Category Archives: Semiotics Poster Group Project

Evaluation and Reflection

1) Visual Communication:

In what ways does the visual communication/message of the piece meet the needs of the brief?

We made an infographic that explains semiotics. We used pictures of icons, symbols and indexes. We used type to explain the different parts of semiotics.

What are the strengths of the visual communication? Why?

I think the typeface we used was clear and easy to read. The layout isn’t over-whelming. We used connecting lines and brackets to guide the eye.

What are the weaknesses of the visual communication? Why?

Semiotics can be a difficult subject to understand. Some people may have appreciated more type, giving more explanations and more images might have helped.

In what ways could the piece be mis-read or mis-understood by the audience? Be specific about who the audience is.

The audience is anyone who reads The Independent newspaper. If the infographic was uploaded on to the internet it could be looked at by anyone who wants to learn about semiotics/infographics. I think that people may struggle to understand fully the concept of semiotics from this infographic. I think that it is a good introduction to semiotics. I think to fully understand semiotics it is best to talk about it as well as looking at an infographic.

In what practical ways could the piece be developed or improved?

I think more information and images could be added to help further explain the different parts of semiotics. The colour scheme could be changed. The background colour could be changed.

2) Reflection of own working practices:

Be very honest with yourself in this section. Please feel free to approach a member of staff for help finding ways to develop skills.

How was my time keeping?

My time keeping was quite good for this project. I’m really glad my group turned up to lessons so we could start designing the poster early on so we had time to get feedback from the tutor after every stage. I did all my research within good time

How was my analysis of the brief?

I think my analysis of the brief was correct and it was helpful to analyse it. It was useful to use the brief to split the research into tasks that we then took on between us.

How was my research?

As explained in a previous post, we arranged as a group that I would research infographics in general. I tried really hard to look at a lot of infographics, make notes and write conclusions. I had all my research done in good time.

How did I draw conclusions from my research?

I wrote conclusions at the bottom of my research which forced me to think about what I’d learned which was quite helpful. I looked to see what different infographics had in common, what worked well and what felt counter-intuitive.

How did I use research to generate and develop ideas?

Mainly by looking at what the infographics had in common. I saw that it was common for them to be on a coloured background and for any text to be in a box with a coloured background. Looking at the layout helped me such as the way boxes are linked by lines that guide the eye. My research showed me that it was best not to cram a lot of information in to the space, to make sure the information is in the correct order and ensure that eyes should be guided along the page.

How did I use evaluations to help with my ideas generation and development?

We asked the tutor for feedback after every stage. We came up with some ideas which we later decided not to use after some thought. An example of this would be the beard and mustache idea. In the end we decided it didn’t fit very well in the space.

What parts of the project did I enjoy most? Why was this the case?

I really enjoyed working with other people. It was less stressful to have others there to help and encourage me. It was great to have others there to help solve problems.

What parts of the project did I enjoy least? Why was this the case?

I think writing this evaluation is probably the least enjoyable part. I did a lot of research which in the end became quite onerous and tiring.

What areas inspired me? Why was this the case? How could I follow these up?

I really like the infographics that could be understood instantly. Some infographics ‘feel right’ and some are counter-intuitive. In the future I would like my work to be understood instantly.

What areas were challenging or difficult?  Why was this the case?

We struggled to get our design to work but we got there in the end. At the end we changed the design to landscape, moved things around, added elements and that seemed to solve the problems.

Do I need to develop certain skills? Do I need these now? Or later?

I would like to improve my thinking skills so I can design graphics that can be understood very quickly. I think this type of ability will grow while I’m doing this course.

Group Evaluation

I think my group worked really well together. It definitely helped me to be in a group with others as we helped each other to solve problems. We gave out the tasks democratically at the beginning which was a good way to start. Everyone completed the task they were given and we swapped all our research. We didn’t have one single argument or problem that I can recall. This was probably because we had a lot of communication between each other so we must have solved any problems before they got out of hand. It was also probably because everyone in our group happened to have the right type of personality to be a good team player.

Final Poster Design – Notes by Tom

Final Thoughts:

The above image is our final design, which has been approved. We went through numerous stages in order to achieve this final product. Below are some thoughts about are decisions.

  • The decision to have the poster landscape was an effective decision as we have been able to better utilise the space.
  • The main advantage of this layout is that the diagram we constructed can be displayed in an efficient manner and therefore making it easier to understand.
  • We really like the style of my final design. We believe it meets the conventions of an ‘Independent newspaper poster’, which is an aspect we wanted to achieve from the outset. By using a basic colour scheme, it creates an elegant design which is aesthetically pleasing. We feel the diagram we constructed directly relates to what the poster is about.
  • The text elements complement the design features as well as relate to each other as they are all from the ‘Helvetica Neue’ family. This gives the overall poster some continuity.
  • The images we used effectively act as examples for their designated category. By placing them in a table format enhances this aspect.
We really like the sophisticated style of this poster. The design suits an older reader or for educational purposes which is ideal for a poster designed for ‘The Independent’. The colours used complement the design layout. We are happy with the placement of all elements on the poster (especially the diagram). All elements, especially text can be easily seen and read which is essential in this informative poster.
Our next step is to get this printed to A1 size. We are going to go to Staples to get this done and split the cost between us all.

