Design as Activism: Illustrations

We have been tasked with creating an animation using design as activism. As group we have decided to create a short anti drug/drug awareness film. We have decided to concentrate mainly on cocaine.

As I missed a lot of the planning for this project when I got up to date the idea was almost finalised. The original idea starts with a pair of decks. The disks start to spin, as they do, the camera zooms in to one deck. Then a line of cocaine in the shape of a question mark appears and dispapears down the line with a sound effect of some sniffing, we then see a pair of eyes. The pupils shrink and then grow. then the pupils and iris start to shake alittle bit before darting side to side, the movement slows, the colour fades to monochrome.

Since starting this post, a few things have changed, due to technical difficulties and creative differences in the start when the question mark shaped line has changed to be some white circular shapes spin. Next we see, as before, the decks starting with music. The decks make up eyes then a white line appears, as if drawn, this creates a nose. The line continues down to show a pair of eyes that look like this:

Anti Drug Eyes Final

The eyes go through a number of stages as i have said before. The final piece with eyes looks like this:

Multiple Eyes Element Final

Sadly these eyes will not be in the final due to lack of communication in our group! I was in charge of creating the eye element of this video. I am a little disappointed that the final video isn’t as i imagined it.

The way I created the eyes was simple, here is how I created them:


To start I created the basic eye shape using the ellipse tool. I then converted the side anchor points to square.

2017-03-27 (1)

I then used the bottom right hand handle to make the shape more eye like.

2017-03-27 (4).png

Then I duplicated it and reflected the duplicate.

2017-03-27 (6).png

I then created an almost black rectangle over the top to create a mask or cutout. The colour code I used for the black is: 221f20

2017-03-27 (7)

Then selected everything and used the exclude tool in the pathfinder window.

2017-03-27 (8)

Which gives a cutout which you can see bellow.

2017-03-27 (9)

Then to create the eye lids I used the rectangle tool with the fill colour of: c9aba6. I duplicated it to create top and bottom eyelids.

2017-03-27 (10)

I then sent them behind the cutout and resized them to fit.

2017-03-27 (11).png

I then simply created four ellipses, two for the pupils, and two for the iris’.

2017-03-27 (12).png

To ensure the pupils were right in the middle I used a little trick I learnt in college. If you create the first circle the deselect and use the ellipse again put the mouse in the middle so it says centre, then hold alt when creating the shape. Holding alt with any shape tool creates shape from the middle instead of one corner.

I then changed the fill colour of the iris to: 7faab5  and sent the pupils and iris’ to the the back.

By creating the eyes in this way it gave me a simple but effective way of expressing emotions and drug affects simply but effectively.

Now to animate!

Oh wait hang on…… Multiple eyes element first!

So to create this:

Multiple Eyes Element Final

I did most of it the same way using the ellipse and exclude tool as before. But with a little difference as the simple rectangle eye lid technique would not work here so i had to create a new shape using the ellipse.

2017-03-27 (19)

So I duplicated the original eye shape.

2017-03-27 (20)

Then used the delete anchor point tool to delete top anchor point of one and the bottom anchor point of another to create top and bottom lids. I then changed the fill colour.

2017-03-27 (22).png

Put them together and you have a closed, then duplicated both parts and reflected them as before.

2017-03-27 (21)

The rest I’m sure is obvious. but here is the end result anyway.

Multiple Eyes Element Final

If you are wandering why only the big centre eyes have eyelids they come later in after effects.

So the point of this last eye shot is to show how paranoid and crazy he has become. The red eyes would appear slowly at first but speed up quickly. The eyes in the middle would dart around looking at the eyes as they appear.

The next step is to animate and put all this together.






