Zine: a noncommercial often homemade or online publication usually devoted to specialized and often unconventional subject matter
When this project was introduced I didn’t know the terminology ‘zine’ but I have heard of mini-magazines that are sometimes inside the actual magazines. What makes this final project different is that we are going old school by searching a persona, making a mood board to inspire the design process of the zine that would include a sense of style with a color scheme and type faces. Coming up with a topic for the zine was difficult, during my mood board process I started searching for inspirations. I actually listed all things that I’m interested in so that I can pick between them. I have noticed that most of them are related to traveling and escaping reality.
Persona: Zines are directed to a specific audience that have the same interests. In this case, my persona is students studying aboard that want to travel, escape reality, with a budget. I believe that everyone is able to have the best experience traveling to an exotic destination while doing the most amazing activates.
I first started by searching articles and blogs of people recommending the best locations for a spring break or a weekend getaway. As well as the advising steps to travel, and how and what to pack. Afterward, I have started creating my spreads by hand in the form of collage. Hence, I collecting and printing photos of exotic destination and experimenting with different patterns with vibrant colors and illustrations. Playing with a range of colors was crucial for my zine because the colors represent ‘escape/nature and traveling’. Here, I am able to emphasize excitement also adding the mysterious effect by covering certain areas of the images with unexpected patterns.
The cover page, I have made it a little unusual by having it cropped to reveal the next page of the zine, which is an image. It’s a juxtaposition of how I have created the rest of the zine with the patterns and colors covering the image and not revealing. As for the title of the zine, I have named it ROAM, because the initial idea is that there will be different volumes of the zine and each one including specific content about traveling.
The content that we were asked to include are two articles so I have chosen two that I believe would be useful for a traveling guide with a budget. The first was steps for planning the next getaway and the second was a packing guide. I have already planned during my mood board process that I wanted to include mini spreads inside the zine to include the articles. I believe by adding this technique, it will grab the audience’s interest and it adds an element of surprise.
The production process was such a struggle because the spreads are made by hand it was really difficult to scan and reprint the spread back to back. There are no bleed marks so the registration did not match. After many trials, I have managed to register the spreads 5mm off. Another issue was the colors when reprinting they became dull and ruined the whole tone of the zine. I have tried to edit the scanned spreads to make it vibrant again but it didn’t work 100%. Overall the experience of creating collages and putting it down by hand was at first difficult because collages are unplanned. However, I believe experiences this old technique was a learning process and meaningful in creating a new design.
Capturing visual narratives can be done through various methods, and in this project, we had to create, design and produce a pop-up book. My first reaction was intimidations because the professors had a couple of examples that were extravagant and well-engineered! Nevertheless, the process was slow from coming up with a storyline to binding a pop-up book, it took longer than expected.
Coming up with an idea was the easy part of the project, we had to choose an event that happened during my lifetime. Therefore, I chose to do a pop-up book about Trump viral meme’s of being elected as the president. It had a huge impact on the world, because no one believed that it could actually happen. My research started by going through all social media interfaces and read all the jokes and similarities of Trump to movie characters. The accusations were hilarious to me and I believe people will truly enjoy having a curated pop-up book of jokes about Trump. The internet is an enormous source bank that has millions of information that could be used, what I managed to do is curate all the political issues that caused rage around the world through funny memes. Some involves Trump stealing quotes from movies and using them in his Inaugural Address speech, and others show parades of protests against his presidential decisions. During the process of planning and researching, I have decided to compose the 10 spreads through the political issues that occurred.
At this point, my illustrations were straightforward because each spread introduces another character, so the challenge was to make them appealing enough to suit the tone of the pop-up book. For this reason, I carried out a lot of experiments of illustrations different types of characters that would catch the attention of the audience and to emphasize one what they are really known for. For example, Trump would be his hair and his tiny hands, whereas the chef in the movie Ratatouille would be the chef’s hat, as well as the Mexico wall between then US and Mexico. So here, I managed to look up YouTube tutorials to learn specific pop-up techniques that would work better for the particular spread. This process with many experimentations and trials has truly enriched my knowledge and crafting skill in turning 2D illustrations into pop-up illustrations.
Overall, having to complete the project is a huge accomplishment and success, I truly feel proud of myself. I will admit it was NOT an easy process, it took a lot of long and sleepless nights to produce this pop-up book! I would love to illustrate another pop-up book but would have a print press to professional produce and bind the book. At the end, all the stress was worth it.