Poster Development Part Four – Notes by Tom

The design below displays a printed version of how we planned to layout our poster elements on landscape.

The same elements have been carried over from the previous design with minimal changes. The idea here was to see if we could better utilise the space provided and link elements together in a way that could be better understood. After getting the desired layout, the design was shown to Sancha in order to get feedback. The design got her approval, although she suggested that we incorporated such features as ‘brackets’ in order to make the diagram feature more understandable.
Below are some screenshots showing the poster in its construction stages with accompanying notes:
  • We chose to keep the same colour scheme as the previous posters as we believed they work well in poster format and effectively display the elements on the page.
  • The title has been moved into the top left corner of the page. This is due to the fact that we have aligned the history section (profiles of Saussure and Peirce) with the title. We believed such a layout would look more organised as well as provide enough space for the other page elements.
  • The beginnings of the diagram are taking place also; directly linking sections of information to others. We thought this concept would improve a consumers understanding of the semiotics process.
  • Now that we had the basic layout, we began to add design features that would make the diagram look more organised and aesthetically pleasing.
  • The individual elements of information have been constraint into purple boxes, which we believe makes those aspects easier to understand as well as giving it a more professional sense. The suggestion by Sancha to incorporate brackets have also been utilised effectively.

  • Here the final sections of the diagram are being constructed. This section will incorporate the majority of the image based elements. The way we set about doing this was in a table-like format, to ensure the consumer can directly relate an image with its designated category.
  • The Syntagm/ Paradigm table has been re-designed in order to make it more understandable. The notes here have also been edited. Now the notes describe the fact that a Syntagm comes from a Paradigm, which is an essential component we left out in previous designs.

  • The images from the previous poster have now been incorporated in the table section into the designated areas (different shades of purple have been used to achieve this).
  • Now all the elements of the poster are positioned, we began to try to tidy up the elements. The main area we altered was increasing the space between the text elements and the edge of their borders, achieving a better overall finish.

Finally, we looked over the final design, doing are own proof reading and other things until we were satisfied with the final design. It is ready for printing and to looked over by the tutors before more alterations or approval are given.

Poster Development Part Three – Notes by Emily

We printed out our new design and took it to the tutor to ask for some feedback.

The tutor told us that there are some areas that need improvement:

  • It is not obvious in which order the information should be read.
  • The layout needs more thought because at the moment the information has just been placed on the page and is just floating.
  • This layout does not show that connotation and denotation are related.
  • Syntagm comes from paradym and that has not been shown.
  • Speech and thought bubbles can be used to help the audience to understand.
  • The diagram for syntagm needs to be made clearer and neater.
  • ‘The Independent’ needs to be larger and more prominent.
  • Look at some infographics to see how their layout works.
We went back to the computer and started thinking about how we could fix these quite considerable  issues. I had a sketch (see below) I had done the day before so I got that out and we started to try to make it on the computer. We also looked at some infographics to help inspire us.
This sketch shows how we could guide the eye along the page. This idea would need to be landscape. The idea is that the elements fan out and are connected by lines.

Poster Development Part Two – Notes by Jess

After having a small talk with Sancha, we decided to change our idea. We have kept certain aspects of the poster, like the colours and the theme but there were a lot of things we needed to add in order for the poster to have the correct information and enough.

Here are a few screen shots of the development of this poster:

Instead of a chart that we were originally going to put onto the poster we have gone for a different approach. We are going to have a simpler style of the chart, we think this way it will be easier for viewers to understand the way that Syntagms and Paradigms work.

This is just another screen shot of how we are getting on with the design. We think that this design is working a lot better than the previous one as the information is all there and we think that we have set it up in a way that is easy to understand semiotics.

  • Here is the last step within the design. (still unfinished)
  • We really like this design a lot more than the original one, there is a few small things that we still want to improve on and change but we think that we have changed our idea for the better for the viewers to understand well. The layout and set up of the piece is still along the lines of our thumbnail drawings, like the reading festival poster, we have set it out in columns, in a slightly different set up to the actual Reading festival poster. We shall now be carrying on with the improvements and last tweaks.

