and this can be achieved through tools such as classification, brainstorming and mind mapping. Ideational fluency refers to the quantity and diversity, but not necessarily the quality of ideas.
Classification is where ideas can be organised by recognising both obvious as well as hidden common denominators, sometimes removing artificial boundaries and generating diverse connections.
Brainstorming is an opportunity to develop impulsive thinking and generate more ideas.
Mind Mapping allows you the ability to organise the thought processes as a network, encouraging associations between different thoughts.
Below is my final major project (FMP) brainstorm image from my sketchbook. When brainstorming it helped me drop down my idea when inspiration came.

Image from Kawsar Ahmed

Rob Ryan is a British artist who majority of work is papercutting and screenprinting. He had designed illustration for books, album covers, greeting cards and magazines.

When recently reading the October issue of Computer Arts magazine, I fell across a page on how to make ‘stunning papercuts the easy way’ and found it very useful in fact so much that I consider doing it. If you are interested in learning the technique it’s on page 64.
Written by Kawsar Ahmed
Image courtesy of

Monday, 15 November 2010

ITAP -Production and Outcomes

(Level 4) ITAP lecture 6

This week I had an integrating theory and practice (ITAP) lecture about production & outcome. The five key principles of this lecture are Interpretation, Delivery, Medium, Testing, and Methodology. And today I will discuss the principles of Testing your work and Delivery.

Testing your work
Illustrators can gain feedback and reaction of their work from the public through galleries, websites, blogs, social forums and many more. This information is then up to the artists to improve or adjust the work to suit the needs of their target audience.
For Instance when reading the recent issue of ‘Computer Arts’ magazine I came across ‘Yuta Onoda’ is a Japan illustrator and painter based in Toronto, Canada. After a year from graduating he has been very successful winning several awards and having commissions from magazines like Eye weekly, Ez Magazine, How Magazine, Beehive Design, Imagine Native, Ink Publishing and more. Onoda was published in Computer Arts magazine as a upcoming artist. Being featured in the magazine is promoting himself and his work is becoming known from a globally. The magazine spreads had images of his work and this would engage the audience. To read the full interview of Yuta Onoda then visit He has a blog that he can receive comments from the public.  

*Pictures courtesy from Yuta Onoda blog.

You can get feedback and reactions from the art professionals by entering art competitions for example the annual D&AD.

There has never been a better time for the potential applications for illustration. Creative outputs now include collectable designer toys, fashion clothes, plates, furniture, etc.

Many illustrators today will simply not wait for markets to emerge but instead find other ways to get there work across for example self-publishing fanzines and magazines; launching own-label products, flick books and stickers, badges, T shirts as well as promoting self initiated limited edition artworks through the use of online websites and more traditional gallery shows.

For instance ‘Diggy Smerdon’ is a contemporary artist & illustrator. Her expressive raw lines and distinct forms make her work unique and mysterious. Her talent also extent into further realms as she has unleashed her quirky and beautiful creations on to everything from album covers, to T- shirts and surfboards.

Below are pictures from one of my favourites and a link to a video clip showing Diggy creating custom art surfboard. This clip also shows her process from painting the artwork on to the blank step by step of glassing the board and finishing it off ready to wax up and to use. The board was commissioned by Panda Eye surf.

* (video clip at bottom of page) 

To conclude I believe that there are many ways artists and designers can present their art work do gain valuable feedback from the public. This enables the designers to improve and adapt their ideas to satisfy their chosen target audience. Also I feel that particularly Illustrators have a range of platforms to express their work on, a big improvement from past years experiences.

Written by Kawsar Ahmed


This video clip was sponsored by Avalaan.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

ITAP; Development of Ideas and Structure in Moving Image

Analysing the structure of Twilight movie

This week I will be discussing about story development in a three act structure, and I would be expressing these key points why watching the movie ‘Twilight’. I will also show how ‘The Sarah Jane Adventure’ (TV series) extended the platform to engage audience.
Principe 1; Story Development

‘Twilight’ is a vampire movie originally based upon the famous book series by author Stephanie Meyer. This is the first movie of the Twilight Saga. So this movie is split into 3 sections Beginning; Middle; End.
The movie is told by Bella point of view. The beginning (30 minutes) of the movie, she moves to ‘Forks’ a small town in Washington DC to live with her father ‘Charlie’. She gets used to her new surroundings, and starts high school. Bella meets Edward Cullen in biology class and she starts noticing little odd habits. Then later Edward saves Bella’s life from a car accident and it’s from here that she becomes drawn to him. And questions Edward on how he came so fast to her from a length of space.  

