Design And Evaluation
At the start of this project we were given a few options about what we would create. The overall opinion was to publish either a newspaper or magazine. The full group made this decision.
The next step of the process was to agree on what direction we would take. Whether we would focus on students, the city of Hull or something else. The majority of the group, myself included thought that a purely student based magazine would leave us little room to create that each member of the group wanted. I also thought that the vast majority of HSAD students are already aware of events happening around them. We would therefore have to focus on current events that would have a student interest. This was something that I think we would have found difficult. Choosing to create content about Hull and the surrounding area seemed like a good idea. We would have sports writing, features and opinion pieces featuring aspects from Hull.
The first few weeks of the project were rather slow, few of the group made any definitive points about the project. Jason and myself made the majority of the decisions regarding whether we would publish as a newspaper or magazine. We choose the magazine option. This gave us some more freedom with the design elements of the publication.
Newspapers are almost exclusively current and published regularly. Our time frame would mean any current events reported would be out of date or old news by the time we got to print.
Jason and myself were tasked with splitting the various roles and jobs between the group. Originally we wanted to give the group roles that they would like to do. This would allow each member of the team to create content in his or her preferred area.
Owen and Jason started working on some Hull specific pieces. These would focus on different aspects of Hull life. One suggestion was to create a positive and negative piece about Hull’s future. Owen would also be writing some tech reviews for the entertainment section of the publication. Along with Mike White, Jason would create some sports content.
Mike White was also given the role of creating some pieces for the nightlife section of the magazine. This would feature nightclub events, guest DJ sets and other parts of Hull’s nightlife.
Sibby was asked to create some short opinion pieces. One about student life and another from her time spent in New York. Both of these pieces would sit within the columned area of the publication.
Emma’s role was to create some content based on been a student mother and finding interesting and cheap days out for the family.
Jason and myself will work on the food section of the magazine. I would also write some tech reviews for the entertainment section. I was also in charge of the planning and design elements of the project.
PLANNING AND DESIGN.
The initial plan was to create a 24-page glossy magazine. This would feature,
PAGE – CONTENT
1 – Front cover
2 – Adverts (potentially)
3 – Contents page & contact details
4-5 – Positive and Negative piece (double page image)
6 – Mainstream News – Travel Piece
7 – Sibby’s New York Piece
8 – Festive Treats (single page image with title)
9 – Sibby’s gift ideas
10 – Food/restaurant map
11 – Food Reviews
12 – Tech/gaming reviews
13 – Tech/gaming reviews
14 – Diversity in Hull Piece
15 – Students page (opinion piece)
16 – Night life (double page feature)
17 – Déjà vu piece (continuation from page 16)
18 – Culture section
19 – Emma’s pieces
20 – Sports section (Owen’s UFC piece) Double page spread)
21 – UFC continued
22 – Jason’s sports column and General sports
23 – Mike White’s sports piece
24 – Back Page (advertisements)
I looked at various different magazine layouts and designs. We choose the magazine route because it would give us some freedom with the design. The Times on Saturday’s magazine has a great design. It features a two to three column layout with a simple set of colors to divide each section. Below are a few images from the magazine.
The contents page for the Times features small images and a basic description of each article. This is a feature lead publication much like ours will be. Opinion pieces like Giles Coren’s review feature large, high-resolution images and a full body photo of the writer. This could be something we could copy for our opinion pieces and articles.
I have started working on some basic layout features. At the moment I am still waiting on content from other members of the group. Jason and myself came up with a few designs. Jason’s negative piece on Hull would have a large double page image. The image would be of something iconic from Hull. I would then fade half of the image into black and white. The side still colored would be for Owen’s positive piece. We still need a title for this piece.
Another piece Jason was writing would be a sports column, we decided a side column opinion piece would sit well within the sports section.
I asked the group to provide me with an image to go with their features and work. So far I haven’t received any images. Until I get the correct images from the group I will use placeholder images. I will attempt to keep them as close to useable as possible. This way if I don’t get all the images we will have backups ready to fit the spaces.
