Assignment Brief

Re-design a magazine

Module Title and Level:
Layout Level 5 Tutor for Assignment & Contact Email:
Mary Ikoniadou

Assignment Due Date:
3rd May 2012 Assignment Number:

Assignment Introduction and Context:

You are required to re-design an existing magazine.

A magazine is a complex format with lots of different essential components (visual identity/logo, typography, layout/grid, photography, colour. Designing a magazine is also similar to other design tasks such as annual reports, newspapers, brochures and books as they require the designer to consider: creating continuity and variety across a range of pages, presenting different kinds of information in context-appropriate formats, and developing brand identity and continuity.

Consider what sections might be enhanced, reduced, eliminated, or added, as well as the overall tone or voice of the magazine. You can redesign a magazine to appeal to a different audience i.e. younger or wealthier, more serious, more approachable or to attempt to use art or photography more effectively for example.

Find a magazine that is ‘problematic’ and in need of improvement or updating. Avoid choosing a major title that is easily found in a supermarket i.e. Vogue, Elle etc. You are responsible for purchasing and reading the real magazine for this project.

Begin by writing a brief and explaining your choice; why is the magazine not working and how will you update its design so to better appeal to its audience? Check the brief with your tutor.

Your final project will include:
• a revised version of your brief explaining purpose, methodology, audience etc;

and a minimum of:
• three separate covers,
• a two-page table of contents (two single pages or a spread),
• one news section (one or two pages)
• one long feature (five pages or more) and
• one short feature (two or three pages)
(you can also design a back cover, colophon and more pages if you want, but it is not mandatory)

You must hand in a printed copy of the magazine with your submission. All pages must be printed in full size, full-color, trimmed neatly to bleed, and mounted on black (preferable to white) mounting boards, which are organized and stacked in the order the pages would appear in the magazine.

This assignment aims at developing your professional skills as a visual practitioner through designing a magazine i.e. attention to detail, correct and considerate typography, using grids, print and pre-production techniques, Adobe InDesign and sketching amongst others.

REMEMBER–this a design class, not a software training class. You are required to produce a design project from rough sketches (concept, experimentation) to final production (aesthetic, technical, presentation).

In this assignment, you are expected to demonstrate the evolution of your design skills and understanding of the discipline. Along these, you are required to provide evidence of your continuous visual research and evaluation through the appropriate use of imaging techniques and applications.

Overall for this assignment, you are required to keep evidence of research at all times (digital and analogue sketchbooks) and demonstrate analysis and visual exploration through your responses to each brief. Evidence of these, alongside your finished projects, doing presentations, class attendance and participation will also form part of your final assessment.

Shorter in length briefs will be given to you on a weekly basis during the course.

Remember, you are not being marked on the final product alone:

Your tutor will expect to see regularly updated development on your Critical Journal digital sketchbook blog – which will contribute to your overall mark. The marks you achieve in this assignment depend heavily on your development process as documented through the critical journal and the effort you put in at an early stage. This includes being able to invite constructive criticism from you peers and tutor, and make adjustments to your progress accordingly.

We are looking for conceptual and creative excellence deployed with technical proficiency – this means that the work you produce is:
Conceptually strong – that you can articulate the reasoning behind the decisions you have made in producing the work;
Creatively strong – that the work approaches a problem from a suitably original perspective, avoiding predictable or automatic responses;
Technically appropriate – that the work you produce appropriately reflects the use of skills explored and developed through the taught sessions offered.

The Critical Journal details the creative and intellectual process that you have undertaken in order to complete the assignment, think of it as a digital sketchbook. In reality it will take the form of reflection, developmental sketches, annotated links to inspiration, prototypes, and dialogue with your peers etc. – a documentation of the various steps you have taken to develop and create the Artefact that you have submitted. It is expected that this will represent a substantive body of work in its own right and be both visible and accessible for your tutors. Please make the Critical Journal into what suits your practice – document the work that you produce and the steps that you take, and please overcome the need to document the process digitally with the same flair and creativity you apply to the Artefact itself!