During our visit to Dia Al Azzawi’s retrospective exhibitions currently displayed at Al-Riwaq gallery, I have been introduced to another dimension to uniquely produced work by exploring and portraying the human condition during and after the war. Later on, I have visited the Mathaf museum with a couple of classmates to continue Dia Al Azzwai’s journey. From my experience, I have noticed that all the facial expressions that he has visualized through anger and chaos within the state of a victim or a soldier.
As the project was introduced, we understood that the printed piece will have to work as a mailer / hand-out piece to inform the public about the exhibitions and encourage people to visit. Hence, I have researched different concepts that I believe will translate the experience of one traveling through the museums and engage with the artist’s work. My three initial concepts are one being an envelope book that will act as a timeline indicating the journey of his exhibition from Al-Riwaq to the Mathaf, by choosing only the main points that are effective. Each envelope can be taken out and has specific information about the exhibition. The second concept is a classic accordion brochure that will have cutout and pop-ups portray the grid/ straight forward shape of a museum and the information inside would be the hectic and chaotic experience. The third concept is a pop-up booklet that will continuously open up to create a maze.
Through many discussions and gaining feedback from my professors, I have decided to go with the second concept because I wanted the audience to hint the experience of the exhibition before actually going to it.
The next phase was collecting and analyzing all the data, the professors have suggested a process that can help us and it really made an impact. I started by deconstructing my findings based on the format of the artwork, the colors that the artists use, the mediums and technique, the scale of the artwork, the emotions the artwork portrays. As well as the narrative and the timeline, what does it resemble and does it have any meaning to it. All of those features have really shaped the concept and made it stronger. I really feel strongly about how one feature of his artworks keeps reoccurring and it is the human being’s emotion and facial experiences. Specifically, because the colors that are being used are very strong and bold.
Through the process of perfecting the content as well as making prototypes to gain enough pop-ups that will translate the experience of a museum without making it too overwhelming. Another point is that it has to be bilingual, therefore I decided to make one side English and the other side will be Arabic. It will have similar content but the composition will shift a little because of the pop-ups. As I was working on the title page I have come up with a system in English by making die cuts for the exhibition and the artist’s name, and I had to do the same in Arabic which is was an issue. Not everything we are able to do in English can be done in Arabic unless I had to break some rules, which I did. Some might say it’s not acceptable, but I made my case to my professors and have emphasized the importance of this system, as it showcases a hint of the chaos that is inside the exhibition.
As for the content/ images, at first I wanted to combine as manly images of faces as much as possible. Through my progress, I have decided to use only three main images, one is colored but cropped to a face and the other two are line-drawn faces that I have illustrated and have colored in on my own the same color and style of his artwork. The type is integrated within the pop-ups because it is the important information.
Printing and producing was difficult because I needed a double sided print and it’s too big to print on the inkjet printers and the Epson printer doesn’t print double side. With many trials, error kept appearing. Scoring and folding would often reveal a lot of mistakes like the placement of type or image because it was too thick. The initial plan was using the laser cutter for the die cut, unfortunately, the Fusion laser cutter was out of order and I had to manually cut the letters which was NOT an easy job to do. Making one prototype took a lot of time, so I went to a print center and they were able to print and die cut two proto-type.
A last minute decision that was mentioned in our final critique before mailing it was to create an envelope to protect the die cut and ensuring it would not bend and break down. Hence, I have created a transparent envelope for the colors to show through the envelope.
Overall, I believe that this project had a great learning process by having certain features and type that has to be included but at the same time make it memorable. It was a hard process but the end result was worth it, designing something that I could produce with the confidence of potentially adding it to my portfolio website.
When this project was introduced, I immediately got excited because it’s a chance I can create a really well-put animation (I have been waiting patiently to produce an animation!). However, through process I have decided to combine videography (which I have never produced before) with animation. It’s a new challenge and I was determined to follow- through. I admit, I had many doubts along the way and wanted to go back to full animation mode, but I thought what is life without challenges right?
Storyboarding was also a new territory to me, the way I work and design is having a starting point/ concept, visualize the final outcome and experiment during the process. I wasn’t too keen about planning every small detail. On the bright side, it made things easier by pin pointing each scene and what action it will capture. I learned that the storyboard can change and develop along the way, it’s not a commitment but it’s a clear plan to get you started. There were a couple scenes that didn’t work out and I had to change.
Taking video was much harder than I thought, and it was not an easy process nor an easy production. Even though it was only three/ four main scene, each is located somewhere else and should be during the same time period, which is sunset. For each scene I had faced a couple of hiccups, but managed to overcome, most of the issues were camera transition, camera stability with a tripod and composition. During this time, I felt uncertain because of the different shots and was worried how it will work all together. I was also unsure of the color correction of the shots and if it was consistent throughout.
