Cover 2

For my second cover I decided to choose a different cover of The Economist from 2008.

After trying few different versions and changing the colour of The Economist I decided to use the previous cover design as a template and don’t change the colour. I think red is very icon to be changed.

Here’s the final outcome:

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Cover 1

Before I started designing the covers I took a look at few of The Economist covers (of course). Whats similar about all of them is that they are really boring. A hot newsletter topic of the last 8 year is Barack Obama presidency term. A lot of politic magazines and newspapers speak about the recent president of the US and The Economist is no exception. Here is a cover of The Economist from Jan 2009 featuring Obama and the headline “Renewing America”.

While I think the photo is not so bad – Obama’s sign is caught in a good striking moment, I believe the tonality of the photo in combination with this strange background of vintage style writings in script typeface makes me want to fall asleep even before I’ve opened the newspaper. This is a tendency of almost all of The Economist editions, decent or mediocre photos presented quite boringly.

I took a different approach. First I changed the size of the newspaper from a non-standart smaller than A4 size to 21×29.7cm (A4) size. I think that the magazine will need more space for visuals and whitespace for the body copy to breath without making compromises on its size. My second approach was to minimize the content on the cover. The Economist is an icon, it doesn’t need a Month of the edition or information what articles we can find in. A simple identification number of the edition will make it even more icon and differentiate from the dozens of other magazines. I took a minimalistic approach to the design of the cover – no ugly backgrounds, no unnecessary content, lines or other elements.

This was the first cover I created:

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The Economist Editorial

After I started exploring and reading The Economist the first thing I noticed is that there are no actual authors. No author names or any names at all are stated above or below the articles. After a bit of research I found that this is intentionally left if we could say “a secret” to represent the publishing platform as a independent and anonymous newspaper and to focus on the materials rather than the people who write it. According to The Economist, the newsletter is a representative body of ideas and mission so personality like author names is not necessary. Taking this in mind, there is no editorial.. simply because there is no obvious editor of the newspaper. So here comes the question:

Considering the brief to make the magazine even more usable and more appealing to young audience how we can utilise the editorial space without actually creating a editorial?

I decided to design a colour system or code. Each section of the magazine is designed with particular colour domination so users can easily flip through sections. This will facilitate exploring the newspaper in not so typical reading areas (at least for the Economist, from what we now from the statistics in the previous posts) like the airplane or on the bus stop.

Here is the outcome:

The colours stand for:
RED – Headlines
BLUE – Business
ORANGE – Politics
GREEN – if there are any other sections

As Spiekermann says for his redesign of the Economist: it’s all about usability.

As stated from the tutor – this layout reminds of a website. I believe that’s good, because its the websites that that are the new communication of the young people. They are used to click, navigate and skim through content. Rarely people read massive amount of body copy. My aim is to bring a balance between the new methods of reading and communicating and the thorough intellectual content of The Economist so we can reach more younger audience and educate them.

Character modelign, first tries

I was watching this video, which seems to be quite old but still helps. Basically it explains the character modeling process based on using extruding, subdivide and edit sops. Designing custom shapes like nose, custom circles, etcs is all manual. What I found is that the whole process is much more difficult and time consuming then what I was expecting. I created the basic shapes (still not as precise and good as I want it to be) and tried to create a chin. The result so far is not satisfying.

Stage 2: Line art

After I decided what I’m going to use as my final sketch, I started with illustrator. Using pen/pencil tool I traced the draft to make it more refined vector sketch which I’ll later use in Houdini to create the 3D piece.

Tutorial: Selections, Modeling

I found a nice collection of Houdini tutorials from 3DBuzz. This one is very basic and covers few things we went through in class about selections of primitives, points, etc – something I’ll need when I’m modeling the geometry objects that construct my character.

This one is quite interesting, they are talking about “box modeling” and creating as further as golem head from a box sop. Sound’s like it will do the work for my little vector.

Stage 1: Sketches

The character has to be: positive, friendly, inviting, calm, inteligent, simple, smart and a bit fun.

My first idea was inspired from a character of American TV series Shameless – aunt Ginger. She is very polite and good with anyone and sometimes knows more things than the others, although she is mentally ill.

However I couldn’t find any good 3D or concept art picture references or something that can help me draw a similar character so I started experimenting, redrawing some other popular 3d characters and slightly changing them.

My final choice was a simple boy/man with exaggerated head size which symbolise the size of his intelligence and a smaller body about the size of his head. His arms and legs are even smaller, almost like a sticky man.

Oh boy, its here

PS CS6 Beta is here since yesterday, go try it for yourself:

Character Examples

Rango is a chameleon who is trying to adapt to the new social environment he is put in. Smart, isn’t it? His appearance is very different from all other creatures.

The square forms are boring and tired – perfect for the old person. The circle forms represent the positivism and friendly spirit.

Exaggerated and distorted shapes makes this character unique.

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Understanding Concept Design

This video from PolyFacecom explores “Character Design for 3D”. It doesn’t cover any technical 3D aspects but speaks about the concept design of a character, the steps and all other additional elements that bring the 3D character to life.

1. Feeling
“It’s all about the feeling you get across. Is your character smart, tall, short, dumb..”
Although I don’t need to go in this deep details of personalization since it’s just a character that will be used in software and not a movie, or as a part of a brand, it’s nice to consider this kind of details.

2. Explore opportunities
“Don’t settle for the first design.”

3. The comfort zone – your worst enemy.

I like this one. This assignment is part of going outside of it, as well.

Another video from the same series which talks about the fundamental decision when creating a concept design of a character like “good or evil?”

Evil Characters – triangular shapes, spikes

Good Characters – rounded shapes and soft curves. Considering I’m creating a positive, inviting and friendly character maybe I should aim at rounded shapes.

It’s interesting to see how he sketches and than goes with one particular sketch and the reasons for the choice: uniqueness, shapes, etc.

How he uses reference images:


Essay Considerations

Based on my first assignment feedback here are the points I considered while writing this essay:

  • Bringing the main topic to the fore of the essay instead of approaching it secondarily – Considering my first essay’s critique I decided to approach this essay’s main topic as a fundamental of the material instead of writing about it secondarily.
  • Explicit use of the devices explored in sessions – I researched books and materials, as well the lectures’ presentations to try to thoroughly base my essay on the topics we explore in lectures. In the essay I’m discussing: transgression, biopower, mash-ups and user generated content in the context of new media, issues of censorship, cultural jamming and others while trying to approach it in engaging and informative way instead of basing it on just quotations and theory.
  • Reduce the amount of quotes – although I’m phrasing a lot of information from books or other materials in one form or another the actual quotes are much smaller than the ones in my first essay

Essay Drafts

I decided I’ll write my essay on the “Nutella Phenomenon” topic discussing the increasing social power that brand has achieved in the last few years through the web and social media in partucarly sites like 9GAG and Facebook.

This is an outline draft of my essay:

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