How have you chosen to set out your designs and why? (Reference
layout, image/text ratio, busy/simplistic etc)
With our recipe card designs we opted for a simple yet ornate layout that
managed to pull off a stylish,practical look, which included all the logos
and indicators of skill and difficulty needed for the recipe. We used one of
the existing VegSoc recipe cards as basis for this structure, which included
simple but practical geometric shapes and accents. The front cover of
each recipe card is dominated by a picture of the recipe in question, which
was carefully chosen to be both aesthetically pleasing and to show off as
much of the food as possible. While loaded with detail from our indicators
and foliage decals our designs remained quite simplistic,
using only geometric shapes as boxes for our text
and headings. All wording is clear and uncluttered.
The design that inspired our layout ->
We took inspiration from the simple
yet practical shapes and lines.
However, my initial draft for the back of the recipe cards took the simplistic
approach to the extreme. While practical and fit for purpose this early
design offered nothing in terms of aesthetics and was comprised only of
text boxes for the content, with the page colour being changed every time
to match the recipe.
The great evolution in my design can be seen above, where I began to
break free from the geometric boundaries and started to use a borderless
approach, with a tilted picture for the recipe and faded foliage decals to
compliment the background and add much more depth. I think the first
design allowed me to experiment with boxes and modify them to my liking.
<- The initial draft (Left) and the final
piece (Right) for the same recipe.
For our recipe cards, we used a combination of stock images and royalty
free vector graphics for decorating and accenting our designs. The stock
images used generally consisted of professional food photography that
includes the completed dish laid out in an attractive manner, such is the
case on actual VegSoc cards. This type of image was placed on the front
cover (taking up most of it) as well as to the right of the actual recipe on
the back cover, letting viewers remind themselves what they will end up
with in the end.
Our fonts are dafont.com sourced and systems fonts preloaded onto the
computer. The dafont logos are generally the more decorative/themed
fonts, whereas we used a system font (Bell MT) for the main text in the
recipe. Our fonts were mostly sans-serif for bodies of text, which
contributed to our ornate, ‘mature’ theme we were putting across. We also
found that several VegSoc cards, particularly the festive themed cards
used a lot of sans-serif text.
Discuss the contents of your final images and reflect upon decisions
made. (Content used- image/text/graphic, use of colour, original or stock
images. Compare to existing products.)
Colours used in the recipe cards generally revolved around natural themes
as well as matching each recipe featured by way of recolouring the foliage
decals and matching all the headers. The decision to use different colours
for each card can be traced back to my early prototype for the recipe card
rear. We found that as well as providing a sense of unity between recipe
cards, the different colours created a wild contrast of colours that
represent all the new shades that spring provides with the blooming of
new plants and flowers. The use of representative colour was also found
in one of the VegSoc cards, where a deep red was used to provide a very
festive/Christmas like feel to a winter cake recipe, where the colour red is
often represented as a warm fire or Father Christmas.
<- An example of the differing
colours between cards while
retaining exactly the same style.
Discuss the semiotics and connotations created from the content you have
included.(What meaning or suggestions are created from the
images/colours/designs you have used? You could reference how they were used
in products you look at during the project.)
The connotations behind our recipe cards is the aspect of Spring and the
fresh new life it brings to world, representing new colours and new life with
plants respringing and blooming again. The use of wildly different colours
yet same style represents the burst of life that Spring brings, with lots of
new flowers and plants. In the VegSoc cards we looked at, the Spring
themed recipes also used quite a lot of natural motifs, like foliage decals
and lots of multicoloured backgrounds and borders.
Another possible connotation is a rustic aspect,
giving the recipe card the feel of a country café
or a similar venue. I achieved this by giving the
box behind the ingredients list a worn texture
And border, which made it look like an old
menu that is commonly found in such a place.
Create an audience profile of your chosen demographic
(Age, gender, psychographic, geodemographics, NRS Social Grade, hobbies,
sexuality [if appropriate] etc)
In the initial audience research our audience profile pointed to a very
specific set of people. We found that the people most likely to use our
vegetarian recipe cards were young to middle-aged heterosexual women,
who were usually at B or C1 in the NRS social grade and were married,
often having children. In addition to this, a majority were found to either be
stay at home mums or work part time.
We found that a large portion of vegetarians were female rather than male
(Studies indicated there were twice as many, and our own survey found
that out of 26 people, 16 were female) We also found in our survey that
women are more likely to devote time to cooking than men.
How have you constructed your work to appeal to this audience?