Poster Development Part One – Notes by Jess

The poster here is the just at a development stage. We were all sitting around the computer and Me and Sam both did the illustrator work while we all chatted about ideas and ways to improve and change the idea as we went along. I feel that so far the group have got on well together and we all contribute well and are able to get ideas and research together to help each other along in order to come up with these ideas and develop each others designs.
Here I am going to show a few screenshots of some development of this poster.
  • We started by thinking of a way of making the poster have a more comical feel, rather than having most of it serious. (As said in Sams write-up with the thumbnails) We found some moustache and beards online and chose the ones we thought were most suitable for the poster and was most like the founders.
  • We have decided to use the font Helvetica Neue for this poster as we think that it’s suitable for the style we have chosen for the poster. The typeface has around 7-8 different types of the font within the family, so we could use this throughout.
  • Background, Denotation and Connotation – we changed the opacity of these so they just fade into the images and text that we are putting in those sections.

  • As you can see here we have added the extra grey on top of the title, this we found when we were trying to move the title over slightly and Illustrator had a shadow above the text, we all agreed that this looked good on the title and so we added the grey.
  • The text on top of the beards is also Helvetica Neue, Regular.
  • We have used the eagle from The Independent news paper on our dividers, we all agreed that this would be a good idea, as this would properly link the poster to The Independent, including The Independent Logo on the top.

  • Here this is showing where we began to design the ICON, SYMBOL and INDEX section of the poster. We wanted to keep the same style going, so we made the circles purple, the same as the beards above.
  • Also, keeping in the same style as above, we have decided to made the images in the circles (which are the icons, symbols, and index) in white, in keeping with the text written in the beards.
  • The text we have used here is Helvetica Neue again, trying to keep the paragraphs to 3 lines each so that they look the same all along.

This is a print out of the poster (unfinished) but we wanted to show Sancha to hear her thoughts of it so far and any improvements that we could do.
She wrote a few suggestions on the sheets which are:
  • Needs Signified and Signifier explained
  • Keep the lines thin – this will be 4x bigger
  • (Icon, Symbol and Index) change a few words
  • Paradigm – Stress that syntagms come from paradigms (choice)
Notes that Emily wrote as we were listening to Sancha:
  • the overlapping of the text (lowered opacity – Background, Denotation ad Connotation) Sancha didn’t think that it was effective and that it could be slightly confusing.
  • There should be photograph examples – this will let people know what is what, the vectors that we did could also come across quite confusing.
  • There needs to be more detail and information on the poster. If you were to look at this poster and know nothing about Semiotics then the simplicity of this poster wouldn’t explain enough and give you a good understanding about it.

Alternative Poster Designs – By Tom

Below are two posters I created that could act as alternative designs if our chosen design does not satisfy our groups demands. I chose to create two very different themed designs; one old and one modern, in order to obtain an impression as to how the desired information can be displayed.

Concept One
The Design:
This first design was inspired by 19th Century typography posters. I chose this theme of design as our poster requires a lot of text-based elements that need to be displayed. Such posters designed in this fashion are dominated by text, which is why I thought the concept could be a possible solution. The individual elements of text are sectioned in order for certain information to be separate from others to reduce confusion.
I chose to use the worn paper as a background to directly relate to the style of poster used in the 19th Century. The way I have set out the page elements break up the desired categories in a way that I believe works. The typefaces I have used also directly relate to those used at that period f time. The issue with this design is the fact that I had to use actual photographs for examples, which does not best suit the overall theme of the poster. Another issue I have is the amount of space that is left. By looking at 19th Century typography posters, you can see that there is minimal space. The issue that lies here is the legibility of the piece may be effected, which would not be beneficial.
Concept Two

The Design:

For this design, I chose to give it a modern, organised impression. I chose to design it in this fashion as I believe it presents all desired elements (both image and text) in a way that can be understood by the consumer. The individual elements have been organised into categories and have been presented effectively (linked in some cases). The use of colours directly relate to those used on the ‘Independent’ logo.

I feel the way I have sectioned elements into different categories and linked them in some cases works well and can be understood. By using a ‘table-like’ theme, I believe it displays all the desired information clearly. I personally feel that the elements of information that are linked to another is easy to understand (use of arrows and page separation). I also feel that the design of this poster allows actual photographs to be used without looking out-of-place. The only issue I can see that would be a problem is how the information links together. Although I understand it, others may not. In such a case, I feel alterations in the layout can be easily re-adjusted.

Find Tom here

Sketching Ideas – Notes by Sam

Sketch 1:

This was Emily’s idea and she had the idea of creating a collage of images that were icons, symbols and indexes in the three different circles. This would have created an interesting focus to our poster, however I think it may have got confusing slightly as all the images may conflict and contrast each other.

The idea of using circles to have information in though seems like a good one to carry through.

Sketch 2:

Jess suggested looking at Reading/Leeds Festival posters to gain inspiration, we looked at them and saw how they were divided up with all the different artists. We decided that there should be a ‘Denotation section’ and a ‘Connotation section’.

