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Pick Me Up

Pick me up is an exhibition featured at Somerset House, which is a collection of artists which showcase their work to the public consisting of new illustration, graphic design and related disciplines to inspire. I think PMU had a large variety of artists and their respective fields, however most of the exhibitions were collections presented to the audience and talking to most of the artists was difficult because they were not there. I did enjoy my time at PMU because of the variations of the pieces and how my interest in product design overlapped into pieces. Here are my favourite pieces that I saw at Somerset House.

At PMU I spoke to the guys at the pocko exhibition. Pocko is a design agency that has a  roster of international talent that spans through traditional illustration to digital animation, photography and live performance and are based locally in London with ‘satellite’ agencies in Milan and LA. I spoke to Adam Hayes who was creating the hand rendered type and detailed line drawing. We spoke about his process and where he starts when creating something like this on such a large-scale and he said that he will start with typography and mark it out first in pencil and add the imagery around the text next and even overlapping the imagery over the text so that it is interacting with the type. I spoke to Adam about why he is with Pocko and he told me that Pocko helped him develop his style and talent so that he could go on to have clients such as Toyota, Sony and Apple through the showcasing of his work.


Client/Restaurant Analysis

After choosing to rebrand the restaurant I began by visiting the establishment a few times to get an overall feel of the restaurant and the food and other services that it provides. I also looked at the website and printed menu and found that they could be improved design wise, which would improve the aesthetics of the restaurant. I want to improve the visual identity of the restaurant and create a more professional cohesive design that can be presented on the outside as well as the deliverables and any advertising that they would produce.


The logo is the first thing that the customers will see when walking past the restaurant and/or viewing the website and this is the first thing that communicates the brand. The logo features the name of the restaurant ‘Azouma’ which in Arabic means ‘Invitation’ an is written in a sans-serif typeface, which could be improved because the font is joint up, however the capital A doesn’t connect and has left a clear gap, which is unappealing. This typeface has different distances (Kerning) between the lettering, which could be altered in illustrator, however I would improve the typeface used by using a different typeface that could be more semiotically linked with the Arabian culture and cuisine which will visually communicate the brand to the audience. The imagery used in the current logo is divided into three sections featuring different coloured squares with a spiral, heart and a moon; The imagery used could be linked to the turkish flag which features a moon, however I think that this design doesn’t communicate the cuisine that the restaurant supplies or the origin of the food. I think that creating a single piece of imagery that could communicate the brand. The colours used are a mix or reds and browns, which could be linked to the crimson and golds of the regions.

The home page continues the crimson colour scheme and has a scrolling gallery of photographs of the food and the restaurant, the location, a description of the food that is available, offers that are available, take-away information and opening and closing times. This is the key information, however I think that this information could be presented in a better way and so I will need to look into layout design for websites as well as a mobile version also.

Design Factory Boards

Evaluation and Reflection

1) Visual Communication:

In what ways does the visual communication/message of the piece meet the needs of the brief?

The brief was very open to interpretation. We needed to make design that can be engaging and generate an emotional response and create an experience. I chose to create interactive piece of packaging that will be interactive and interest the audience. The Packaging has to be eye-catching and get children to want to try the sushi. The packaging was made in two parts which increases the interaction between the child and the packaging and convey the and interesting aesthetic for the child.

In what ways does the visual communication/message of the piece fail to meet the needs of the brief?

I think that it addresses the brief really well, if I had more time I would have liked to have created the comic strip and fabricated the vacuum formed insert. 

What are the strengths of the visual communication? Why?

It has strong signifiers because of the bright colours that will stand out on a shelf and features the sushi on the sleeve which is the main imagery of the piece. The name and typography were created to communicate what the product was and to stand out against the colours on the packaging. 

What are the weaknesses of the visual communication? Why?

I feel that the back of the sleeve could have done more with to increase the aesthetic and include more key information such as the company name.

