Dissertation Design: Final Updates

1:1 Tutorial with David – Wednesday 4th May

In my tutorial with David today I got some updated feedback on my editorial design. This is something that I really wanted to perfect because I’m conscious that this is the only major outcome which showcases my editorial design skillset from this year’s submission, so I really need to show off all of my skills within this one piece of work. Overall, David’s feedback was encouraging and really positive. The main points he highlighted all surrounded type detailing. He said that I needed to show off my editorial skills more by including type detailing more frequently. I responded to this feedback by going back to a resource which I had at the start of my second year (for our editorial project) and referred to it:

I found the typographic detailing section particularly useful as this was what David was highlighting that I didn’t have enough of in my design. I decided that I would need to include more subheadings, callout quotations, making the most of the use of ligatures within my typefaces and also just paying more attention to detail in terms of widows, orphans and the rag of my body copy. In order to start this process I used the Markup feature on my iPad to make notes of any typographic detailing I could notice in my own work. I then went on to send my work to Shannon, a peer, who also looked over the typographic detailing (I did the same for her, too!). This was such a useful process and seeing someone else’s work then makes you look at your own in more detail in my opinion. These were Shannon’s annotations:

Shannon’s feedback:

Shannon annotated my spreads in such great detail and I’m so grateful that she took the time to do this for me! It was SO helpful so get her perspective of my work and her notes were really engaging and constructive. I loved Shannon’s idea of rotating “Persuasive Design”, here was the result:

Something just didn’t look right to me with this so I decided to experiment with the repeated dots on the “i’s” (called a tittle) by removing some of them, in the original orientation and found that this looked clearer and more fitting. I think that the reduced amount of tittles :

The final change I made to this spread was to get rid of the widow at the bottom of the left hand piece of body copy:

The next change I made was to increase the size of the type on this spread. David said that he thought that it previously felt trapped on the page and the negative space surrounding the type felt unused or un-useful. He suggested that the size should either be increased or decreased in order to feel more free. I decided to increase the size as I felt that decreasing the size made the pace of the editorial piece too repetitive:

Smaller type – looks too similar to other pages

I also decided that I needed to change the weight of the bolder type in the body copy on the left as it wasn’t apparent enough. I have altered it from Bold to Extra Bold and I feel that this has really increased the emphasis on certain words. I feel that the hierarchy of this spread is really strong in that the path for the eye is clearly guided from the large type, to the pull out quotation on the right, and then to the body copy on the left.

Type increased – looks more free and dynamic

I added a pull-out quotation to this spread as I felt that it needed an extra element to help balance out the double page spread:

However, I felt that it still looked a little unbalanced. I actually printed off this spread and stuck it on the wall. I took a step back and tried to decipher what was making it so unbalanced, and found that it was actually the face that the right page was so pink-heavy, and the left only had a little squiggle of pink. I decided to take the idea from thr right page of using thin rectangles behind the text to help it stand out more. I feel that this really balances out the spread and makes it flow visually and typographically as a double page spread, rather than two separate pages:

Having considered both the feedback from David and Shannon, this is the outcome I have come up with:

Upon checking my submission checklist I noticed that in the submission notes it states “cover & 5 spreads” in the Dissertation Design section, which is something that I initially missed. My next stage is to create the cover for my editorial design.

Cover design

I started by writing out the title of my dissertation and experimenting with different placements and typefaces until I have happy with it. I really wanted the type to feel very close, with each word almost hugging one another. I think that this will help visualise the fact that ethics and finance go hand in hand in today’s Influencer marketing industry. Here are some screenshots of the process and development:

The final layout of type I created was the one I chose to use. I think that the mixture of the two contrasting typefaces work really well together in terms of clarity and hierarchy. I love how the last three characters of each word ‘lly’ mould into each other.

I also added some Instagram icons which I created in Illustrator to add relevance to the topic, and to display my illustration skills within the editorial piece. The addition of the illustrations helps to vary the pace of the overall piece of editorial, along with helping the reader to associate the cover with Instagram instantly.

I’m really happy with the outcome and how it’s developed over the last few weeks. It’s really nice to have part of my dissertation which is beautiful to look at, rather than just 70 pages of black and white text!

Dissertation design: developments

After having my group tutorial with David and my peers, I decided to start making some changes to my work straight away so that the feedback was fresh in my head, and still made sense from my notes.

I started with spread 2. The general feedback for this page was that the page needed to be more expressive and needed to provoke the essence of persuasion through overwhelm and bombardment.

Before revisions

I added in extra “dots” vertically in the background of the piece. I think that this really helps show a feeling of overwhelm and manipulativeness through the typography.

After revisions

Next, I decided to add a bit more depth to the large, bold white type on this spread

Before revisions

Here, I added a very subtle dark pink outer glow to the white type. I think that it’s almost unnoticeable if you don’t compare the two different versions, but when you compare them, it does add that extra bit of depth to the spread as a whole. In addition, I have altered the size of the pull out statistic on the right side of the spread, as the word “approximately” looked out of place.

After revisions

These are the changes that I’ve made so far, but I intend to refine the piece of editorial in more depth next week when I have more time.

Dissertation design: group tutorial

Today I had a group tutorial with my peers and David to showcase our pieces of editorial design so far. We were asked to present a PDF of our dissertation design so far, including 1 page of editorial inspiration. This is what I presented:

The overall feedback from David and my peers was positive. Luke and Matt both thought that the pink colour worked well within the context and that it added another dimension to the overall piece of design.