Then a series of events happen to Bella which ends up of Edward saving her again and their relationship progresses.
The Middle of the movie is mostly about Bella & Edward and James (a nomadic vampire). It starts off by Edward inviting Bella to go play baseball with his family. This is when they meet ‘The Nomadic Vampire’ who killed Charlie good friend. The three members of this group are Laurent (who seems to be the leader), Victoria (James girlfriend) and James (a tracker- who harms Bella). The Cullen family plans to kill James to save Bella. Bella leaves Forks to protect her father from the situation she’s in. The family splits up two protecting Bella and the other half trying to stir James on a wrong path. However this plan backfire and James makes a call to Bella threatening to kill her mother. So she agrees to come to James alone to save her. But later finds out it was a trap. James twists and bites her wrist.

The ending, Edward comes to Bella rescue and kills James. Then Edward sucks the venom out of her system. After a couple of days Bella goes to prom with Edward. The end shot is of Victoria watching them dancing of which they are unaware. Victoria plays a big part in the next movie ‘New Moon’ from the Twilight Saga.  
Overall I found the movie enjoyable and good to watch. You could watch the movie on YouTube (but they aren’t in HD) or you can buy the movie. I would say the protagonist in this movie would be Edward Cullen. In his past he admitted that he killed people however in this story we see him as the Hero.    

Principe 5; Digital Storytelling   

‘The Sarah-Jane Adventures’ is a TV series following the show of Doctor Who but its targeted for a younger audience. When going to their website I notice a variety of clips and episodes to engage and increase the audience. I’d seen beautiful illustrated comic strips, exclusive videos, games, character interviews and much more. The website layout is also straight forward. I was worried before because i wondered how they will put all this information in and still make it look clear and simple for kids to use.
The use of colour and pictures enhance the target audience to o to the website and even watch the episodes.
Here’s a link to their website,
What do you think of it?

Monday, 1 November 2010

Integrating Theory and Practice- The Brain

Draw. Work by Hand & Utilise Your Creative Brain 
(Principle 1&2)

      Right Brain     
      Childlike, Playful, Experiments, Creativity
These two painting created by Merello presents emotions and has variety of colours. By the brush strokes, as well as the pictures of sun, houses, and fields indicated that the artist had a playful mind whilst created this. The image at the left reminds me of my childhood when I drawn pictures of a house and the sun in the corner. I could instantly tell that the artist used the right side of his brain, because it's more childlike, playful and curious. 
The painting below shows that it a portrait of someone. I consider he used mixed media for this. I like the use of colour presented and how he drawn straight onto the canvas without over analysing things.

Left Brain

Analysing, Clarifying, Structure, Editing and Evaluating.

Jonathan Burton (Illustrator)

This is a look inside Jonathan Burton sketchbook. I can see that here he has started to analyse his idea a bit more, by explaining this process (reflecting). This shows that he is gathering his thoughts into paper. I believe that he used the left side of his brain to work out and solve problem.

As well as expressing his thoughts into paper some might not like mass of writing so to keep it visually interesting he added some thumbnail sketches. The sketchbook has his ideas on how he will design this final outcome.

There are 2 illustrations below. One on the left is showing his end illustration result and on the right is the final computerized one (added with colour).

To conclude I like to say that both sides of the brain works best together. The awareness of using these two can support more effective creative process. I found this week that information graphics is one example of this. So you get a mixture, one side is visual artwork which engages with the eye and second the analysis that connects with your mind.

This is Jonathan Burton work showing the process of how he got his end result. He began by trying to solve the problem of how ‘showing 8 people together in one room all facing each other’. He then created a sequence to help him establish different ideas to make it happen. Jonathan had drawn his ideas and notes on the page. He used pencil because it is simple and easy to be erased when making a mistake. The sketch presented tells me that he translated different ideas to solving the problem and ideas from his head to paper.

When completing his thumbnail idea sketches. He moved on experimenting using his right side of his brain.  His experiments are mainly detail pencil drawing of the characters at different positions. Here I can see Burton working out how the characters will be arranged.
Once solving this problem, when observing his end result i fold that the 6 suspect are in colour and this is the hierarchy I’ve noticed. Also noticed that the view was sketch from above, this made it clear how each person looks at others in this illustration. Jonathan Burton said that ‘The project was so rewarding particularly when piecing together all the scene and characters’.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

ITAP - Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is used in page design to help the audience process information. The hierarchy can be used in several dimensions, such as colour, texture, shape, contrast, position and size. Above is the Elle magazine 2009 cover. The first thing I look at, is immediately the dress she wearing because it’s the only part of the cover that has vivid colour. The reason why the yellow stands out is because everything else is a grey at the background, however I did think that both colour complement each other.  
The second visual hierarchy that catches my eye is the typography. The title comes across clear against the white background. The third thing I notice is the body position of the women because she spread her arms to fill the page. The image of Victoria Beckham is in colour and not in monochrome like most of the typography presented in the cover. I have noticed a pattern occurring when viewing this cover again. It seem that the designer wanted the viewers to first look at the yellow in her dress (it attracts the eye because it's one of the primary colours.) then her body which is also colour, then face and finally leading to the title of the magazine.