In what ways could the piece be mis-read or mis-understood by the audience? Be specific about who the audience is.

I identified my audience in my research as being children of a specific age range and tested my sushi characters on a class of children within the age group, however the project could be mis-understood as a toy from first glance, however when the child looks at the back they will understand because of the ingredients and nutritional chart. 

In what practical ways could the piece be developed or improved?

Multiple prototypes of the sleeve and box could have meant that they could have had a better fit with a thinner border and a deeper compartment.

2) Reflection of own working practices:

How was my time keeping?

Because the dissertation was in for the dame day as well as having to not only design and create the products but design 4 boards for the Design factory I feel that I was stretched for time on all my projects and had to work quite a few late nights/ early mornings.

How was my analysis of the brief?

Creating a the first board around the exhibition and then the next three boards were around my project I found difficult because I kept having to go back and check that the ideology of the exhibition and the user interface were in my piece.

How was my research?

I found my research enjoyable because I could research another aspect of Japanese culture that I hadn’t looked at before and I enjoy packaging design because I find it interesting what different types of packaging that interact with user. Also I hadn’t done a project aimed towards children so It was fun to have a younger target audience and find out what they would want through the research of Japanese children’s cartoons and western cartoons.

How did I draw conclusions from my research?

I used my research to inform me about the audience for the piece and I  blogged my research and the ideas that started forming early on are as a direct result of my research.

How did I use research to generate and develop ideas?

My research did help me generate ideas that developed into my final piece because I researched Japanese packaging which influenced my ideas and brought the Japanese aesthetic of ‘Cute’ packaging which really made the packaging. 

How did I use evaluations to help with my ideas generation and development?

Evaluating as I went on the blog and looking on others blogs to see where they were and tried to keep over take them helped me keep on track and make sure every step I took was a step forward. This was important as I did not have days to waste on doing nothing productive

How did I use experimentation during the project? How can I make this more effective?

I experimented with the packaging and how the overall shape of the piece was going to be created, vacuum forming an insert, I think i could have increased my experimentation by looking into foiling on the packaging to make the imagery and text stand out more.

What parts of the project did I enjoy most? Why was this the case?

I enjoyed the research of Japanese packaging and the ‘cute’ design because it was a part of graphic and product design that I had not looked into and found it really interesting because of all the techniques new and old that were used for packaging.

What parts of the project did I enjoy least? Why was this the case?

Under the pressure of handing in a finished piece the boards and the dissertation bound and presented all on time was stressful because towards the end of the project the workload began to mount up.

At what times did I work best? Why might this be the case? How can I ensure that I work well at all times?

Handing in wha feels like 3 projects at once would have meant the stress would have been gone so knowing that the harder that I worked would mean the quicker that these pieces are completed and handed in, even though I did enjoy the brief.

What areas were challenging or difficult? Why was this the case?

Time management and understanding the brief were the main difficulties because time management was one of the main aspects to this project because of the dissertation that had to be handed in for the same day and I had to look back and the brief to make sure i hand come off track

How can I go about developing and improving the parts I found difficult?

Creating a for me to work to would improve my timekeeping and more prototyping would have helped too for the nets of the boxes.

Packaging Creation

From my initial Ideas I chose to integrate the sushi aesthetic into the packaging and used the ‘Cute’ packaging idea to advertise to children. I decided to use the Sake Nigiri which is the salmon on a rice base for the sleeve because the bright colour of the salmon will be more eye-catching for children and make it stand out more against other food packaging on the shelves.