Assignment Deliverables:

1. Your final project will include:
• a revised version of your brief explaining purpose, methodology, audience etc;
and a minimum of:
• three separate covers,
• a two-page table of contents (two single pages or a spread),
• one news section (one or two pages)
• one long feature (five pages or more) and
• one short feature (two or three pages)

2. Research and Development Digital Sketchbook that includes digital versions (photographed and/or scanned of artefacts. [please include URLs to open source material/on-line tutorials visited in support of the final work];
3. Critique – dates to be arranged with tutor;

Assessment Breakdown:

Assessment will typically be based on the following:

1. Planning portfolio – 25%: A supporting blog of developmental and pre-production work, which supports the Typography Submission. Students will be expected to develop a WordPress blog throughout the production process to record developmental ideas and final evaluation (Learning Outcomes 1-5).
Practical assessment grid & written assessment grid.

2. Layout Submission – 75%: A practical assignment in which students focus on the design of typography as described in the brief. (Learning Outcomes 1 – 5).
Practical assessment grid and Presentation assessment grid.

Learning Objectives Assessed:
These are the key learning objectives associated with this assignment (from Digital Design Suite Validation Document July 2010)

Intended Learning Outcomes:
1. Produce practical projects from conception through to completion using a range of methods and techniques, demonstrating professional competence in the use of core aspects of production technique and software relevant to graphic design;
2. Demonstrate knowledge of core creative processes relevant to graphic design and demonstrate the skills of core best practice in terms of workflow, technical requirements for output and backup strategies for graphic design;
3. Demonstrate proficiency in the interpretation of set briefs, employing creative solutions as a response.
4. Demonstrate the ability to analyse and contextualise personal practice in relation to established theory and the output of other practitioners and peers.
5. Demonstrate their ability to generate ideas independently and/or collaboratively in response to set briefs.

Suggested Resources / Reading: (optional)
This section gives the tutor an opportunity to suggest recommended sources for resource files, reading etc.
Illustrative Bibliography
• Adobe Creative Team, (2007) Adobe Illustrator CS5: Classroom in a Book. Adobe Press.
• Spencer, H. (2004) Pioneers of Modern Typography. Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd.
• Gavin Ambrose, G. Harris, P. (2009) Basics Design: Design Thinking: 8. AVA Publishing
• Robert Bringhurst The Elements of Typographic Style
• Nicholas Bourquin, Altitude: Contemporary Swiss Graphic Design
• No More Rules: Graphic Design and Postmodernism by Rick Poynor
• Joseph Muller-Brockmann: Pioneer of Swiss Graphic Design by Lars Muller
• The New Typography: A Handbook for Modern Designers (Weimar & Now: German Cultural Criticism) by Jan Tschichold, Robin Kinross, and Ruari McLean
• Type: v. 2: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles – Alston W. Purvis
• Detail in typography – Jost Hochuli
• A type primer – John Kane
• The Form Of The Book – Jan Tscichold
• Dutch Graphic Design – Bis
• Make It Bigger – Paula Scher
• The Designer & The Grid – Julia Thrift
• Making And Breaking The Grid – Timothy Samara
• Experimental Layout – Ian Noble & Russel Bestley

Journals, Periodicals and Websites:
Creative Review
Grafik magazine
Eye magazine
Creative review blog:
Eye blog:
Magazine culture:
Design observer:

Submission Requirements

Tutors setting coursework will establish a deadline for the submission of each piece of work. This will be detailed in the handbook for each course – the days of the submission may differ; check the assignment brief for information. All work should be handed in on time.

Deadlines for handing in work will always be by 4.30pm.

You will submit your work into a dropbox in the main Foyer. There you will:
1. find the labelled individual Departmental / Programme Box
2. boxes will indicate assignments to be submitted
3. boxes will be locked at 4.30pm and reopened at 8.30am the next working day
4. the late submission box will always be opened at 4.30pm

On submission make sure that:
1. you post into the relevant box and ensure work is securely fastened including the front sheet with the declaration signed
2. label EVERY page with your name, assignment details and page number
3. an email will be sent to you within three working days as a receipt
4. any oversized work can be handed in at Reception

No assignments can be submitted during the weekend. Work submitted via email will NOT be accepted. It is the studentsʼ responsibility to ensure that the submitted work is complete and assessable on the computing facilities in CF04.

Note: The university policy for late submission of coursework is that 5 marks (i.e. 5%) will be deducted for each day that the work is late, including weekends, up to a maximum of 14 days. After 14 days, any work handed in will be accorded a mark of zero.


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