Protest! – Project Launch & Idea Generation

At the launch of the new ‘Protest!’ project, we were introduced to the Illustration course and how it differs to the Graphic Communication one. However, we were also shown hw the two courses are similar. Jo and Layla gave a detailed presentation about how the word ‘illustration’ originally comes from the word ‘illuminate’, as the artwork ‘illuminates’ its audience. An example of the difference between the two subjects could be that Illustrators create visual representations of a piece of text, contrasting to Graphic Communicators who create work that’s more contextual.

The combining of the two subjects will give us all an idea for what working within the Graphic Design industry will really be like. My group consists of Me, Georgia (Graphics), Celine (Illustration) and Sam (Illustration). Having an equal number of each subject is nice, so the project feels really balanced. The new brief Protest! states that we need to work within the groups, with a final aim to create a collaborative protest project on something that we collectively feel strongly enough about to protest.

Our first task was to come up with the idea that we feel strongly enough to protest about. Within the group, initially, we each had different ideas about what we wanted to protest about. This was positive for us as a group, as we had a wide range of ideas to both choose from and link together. Our initial idea list consisted of these topics:

•  Festivals – Waste, litter, drugs & alcohol, tents, deaths.
•  Homelessness – Increasing homelessness in city centres.
•  Drug use – Excessive and increasing amounts of drugs in local city nights out.                   •  State School vs Private School – Differing standards of learning support.

We chose to focus on the State School vs Private School – Based on the fact that Private school offers better standards of learning difficulty support for cases of Dyslexia and other educational support.

We chose this as we agree that there was (and still is) a lack of nurture for individual pupils during state school. Issues with Learning Difficulty support, such as dyslexia and so on, are overlooked in state schools from the early stages of primary school, and merely ‘stepped over’ so other members of the class can continue ‘learning’ under the strict timetable created by the high powers at the board of education.
We carried out some research to back up our idea. This consists of lots of facts and figures, news articles and existing protests that also have the same opinions as us in the fact that State Schools don’t offer enough support for children with learning difficulties.
Research:

We discovered many cases of parents moving their children from State School to Private School in order to receive better Learning Difficulty support. For example, the questions ‘Why does is it so difficult for state schools to succeed in teaching children with dyslexia?’ and ‘And if it is so difficult, can we realistically expect ordinary schools to do it?’ are constantly being asked to state schools. Parents are sick of their children not getting the support they need at state school.

We found that state schools are made to follow a system that is demanded by the government, which means following deadlines for the classes and year groups appropriately in order to appear a well developed organisation on a surface level, proven in grades and paperwork online, simply ‘ticking the boxes’. Whereas in actual fact, there is a massive lack of individual encouragement for pupils that need extra support, which then in turn, causes fundamental issues for these individuals later on in their lives.

Manifesto:

After having decided on a subject to base our project on, our next task was to create a visual Manifesto which represented our idea.
We decided to create a visual metaphor of the State School system not aiding its pupils who needed extra support.

We decided to make a crane for our manifesto, because this bird is a symbolic animal which represents freedom. This then exaggerates the castration through the ball and chain. The metaphor for the crane is the child, and the ball and chain is the educational system. This visual metaphor shows the lack of nurture and support the current state school educational system provides for the child. The blue colour represents the sadness or helplessness felt within the child, and the red writing shows the bold anger. The reason for this metaphorical stance is to highlight these issues within society, we are protesting to make a change to the system. We recognise that there is a fundamental issue within the divide of motivated children and struggling children. We feel that the state school education system is for the state and is shown off to appeal to the tax payer through grades.

After having presented our manifesto, we realised that we should have made a more specific manifesto to represent our idea in a more recognisable way, rather than making something that had to be explained in order to be understood by our audience. Next time, we will ask more questions about the brief rather than going too far on our own without others’ opinions.

 

Design As Activism – After Feedback Updates

As seen in my previous post, the points that I needed to improve on were:

  • Is the logo too symbolic and not personal enough (like the characters)?
  • Should the copyright we are all here for you be consistent throughout?
  • Do there need to be characters incorporated into the Snapchat Lens?
  • Should the characters always have happy faces?