For the sleeve I began by creating a grid ever the template to make sure that I had it divided into the sections to make sure that any imagery detail isn’t lost because it is too close to the edge. I began by creating the salmon part of the packaging at the bottom of the sleeve by creating an oval with a thick stroke and decreased the thickness at the top and bottom, I did this so that it gives more depth to the salmon because it is on top of the rice and raised. Once I finished the salmon at the bottom I wanted the lighter lines to line up when the box is put together and so the rest of the oval that was bleeding over the edge and created another clipping mask with the bleeding oval and used that for the top of the sleeve. From the Japanese cartoon expressions that I made for the cartoon sushi I used this for the cover, I chose to use the cartoon faces from the sushi because I wanted to design the packaging so that multiple different types could be created so that children could pick and choose know which ones they haven’t tried. The colours for the salmon and main body of the sleeve are similar to the sushi colours, however if different designs are made the colours will differ.

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For the name I began by looking back at my past research of Japanese calligraphy and Asian stylised typography, Using Japanese calligraphy couldn’t be used because children won’t understand Japanese so finding a clear stylised font was key. I had to make sure that I found a font that wasn’t too gimmicky (Google Chinese font you’ll see) so I had to find a sans-serif font that was clear and can be understood by children. I found a font called Sarah Script which I liked because it was close to typography that has been written with a calligraphy pen, however I think this was too complex because all the type is jointed together and could be difficult for children to read; Korataki font is another font that I found that looked stylised and still have a clear design that can be read easily. I added a drop shadow and added a stroke so that the name of the product stood out more and printed test copies to make sure that the font was the correct size so it could be seen at a distance and understood. The name of the product will be in different colours so that it stands out against the background colour. I’m going to keep the Sarah Script for later projects because I think it could be used as a good hand written calligraphy font but it isn’t for this project.

Finally I added the cartoon versions of the sushi inside with a small description of the ingredients including a nutritional chart. I created a layout for the back of the sleeve and made sure all the contents are lined up so it is easy to read. The nutritional chart is designed so that it is easily read by children and the parents purchasing the product by implementing a traffic light system. I used Futura for the chart and descriptions because of the clear characters and ease to read, I used size 11 Futura because this is a clear size for the reader.

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I kept the box simple and added the product name to the sides so when the box is in the sleeve the name is still visible from the side. Printing the box and sleeve I had the sleeve printed on a textured piece of card which will add to the experience for the user and a glossy smooth card for the box which means that opening the box the child will feel the difference in texture.

I also created another box and sleeve for if the products were part of a collection to demonstrate how the other sushi characters translate in different colours. I’m happy with how the sleeves came out, I would like to add more to the box however time constraints are making it difficult to add more and I don’t want to overcrowd the layout.

Passe-Partout net and creation

After finding a net that I wanted to use for the packaging and began to prototype it, however when making the box I found that the template that I was using was incorrect because there were sections that were too small and when putting them together it was clear that because of the depth I wanted the packaging the inside walls were too short and I couldn’t alter the design which meant I had to alter the overall shape of the box which meant the depth was decreased and the border to be increased. These changes meant that the shape of the box altered completely because it made it thinner and the space for the content of the box will be smaller.

I wanted the box to be the dimensions that I had created first because of the depth and size, however the new design is the only way to have a passe-partout style box without finding another box design all together. I printed off the new box and prototyped it to make sure that it all fit together and began designing the packaging.


Cartoon Facial Expression Creation

I wanted to personify the sushi characters so that the children’s interactive comic strip will have characters to interact with. I began by looking at iPhone emoji characters and the different expressions that they have and began altering them so that they could be used on the sushi. The iPhone emojis in my opinion are basic because of the simple shapes that are used to create them and I wanted to have the facial expressions link to Japanese food and began looking at Japanese children’s cartoons and anime to get inspiration, but I didn’t use any of the anime facial expressions because the detail is high and it uses large eyes which can be difficult to place on a smaller image. Some Japanese cartoons featured small mouths with pink cheeks and eyes that are wide apart, this aesthetic I found was voted the best when I had a survey from children aged 5-7 about which expression they thought was the best and what they liked about it, the feedback from the audience helped me create the facial expressions and used some of the mouths which I had found from other cartoons which meant that each cartoon sushi would have its own individual facial expression.

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