I have used three programs, Premier to edit the footage by fixing the color correction and speed it up, Illustrator for the creating the characters and Aftereffects to gather everything to add effects and animation. This process was hectic because I had to go back and forth between programs if there was a change. As I was editing, I have added the background music which is the original title sequence of Mission Impossible. It helped with the timing of the different scenes and the transitions.
Overall, I think it was a fun and challenging experience. I learned that videography is not for everyone, but I am happy that I went through this process and figured out what my strong suits are. Nevertheless, I am proud of what I have produced, and would be happy to repeat it all over again.
We have learned technical methods of file management when presented to the print vendor and what issues a designer has to face before submitting their work. The main three programs that we will be using is Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. Illustrator is used to produce vectors, Photoshop to edit Raster (images) and InDesign to insert the vectors and raster’s to be designed.
Document Set Up:
- For each vector produced it has to be on a new document NOT another artboard
- Always upload image as a .tif file as it is the format for high-quality raster that can be edited graphically.
- Bleed = 5mm or .5cm or .25 inches depending what the print vendor recommends
- Slug = Bottom at least 15 mm or more, as much as needed to fit information
- Color Mode = always design RGB then convert to CMYK when printing
- Design your vectors in RGB, when finished change to CMYK by going to the option button in the color space.
- Make sure the numbers are not in decimals always round them up or down.
- Start with an empty swatch by only having black and white
- To delete color, hold ALT and press each color.
- When using color, add the ones used only.
- Everything above is relatable.
- If the project is only black and white, convert by going to Image > Mode > Grey scale. There are other options CMYK and RGB.
- When grey scale, play with levels and curves to achieve the right amount of dark and light.
- Everything in Illustrator is relatable.
Raster and Vector Size:
- When a vector is placed in InDesign, there are no problems to face when resizing, because vectors are digitalized.
- When importing a .tif image, first thing is first is check the resolution to be 300 in/px
- When placed in InDesign, you can’t resize it because it will effect the PPI.
- Go back to photoshop and change the image size that is place in Image > Image Size > change weight and height that is suitable for your InDesign file
- The raster effect = 300 Actual and Effective PPI
Techniques In Photoshop:
- Black conceals, white reveals
- Using the pen tool to outline the image that you want to clip it
- On the top left there is a ‘mask’ button
- Click and create a new layer to remove the background
Inserting an image in to the clipping path:
- The raster image has to be the exact width and height size when inserting the clipping
- The raster image is then duplicated in a new layer into the clipped image.
- Make sure that each vector has its own document with only one layer
- After editing, make sure you flatten the image before inserting in InDesign
- Having a clear layer will make the print vendor life much easier causing no difficulties and miscommunication. Layers:
- Vector/ illustration
- Raster/ Photos
- Note/ info/ markup
Links in InDesign:
- File > Place or cmd + D, to place a raster or image
- Don’t drag and drop files
- Don’t embed illustrator files into rasterized images or vice versa.
- Is a prototype of the design, which includes the bleed marks, crop marks, registration marks, color bars, page information, and slug information
- Useful for the print vendor
- Is the finished product and perfectly crafted.
It’s a bitter sweet moment, finally we have reached the end but there is a part to me that i want to push my self further to accomplish a real-life themed cafe proposal, despite the stressful and sleepless nights.. When the project was introduced, I was very excited of having your own business idea and making it happen. However the process was not pleasant, many ups and downs. I was always thinking ahead and figuring out the different implementations rather then focus on the identity system. As i have revisited my identity, i started pointing out many unanswered questions. Therefore, i believe that having an idea won’t always correspond to the system.
At the beginning, i wanted to add silhouette illustrations that are considered cliche to the mystery cafe but it didn’t blend with the era of the theme that i chose, which is Victorian, Sherlock Holmes, Great Gatsby ambiance. Rethinking, recreating and redesigning constantly was the ‘aha’ moment in this process. Breaking down my identity system and building it from bottom to top, rather than top to bottom. Experiencing this process was tiresome, however, i believe that was the main reason that allowed my final implementations to be successful. I learned that a system can be shown through different variation, and not always does an implementation has to have a logo forced into it. 3 out of 7 of my implantation has the logo and the rest are shown through graphic elements, type, and colors.
Overall, i am very grateful to have undertaken this final project in my sophomore year, as it started to build my thinking style of systems and identities to my education career and my potential chosen field as a graphic designer.