Final Project Proposal “Making Things”
Looking through my Dashboard I saw these posts about information design and it made me remember the Sense and the City Exhibit. I actually forgot to take a picture of this section. (The only one I probably forgot to take a picture of). And anyways, in my Final project I intend to use the information about the Harry Potter Brand book publishing and book facts to create concept book covers for the series.
EX: How the planes taking off and leaving from the different airports makes a light map constantly changing.
For my project I want to take the number of books sold with different covers in different covers and integrate it into the art piece produced for the book jacket.
i.e. Let’s say in England there were 20 million copies sold, and in America 80 million copies sold (not accurate) use those numbers to create an interesting art piece with its roots in information.
Also another direction for the information design, taking the four main theme colors from the book series (Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Slytherin) to create another book cover. Something fans of the book would immediately recognize.
Keeping in mind the way in which Penguin Book Publishing uses unifying typefaces and placement of the author’s name to keep a theme running throughout all the covers.
Penguin Publishing is a world known book company that has revolutionized the way in which classic and modern books are consumed by the public. The logo of the penguin is a universal identifier that independent of the books content is immediately recognizable. In a similar way the Harry Potter American brand has been synonymous with the series and all other products relating to the books and movie/spin-off products. Both the penguin and the type have become icons for their respective design identities and help propel the brand into the awareness of the public.
The above was an experimental model layout done by Jan Tsichold in 1948 for the penguin books layout. It uses a simple orange border on the top and bottom, along with bold and light weight typefaces. Put the penguins on the bottom and horizontally turned type on the sides and the cover was easily recognizable. Even now, when the book covers have become modernized this is still recognized by those who know of the company.
The same way in which these Harry Potter covers utilize a blank canvas and yet a simple illustration along with plain and clear heading I intend to use similar techniques for my final project. Simplifying the brand Harry Potter to its core elements and drawing inspiration from Henry Beck’s original Tube map I want to utilize color and and informational aspects to create alternative Harry Potter book covers.
This exhibit was labeled “Hidden Heroes” and it was one of the Temporary Exhibits at the museum. You actually had to pay a fee to see these pieces. It reminded me of the Design Exhibition at the Design Museum in that all of the projects inside were created for a functional purpose. The difference is they were everyday things that we (as consumers) use in our every day lives. Showcasing the work of 36 designs that affect our lives it ranged from post-it notes to tape. Facial tissue to paperclips and little tid bits in between. Within it were some curious examples of typefaces. The paperclip alphabet and the clothespins skin alphabet as well. It was inspiring and engaging to see all the small things that one might not pay attention to unless directed to. Rubber bands and tin cans just other examples of design that creep their way flawlessly into our (consumers) lives. The labels on the outside of the tin cans was antique and curious to look at.
11:30am - Late breakfast
12:00noon - Leave to meet the group at the Victoria and Albert Museum
12:50pm - Get lost for about 45 minutes
1:30pm - Arrive at the Victoria and Albert
Since I got lost I got to the museum late and missed our class meeting together to go through it. I decided to just explore the museum and see what caught my attention. It intrigued me how many people were comfortable hanging out near the carved sculptures. Maybe it was the illusion that there were more people in the room that made other people hang out.
I walked into the bookstore wondering if I might stumble across a classmate here. No such luck but some fabulous books on actors and artists were here.
Stained glass windows are a favorite of mine. Elegant and beautiful they’re just so intricately put together. I also found some good examples of typographic origins actually imprinted in the glass.
3:45pm - Leave the Victoria and Albert
4:00pm - Arrive at the Science Museum
This museum of science puts the Boston one to shame. I mean the depth of this museum alone is fabulous. Not only is it free but it has 6 floors. This goes a long way to show how the government and education system is different in England. Knowledge is a free commodity that can be consumed by the public. And it’s not just the same material recycled over and over again, there are permanent exhibits and there are temporary ones that change throughout the season.
I REALLY enjoyed these pieces. They’re a strange spin off on Information design. Each “picture” addresses a certain topic after World War Two in a way that’s engaging, elusive and in some ways confusing but still challenges the concept of how do you (as a designer) “convey” information. Is there a “right” and a “wrong” way?
