Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Ramping it up.

As promised, the workload is starting to ramp up, and also the responsibility of us students to make sure that we are heading in the right direction with our assignments and managing our workload effectively. I am currently feeling a bit concerned with the research needed for the A3 Website plan and how to present it, as there is a total word count of only 1000 words. I intend to make a table of aims for the competitive analysis and the website goals and have a tick-list in order to save words.

The Christmas e-card design project has been an interesting sideline to the assignment work and I have really enjoyed getting to understand the way in which Photoshop uses layers, and how these can interact. I had a fair amount of advice from other students but quickly learnt that their are several ways to achieve the same affect. I spent quite a lot of time on it considering how much other assignment work needs doing. I had some trouble uploading the finished work onto my website but found it to be a useful exercise in itself as it was the first time I have used File Transfer Protocol (FTP).

The A4 assignment is also well under way, and there will be a font test next week which will include all aspects of layout and elements of a font, as well as the ability to distinguish certain fonts. This will require quite a lot of revision and will probably add a certain amount of stress to the assignment, but I'm sure it will encourage people to read up on the subject!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Industrial Visit Review

David Pannell and Craig Burgess delivered a presentation about their work in the Design Mechanics, which also included a question and answer session. This journal entry is a summary of this presentation.

Dave Pannell is the company director of the Design Mechanics. After initially working for other companies in advertising, he set up his own advertising agency in Huddersfield, called D.P. Design and Marketing, and worked for large companies such as McVities, but realised he enjoyed being more involved with smaller companies.

He then set up the Design Mechanics with a business partner with a web design background. Initially the company set-up was too large to manage and this led to complications, so the company was stripped down to just three people, which included Craig Burgess as a web and graphic designer. Craig is a former student on this course. After his first year on the course he worked part time as a designer for a vehicle renting company, which he said was a steep learning curve.

With this three-man team, the company then started off small as originally advised. Currently, the company claims to have around 800 clients.

One key feature of this company is its marketing strategy. This includes a price list in the brochure, which appeals to smaller companies as it shows transparency and reduces the mystique of design agency work. They also combine both web and print in their products as the design agency companies that are struggling are the ones that are too specialised; and a good logo or design will work across both web and print media types.

The company asks for a twenty five percent deposit from a client before work starts, to cover against the client pulling out. Another technique to discern seriously interested clients is to ask them to visit the Design Mechanics offices.

The Design Mechanics set out to offer value for money but still provide good quality and exciting design work.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

VAG Rounded.

Also known as VAG Rundschrift (Rundschrift is German for round writing). This font or typeface was designed in 1979 for the automotive manufacturers Volkswagen AG. A distinguishing feature of this typeface is the rounded end-stroke.1

VAG Rounded is based on earlier grotesque sans-serif typeface designs 2 which became influential in the 1920’s largely due to developments with the German Bauhaus movement, where it was adapted to express simplicity of form.

Sans serif is French for ‘without serifs’, serifs being the small features at the end of strokes. The term grotesque came about from the controversy surrounding these early sans serif typefaces.3

The demand for the new font arose in the early 1970’s when Volkswagen required a new brand identity to encompass all of their commercial activities, which by then also included Audi, the related car dealerships and financial services.

The design agency GGK Duesseldorf was awarded the design contract. Part of the brief was to develop a typeface which would replace the Futura typeface being used by Volkswagen and the Times typeface used by Audi.

The idea for a rounded typeface is accredited to Wolf Rogosky (Creative Director) and Gerd Hieplar (Art Director). The original font was drawn by hand and refined on a PDP-8 minicomputer. The font was widely in use for desktop publishing by the mid 1980’s.4

The font is believed to have influenced many typeface designs including the General Electric ‘GE Inspira’. Although Volkswagen phased out the use of VAG Rounded during the 1990's it is still widely used today and is under license from Adobe Systems.5

G.E. Inspira Logo 9

VAG Rounded is also arguably influencing a current style of logos in modern Web Design with a soft and friendly appearance.6 The font has been in use as a keyboard typeface by the Apple Inc. company since 1999 for their range of notebook computers. 7

An example of VAG Rounded8


1. VAG Rounded Black, itcfonts.com , 04/11/2008

2. VAG Rounded Std., Adobe.com , 04/11/2008

3. Kirsanov, [02/1998], sans serif history, webreference , 04/11/2008

4. [17/08/2008], VAG Rounded, en.wikipedia.org , 04/11/2008

5. VAG Rounded, absoluteastronomy.com , 04/11/2008

6. Coles [07/03/2006], The Logos of Web 2.0, fontfeed.com, 04/11/2008

7. [17/08/2008], VAG Rounded, en.wikipedia.org , 04/11/208

8. [17/08/2008], Image: VAG Sample.gif en.wikipedia.org, 04/11/208

9. GE Inspira, absoluteastronomy.com, 04/11/2008