John McWade presents a biweekly series that touches on all areas of design, helping designers new and old sharpen their skills and create more powerful work.
- I have an assignment for you. Lanzarote Island in the Canary archipelago off the coast of Africa is a beautiful place and popular for many reasons. It's popular as a tourist destination. It's popular for it's life style, for it's geology, for it's architecture. But you wouldn't know any of that by looking at the cover of this calendar, which a friend of mind showed me recently. What we see is a photograph of an obviously popular beach that's then been covered by a number of pieces of type and rectangles.
Lanzarote is set in Lucida calligraphy, which is a default type face. It's had a shadow added to it and it's been compressed 80 percent horizontally. Which is something you don't typically want to do. Although, calligraphic type faces are usually more tolerant of compression. It's also curiously, the smallest of these elements. The year 2017 is also set in Lucida calligraphy. It's not been kerned or spaced in any way.
It's just been typed, which is typically the mark of the work of a non designer. Off to the left, we can see these five gray rectangles with five languages. I'm seeing Spanish, English, French, German, and Russian. All obscuring the image. This type face is another default. It's Georgia bold. So all of this suggests that this was done by someone who does not understand really the role of design.
This has just kind of been labeled and dated. And it's been made clear that this calendar is in five languages. But, without any sense of conveying beauty, or allure, or excitement, or any such thing. So, you're assignment is to redesign it. And remember that design is not about decorating or just arranging things in space. But is about conveying visually that which is true, real, authentic, beautiful, exciting, captivating, interesting, alluring.
Whatever qualities are, you're wanting your viewer, your reader to know and to feel and to experience. So, you're first step is going to be to do your research. Learn about Lanzarote. Learn about it's various aspects. About it as a tourist destination. About it as a geology place. About it as an architectural destination and so forth. And, what I'd like you to do for the assignment, is to pick, pick an angle. Are you going to appeal to people who are coming for a vacation like these people on the beach? Are you appealing to the architects? Are you appealing to, just whatever.
But, pick an angle. And design a calendar cover that conveys that angle. What I'd like you to do, is when you're done, post it on the graphic design tips and tricks group. And we can include it as part of a critique. And we can take a look at these calendars that have been redesigned. When you do that, I mean you don't have to use an image, like a photograph. Although, there are a lot of images online. We use Adobe Stock. If you go there, you'll find you can use watermark images. This is not formal or official.
So, you don't need to buy images and download them and all of that. Just whatever you find that's going to say what you want to say. You can use symbols. You can use illustrations. You can draw something if you want. Whatever it's going to take. But when you post your design, I'd like you to also tell us what went in to it. Tell us the concept. Tell us why you chose the images you chose and what those images are doing. Tell us why you've chosen the type faces you've chosen and what they're doing.
Why colors. Why the layout you've created, so forth. Just explain all that. And put it up for us so we can have a look. We can critique it. I think we'll have a pretty interesting class discussion after we see your work. That's your design for today. See you next time.
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Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.