Update 1 – Logo

screen shot 2019-01-14 at 18.38.06
Original Logo
screen shot 2019-01-14 at 18.33.15
Updated Logo 1
screen shot 2019-01-14 at 18.32.21
Updated Logo 2

I inserted two characters into a new Illustrator file, and edited their arms so that they linked, similar to that of our original logo. I then filled every element of the characters with black, so that they looked more symbolic, but still keeping that personal element because they were different in terms of hairstyle, body size, face size, etc. I then reverted the characters back to their original state. For me, this seemed a bit too complex for a logo. I prefer the silhouette version.

Update 2 – copyright

Screen Shot 2019-01-14 at 18.47.38.png

 

Here, the copyright in one of my Lenses. I positioned it on the right, and the text reads sideways. I felt that this suited the context, because Snapchat is used in a portrait frame. The sideways writing also ties in with the Logo.

Update 3 – Characters in the Snapchat Lens

screen shot 2019-01-14 at 18.45.23

Here, I updated the logo, which includes the characters’ silhouettes. Although these aren’t the full colour and detailed characters, it still ties the pieces together nicely.

Update 4 – Characters’ Faces

Screen Shot 2019-01-14 at 18.56.08.png

I simply edited the mouths and eyebrows of the characters in order to give them more sad, shocked, angry or neutral facial expressions. I did this using the Line Segment Tool and the Ellipse Tool on Illustrator.

Design As Activism Presentation – Feedback

Today we presented our Man Up? Man Down. campaign to the class. Our feedback was generally positive, which we were really pleased with. The class’s feedback was that the overall presentation was very clear, well put together and very well spoken and engaging. David said that he thought our work was consistent, and had enough similarities throughout the outcomes, and that the idea processes were good. He also really liked that we had actually made Snapchat Lenses that function and weren’t just mockups.

Some points that were brought up by David and our peers included:

  • Is the logo too symbolic and not personal enough (like the characters)?
  • Should the copyright we are all here for you be consistent throughout?
  • Do there need to be characters incorporated into the Snapchat Lens?
  • Should the characters always have happy faces?

We plan to try out different logos, for example, using the same concept of a man up and a man facing down, but using the characters that Emily made. If this looks too complex, we plan to make outlines of the characters and try making a symbol out of them, but still having that personal feeling, rather that the universal ‘male’ symbol.

Me, Emily and Conor plan to apply the copyright we are all here for you into our designs, in order to keep the brand consistent.

I do have characters involved in the Snapchat stickers (which I didn’t show in the presentation!), so this probably solves this problem. However, I will definitely look into creating another Lens which involves the characters.

We all aim to change some of the characters smiles to sad or neutral faces in order to portray the emotion of this campaign. I had already altered the faces in my sticker pack, but will change the faces when I make another Lens.

Design as Activism – My Final Outcome

Snapchat Lenses

I chose to develop my Snapchat Lens creating by making a further 2 lenses, so the final outcome is a package of 3 lenses all together.

I downloaded Snapchat’s Lens Studio (for free, here: lensstudio.snapchat.com). I found it very overwhelming when I first opened the programme, because there was no walkthrough or ‘tips’ section, you were just straight into the complex programme. Therefore I watched a few YouTube tutorials on the basics of how it functions. After a few hours of playing around with settings, effects and just generally exploring the programme, I got to grips with how to go about creating my first Snapchat Lens.

Firstly, I learnt that you had to select which type of Lens you’d be creating before you open your new document:

Screen Shot 2019-01-14 at 17.16.29.png

So, for my first Lens, I went for the simple ‘Segmentation’ option. This option replaces the background of the camera with a tiled, filled or effected image.

I inserted a JPEG version of our logo, and changed the background colour to our chosen green (#009640). It was as simple as that!

Screen Shot 2019-01-10 at 11.14.26.png

Here is the result:

For the second filter, I created a 3D photo frame of our logo. In the video below, you can see that as you move the rear facing camera of your phone, it shows different angles of the ‘photo frame’. You can also ‘pick up’ the frame and move it about.