When coming across this flyer today, I found a lot of things that could be improved upon. However it did catch my eye due to vibrate magenta background. There are many problems to this flyer but I’ll just pick out the top 3 I found:  
1.   Fonts- There is a variety of fonts expressed on this page. For example the title of the event doesn’t seem to fit with the theme at all. The two colours pink and orange clash together than gel, unlike the yellow and grey which complemented each other in the other image.

2.   Background- The flyer background colour would instantly attract the eye. Because of how ‘in your face’ it looks and the brightness as well. To add to the background the designer decided to add little stars.

3.   Images- There are two images in the flyer, one is the models and two the buildings. The building looks that it had been Photoshoped to enhance the contrast, to appear bolder against the models. There are 3 models, because you tend to remember things more when presented in 3’s. The models in the flyer were positioned as one in front and two at back.

Written by Kawsar Ahmed
Pictures from ‘Google Images’

ITAP - Researching The Practice...

Paula Scher
‘American female graphic designer’

Example one
Paula Scher was born in 1948 in Virginia USA. She’s a graphic designer and an artist. I admire her work in typography. Because they come across as strong, clean cut and bold. Paula didn’t like the font of ‘Helvetica’ because she thinks it too boring and bland. So she wanted to create a new font. She was influenced by Art Nouveau and Victorian typography. At this time she was designing album covers so she incorporated a mixture of pop music and art nouveau to create a new font. Above are a couple of examples that best describes it. She also designed a logo for ‘public theater’ that became a popular font style.
When I observed ‘Victorian’ and ‘Art nouveau’ typography, I have noticed subtle similarities and differences in Scher typography. below I can see that she has kept the theme of the thickness of the letters, just like shown in the Victorian era typefaces, however she made it look more eye catching by adding strips of red in the stems of the letter as well as colouring the counters in above image. In the left image I noticed a couple similarities to the Art nouveau. First I see she has used slimmer font like in one of the example in the Art nouveau picture below but made it more modern by not using serifs. I had seen how the font above it was decorative. When looking closely at the letter ‘E’ in the slender font on the top line you can see how the middle line is close to the bottom line, when looking at this letter upside down it is almost identical to the art nouveau style design of the letter you will be able to see this in the Art nouveau image below.
Example two
The Victorian typeface inspired by late 19th century display letterforms. I liked the style of the font examples presented on the image for instance the font in the word ‘grill’, I liked how the serif looked and the thickness of the bowl on the letter ‘g’ as well as the stems of the other letters. Overall the Victorian typeface superbly reflects the refinement of the late 19th Century. The art nouveau fonts were popular in Europe and North America, in the beginning of the late 1800’s. The fonts are usually decorative and can include stroke endings, very high and low “waistlines” diagonal and triangular character shapes. This is shown below.

Overall I think Paula Scher is a good designer, I like the way she connects little, simple key things from existing typefaces and then making her own twist to it to form a new combined font.
Written by Kawsar Ahmed

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Saul Steinberg (1914-1999)
Born in 1915, Steinberg illustrations were exposed internationally having been published in a numbers of magazines. He liked collecting comics because of the layout like the words coming out of people’s mouths, substituting lines, shapes, patterns and visual symbols for words, and giving us a graphic impression of speech and expression. As well as that he understood New York. This cover was my personal best out of all the covers in ‘The New Yorker’ magazine. The ‘View of the World from 9th Avenue’ is a classic example of Steinberg’s wit and humour, the picture was very popular to the audience and they felt it was an excellent critique of the New York City attitude. Steinberg used ink, pencil, coloured pencil, and watercolour to create this cover. Saul Steinberg was greatly influential in the evolution of cartoons into a mature and acceptable art form. His work inspired that of many other famous cartoonists, such as ‘Art Spiegelman’ and ‘Bill Watterson’.   

‘View of the World from 9th Avenue’
Cover of ‘The New Yorker’ (March 29-1976).

Jon Burgerman
Jon Burgerman is a British graphic designer. He has done a lot of work like creating doodles, drawings, art, sketching on a variety of different mediums such as on posters, stickers, toys, books, all forms of paper, wood, cardboards, bags, T shirts. I personally like the cover he designed for ‘Computer Arts’ magazine (below).
Jon Burgerman artwork is very lively and colourful with his characters, he positions them in forms that are crammed on top of each until they fill the page with an effect that creates a mass of energy. Burgerman has pushed the character obsession of the late 90s into a more interesting and strong direction.

Jon Burgerman made a very good reputation through his unique and bold artworks of doodles, intertwining lines and interesting characters. Working across a variety of mediums that include drawing, painting, print, animation, toy design. His art always retains a handmade and hand drawn quality. His process of working is drawing, scanning and then enhance the illustration in Adobe Photoshop.

To conclude I would like to say how each illustrator has uniquely inspired me. I like the idea of how Jon Burgerman turns a simple doodle to a work of art. I also like how Saul Steinberg his style and the ‘View of the World from 9th Avenue’ illustration he done.