FRONT COVER & NAME
The group came up with a variety of names for the magazine.
THE HUMBER FLOAT
THE HULL SMACK
We decided on ‘Mouth’ for the name. We later added ‘of the humber’. I started on some designs for the title.
Jason has sent a selection of images that represent Hull. Jason, Owen and myself decided that a collage of the images could work as a front cover. I used a combination of adobe illustrator and Photoshop to create two variants.
This is the placeholder image for the front cover. This was a photo I took several years ago. I looked at a variety of different magazine front covers. Rolling Stone, The Times magazine, video games and sports magazine all feature short blurbs detailing the content on the front cover. This simple single image allows us to have a selection of blurbs on the front cover. The collage of images will divide the page up too much. From I design point of view I think this will look cluttered and busy.
These are some sketches I made for the front cover. I went with the collage effect for most of them, as that was the direction the group had chosen.
Although we had decided as a group to use a collage of images for the front cover I changed the design to a single image for the final piece. The overall look of the cover with a single image and text worked much better, visually than the black-bordered collage.
I used the futura font for all text on the front page. The title masthead is an edited version of the futura font. I resized and tilted the letters using adobe illustrator. This gives the text some personality and style.
The final edit of the front page is to the left. I used the placeholder image. I adjusted the colors slightly and applied a darker filter. These changes make the image pop a bit. The font used is Futura Condensed. I added a simple outline to make the text stand out on the background.
I wanted to create a stylish and visually interesting contents page. I thought, as it is one of the first pages you see it should have some impact. My original idea was to use a mixture of large and small sized words to fill the entire page. The image below shows a basic plan of the idea. This type of artwork would take me some time to create. With the slow progress made on design decisions and content placement, I would not have the time to create the image.
The designs below are for a variation of the contents page. I took inspiration from the Times magazine layout. Although this is rather bland it allowed me to edit and move articles around without having to re-edit a separate piece of artwork.
I am still waiting on images for most of the articles written by members of the group. For the moment I have selected some images to sit in. this gives me a better idea of the space I have to work with.
With the sports pages we would have several different articles to fit in four pages. Jason is writing a short columned opinion piece, Mike white is writing a feature about Hull City FC and Owen is writing a review of the up coming UFC 154. So far I do not know the word count for any of these pieces. This is a bit of a design and layout problem. Below are some ideas I sketched out for the sports section.
I wanted to keep the standard boarder through out the magazine. Using different colors to divide up the different sections. For the sport section I thought a blue color would work. I would keep the simple three-column layout and split the pages accordingly.
Owen has finished his UFC piece it’s a lot larger than I had originally thought. At nearly 2000 words it will now either have to be edited or used as the feature piece.
I haven’t received Mike Whites sports work yet so I have decided to run with Owen’s UFC piece as a two page spread. I have a few ideas on the layout. I would like to get in a large image and fit the text around it. Below are design sketches.
This design has each of the main event fighters at either side of the story. I could fit the text around the fighter’s profile. Although I have added some small images within the story I doubt there will be space.
The layout for this page was by far the most time consuming for me. Once I had found the correct image, I then had to crop the two fighters and apply a filter and some color adjustments. These changes altered the original image enough. The title for the piece was also created in illustrator. Here is the finished page.
For Sibby’s New York article I followed the design and layout of the columnist Caitlin Moran. Below is an image of her column.
This layout features a three-column design with the central column holding a line from the article and an image of the writer. Through out the design process I frequently took inspiration from this magazine. The spacing of the text and general layout seemed to fit well with what I had in mind for our publication.
The finished piece will sit near the front of the magazine. I still require an image from Sibby to go with this piece. It’s a story about New York so I have found an image from Times Square. I will crop it and use it as a placeholder.
I added an extra image into the final edit of this page. It’s a head shot of Sibby with a cup of coffee. I had to blur out the logo on the cup. Whilst I edited the cup I also adjusted the colors. I added the image to fill the extra white space within the piece.