Finally, I made a Lens which included some of my initial visuals. Although this Lens looks very simple, it was definitely the most challenging to create. In order to get the cloud to stick to the portrait’s face, I had to go through many different settings and effects, which took a long time. However, I finally found the correct settings, and the outcome of the filter looks like this:

IMG_2422.jpg

As you can see, I tried the lenses out myself before uploading them. The Lens Studio programme has a Pairing feature, which allows the user to pair their Snapchat App on their smartphone to the programme on their computer. This then sends the newly created Lens over to the App on the smartphone, and allows the user to test out the lens before submitting. I stated previously that submitting lenses would cost money, but after having researched into this further, I found that paying money for it was only if you wanted the lenses uploaded for ANYONE to download. I didn’t want anyone to be able to download it, only people who had the links, and this was actually free!

Currently, all the Lenses are published and are functioning. They can be downloaded here:

Lens #1 – https://www.snapchat.com/unlock/?type=SNAPCODE&uuid=e324cc4ad8b74e62a5038ebf227ce77b&metadata=01

Lens #2 – https://www.snapchat.com/unlock/?type=SNAPCODE&uuid=f98ddce7545a4602972e3a0b8c130a86&metadata=01

Lens #3 – https://www.snapchat.com/unlock/?type=SNAPCODE&uuid=ad12dec65471492b9a26f759902a1b36&metadata=01

Snapchat / Messenger Stickers

I created the Stickers using Adobe Illustrator. I did this by importing the characters that Emily made, and editing some of their facial expressions to suit the context. For example, in the first sticker, I edited the man with a High Vis jacket’s facial expression to be sad because the other manis telling him to ‘Man Up!’.

In order to save these as PNG files, I opened the .ai (Illustrator) file with Preview (on Mac), and then clicked Save As, and selected the PNG option. They need to be a PNG in order to have a transparent background (although I have put them on a green background for this blog, as they won’t stand out very well on white!). Below is the saving and conversion process:

A lot of my stickers are typography based. Looking back, maybe some of them have too much type to be a small sticker? In my opinion, the most effective are the first and fourth stickers, because they feature minimal text, and a lot of visuals. This will interest the user, not push them away because it’s too much effort to read that small text!

Campaign Development – Snapchat Filter/Lens

One of my jobs within the Man Up? Man Down. campaign, was to create a Snapchat Filter or Lens for Snapchat users to both interact with our campaign, and share their images, which in turn will raise awareness for our campaign.

Research – Lenses

To create a Snapchat lens, you have to download Snapchat’s ‘Lens Studio’, which is free to download. This is the programme which I’ll use to put together the lens. Once the lens is created, it’s possible to pair your Snapchat App on your mobile phone to the Snapchat Lens Studio, in order to preview the lens. This is how I’ll display my work, as there is a fee for submitting your lens to Snapchat’s library.

Research – Stickers / GIFs

Stickers can be created using Adobe Illustrator. 408px by 408px is a good size to work with for 1 sticker. Sticker must be exported as a PNG, with a transparent background. The next step would be to export your stickers to Xcode, but in this case, I won’t be publishing my stickers, so won’t need to go any further.

I am quite confident with creating GIFs after having completed a workshop with Matt earlier in the last term.

Lenses – Initial Ideas

Stickers – Initial Ideas

Campaign Ideas – Further Development

In the last group session before our we broke up for Christmas, we decided on everybody’s roles within the project, and who would complete which outcome over the holiday period.

Final Outcomes:

  • Snapchat Filter/Lense (Ellie)
  • Snapchat/Messenger Sticker Package (Ellie)
  • 15-20 second Animation (Shannon)
  • Vectorised Characters (Emily) for everyone to use in their outcomes.
  • Set of three Posters (Emily)
  • Twitter/Facebook Banner (Conor)
  • Instagram/Facebook Post (Conor)

 

Logo Finalisation 

Although Theo suggested to create more personal and less generalised logos, as a group, we decided to go with one of my designs after having spoken to David about it in a separate tutorial.

Logo Variations:

screen shot 2019-01-08 at 13.48.19As a group, we produced a series of logo design developments from my original design to show our ideas and the changes that we made. This helped us to see all of the designs together, which then helped us to decide which were and weren’t successful. We decided on a logo that featured reflected typography as this showed the wording ‘Man Up? Man Down.’ in an effective, clear and clever way. We also liked the idea of linking the two figures’ arms, as we felt that mental health is about is about people linking together to support and talk to each other (which is especially important for mens mental health because of the negative and neglected stereotype of it).