Include an annotated copy of an example of your work to help illustrate how you
have done this.
appeals to the
feminine feeling of
nature and flowers
Serif text makes the
body of text look
much more mature
appealing to an
older audience Use of the word
‘tempting’ appeals to
the expression of
letting women treat
themselves with food
Ingredients box has
been made to look
like an old menu
board, giving the card
a classy, retro
To appeal to my audience of young to middle aged female vegetarians, I
have used a variety of different motifs that are mainly used to represent
both the gender and vegetarians themselves. The plant/foliage decals and
earthly brown and green colours help to promote the theme of nature,
which is common in vegetarian publications and material as it ties in with
their consumption of mainly fruit and vegetables rather than the products
of animals. To represent women, I have gone for a few styles that are
commonly found in a feminine environment, like serif text.Serif can create
quite a formal or classy environment, which many women enjoy or find
comforting. A particular example of that is the popular home living and
lifestyle magazines that have a majorly female readership.
What did you use as your design influences and why were they chosen?
(What existing media products influenced the final look of your work?)
The basis of my recipe cards was one of the Veg Soc’s own recipe cards,
in particular their marzipan and brandy ice cream. I was taken by this
design because it did not utilize a lot of bright, zany colours that would
completely distract me, but rather went for a selection of one or two dark
and very effective colours that matched the recipe as well as the festive
feeling. The design itself was comprised of simple shapes and lines that
while simple to make, created a very classy, refined and practical layout
that was very satisfying to take inspiration from. I wanted to choose a
practical design for my recipe cards because I wanted them to be eye
catching and easy to read, allowing people of all ages and abilities to use
the recipes without being swamped by unneeded colours or graphics, and
not having difficult or complicated language to comprehend. While this
works well from a practical sense, next time I could try and set up a more
adventurous layout, that uses more complicated shapes and lines to
create a more interesting product.
Do vegetarian products have a specific design aesthetic and how does your
project reflect/contrast this? Why?
With vegetarian publications I have found that a vast majority tend to have
a very dominating theme of nature and/or organic life. The natural themes
come into play thanks to the philosophy behind vegetarianism, which
means harming no animal by eating them and instead relying on what they
produce and what can be found from plants. Most vegetarians feel a
greater connection to nature thanks to this diet, which brings the heavy
emphasis on the colour green and foliage decals into play.
The main theme of my recipe cards uses a lot of foliage decals that brings
out a very natural and organic feel to the cards. While not every card uses
the colour green thanks to the alternating colours, a lot of green can still be
found in the Veg Soc’s own logo, at the bottom of the page.
Does your finished product reflect your initial plans? How? If there are any
differences, describe why changes were made.
(You can use visual examples of flat plans and finished products to illustrate this
My initial plans depicted a simple yet effective recipe card design that
included a large footer containing the difficulty indicator as well as a brief
description of the recipe, with the Veg Soc logo and recipe title at the top
of the card. This initial plan also included the dominating front cover
picture that made it into our final design.
We decided to make several minor changes regarding the position of text
and graphics on the front of the card. Most notably was bringing the recipe
card title down to the footer to be above the recipe description for more
consistency, while the difficulty indicator was moved to the top right. The
Veg Soc logo remained at the top.
These placements are reminiscent of the actual Veg Soc cards where
there is a bottom footer containing useful information, however the recipe
title and description is at the top rather than at the bottom. We decided to
put both at the bottom to keep the flow – people would start at the top and
then work their way down to find the title of the recipe.
Seen below is the comparison between the flat plans and the final recipe
cards. As said previous the front cover is quite similar however the rear is
radically different. This is because I wanted to break free of the boxy style
that is a bit too generic, and instead opted for a more free approach, still
using boxes but with a lot more subtlety and with appropriate styling and
graphics that really crafts a natural theme.
In my opinion I believe going for a much different rear cover was very
beneficial to the overall standard of our recipe cards as it eliminated a
bland style of simple boxes (clearly seen in my rear side prototype) and
instead resulted in a very unique and near-professional piece.
Does your finished product match what you were set in the brief? How?
In the brief it was outlined that Veg Soc required a recipe card that had a
vegetarian meal, used numbers for the method, certain abbreviations,
metric measurements and had their logo clearly displayed on the card. I
believe that I have fulfilled what was asked for in the brief, having checked
over my cards there were several instances where I had to change the cup
measurement to millilitres, and several spelling errors, but overall the
changes I had to make were miniscule and reflected the professional
standard that these cards were produced to.
How did the use of peer feedback help you in your production?
(Reference specific examples and their final outcome in finished product)
Peer feedback has been very useful to me during development of my
recipe cards. I think my biggest example was that of my first rear cover
draft, which was agreed by many people to be fit for purpose but overall
very bland and uncreative, and also unsynchronized with the front cover,
giving the impression that the two didn’t really fit together.