Originally we had decided that the magazine would be monthly, with that in mind and our original completion date of December, we added an xmas feature to the mag. This is to be written by Sibby. I had a few ideas for an image. Mainly xmas trees of some description. It was to be a two-page spread with one page holding the majority of the picture and page two holding the content.
I came up with a few sketches for the pages. The xmas tree would be the main feature of the image.
I have created several digital variations of my design. The xmas tree has been duplicated and resized to fill the page. These pages are still incomplete. Once I have the content I can then add it into the magazine, until then I can’t really add it in. this also means I will have to change the contents page.
I received the content for this page quiet late into the project. I had to quickly add the content and pages to the magazine.
A few food reviews and a simple map of a local area was our plan for these pages. Jason and myself would write a short food review for the page. I also create a graphic with a map showing where selections of places were. The plans and ideas are below.
The area I choose was Princes avenue. It has a great selection of bars and restaurants. I picked six places to add to the map. If we were doing a full digital version it we could have had an interactive map. Unfortunately we are not doing a digital version. This could be something to add in at a later date.
Again I used a color-coded system. This is to keep a uniform look throughout the magazine. With only two actual reviews on the second page I may need to write another or change the layout to fit the content better. A nearly complete page is below.
Owen and myself would be writing the content for this section we both choose to review games. We’re big gamers so it seemed like the obvious choice. Owen’s review was of Halo 4. It was a little too big to fit half a page, after some editing I got it down to a more manageable size. This would be our lead review. I used a screen cap of the main character for the title image.
I reviewed Assassin’s Creed 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. My reviews would have to be shorter and more compact to fit into the remaining space my two draft reviews are below.
ASSASSIN’S CREED 3 REVIEW
The blockbuster action game is back this year with a new character and setting. Assassin’s Creed 3 continues the epic battle between good and evil. The Templars and Assassins are now facing off with the American war of independence as the backdrop. Our new hero Connor Kenway story doesn’t start until a good few hours into the game, you will either love the complex and involving story, or hate it because you just want to play as Connor. As strong and well throughout character as Connor is, he just doesn’t have the charm of previous lead characters, like Ezio from AC2
The backdrop for this tale is more chaotic than ever. A vast and expansive game world throws a large amount of enemies at you. Cannons fire, horsemen tumble from their mounts, platoons of redcoats march through the carnage. A new game engine helps with the huge scale battles and set pieces. Along with the new engine, combat and free running have been improved. Attacking large groups is challenging but never frustrating. This is partly down to the newly implemented combat system and a better camera set-up.
Graphically Assassin’s Creed 3 is stunning. The cities of Boston and New York feel alive and lived in. Street vendors, shop owners and vagabonds fill the streets adding a great level of immersion. A first for the franchise is the frontier area, a huge forest zone filled with additional objectives and the fantastic new tree-climbing mechanic. Traversing this environment is simply beautiful, giving the player huge levels of freedom. Combat is fast and brutal. A whole new set of kill animations and weapons will make you wince. Mixing up counters, dodges and environmental kills add some new dynamics to the solid fight engine. Assassinations can now be done with any weapon adding new tactical levels to the gameplay.
Like previous entries in the series, Assassin’s Creed 3 has a generous amount of side missions and other distractions like the brilliant new naval missions. So once the credits have rolled there’s still plenty to do. Multiplayer has also seen a bit of a do-over. The mechanics haven’t changed much but the customization and upgrade system add an extra layer of replay-ability.
An epic story and fantastic graphics are the standard for such big titles this time of year, Assassin’s Creed 3 goes one step further with improved gameplay, a wealth of extra content and a compelling and robust multiplayer. Assassin’s Creed 3 is a must for all action-adventure fans.
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 2 REVIEW
Each November brings with it another Call of Duty. Each Call of Duty adds a little something new to the formula. This year’s entry, Black Ops 2, has seen the biggest change in the series since Modern Warfare. Set in the not two distant future, and jumping back to the eighties, we follow the story of David Mason. (The name Mason my be familiar to CoD veterans.)