Final Logo Design:

screen shot 2019-01-08 at 13.49.52

After this, we decided on the artwork specifics which will be carried out across all outcomes, in order to keep our work consistent with one another.

Artwork Specifics:

Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 13.54.52.png

We chose the typeface Futura, and decided that for Main Titles, Condensed Extra Bold would be used. We provided the exact colour code for the green used in the logo, to make it much easier for everybody to have consistent colours in their individual job roles. We created a OneDrive sharing account where everybody can share their work, ideas and progress, and linked that into the Artwork Specifics sheet. We also decided that text body should (for the most part) be aligned to the left. Finally, we added an image of the final logo, just so nobody got confused and used a different variation!

 

 

Campaign Idea Development

For our first tutorial session, Theo wanted us to bring some initial sketches to go with our content ideas for our ‘Man Up? Man Down.’ campaign. For this, we worked individually on logo ideas, because we wanted the widest range of styles and ideas possible. Below are my logo idea sketches.

Logo Sketches:

 

For the logos, I tried to combine two different elements:  arrows which signify the ‘up’ and ‘down’ in the name, and the use of a stereotypical and well known ‘male’ symbol to signify that it’s aimed specifically at men.

Theo’s feedback made us realise that we need to narrow down our ‘target market’ even more, although we had already narrowed it down to men, that’s still 49% of the population! We narrowed it down further to men at university (because that’s a readily available demographic for us). However, after discussing this further, we then thought that universities already have a lot of support networks available for students, so it’s pointless creating something that already exists. Therefore, as a group we met to discuss what demographic of males between the ages of 25-50 (age bracket of men that will be active on social media) are at the most risk from mental health issues. With help from Theo, we decided that there are a lot of manual labourers who maybe feel that ‘too manly’ to ask their colleagues for help. Theo showed us a great example of this in an advert by Ford: (elephant in the transit, elephant in the room).

 

In terms of Logo Designs, Theo noticed that although all of our individual ideas were different, they were mostly typography and symbol based. Theo noted that this ‘digital’ aspect detracts the emotional side from our campaign (which isn’t what we want considering its a campaign for mental health!). He suggested that the most successful campaigns connect to their audiences in a direct, personal and emotional way.

Initial Campaign Ideas

In the second session, Shannon, Emily and I discussed possible campaign ideas from our previous research (see previous post). We chose to work on a men’s mental health campaign, as we collectively felt that there were already plenty of general mental health campaigns out there, and in contrast to these, we wanted to beat the stigma of men’s mental health, and how men don’t often talk about their feelings. The stereotypical male attributes include: ALWAYS emotionally stable, ‘Hardcore’, too cool for feelings, etc. We want to address that men DO have feelings and emotions, just like women, and because of these stereotypes, they tend to bottle up their emotions.

After having discussed the initial idea, we created some mind maps, diagrams and lists to help us:

 

We came to the conclusion of ‘Man Up? Man Down.’ as our campaign name.

We also created a Pinterest board to help with idea generation: https://pin.it/7efcqdzjil64c7

Finally, we discussed possible outcomes for the campaign:

  • Snapchat Filter/Lense (containing Logo, Hashtag, Visuals, etc.)
  • A package of Snapchat/Messenger stickers/gifs
  • A series of three digital posters
  • A Facebook/Twitter Banner/Header
  • A 15-20 second animation

 

Design as Activism – Research

For the latest brief Design as Activism, we were put into small groups. My group decided to do some research into existing campaigns before deciding which route to take for our project.

 

Existing Campaigns which would be effective for this project:

  • World Mental Health Day –

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/world-mental-health-day

  • Earth Day –

https://www.earthday.org

  • Plastic Sea Monster –

Cragen: https://cleanseascragen.wales

  • Self Love Mental Health Campaign –

You Are Enough by Welsh Youtuber Carys Gray –

https://yaeapparel.com/pages/about

From these, we decided to focus on the Mental Health subject. We did some further research, and found that there wasn’t enough mental health information specifically aimed at men out there. Consequently, we decided to focus our project on men’s mental health.