Thanks to this peer feedback I was given the incentive to scrap the design
completely and focus on building a new one from scratch, still utilizing a lot
of boxes but in a much more creative and effective way, using such tools
as drop shadows and strokes to build up the image.
Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your final product regarding its
Use box below for text or page space to include an annotated copy of your work
to help illustrate how you have done this.
Reference what you like and dislike about the work with consistent reference to
correct terminology of tools/effects used. Reference existing products.
In my recipe cards I have consistently used a range of different techniques
in order to achieve the high quality final pieces that I ended up with. These
included different blending options for most of the boxes, like drop
shadows and strokes, in order to give them depth and
make them appear 3D on what is otherwise a flat sheet.
This also allowed to be easier to distinguish different
elements from each other, such as foliage over text.
To the left you can see that I have also used a large blur
for the main text box that houses the method, which
makes the box look much better than just a plain box
against the white background. Drop shadows are common
on other Veg Soc cards as they give the illusion of depth
and make the boxes stand out a little more.
Concerning the weaknesses of my product I
believe that I relied too much on simple
tools like the rectangle shape tool and the
blending options. While a lot better than my
previous attempt my rear covers are quite
blocky and only made up of simple
rectangle shapes, with effects added to
keep them subtle. In my research of other
Veg Soc cards I found a lot of other little
details, like on a Christmas recipe there
were a lot of little bauble decals and star
graphics, something that my card lacks. If I
was to repeat this project, I would like to
include a lot more little graphics to really
spice up the final look, and not leave any
empty space to just the plain white
Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your final product regarding its
Use box below for text or page space to include an annotated copy of your work
to help illustrate how you have done this. Reference what you like and dislike
about the work with consistent reference to correct terminology. You can
reference existing products here and compare your work to them.
In terms of aesthetics, I think my product is quite strong and has a very
clear definition of what it wants to be. The theme across our cards is
consistent and has the intended vegetarian/natural/organic message
clearly interpreted with the foliage decals and earthly colours of brown and
green, representing trees and plants.
While simple the design is clear and practical, with one of the touches I
think works very well is the texture tool being used to make the ingredients
list look like an old cork menu of sorts, giving the cards quite a rustic feel.
The serif text refines the card and creates a very class, formal impression.
In terms of weaknesses, I think that my
product could have been a little more
consistent with the placement of images on
the rear side, which vary wildly in size and
position and makes the cards look
unorganized. Also, some of the foliage
decals have been shoddily recoloured which
has either made them look blotchy or has
left some of the original colour in places,
making them look untidy and
unprofessional. Finalising this, I believe that
I can improve my product next time by
taking more care when recolouring decals
and making sure that there are no leftover
original colours. I should also try and find a
suitable position for images that works for all
cards to create a greater sense of unity.
What skills/knowledge have you gained/developed in this project? How could
these be applied in future practice?
During the course of this project I feel like I have gained several skills that
would be useful in undertaking future projects. I think the most notable skill
was learning how to get back on track and push myself after my first
design failed, which allowed me to catch up on the backlog of work.
I have also learnt how to use several tools in Photoshop, like the marquee
and swatch tool, which previously I found fiddly. These tools will likely
come in handy for a project that requires a lot of colours to be kept track of
Do you believe your work is creative and technically competent? Why?
(Reference specific examples (use images if this will help) of where you believe
your work is particularly visually or technically impressive. Reference
professionally produced work and compare your products to them)
I think that my finished piece is creatively competent due to the variety of
colours and styles used, and the overarching theme that not only unites all
the cards but builds up a large theme that refers to the vegetarian ideals,
like plants and nature. The foliage decals really add to this look and fill up
more of the blank space, giving the card a lot more detail. Such decals are
common on the Veg Soc cards to add more detail, and usually these have
drop shadows or colour overlays applied to fit the background.
Technically speaking, I believe that the cards are a little simple in terms of
tools used, but the tools we have used could be compared to professional
publications, like drop shadows, strokes and opacity. This allowed us to
tweak the text and graphics, making them stand out more or less and thus
creating a visual hierarchy in which the viewer’s eyes could follow our set
How effectively did you manage your time?
(Could you have used time more wisely? Did a particular aspect of the project
take longer than expected? Did you complete everything on schedule?)
During the course of the project me and Jonah were able to successfully
complete all of our cards with a little bit of time to spare for minor touch-
ups and final checks. Initially I was feeling hampered as the rear cards
took a little longer to do than the front cards thanks to all the content, and I
got a little behind after I decided to completely redo my layout after finding
the first one a little bland.