(Pictures and text in another post)
6:00pm - Leave the Science Museum
7:30pm - A Midsummer’s Night Dream at the Lyric Theater
A modernized sci-fi version of Shakespeare’s play. Quite entertaining and yet still rather confusing. What happened to Liam? I wonder if he ever did make it out of that elevator…
9:30pm - Head home
Before heading back to the hotel I got dinner at a restaurant close by. While waiting for my dinner to arrive I noticed the layout of their menu selections. It was so clever! And hardly noticeable unless one was paying attention. The lunch, breakfast and dessert menus were all separate but the same design was used on all of them (with descending height orders) so that when put all together lined up it appeared to be part of the same cover.
10:00pm - Late Dinner at Garfunkel’s Restaurant
12midnight - Sleep
Some more examples of different cover designs. Notice the completely white background. Along with the simple illustration. A cursive typeface used at the top and italics for the book title. How many different variations of the book series are there?
12:00noon - Meet class at Train station to go to Vaughn Oliver’s home
1:00pm - Arrive at Vaughn Oliver’s home
While visiting with Vaughn he spoke a lot on what it means to be a graphic designer. He uses a hands on approach to constructing his pieces. You have to be in touch with your audience and while a lot of the modern profession has moved towards computer he still prefers a more hands on approach. Not to say he doesn’t work with a computer but he tries to get away from a computer screen in order to “see” better. It is this “seeing” that is most important.
4:00pm - Leave
After leaving Vaughn Oliver’s home I stumbled across this in the tube. It showed how much the Harry Potter Mania has infected the British population.
6:00pm(ish) - Get dinner with the group at Zizzi’s restaurant
7:45pm(ish) - Walk to the Tate Modern and explore
Each piece within the various exhibits had its own energy. The rock target made a sort of symmetry to nature and balance.
While the red staircase was overwhelming and encompassing. The white fluorescent light eclipsed by the shear and yet slightly opaque red material that extended throughout the entire room this piece was held in. One would feel dwarfed coming across this.
Industrial and hard these sculptures would hang down above you and almost dare you to touch them.
While a lot of these exhibits didn’t relate directly to the kind of design I was working on for my project I see it as all connected. Whatever tools you train your eyes to see with takes inspiration from various sources. To be a graphic designer you have to see with the sharp eye of a photographer. The finite detail of a painter. The acuity of an illustrator. The patience of an animator. To be a graphic designer is to be an artist. You use all your skills to make up a piece that is both stimulating and communicative.
A political statement about the ratio of women artists around the time of Andy Warhol done by the Guerrilla Girls.
10:00pm - Tate Modern closes
12midnight - Sleep
9:00am - Breakfast
10:00am - Take the Tube to Waterstone’s bookstore
10:20am - Arrive at Waterstone’s
While in the store I found many different variations of the Harry Potter book series. It seems in these Adult Cover versions the “Harry Potter” tag line is more subtle and the Title of the book along with the dark, dreary book picture lends itself to a more adult audience. Giving more of a “feeling” associated with the content of the book.
The adult book covers seem in harsh comparison with the children’s section of the popular book series. Bright, simple colors are used to catch the eye. Green bean bags are laid around the children’s section to invite kids to sit down and open the book. While still produced by the same company Bloomsbury both covers have a radically different feel to them. Older or younger audiences will respond differently to each design.
Still part of the children’s section this book cover relies on an even simplified version of the children’s book cover. A blocked out illutraion outline in gold and HARRY POTTER printed across the top. It relies on the brand awareness to be the major selling point of the book.
11:30am - Leave bookstore
Before heading to the Design Council meeting the group decided to stop by a Design bookstore. It was a small niche like space but quickly filled up with many visitors along with our class to make an almost claustrophobic feeling. There I stumbled upon more Penguin pictures. A product that had reduced 100 Penguin book covers down to postcards. I was intrigued at this new way in which to get brand awareness out into the world.
Sense and the City Exhibit. While walking through and seeing the dynamic maps they created I found a little piece of my own project. Turns out the Penguin Paperbacks books were created in 1935 by Allen Lane and V.K. Krishna Menon who both just wanted to create an inexpensive way to carry around classic books while traveling. More than 75 years later Penguin Publishing has become one of the most successful publishing companies from Britian to the US, with connections all over the world. Aside from the book publishing company many spin off products can be found in the Transport Museums gift shop of the water bottles design and other products.