Protest Ephemera

Today in our field groups we were asked to make ephemera relating to our chosen issue. Our chosen issue was poverty, we wanted to combat capitalism. To start this project off we sat down as a group and though up some punchy quotes:

  • If Time Is Money Then I Want Less
  • Wealth Doesn’t Define Wealth
  • Poverty Makes Them Rich
  • Feed Our Children Not The Economy
  • Count Your Blessing Not Your Money
  • Save The Homeless Not Your Money

There was six people in our group so we split into pairs and created a piece to each pair. Me and James decided to make a plaque whilst the others created posters. Because capitalism was our main issue we didn’t want to create anything on the computer as this would be hypocritical. We wanted to create ours by hand with spray paints, brushes, and stencils. This would also give it a fitting anti establishment look.

Firstly James did some sketches to decide which quote we would use and what it would look like.

protest-sketchesprotest-sketches-2protest-sketches-finalMe and James decided to go for ‘Save The Homeless Not Your Money’. We then had to go and find a big enough piece of cardboard, this was no easy task. We went o the office first but they had already given theirs away. We decided to go and check Tesco for cardboard (and get me some lunch) but they couldn’t give us any either. Luckily the way to Tesco went past the building I used to work in and there recycling bins were usually full of cardboard boxes. We had a rummage and James basically climbed into the bin to get the piece we ended up using. We also brought a few more for the others in our group.

We decided that the ‘Save The Homeless’ part would be free hand with brushes. We did this so that it looked like one of those boards that the homeless have. The ‘Not Your Money’ bit would be in stencil to give it a more structured and controlled look. Here are the stencils we created.

I created the ‘Money’ stencil and James created the ‘NOT Your’ stencil. We did this to speed up the process sharing the work equally. James had never used spray paints and i have plenty of experience so sprayed the design. Spray paints contain solvents so we had to do it outside, as it was raining, we found an area by the print studio that had a roof but was open to the wind. Here’s how it looked:


It was difficult to be accurate with this as the cardboard was so warped and we did not use stencil card. This meant that the paint would get into gaps we didn’t want to because of the wrinkles in the cardboard. The problem with not using stencil card is that the card we used flapped around to much in the wind, to remedy this I had to get James to hold down what he could whilst I did the same.

To do the ‘Save The Homeless’ bit we used Indian ink with a biggish brush, I let James do this bit as there was no need for two of us to write the words. To insure that he could fit it all on he pencil’d in the words first.

Here is the finished result:


Me and James were very happy with the result, we felt it was powerful yet simple. Maybe its just because were Graphics students but we felt we didn’t need to create and image. The text on an old bit of card was enough of an image.

Whilst we were creating  our piece Simeon and Callum created this piece which is my favourite from our group.


I just love the quote, and the punkyness of the poster. I could see it up and around Cardiff easily.

The next was created by George and Dan.


I love this piece to but feel that they should have kept to stencils instead of painting ‘save our society’ with a brush.

When asked where by the tutors “where would we see them?” would they be by other posters?” I made the point that our pieces would look even better by normal digitally made posters as it would outline the anti establishment elements to our designs.

I am really looking forward to this next brief as it will make us more mindful of protest art and its importance.

Creative Thinking Techniques

This is one of the 12 creative thinking techniques we learnt about.

Re-framing Matrix

This is a creative thinking technique used to look at problems/issues with a product from different perspectives. It does this by using a simple four grid format with a box in the middle where you would place problem.


The next step would be to write the 4 Ps down.


The words are Product, Potential, Planning, and People. You could use whatever words fit better for your product but these 4 words are the correct way to use this creative thinking technique.

This technique could be very useful for a Graphic Communicator. Say, for example, I had just created a poster for an event. If I then put it up online and it wasn’t grabbing peoples attention or people were saying they couldn’t understand a curtain element. I could use the Re-Framing matrix to solve these problems.

Here is an example I have made for this hypothetical situation:re-framing-matrix-100

After trying to use this for a poster I feel it would be better for interactive products like websites and apps.

The other Creative Techniques are:

  • Brainstorming
  • Mindmapping
  • Forced Analogy/Random Word
  • The checklist
  • The 6 Thinking hats
  • Picture Association
  • Scamper
  • Lotus Blossom
  • Attribute listing
  • Metaphorical Thinking


First Things First Manifesto


The  First Things First Manifesto was first written in 1963 then published in 1964 by, a significant designer of the time, Ken Garland and signed by 20 other designers, architects, and photographers. This manifesto is a fight against commercial and corporate design, reminding us that design has more place in this world than trying to sell crap. Design can be used in better ways e.g. spreading information or giving directions.