This idea would explain the theory of semiotics clearly and concisely, giving the eye a good guide to follow through the information.

Sketch 3:

I had a rough idea of using the letters of the word ‘Semiotics’ as the main focus of the poster then have all the other keys words running off it. However the words didn’t all fit neatly and presentable enough so this idea soon fizzled out.

If the key words fitted then this idea could have been a unique take on infographic presentation.

Sketch 4:

This idea was a developed one on from the above sketch, by using the word ‘Semiotics’ as the focus of the design, the two different sections will be split up to left and right on the poster, with the history in the middle section.

This idea may get very text heavy and would bombard the viewers eyes making it hard for the information to be clear.

Sketch 5:

This sketch was similar to the collage one earlier and has the same kind of concept, however this would use bigger circles and the information would be clearly spaced out into three sections.

However this design would need some more detail and features to make it effective as an inforgraphic that will actually interest and engage people.

Sketch 6:

This idea kind of developed from the previous one but instead of circles using columns and images and text, similar to the newspaper itself.

As a group we decided that although it suited and fitted with the Independent’s newspaper feel, it wouldn’t be suitable for a pull out poster.

Sketch 7:

I had this idea of placing the titles of the different sections behind the information, big and with low opacity so they would be visible and would be a unique way of showing the different sections.

This idea was also inspired by the Reading/Leeds Festival posters as we decided to split each major section with a line break, and also a smaller ‘Independent’ bird in the middle of it.

Other Sketches for ideas:

Emily had some ideas of making the background of the theory more interesting and fun, by creating a vector of the iconic beards of the two main founders. Here are some sketches of thoughts.

She also thought about putting the information inside the beard shapes as well and having the names above, we all felt this was an excellent idea to pursue.

The Independent newspaper research – By Jess

For my research into The Independent newspaper, I found it sometimes difficult to find the correct content that I was looking for. So I decided to buy the paper, that way I thought that the whole group could see what it was I was thinking within a discussion. I looked through the newspaper and then showed the group a few infographics within the Independent I thought would work with ideas that we might come up with. Things like; colour and information.

  • For this infographic I thought that the combination with photography and the cartoon drawing effect worked really well together. The key on the side of the piece indicates where to look for a certain piece of information.
  • By looking at this first of all, my first thought was that the drawing had been done in order to make the potitics that the potiticans are talking about don’t mean anything and that it is all playground talk.
  • The photographs they have used are not the most flattering which added to my thoughts above.
  • The colour scheme used here is quite playful and childish.

  • The info-graphic in this part of the newspaper is quite straight forward – by looking at it you know that its a map.
  • The colour scheme here is within 4 colours – red, blue, white and cream. Having only a certain few colours I think makes the piece more interesting, if there was more than 5 as a maximum, I think that it could end up in a mix match of colour and a it of a mess to look at.
  • The use of photography again in this image instantly lets you know that the info-graphic is about politics. I think that having something that lets people know what it’s about straight away is important.

  • This is another good example of an infographic. The weather diagram is telling people information most would like to know.
  • The colour scheme here is quite expected, people would automatically know the colours mean weather, or if anything something to do with the world.

  • What stood out to me most in this was the colours. It might not be as bright, but looking at this piece from the real paper, the background of this diagram is a light grey. The colours of plum, grey and green work so well together and I want to talk about this as part of our poster. I think something similar would attract the correct viewers for our poster.
  • The whole piece is quite simplistic, the small amount of writing at the bottom explaining what is going on in the pie chart, really works well, as the chart is made from block colours.
As a conclusion, I think that mainly, we need to talk about the colour schemes that The Independent newspaper has. Each section of the paper has a different block of colours they seem to stick by which I think is quite an important part of the design. I do also think that simplicity is the key for this. Although some of the info-graphics within the newspaper seem that there is quite a lot going on, the simpler the poster, the easier it will be for younger people and people who are less knowledgeable about semiotics, the poster needs to be able to show this in a simple way, easy to understand, which with the subject, might seem harder than we originally thought.

The Independent research – By Jess

These are images of the first look of the new i newspaper.
On the front there is the key of colour along the side which is a guide to which colour is to what part of the new paper. This info graphics is letting people know where to go for a certain part of news.

This paper spread here is from the Independent newspaper on the same website as before.
You can see by this page that there is quite a lot of colour involved and the text is all set in very precise columns.

The maps on here are the info graphics, including the images along with the photographs. The page is quite simple and plain with limited colour, so when designing I think that we should take into consideration the colour and simplicity of the layout. The colour links in somewhere within the images and text.

The same goes for this layout. The diagram of the map links the colour to the other images on the spread. There is a lot more colour within this layout but it has the same underlying features with precise columns and colour themes.