As always, you’re dropped into various war zones around the world and tasked with shooting endless armies of (mostly) east Europeans. The bombastic set pieces and breakneck pacing are all present. We’ve all done this before, building tumble, civilians scramble for cover. Its safe to say the shock and awe of this series has run dry. The branching story line bring little to the overall experience, although this adds replay value to the incredibly short single-player.
Now, on to the multiplayer. Like its predecessors, Black Ops 2 has a fully featured online mode. Much has changed from the previous games. Character customization and load outs create a balanced playing field. The new ‘Pick 10’ system works perfectly. The replacement of kill streaks to score streaks creates a much more team focused game. Maps are open and feature multiple routes, with sniper spots and back alleys to flank and suppress.
The fan favorite, Nazi Zombies have also made a return. Like the multiplayer, this mode has also seen some changes. The original survival mode returns but with it comes the expansive Tranzit. A semi open world for you to explore, hunting down parts in order to progress further. Zombies have always had a huge fan base and this is what they’ve been waiting for.
The single-player levels may be linear and uninspired but the combat and controls are as tight and engaging as ever. The multiplayer is the strong point of the series and Black Ops 2 has just raised the bar. The new features added to Nazi Zombies make this a great value game with hours of content.
If fast, high-octane run and gun carnage are your thing, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is an essential purchase.
REVIEW PAGE LAYOUT AND DESIGN
I used a red border for the reviews page, cutting around the text were I needed to. This seems to hold the page together well.
Mike White would be working on these pages; he has the most experience with this type of writing. I put a design together with the help of Mike White.
Mike and myself decided to use a larger image for the main article. Mike picked the photo and emailed it across to me. I had to cut out some of the images and rearrange the full two pages.
This is the final version of the two pages. They are completely different from the original designs. The image works great spread across the pages. A lot of the magazine seems like huge walls of text, it was good to add some larger images.
Emma wrote two of these articles. I created the Davinci piece. I originally wanted to write a piece on the exhibit at the Feren’s art gallery. Unfortunately I didn’t have the space for another large word article. The magazine has a great deal of text compared to images. The two-piece from Emma came with no images or titles. I asked on several occasions for these but never received them. I found the student mum image online and added a color change and filter to distort the image.
Because I didn’t receive the sports pages from Mike White I added Jason’s sports column into this page. Although it seems out of place I didn’t want to cut the piece from the magazine.
The project from the start was going to have problems, as a group we simply don’t work. Just Jason and myself did the first few weeks of planning. The rest of the group gave little input into the designs and plans. Which left it down to just two of us. Most weeks no progress was made from group meeting, mainly because members didn’t turn up.
From the start Jason and myself attempted to involve the other members, Jason has constantly updated the Basecamp project page, with comments, ideas and edits of other peoples work.
We asked the group too post their work onto basecamp as Word documents. This would make it easier to format and edit the pieces. Jason and myself have done the edits for all the work going into the publication. Jason worked on the work through Word. I edited the pieces from within InDesign. This allowed me to re size and layout the work better.
Like previous group projects the group (other than Owen and Jason) have little to add. The few members of the group who turned up regularly or commented on Basecamp thought up ideas and content. This was Jason, Owen and myself. I was given no help or guidance on placement of articles, the layout or style of the magazine. I took the role of designer because I have the most experience using InDesign and other editing programs. This, however lead me to do the majority of the planning for each page. I did get input from Jason and Owen regarding their pages and content.
I have been waiting weeks for some pieces of content; this has impacted the completion of the project. Because this work has been received I have been unable to complete the contents page. I have waited for as long as I possible can to receive this content. I asked Emma for a title and intro to her interview piece, I have not received it (two days before hand in). This means that I have had to create an uninspired and boring title for the piece. I asked for accompanying images for all pieces, these would be used in the contents page, but only received a few from the group. The rest I had to find myself.
The lack of care from the rest of the group made this project incredibly hard to complete. I think Jason would agree that, again we have had to take the lead with this project; otherwise it simply wouldn’t get done. Our group cannot work together.
I learnt a great deal from this project. My knowledge and understanding of InDesign and magazine planning has greatly improved