Talk of this manifesto moved fast and in time was picked up by The Guardian which lead to Garland being on the BBC news. It was the published again by a group of new authors in the year 2000 it was at this time that it was labelled The First Thing First Manifesto 2000


I feel that this manifesto is very important to remind young people what design really is and what it can do. Some times we forget that Graphic Design can be used for useful informative purposes instead of getting people to buy crap! Although in this day and age the industry can be very competitive because of internet and social media. Designers may feel that advertising is their route into the industry. There are so many more interesting and useful projects we could be working on than the newest ‘pooper scooper’ or any other consumer crap there is out there in the world.


Ephemera Project

WOW this was a difficult project! I really, really enjoyed it though. It was nice to get a brief like this as it was totally different to everything I have done before. Trying to fit so much information into an A5, 16 page, magazine. It was a really good way of using and reminding me of what we had done over this term.




Where to begin, firstly I made a pattern, this was to give the magazine a visual style. It took me several tries to get the right pattern but I think this one fits quite nicely. I wanted the pattern to go over the pictures of the designers. I always wanted the picture to be on the outer top corners. Like you can see bellow. The problem was that as I had some white colour in the pattern so it was covering up important parts of the picture.


To fix this I used an effect called multiply.

To do this I went to I selected the pattern and the image, then i went to window and clicked effects which brought up this box.

2017-01-26 (2).png

I then clicked the drop down list which says normal.

2017-01-26 (1).png

and then clicked multiply. This was the result.


Another trouble was my line length was too long here is an example.

2017-01-26 (3).png

This problem occurred because i was using too little columns in my grid. I was using a 2 column grid. So I moved onto a four column grid which made easier to place things accurately on the page. As you can see bellow most of the text and images went across two columns. The only elements which did not were the dates and times and where possible the names.

2017-01-26 (4).png

For this project I decided to use 2 type faces the first being Gill Sans which makes up the main body and then magneto for the names. Here are some examples of each.


So the title, or name, is in Magneto Bold. The heading is in Gill Sans MT Italic. The sub heading, or question, is Gill Sans MT italic with grey fill. And finally the main body, or answer, is plain Gill Sans MT.

The point size for each is (point size in image is not accurate):

  • Title: 31
  • Heading: 12
  • Sub Heading: 11
  • Main Body: 11

Hockney’s ‘Joiners’

Today we were looking at David Hockney’s ‘joiners’. In these images he has taken a lot of photos then cut and pasted them together to make interesting art works.

This image is created from a series of images taken of Laura Hockney, Davids mother, in grave yard. I really like how David has included his feet in this image, it is almost like he is enforcing him and his mothers relationship.
This photo is of Hockney himself. I think this style of image is great. i love the different lights and shades in each image and would like to experiment myself and create a portrait in this style.
To me this image looks like an old couple doing a cross word together. this style creates energy in this image, almost like you can see them work out each word.

We were then asked to create our own in pairs. I was paired with Simeon which was nice as we’ve never worked together and he is a second year so was interesting to hear how the course has changed.

We had to choose from Journey and Collaboration as a concept. We chose journey as we both had an idea to do with stairs. This is what we came up with.

Joining Image BLOG.jpgI was really proud of this piece, but Ray said it still needed some work. He  said that we needed more of the figure, a better sense of journey, and a clearer shot of my hand on the railing. I will get about making these changes tomorrow.

joining-image-complete-for-screenI am pleased that we made these changes at does convey a journey much better. My only issue is that we were using a different camera with different specs. The problem with this is that  you can clearly see the images we have added.

Overall I am pleased with the outcome of this project and hope to do similar projects in the future. One thing I would do differently in the future would be to have a coloured background. This piece would look better with a light blue background to match my coat and the stairs.