Our schedule was set up in a way that Jonah would start a new card and I
would move onto the rear of the card that had just been finished. This
soon proved to not be the case as getting the layout right for my final piece
took longer than expected and as such I built up quite a backlog of rear
covers to do.
Next time, I will try and refine the schedule so that in the case of a problem
like I had this time, there will still be enough time to get back on track and
guarantee a steady workflow as we originally planned.
If you could repeat the process what would you do differently?
If I was to repeat this project, one thing I would do differently is set myself
a more workable schedule and also experiment with some more
adventurous tools. While at a high standard my final product is only really
made up of alternating text boxes with some effects here and there, and
quick looks at existing Veg Soc cards have revealed that they contain a lot
more, from more complicated shapes to little graphics and decals that
really enhance the look of the card.
Referring to the schedule change, this project was initially off to a shaky
start after I broke the whole workflow by scrapping my first design and
starting a new one, leaving a big pile of rear covers to do and Jonah far
ahead of me. If I was to attempt this project again, I would want to set a
more open schedule so that in the case of a problem, the workflow would
not be hampered and could continue as normal.
What constraints did you encounter and how did you consider/avoid them?
The most obvious legal constraints to us would be the use of recipes
and graphics that we found on the Internet. With the recipes, we
decided not to use our own and instead searched on the web for
some spring recipes, using them in our cards.
As these were not our property, and our recipe cards were not
intended to be sold, we simply had to ask for permission and include
credits as the recipes were non-profit, but there may be several
cases where the original authors may ask for royalty fees.
The graphics were mostly the same case, however we found that the
most useful vectors required a fee to be paid to the creator to use
them in our publication. After a fee was paid we had unlimited use
over the vector provided that we didn’t try to sell it ourselves.
The regulatory concerns we faced were mainly to do with the safety
and wellbeing of people who would be working on the project. The
Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 states that we should provide a
safe working environment that has available facilities and equipment
in the event of a fire, fault or medical emergency. Such things as
trailing wires, faulty equipment or liquid spilled on computers were
all hazards we needed to regulate and minimise wherever possible,
such as banning drinks near the computers. We also had to keep in
check how long the people on the project were using the computers
for, as it has been proven that prolonged exposure to a screen or
over usage of a mouse and keyboard can lead to such conditions as
repetitive strain injury and carpal tunnel syndrome.
The financial issues we ran into mainly occurred with material costs.
The Veg Soc specifically asks for biodegradable laminate and
vegetable based inks, so we had to spend a little extra money to
acquire these as they are more expensive compared to the basic
materials. As well as this, we also had to cover the costs for the hire
of equipment and of a printing firm that completed our printing run.
To make our cards really stand out, we also used a specialist
embossing technique to make the titles of our recipe cards really
stand out, and this cost a bit more money due to the special nature of
the printing method.
In addition to this, we also paid wages to our staff who were involved
on the project, the cost of hiring computers to run Photoshop, and
also any paper and writing materials needed to draft out our products
at the beginning of the project.
How did you work as part of a group?
(Did you lead the project? What parts of the project did you take charge of? Did
you enjoy working as part of a group? Why?)
In our group there wasn’t a set leader. We both assumed an even
position of responsibility with Jonah creating the front covers and
myself creating the reverse sides. I was in charge of most of the
copy/type, and Jonah in charge of graphics of pictures. This
teamwork allowed us to create a series of high quality recipe cards
that we are both proud of and worked hard for.
I enjoyed working in a group as it eased off the workload of an
already big project and allowed me to take on my own load, not being
bombarded with pieces that I felt I wasn’t good enough to do. We
were able to distribute our strengths to different parts and our final
products show this.
How important is communication when working in a group?
(Use specific examples from working in a group on this project)
Personally I have found that communication is invaluable within a
group as it offers a second opinion to the product and other people
can easily spot what others might miss, creating a better final piece
overall. It also allows for a much more smoother workflow, as we can
talk to each other and discuss what we’re going to work on next, and
with both of us working hard there is little backlog.
A good example of how communication helped us was when I was
trying to catch up after scrapping my first design of the rear cover.
Talking things out with Jonah we were able to divide the workload as
he had finished the first covers, and as such we were able to
complete them quickly, with a lot of time left over to proofread and
correct any errors.
What have you learnt about working in a group and how will you apply this to
My experience in working with a group during this project is how
much peer feedback and discussion can really help development of
the project, as it allows mistakes to be rectified easily and
constructively, and if we ever have a moment of uncertainty, we can
turn to someone for a second opinion, streamlining the process.
In any future projects where I am working in a team, I will be
discussing with my teammates our direction and goals, and if we
have an uncertain moment, we can discuss it easily and move on
quickly with the best result that everyone agrees on.
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