Some points David raised were that I needed to highlight the fact the importance of persuasion and manipulation through my typography – I will do this by repeating certain words or letterforms to provoke a sense of overwhelm and bombardment. He also mentioned that I could be more expressive with my typography in that I could add depth to certain elements. He also noted that the use of imagery could work well within the context. Another thing we discussed was layers and dimensions of each spread. He noted that I have only around 3 elements per spread, and sometimes that wasn’t enough. I will add more elements like imagery, headings and pull out quotations in order to create a stronger sense of hierarchy and layering. David also noted that my typesetting was generally positive but that I should pay close attention to detail when it comes to things like orphans and rag. I will need to tidy up my typesetting a lot and make some minor changes to correct these issues.

Dissertation design: development


I decided to research some existing editorial design pieces that I’d like to take inspiration from for my dissertation design.

Typografie Standard, by Tony Ziebetzki

I really love the use of big, bold type running through the background of this piece. I also love the detailing of that bold type, like the curves on the “R” letterform! I think this is really expressive and could work really well applied in a similar way in my dissertation design.

Kyle Rice Design

I love the playfulness of “reveal and conceal” in this double page spread designed by Kyle Rice. I talk a lot about both concealing and revealing within my dissertation with regards to disclosure of paid partnerships between influencers and brands. I think this idea of playfulness could be a great addition to think about when designing my dissertation.

The storytelling serifs specimen, Fontsmith

This piece of editorial design showcases typefaces designed by Fontsmith, and I’m completely obsessed! I think that the use of weight, size, colour and layout are so clever and showcase the fonts beautifully. I plan to experiment with orientation, weight, kerning, tracking and size of the typography within my dissertation, taking a lot of inspiration from this piece in particular. I also love the use of pink, black and off white. I think these colours are so striking and stand out so well.


Deciding on the 5 pages to design:

The title of my dissertation is Can Instagram influencer brand partnerships succeed both ethically & financially for both the brand and the influencer? The dissertation investigates both the ethical and financial success of the extremely modern, current and on-trend advertising method of Instagram influencer marketing. It focuses on both the influencers, and the brands which choose to work with them in this popular advertising method. In addition, it includes research and discussion regarding persuasion, as this is a significant topic within graphic communication. It also investigates to what extent the marketing strategy increases product and/or service sales for companies, including examples and statistics. In addition, it compares the current, previous and potential future rules and regulations for paid partnership and sponsored content disclosure by influencers. This is shown by researching and reviewing a sufficient amount of relevant, current, academic literature regarding the Instagram influencer marketing advertising method, influencers, social media users, and companies who use this strategy. I also include research of examples and statistics to justify my critical opinion and position, and discuss both the positive and negative aspects of the examples. I also conducted a qualitative and quantitative survey where participants completed a survey in order for me to determine their views and opinions on the subject of Instagram influencers, and to interpret my findings with the statistics I have gathered. I feel that this topic is very important and relevant, as it is very current, modern and applies to an extremely wide audience.

I have chosen to design 5 double page spreads from chapter 1 which is titled Why and how influencer marketing is so successfully persuasive. I feel that this is appropriate as this chapter relates the most to graphic communication.

This is what I came up with as a starting point:

I’ve used a 6 column grid with 8mm margins, and 6mm gutters. I really wanted to include this soft, calming pink tone throughout my piece of editorial as I feel that it’s really inviting and almost highlights the manipulativeness that I talk about within this chapter of my dissertation.

Dissertation design: Project launch

Today David launched our exposure module, where we have been asked to design a single page cover + at least 5 double page spreads of our dissertations in a way that visually represents the topic of our writing and to practice showing off our editorial design skill sets.

Today, David ran a type and layout workshop where we worked in groups via Teams (which was challenging in itself!πŸ˜‚). We were asked to design some provided body copy into an A3 double page spread using the following constraints. This helps us to explore setting
text expressing different hierarchies.

1 – One typeface, one weight, one size, one size leading, multiple colours (11:15am) D&U
2 – One typeface, multiple weights, one size, one size leading, multiple colours (12pm) D&U
3 – One typeface, multiple weights, multiple sizes, multiple sized leading, multiple colours (1pm) D&U

This was my group’s outcomes:


David said he really liked the minimalism within this outcome, and how the subtle pink statistics made it easier to break down and the path for the eye was really clear. He noted that the rag was a little untidy and that would need a little more work if there was more time to do so. But overall he was really pleased with this piece.


David thought that this development was actually a step back from the first outcome. He thought that there were too many colours involved, and that the yellow and pink for the statistics just didn’t really work on the teal background. Although, he did like the yellow for the headings of each paragraph. He also liked the colours separating the table.


David really liked this outcome and said that the titles worked really well. He noted that the table didn’t need the black lines separating the figures because the colours did this adequately enough on their own.

I really enjoyed this workshop as it made us work together as a team, quickly, to produce some really interesting pieces of type. It also really helped to refresh my memory of editorial design, as I hadn’t focused on this since 1st year (oops 😬). It was vital to use this skillset again in preparation for the upcoming dissertation design brief. I refreshed my memory of important factors of typesetting, such as a clean rag, no rivers in justified text, no orphans, correct point size, and making sure after all of this that the type is still easily readable. I will apply this knowledge throughout this project.